(2015 September) Design Matrix

Page 1



Ar. Reza Kabul

Behind a successful track record lies a solid approach to delivering functional solutions to our clients.

September-October 2015 VOL. 5 • ISSUE 6 • `100

a MRJ presentation

Cover story

RENDEZVOUS WITH REZA Ar. Reza Kabul is known for envisioning and successfully executing a string of pathbreaking projects centred on the design philosophy of ‘liberating spaces.’ He has created a niche in the industry with leading Indian and global players as his clientele, and enjoys their trust and appreciation with projects that set pioneering benchmarks in design. Words: Marilyn Madathil Photo credits: ARK

was a random experience and


DM: What made you an architect? ARK: For me, the choice to be an archi-

after a brief stint at a prominent

tect was quite unplanned. After complet-

architecture studio in Mumbai, he set up

ing my 12th grade, like most students, I

Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai;

went for an engineering entrance exam in

in 1988. His signature projects are spread

Vadodra. During this time, I stayed with a

globally in the United States, India,

friend, a final year student of architecture. I

Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka,

was totally fascinated by the sketches and

Sudan, Bhutan, Korea, and Nairobi. ARK with

the representations made by him. Before I

high spirits shares his interesting journey

could realize, I cleared the entrance exam

with Design Matrix.

for architecture at the Maharaja Sayajirao

RK’s foray into the design industry


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University, Vadodra. It has been a constant

college reopened I graduated and I came

secretary, and the boss. As projects slowly

move forward from there.

back to Mumbai to set up my own practice.

started pouring in the work force gradually

This studio began in the mezzanine of an

started increasing. Today, the total strength

Iranian restaurant owned by my father.

of our practice is over 100 seasoned profes-

DM: We are curious to know about your internship days. ARK: I came to Mumbai during my aca-


ing those days, so with the guidance of a

DM: What was your team strength at that point of time and what is it today? ARK: My practice had a humble begin-

DM: Tell us about your design philosophy. ARK: I believe in liberating spaces, not

friend, I began my internship at a prominent

ning with neither staff nor clients, leaving

enclosing them. Every space needs to

design studio for 6 months. A year after my

me to juggle between being the gofer, the

have a good optimum, be it a small sized

demic years when Gujarat was hit with a massacre in 1985. My college was shut dur-


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Shreepati Arcade, Mumbai

apartment or large commercial offices. Every good designer analyzes the plans from the client perspective, with regard to practicality, functionality and accessibility, before executing it. I don’t believe in confining spaces between four walls, on the contrary, I believe in open spaces, both for the interiors and exteriors.

DM: What do the clients’ expect you to provide? ARK: Architecture is a very personalized and client centric profession. It requires analysing the clients brief and understanding his latent needs. Clients today want architects to function as partners in the project. They look at us for new ideas, trends, best practices, and technological innovations despite being well aware of the global trends. As an architect, it is essential to understand the client as well as the end users perspective and use of the space, so as to provide a solution that offers function-

Sagar Classic, Mumbai


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ality worth the investment. Keeping in mind the clients’ unique background and need profile, we at ARK develop innovative approaches to design, access cutting edge technologies, and

Hotel Marine Plaza, Mumbai

implement advanced management practices to provide optimal solutions with a focus on quality, timeline, and cost economy. Behind a successful track record lies a solid approach to delivering functional solutions to our clients. We strive to provide world class designs, which improve the quality of life where people live, work, seek education, and look forward for entertainment and leisure. The same effort has imparted a reputed identity, and I strongly believe in maintaining close contacts between my design team and the clients.

DM: Tell us about your first project as an independent designer. ARK: After establishing my independent practice, I started contacting acquaintances and family informing them about my venture and merely working on a bedroom or even a bathroom at times. Gradually I began designing stand alone apartments and low rise buildings in the outskirts of Mumbai, such as Kalyan, Badlapur and Thane. My client’s noticed my dedication towards their projects and hard work that went with it. I believe that if an opportunity knocks on your door and you are not there to open it, it would not wait but instead knock at some other door. I was, and yet am always eager to try new things every day, as well as learn with each project.

