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Interview with Aijaz Hakim

Home > Designer Interviews > Aijaz Hakim

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Aijaz Hakim (AH) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Aijaz Hakim by clicking here.

Interview with Aijaz Hakim at Monday 1st of May 2017
Aijaz Hakim
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
AH: My family name "hakim" arises from my forefathers' profession. My grandfather was a renowned medicine man in India and my father was a Gold Medalist from the Grant Medical College. Bombay. Destiny however had other plans for me. I stumbled upon architecture at age 17; Its been a life altering journey since then.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AH: I started my company in 1994. We are multi disciplinary with an emphasis on architecture and interior design. Currently in our 23rd year, we have a great young team and I hope to expand this team in our new office. We all contribute to the design process. In our workspace there is no great or small. There are some who lead by example and some who follow. Every person who occupies a seat has earned it. We have a very open office, with no barricades; everyone cooking something on their screens and I sit right in the middle of the kitchen. The studio is constantly updating its knowledge of materials both local and international. Besides we read and draw extensively. We collaborate a lot. We ask a lot of questions. We work with international students and architects in our studio. Every person brings their own impact on design. We work on various types of projects.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AH: Design is a journey into the unknown with an open mind that has the ability to manipulate given circumstances. If design was anything else it would be a science.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AH: For our studio, there really is no difference. The design content matters. The intention of the client matters. We generally do not discriminate. Every project is an opportunity to perform, to push boundaries. However, I am really careful about choosing my clients. If a client is supportive of the cause, we jump right in. If our views do not match, we outright advice them that maybe commissioning us may not be the right way forward.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AH: My way of design is the direct result of my childhood; a strict convent education; an architectural apprenticeship under one of the great american architects; the ground reality of India and a mind that is constantly in conflict with accepting the normal. The perfect mix of these is my personal favorite. I am really comfortable in this setting.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AH: Any material that can stand the test of time and perform to deliver the design intent is my favorite material. For different projects there are different materials. It also depends on my state of mind when designing the project. Technology needs to be updated constantly in todays world, what was relevent yesterday can be redundant next week.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AH: Like I said before, every project is an opportunity to perform. We cannot predict or describe our next clients. As much as we choose them, they choose us. There are some who are old school and conventional in their thought and we respect them for their wisdom. These clients are very clear about their requirements and we follow their lead. Our creativity shines in subtle ways. Then there are some who want us to gun the throttle and go for a spin on the design highway. Our role here is to stay on the edge and deliver. These projects are exhilarating and fast paced. In all projects we decide to bring our creativity to the forefront.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AH: Our firm is an integrated approach practice in that it considers the impact of the interior on the outer shell and views the structure as a whole, designing “from inside-out”. We focus on the interior of the project first, shifting to the outside at the later stages of design. It is very important to consider the interior design in the practice of architecture because it is the space our clients interact with most and what they commission us to deliver. We also subscribe to the collective aesthetic point to a minimal, clean, streamlined modern look with flowing spaces, a lot of natural light and of course an emphasis on sustainability.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AH: The first thing that I feel is a sense of relief. This comes from the thought that we have accomplished what we set out to do and we have been successful in carrying the responsibility that was entrusted to us by our clients. Other emotions follow.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AH: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This straight line is the easiest to draw and build. It is also the cheapest to construct. The fewer the lines, the faster you can complete the project. This is the essence of minimalism and mostly what we would like to follow in our design. Simplistic designs are the most successful in my opinion. All this without compromising the essence of the space imagined

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
AH: Styles come with an expiry date. They come and they go, they honestly do not matter. The impact of great design and detail stays forever. I try to put myself into everything that goes out of our studio, after all it carries my name. I see many architects trying to be someone else. I find it extremely difficult trying to be me. We try our best to fit the requirements of the client, we make a complete program of their physical and psychological needs and expectations in the project. Then we process this information in our office and it is our interpretation of this, along with principles of architecture that is the outcome of our design.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
AH: I am an Indian-born and based, US-trained architect. This background places me in a unique position to approach projects from the cultural perspective of my home country and at the same time benefit from exposure to advanced technology, modern design methods and latest building materials. Aijaz Hakim Architect today is creating with equal dedication and authenticity a very diverse portfolio of residential commercial and public projects. This fusion between multi-cultural and traditional, bespoke local craftsmanship and new technology, confidence and pragmatism contributes to the underlying strength of the practice. India, is a whole new planet: backward in some respects, yes, but at the forefront of technology at the same time. Each day presents different challenges. This country teaches one to be patient, pragmatic, but above all it teaches you to perform and achieve with very limited resources.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AH: Stop looking at google. Develop content that can be seen on google.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AH: The ability to be sincere. This I find most important.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AH: Our brand can best be described as "shape shifting" we never sit still, there is always a nervous energy to move to the next. like any brand, we are constantly evolving. We will very soon be up and running with our own manufacturing facility. We have begun investing in robotics, which we feel are the future of manufacturing in India.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AH: Oh, its always a team. A good team makes us realise better designs. The task of leading the team lies with me.

FS: How can people contact you?
AH: The best way is to email me. aijaz@ahaworkspace.com


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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