Friday, April 11, 2014

Working with Glass

Surface Reporter, India's 1st 'Material-centric' magazine for exterior-interior products & projects, shared the experiences of the veterans in working with glass. The spotlight was on Aashish Karode & Sushil Karer, Principal Architects, Design Atelier who too shared their experiences of working with Glass. Here is excerpt from this feature:

Our design has always endeavored to work with craft, light, air, water, natural environment and technology as if they are materials in the construction of space. The use of glass to delineate the inside allows the exterior or outdoors to seamlessly penetrate the inside spaces becoming one aspect of the “whole” thing. The user are always able to register this as the major move by the architects, that actually enliven the spaces to be more than just rooms, and the form to be way more than just building construction.

The use of glass comes with multiple challenges in practice and these are not just about fragility as a material. Constraints of size and transportation, lack of highly specialized converters for operations involving combinations of glass. Lack of specialists with application and process knowledge, Weather resistance, Conversions in specialized applications like underwater, Safety, Deflection and Performance in solar applications are the major challenges we face in practice.

Glass manufacturers could provide clear graphical and numerical information and samples kits for architectural practices. They also need to develop local Application centres where special sizes and special applications can be methodically developed for architectural applications with reasonable costs and time bound project deliveries.

Design Atelier is a well known architecture firm based in New Delhi. Spanning across Architecture, Campus Design and Master planning, Housing, Hospitality, Retail and Workplace Design, the firm has developed around 250 projects till date. Their most notable glass projects include Indian Oil Refinery, Panipat, Athena, Gurgaon, Bhai Twins Corporate Tower, Noida and Lohia Group Corporate Tower.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shaping Spaces

Design of a retail space now builds consumer loyalty and reflects what the brand stands for, in an environment of convergence of limitless sub-cultures of internet, grand fantasy and face-to-face connections in stores. In an article, published in April' 2014 issue of Retail Today, Aashish Karode ask the consumers to be prepared to find an ultra-futuristic whimsy store with a window display of inspired vintage and romantic furnishings with oversized, backlit chess pieces, rendered in plastic film, within a 2,000 sq-ft hair salon!

Aashish Karode is a principal with Design Atelier Urbis, a New Delhi, India based famous architecture firm. He writes, "We are witnessing far more nontraditional and diverse approaches to design, locations, and offerings being cross-pollinated between various formats of retail. Contrary to glitzy marbles and granites of yesteryears, there is now a co-mingling of high brow and low grade materials - such as marine-grade plywood, raw packing creates and exposed or impressioned concreate. Using these materials showcases rather simplified lightwood interiors to subdue the users with a true feelings of free flow and weightlessness while also combining ultra-luxury high end furniture with display cases made from shipping crates!

Retail stores, according to Aashish, now balance the changing and ever more complex environment of physical stores, online presence, creative calalogues and radical marketing. Not only are there multiple selling streams and real estate spaces to contend with, but there are also the demographic range of their customers who have widely differing aspirations and choices to consider.

Global influences, local context, realty prices and discerning consumers are leading the revolution of design in retail. The drastic changes seen in departmental stores that are becoming boxes to hold several in-stores and pop-up stores, makes brands compete to create their own alluring environments within. Therefore, brands design their own space within a larger shared space! Read full article in Retail Today, April' 2014 issue.

Creating Memorable Hospitality Designs for a Truly Exceptional Guest Experiences

The design for gathering places for leisure and recreation should be memorable because these are the destinations that people return to time and again. A truly exceptional designs not only ensure exceptional guest experiences but also enhance the brand. A memorable guest experience by its definition is not common; it is not typical; it is unusual, if not unique. If two hospitality centres located at cities of two different countries look the same, then the experiences too are not different.

Design Atelier, therefore, believes that each project is a signature design, differentiated by architectural elements, finishes, furnishings, accessories, lighting and art to create style, image and an inviting ambiance. And, a professional interior design should not only ensure that clients have a memorable experience but also makes a positive impact on them. Meaningful, memorable and original experiences influence the way customers perceive a brand (or an organization) and feel about the 'space'. Adding little details together will help designers creating something of far more value than you would without them. These little details motivate customers to come back over and over, pay happily and recommending everyone they know to you.

Designing and creating big is easy and everyone can do it, but it is concentrating over little details that differentiate one space from another and that influence customers to choose one over the other. Attentiveness cost nothing, nor do personalization and consideration.

Design Atelier creates interior environments as memorable experiences, with original, personal & thoughtful design aesthetics.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Design Atelier at channel IndiaNOMY

It was nice to discover that channel IndiaNOMY at YouTube has shared videos of some of our projects and activities. We are sharing few of them over here:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Psychology of colors in Architecture Designs

Faber Birren, who is the considered the father of applied color psychology, once proclaimed: “The study of color is essentially a mental and psychological science, for the term color itself refers to sensation." No can disagree with the fact that color is an integral element of our world, not just in the natural environment but also in the man-made architectural environment. The role of colors in an architectural design are not (or should not be) limited to decoration alone, psychological influence (or what would be) of colors should be considered. 

Studies have proved that the reaction of humans in any of the architectural environment is to a large percentage is based on the sensory perception of color. The human response to color is total - it influences human beings psychologically and physiologically. The color designer involved in architectural process must understand how the reception of visual stimulation will process and evoke responses thereby creating best possibilities for the welfare of human beings. This is important because the psychology of colors play different tasks and function in different units such as hospitals, offices, production units & factories, educational institutes, homes for the elderly, correctional facilities, and so on. A classroom has a different function than a hospital ward; an office space is not a factory, etc.

