Architect Vikas Bhandari and his son Kalpak Bhandari are the architects behind Veekas Studio - a design practice based out of Pune. Vikas graduated from BKPS College of Architecture, Pune, and later enrolled in the 'Housing and Urban Development' course at University College, London. He launched his architectural practice, Veekas Studio, in 1975. He is very active in the field of education, and as a visiting professor, lectures at several colleges in Pune. As a member of the Council of Architecture, he visits colleges across India, to assess the quality of education and improve their standards. His resolution to make the city a better place has seen him be an active participant on various development plan committees and as Director of MHADA in the past.
Bhandari graduated from MM College of Architecture, Pune following which he joined his father's practice in 1998. After having practised architecture for 11 years, he went on to secure a Masters in Architecture, AVATAR – Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research, at the Barlett School of Architecture, University College, London in 2009-2010. Kalpalk travels extensively to learn about, and personally experience architectural marvels, and visit trade fairs regularly to stay updated on new trends, developments and technologies. Along with architecture, he has a keen interest in interior design. A high altitude trek every year is a must for him.
We chatted with the father-son duo to get a better idea of how they manage to create a harmonious working environment, their favourite design projects, and the challenges and opportunities they face in their everyday work.
Vikas and Kalpak Bhandari's Projects:
Veekas Studio, Pune
Vikas and Kalpak Bhandari's Residence
Private Villa, Pune
Private Residence, Pune
The Terraces Residence, Pune
"Good design is one that allows the end user to be the person he or she is, within the space. The space needs to perform, fulfill its purpose, address the needs of the end user perfectly, fulfill its intended function and appeal to the users’ senses in the long term. Sustainability should be an inherent parameter," says Kalpak.
Areas of Speciality:
Expertise - Architecture, Interior Design
Service - Design co-ordination, Design & Build
Sectors - Residential, Hospitality, Retail, Commercial
Awards, Certification and Media:
- Winner of a National Design Competition for the design of ‘Manikchand Plaza,’ a comprehensive urban structure with a construction area of 1,10,000 sq mt - the largest of its kind in Pune.
- Amongst the final 6 firms shortlisted from approximately 88 firms who made it to the second round of the National Design Competition for the Development of Minto Hall - A Heritage Campus and Convention Centre in Bhopal.
- The duo won the the Builders Association of India Award for Quality in Design, for Paradise Premises Pvt. Ltd for Vascon Engineers.
- Waters Edge, a Residential Project for Sagar Properties (and another Veekas Studio client), won the AESA Award for Best Project in Group Housing Category 2015.
- Ozone Shopping Mall at Aundh, Pune won the Ambience Awards by the Times of India Group in the Commercial Building Category.
- The project Asha Villa, designed by the duo, was nominated for the Good Homes Awards for the best project in the residential category. It was amongst the top two projects amongst the projects submitted that year.
Architect and Interiors India, 7th Anniversary Issue, March 2016 included Veekas Studio amongst the top 100 firms in the country specialising in contemporary Indian architecture and design.
Home and Design Trends magazine, March 2016 featured the Office of Veekas Studio.
Design Matrix, March 2016 issue featured two projects: A large private residence, Ash Villa, in Pune for Mr Pachpande and the office interiors for Espree Realtors, Pune.
Home Review, March 2016 featured the personal residence of the Bhandaris.
Washrooms and Beyond, March 2016 featured an unconventional bathroom designed in 2005 by Kalpak Bhandari, Veekas Studio.
Buena Monte, a bungalow project designed by Veekas, was published and documented in Gruha - a documentation by Housing and Urban Development Corporation, and also in Integrated Development, a Tata McGraw publication.
A few projects designed by team Veekas have been featured in Times Property - Pune Edition and in The Address - Bangalore Edition.
Below, we had a short chat with Kalpak, to understand his design sensibilities further, and to learn what he has imbibed from his father, Vikas.
What factors do you consider before taking up a project and working with the prospective client?
Before deciding on taking on any project we look at a few things which are important to us:
- Whether it presents a challenge to us in terms of design and creative sensibilities.
- The project and client should offer us the freedom to break away from established norms and explore with design strategies, concepts, materials, and experimentation.
- If the challenges and freedom are not too great because of certain restrictions, then the client should be open to using newer products which we have not used earlier.
- At times, we take on projects only because we believe in the client or organizations ideology, not because we necessarily share the same design vision. We do a lot of institutional and socially responsible projects as we feel this is a way we can significantly give back, and make our own contribution to society.
Please mention two of your role models from the design industry. What do you admire the most about them?
I owe a lot to my father, architect Vikas Bhandari. I have learnt the fundamentals of design from him; the effect a good design has on the end users, understanding the gambit of who you design for, and how the design would work for the client. A keen sense of detailing, and the true value of interrgrty in approach are among the many things I learnt from him. There are also several designers whose work and sensibilities I admire; mentioning just two from the list of many would be difficult!
Name one fashion or design trend that has stayed in style generation after generation.
The Classic design style, that includes decorating your space with antiques and solid wood, has endured with time. Minimalism as a style and trend has also been around for a while, and will be here in the future too, though I feel it will be about more than just minimalism - we will see a mix of classics, eclectic and playful highlight pieces, with a reasonable level of customization.
What do you consider the most unique design aspect in your portfolio?
As designers, we are able to fully understand the client's needs, aspirations, lifestyle and ambitions. There are also the unspoken yet important aspects of a client's requirements. For us, functionality is of great importance and we always choose to design while maintaining function as a basic, inherent component. Of course, there are elements and components that are aesthetically important as well, and to strike a fine balance between the two, and eventually offer the client a suitable, timeless and good design, has remained our strength. We do not adhere to one particular style or approach, and in our recent projects, we have experimented with Fusion styles. I believe in collaborating with creative people from diverse fields, and with different mindsets, and engaging in discussing design aspects at the initial stage of design. This approach is important to me, and has contributed to our practice in significant ways.
Your greatest achievement as a designer is?
I feel that is yet to be achieved. I have just begun enjoying the process, and am looking at new ways to re-invent our company and our
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