Radission Resort (Le Méridien), Mauritius


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DM: What have been the milestone projects at ARK? ARK: The big break came with Sagar Clas-

was the first time my name flashed across

We grabbed this opportunity and immedi-

the newspapers; a great turning point with

ately started working on it. Today, we are a

no looking back. The growing fame bought

well known firm in India and globally, and

sic, an 18 storied tower in Byculla, Mumbai.

along an array of well known developers,

our client list has expanded across seg-

We made the model and a perspective

who approached me for their projects. Our


which itself achieved an overwhelming

first international project was in Dubai in

The next milestone for the studio was

response, and the client’s satisfaction. It

the year 1991, a 4 star hotel with 80 rooms.

when a client walked into the office and offered a project in Mauritius; a 5star property and my life’s greatest moment. Marine Plaza Hotel, earlier Bombay International Hotel at Marine Drive in Mumbai, was another feather in our cap. The biggest challenge there was that an existing residential structure had to be turned into a five star hotel without demolition. The central atrium, a chowk with staircases and drainage pipes going through, had no open space for a swimming pool, leaving us with the only option - the terrace. The need for natural light in the atrium surfaced the idea of a glass bottom pool. The idea behind the design of Shreepati Arcade, completed in 2002, was that the client wanted to build the (then) tallest building. With no such prior experience, and only the enthusiasm to take on the challenge, we undertook the project. Indepth research, visits with a few architects in Singapore and Hong Kong, technical dis-


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cussions, and some pointers later we were

we are equipped to address the needs of

ready to go. 153m tall, Shreepati Arcade was

such specialized segments. I consider that a

recorded in the Limca Book of Records

good architect is capable of creating a suc-

2003 as the Tallest Building of India.Setting

cessful design that proves functional and is

another benchmark towards progress, we

aesthetically pleasing.

are currently working on a mixed-use high-

DM: What is your mantra of overcoming challenges and what message would you like to give to the students ? ARK: Accepting challenges bring out the best within you. My mantra is to overcome the challenges instead of looking back and

winners of the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the

DM: What is your vision as a designer? ARK: It takes exemplary quality to reach

structure shall stand at 363m tall, and be

elusive heights. The vision to rank among

cialised field of practice. You have to have

the tallest in the Sri Lankan skyline.

the top most players in the world has

a flair for it, and certainly need to be good

fuelled and sustained our drive to deliver

at sketching, visualisation and imagination.

DM: Are there any areas that you have not touched upon‌? ARK: Over the years we have established a

those exemplary projects which introduce

While we started our careers with T squares

customers to pioneering benchmarks in

and drawing boards, the budding gen-

design aesthetics.

eration today has the advantage of tech-

proven track-record in project design from

The completion of prestigious projects

nology. Your generation has reached an

inception to execution ranging from master

in overseas markets further bolsters the

age of transformation. With 3D drawings,

plans and townships, to hospitality, residen-

track record of successes and credibility to

advanced materials and new technologies

tial, commercial, institutional, industrial, and

deliver top-notch quality on time, every

evolving day by day, one can create won-

educational segments. However, airports

time. Our constant endeavour remains to

ders. It is good to be a dreamer, but it needs

and hospitals are something that I have not

be counted among the topmost architec-

to be bundled with hard-work and dedica-

touched upon. Being a multi-disciplinary,

tural firms in the world.

tion to actualize those dreams.

rise development in Colombo called 96 Iconic Tower. Dedicated to the Sri Lankan

running away from them. Students need to realize that architecture and design is a spe-


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PROJECTS ARK is a comprehensive global design studio with three decades of proven expertise in project design and delivery, ranging from master plans and townships, industrial, hospitality, commercial, institutional, educational, and residential segments. Let us look at these projects and pacify our design sense:


Stirring Ambience Located in Bhutan, the Le Meridien Thimphu is structurally designed by ARK to host 78 guest rooms and suites, along with other amenities including a restaurant, a lounge, an outdoor cafĂŠ, and spa facilities. Clad in plaster, the 5star property sublimely blends into the picturesque landscape of the location.


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Truly Iconic Designed by ARK, 96 Iconic Tower in Colombo, Sri Lanka; is dedicated to the winners of 1996 Cricket World Cup. The building facade is designed with a ball balanced between four bats to commemorate the achievements of the Sri Lankan cricketers with signature residential along with indoor cricket facility, hall of fame, museum, observatory and specialty restaurant. The mixed-use project is an amalgamation of residential units with retail outlets and public space. Despite the various uses and users stacked vertically, each has been provided individual and independent functioning. Designated parking areas, different access elevators and lobbies, and independent services ensure minimal overlap between the different users. Recently, Shreepati Edifice (Pvt.) Ltd, a unit of leading Indian real estate developer Shreepati Group, has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment (BoI) to invest US $ 330 million to construct this mixed development project. This high-rise iconic tower will be the landmark and the tallest building in the country. With an approximate height of 363 meters, 96 Iconic Tower shall be twice as tall as the current tallest building in Sri Lanka.