What colors say?
Pastel yellow conveys the impression of Soft, sunny and friendly vibes. The interior space with this color is stimulating, brightness, coziness.

Red is arousing, passionate, fiery and aggressive. Therefore the message red conveys in the interior too is advancing, dominant and aggressive.

Green is balancing, natural, calm with the message of simplicity, security, balance.

The white being open, vast, neutral and sterile gives the message of purity, sterile, emptiness, and indecisiveness.

How to Make an Existing Building Green

There are ways to make your existing building 'green' without making major structural changes. One can take steps to reduce environmental impact by effectively managing the way a building uses water and energy. The mantra is - 'start with small changes, which can add up to a big impact'. Here are few steps one can take to make an existing building go green:

First thing you can do is to change existing light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use up to 75 percent less power. It is also green idea to put lights on a timer so they automatically shut off at night or when you are away. Make sure all building's lighting uses energy efficiently. You should also ensure that your heating and cooling systems are maintained regularly so they use energy efficiently and last longer.

Ensure your building is well insulated. This would prevent wastage of energy on heating or cooling. Similarly, there are numerous ways, which we all know, to reduce our building's electricity use. Put them to practice. 

Do not waste water. By fixing tiny issues one can not only preserve water but also save money. Use dual-flush toilets. Fix leaks and replace your existing fixtures with low-flow options. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, low-flow shower heads save over 7 gallons per minute!

Is there any link between 'Green' and 'Staff Productivity'?

The links between the environmental credentials of the workplace and staff productivity is generating interest these days. It is being talked about that corporates are shifting their focus away from space efficiencies and are asking questions with real estate consultants (when making strategic location decisions) about the environmental credentials of the space and how it will support the productivity of their staff.

According to a reserach, "green" office features, such as better ventilation, low toxicity materials and better daylighting are also good for the office worker's health, wellbeing and resulting productivity. Studies have linked improved ventilation and daylighting with up to 11 percent and 23 percent gains in productivity respectively. Jane Henley, CEO, World Green Building Council, in her article published in writes, "there has been a recent explosion of interest in the impact of the office environment on staff health, productivity and overall wellbeing and happiness. The global real estate sector is now taking this issue really seriously. What's perhaps more surprising is that it is often the sustainability team within real estate services companies and developers who are leading this agenda as opposed to HR departments."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

100 Years of Architectural Drawing

During this modern era of computer-generated architectural drawings, a design and architecture historian has come out with a book that speaks of hand sketches of architectural drawings. Titled '100 Years of Architectural Drawing', the book is authored by Neil Bingham who is the consulting curator of architectural drawings at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The book highlights 300 architectural drawings from the 20th century that illustrate the evolution of the form.

“From our perspective today, in which the computer-aided design [CAD] drawing dominates,” Bingham writes, “the twentieth century appears as the golden age of traditional architectural hand-drawing.”

The book is divided into 5 chronological sections that are prefaced by short essays that highlight the trends and styles of that period. Each drawing is captioned with key information about the architect, the project, and the drawing.

“In this survey of architectural drawings, we can trace the historical visual narrative of 20th century architecture in design and draughtmanship,” Bingham writes. “One of tradition, experiment and beauty.” The book will appeal to all students and practitioners of architecture as well as anyone with an interest in the subject.

 French architect Raymond Cornon's rigorous, highly realistic pencil sketch of the restoration of a half-timbered building in Rennes, France, 1965. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

Why Build Green?

Good for environment, energy conservation and the world, green buildings are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout it's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. So, if we put into the practice of 'green' when we build or renovate any building, then we can significantly contribute to the health, wealth and well-being of our self, the families for whom we build, our community, and the world.

You'll be surprised to know that that worldwide, buildings consume nearly 40% of the world's energy, 25% of its wood, and 15% of its water! By adopting green building strategies, we can maximize both economic and environmental performance. Therefore, we make smarter choice when we decide to go green.

Benefits of green buildings
There are numerous Social, economic and environmental benefits for building green. Below we are highlighting only the economic benefits (compared with normal buildings):

• 88% reduction in lighting consumption
• 35% reduction in potable water use
• 20% of the building’s energy requirement is provided by photovoltaics
• 15-20% less load on AC thanks to aerated concrete blocks used in facades 
• 80% of materials used are either recycled or recyclable
• 90% of building daylit
• Zero water discharge building
• 75% of occupants have outside view
• 50% savings in overall energy consumption

Solar is Green: Where to put Photovoltaic Panels?

The new 'mantra' is to build "zero energy" homes or offices. This can be achieved by combining green-building techniques with active solar systems. A "zero energy" building is one that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. Making use of solar energy using Photovoltaic Panels is at the heart of sustainable building. But it is important to understand that where should these Photovoltaic Panels placed.

A small amount of shade covering the panel can reduce the panel performance by 80%. Therefore, the most important point to remember is that when choosing a location for your Array is shading obstacles.

Find out which month has the least amount of sun on average. Determining this month is particularly important if you intend to use or constructing a system that will be used year-round. Similarly, if you want to use it for summer or winter, you will have to find month with least sun during months that you will use the system.

It is also very important to estimate the availability of sun and the cloud cover. Obtaining this information may be little difficult. Sometimes you can get this information on the web otherwise you may contact concerned authorities in you town/city.

You want to choose a location that is on or near the place where you loads will be. The array should be free of shade (during each month in use) from 9 am to 3 pm. This is the optimum time-frame a panel has to receive light and is called the “Solar Window".