Propelling the cause of bespoke contemporary design with a focus on workmanship, sustainability and the vernacular with a twist, these 10 architecture and interior design firms from across India should be on your look-out list. Winners of the ID Honours 2023 Award under the category of Emerging Design Firms, their work is equally thoughtful and inspired.
1. UnBox. Design
UnBox. Design is a Delhi-based design-build practice, founded by architect Aman Issar in 2018. Before setting up his own practice, Issar had worked with the acclaimed Studio Lotus. With a focus on creating authentic living experiences that harmonise with their context, users, and nature, UnBox consciously integrates authentic materials to craft unique spaces. Their current portfolio includes residences as well as hospitality and commercial projects. Their work advocates timeless minimalism, and renders a strong sense of identity and value through their process-driven approach.
2. Sona Reddy Studio
Sona Reddy Studio is a Hyderabad-based multidisciplinary design practice that seamlessly integrates contemporary aesthetics and traditional techniques. Established in 2014 by architect Sona Reddy, the studio’s diverse portfolio of projects reflects its design ethos, characterised by meticulous attention to site-specific and environmental factors. What sets Sona Reddy Studio apart is its ingenious use of colour palettes and organic materials, which exude an undeniable air of refined earthiness, celebrating the vernacular in a modern context.
3. Sketch Design Studio
Sketch Design Studio, founded by Shipra Singhania Sanghi in January 2014, is a dynamic design practice in Alwar, Rajasthan. Influenced by Sanghi’s multicultural upbringing, the studio blends diverse sensibilities in its design ethos. Focused on sustainability and cultural revitalization, the studio actively supports and promotes local artisans, reviving archaic art, craft, and construction techniques like building contemporary spaces with a sustainable material like mud.
4. Play Architecture
Play Architecture is an acclaimed design firm in Bengaluru led by Senthil Kumar Doss, who trained under modernist icons BV Doshi and Dominic Dube. Since its inception in 2005, the firm has continually tested new architectural concepts, exhibiting a modernist approach that balances intuition and method. Their hands-on experimentation methodology incorporates geometry, materials, and a critical regional perspective, resulting in a unique vocabulary of parametric architecture.
5. Make In Mitti
Living up to its name, Mitti is a design practice co-founded by architect Fawaz Thengilan in Kerala that prioritises eco-consciousness. By utilising waste as the primary material and embracing the vernacular as its guiding principle, Mitti advocates for an ecological building methodology. This practice also explores alternative building techniques tailored to the context and environment, embodying sustainability at its core. Mitti has a unique approach towards making sustainable construction cutting-edge, luxurious, and aspirational, challenging the notion that it should be confined to tradition.
6. MAIA Design Studio
MAIA Design Studio is an award-winning interior architecture and design practice founded in 2011 by Shruti Jaipuria. Rooted in a belief for constant evolution, the studio draws inspiration from nature, spirituality, mathematics, geometry, materials, texture, and colour to create contemporary designs. With an out-of-the-box design ideology, their projects strive to offer an experiential journey through detailed material explorations.
CollectiveProject, founded by Cyrus Patell and Eliza Higgins in 2013, is a Bangalore-based design studio known for its process-driven methodology, which prioritises attention to detail and conceptual vision. Their portfolio spans diverse scales, including objects, interiors, and buildings, and they leverage spatial narratives, landscapes, and materials to create responsive and experiential spaces. Drawing inspiration from culture, environment, and technology, CollectiveProject takes a progressive and fluid approach to its contemporary designs.
8. Cochin Creative Collective ( CCC)
Cochin Creative Collective, launched in 2016 by Lijo John Mathew and Madhushitha CA, is a design firm that brings a conscious and ethical approach to embracing sustainability. Through the interplay between tradition and modernity, the collective employs graphical representation to drive the iterative process and prioritises adaptive reuse. With expertise spanning product and graphic design, architecture, urban, interior design, landscape, and architectural conservation in Kerala, the collective remains committed to fostering environmentally and socially responsible design solutions, particularly since the Kerala floods.
9. AKAD (Amritha Karnakar Architectural Design)
AKAD (Amritha Karnakar Architectural Design) is a Mumbai-based design firm established by Amritha Karnakar in 2010. Her philosophy—integrating design with the urban fabric—seamlessly blends architecture, landscape, and interior design to create a harmonious connection, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. Renowned for their designs that harmoniously balance symmetry, elegance, and quirkiness, AKAD embraces the ideology that design is an emotional process meant to evoke a profound response. With a strong commitment to sustainability, AKAD actively practises zero waste principles, advocating for rethinking, reusing, reducing, and recycling.
10. a for architecture
Nashik-based design practice, a for architecture (AFA), stands out with an inclusive and conscious approach to design, prioritising well-being. Established in 2011 by Ajay Sonar and Monali Patil, AFA’s process-driven approach and iterative prototyping is striving to challenge architectural norms. The firm focuses on the use of natural materials and innovative construction techniques in their builds that range from residences to hospitality and healthcare projects.
Story by: Ridhima Sharma