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Over Whelming Experience The SSK Solitaire Hotel & Banquets is a contemporary budget business hotel, offering unparalleled convenience. Located off the Nasik Highway, the property is known for its structural design and eminence. The SSK Solitaire offers 18 elegantly designed rooms, 2 modern banquet facilities, a garden restaurant, a fine-dine multicuisine restaurant, a health club and spa, and a 24-hour coffee shop.


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High–Tech Feel Express Inn, Nasik serves as a textbook example of how state of the art technology can combine with modern architectural


principles to create a sustainable, energy efficient structure. The design of this hotel combined with the strategic location of the building rendered it the most popular and sort after destination for not only the regular business traveller but also for families on outings and functions. The overwhelming response to the first phase of the hotel, led to the new adjoining building that caters to the increasing demand. The Phase II of Express Inn, Nasik consists of 81 rooms, 2 pre function areas, 2 banquet facilities, conference room, spa and saloon, and re-creational and gym areas.


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HIGH RISE RESIDENTIAL Green Design Ekta Tripolis, the new landmark in the western suburbs of Mumbai stretches over three 36 storey residential towers across 14,00,000 sq ft. Designed in sleek lines and smooth contours, contemporary spaces and top line amenities give it the perfect compact feel required. The use of high performance glass and glazing on all orientations provide cost effectiveness (low –e insulated frames), especially during the summer. Direct heat is reduced with the help of balconies and projections that are provided on every level creating an offset. Care has also been taken to ensure a minimum 2% daylight factor to be achieved by keeping sufficient size of window opening as per the carpet area of each room. This project was recently awarded the Best Upcoming Green Project of the Year by Construction Times Builders Award 2015.


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HIGH RISE RESIDENTIAL Palatial Life Transcon Triumph is built for those who appreciate the finer things in life. The 42 storey residential tower has exclusive two and three bedroom residences, penthouses, an entertainment deck with lavish features, themed landscapes, and a crowning sky deck. The tower also incorporates global standard office spaces equipped with services required to conduct important meetings from the comfort of home. Recently, this project was awarded the ‘Best Residential High Rise Development – India’ at the Asia Pacific 2015 Awards by International Property Awards. The project has also been Highly Commended under the categories: Residential High-rise Architecture – India, Residential Development – India, and Apartment – India.


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Glittering Sphere The Bharat Diamond Bourse project had started in the 1980s and changed many hands before it finally progressed to ARK in the early 2000s. Located in the suburban commercial hub of Bandra – Kurla Complex, Bharat Diamond Bourse had a distinguished architectural character and is one of the largest commercial complexes in India. The challenge was to revamp considering the revised utility requirements, which involved detailed site analysis of the existing structure and studying the previous drawings, without making major structural changes. Spread over 20 acres, the Bharat Diamond Bourse consists of a total of 8 towers, each scaling 9 storey tall. The total constructed area is 2,000,000 sq ft, with an addition of a 1,000,000 sq ft basement area with a car park for roughly 1800 cars.



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Treasury Operations The Axis Bank branch located at Gole Market, New Delhi encompasses a total of 33,000 sq ft. Spread over two floors the workspaces and cabins are well defined and balanced. The space incorporates the various functions and spaces of the branch, which include the chairman and other vice presidents cabins to the open employee floor space, dining areas, as well as storage rooms. Various departments such as FOREX, Retail Assets, Risk Management, Private Banking, Capital Holdings, and Human Resources also function together in the space. The board rooms and meeting rooms at the Axis Bank Branch have been designed to convert with the need of the space. Foldable walls and loose furniture allow the spaces to be converted from smaller spaces for closed door meetings to larger spaces for employee training programmes. The collapsible walls neatly stack up on the sides, ensuring an unobstructed view of the entire space.


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COMMERCIAL AWARDS & ACCOLADES 2004 - Best Architect of the Year by Accommodation Times 2005 - Best Performance by Practicing Engineers, Architects, Town Planners Association 2008 - Best Architect - Commercial Category by Indian Architecture & Design (IAD) 2011 - Citation of Emerging Master by Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) 2011 - Certificate of Appreciation by Archlights (A Times Property Initiative) 2012 - Award of Excellence by DNA Realty GEN NEXT 2012 - Highly Commended Best Hotel – Landmark Grand (Dubai) by International Hotel Award 2014 - Excellence in Office Space by Smart Office India Summit 2015 - Creative Excellence by Johnson - Society Interiors Honours 2015 – Best Upcoming Green Project of the Year - Ekta Tripolis (Mumbai) by Construction Times Builders Award 2015 - Best Residential High Rise Development – Transcon Triumph (Mumbai) by International Property Awards – Asia Pacific 2015 & 2016 (Highly Commended under Residential High-rise Architecture – India, Residential Development – India, and Apartment – India category.) info@rezakabul.in www.architectrezakabul.com


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