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Interview with Kuber Patel

Home > Designer Interviews > Kuber Patel

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Kuber Patel (KP) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Kuber Patel by clicking here.

Interview with Kuber Patel at Thursday 9th of June 2022

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?
KP: I was born into a family of designers and was gradually groomed into having a creative pursuit right from childhood. I graduated with a Master of Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design from the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, and have a total of 5+ years of global professional experience. In addition, I am also a visiting faculty at CEPT University and the author of the book 'Algorithmic Thinking- A parametric approach to problem-solving '. My most recent achievement includes being A' Design Award Winner for Generative, Algorithmic, and Parametric Design Category in 2021 for Darwin Bucky Exhibition Gallery and being accepted to work in the U.S. as an Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement. I strive to achieve my goals by developing high-quality skillsets and sheer passion rather than through experience because of which I am the youngest local architect of the World's Largest Cricket Stadium, the youngest faculty to lead a master studio, and the youngest to start my first project in 2010 much before my undergrad in 2013.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KP: Under the blue sky anywhere on this planet, at KPA, we design everything with heart, intelligence, and skill possessing sensitivity to the highest standard in the profession with concern for the environment for a better tomorrow to the everlasting triumph of human desire and achievements. We provide services in architecture, interior and landscape design, urban planning, and design and build projects. Our design philosophy is taking complete joy in this life as an architect as they strive for a holistic design approach. The group was founded in 1981 as Kamal Patel & Associates now lead under the flagship partnership company; KPA Deesign Studio with KPA 789°, Nipa Patel Associates and an NGO Nivedita Foundation operating at their good studio in Anand recognized as the Greenest Studio in India. Having its base in Anand, Ahmedabad, London, and Atlanta KPA has executed projects spread in India, the USA, and the UK. Guided by the needs of their clients, culture, context, climate, and resources they generate innovative environments, both material and spiritual. We believe and practice with an understanding that meaningful architecture arises from a synthesis of all the elements that comprise it, its response to the way you move in and around, and its ability to lift the human spirits.

FS: What is "design" for you?
KP: My skills work best in parametric modeling through algorithmic design techniques using advanced computational tools and digital fabrication. I hope to add more value to design by introducing a more data-driven design process through computer science, mathematical thinking, and philosophy. As we live in a post-digital world, this data, if given the right manifestation, can lead to a well-informed architecture representing a better reality and a responsive future. I would like to add to his design studio a more concise approach to the translation process of architectural representation rather than the invention of a new architecture.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KP: Overall, my architectural style mostly revolves around Performance orientated design that has a strong response to material, structural, social, and environmental behavior. My graduate thesis reflects on a similar system using agent-based methods to work on developing a flood resilient system that has a coherent spatial configuration between climate and the socio-economic fabric of informal settlements in an urban context. In the future, I wish to pursue work in Architectured materials through selective laser sintering techniques.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
KP: My most beloved design is the A’ Design Award-winning project Darwin Bucky “Bucky is a parametric dome tent anchored to the ground which is inspired from a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The structure is made of 1mm thick laser-cut bent metal sheets and bolted together to create an isolated space without columns. Multiple blocks of Bucky can also be linked to create a Bucky cluster. It can be assembled or disassembled in a few days for storage and can be transported via shipping container. Bucky was envisioned to be easy to carry around the globe. Bucky is a lightweight structure. It’s a flat-pack structure that can be used in any season including monsoon."

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KP: The first thing I designed for a company was to develop a nomination dossier for INTACH-Delhi Chapter. The project has been submitted to UNESCO for nominating Delhi as a world heritage city.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
KP: My favorite material is Vantablack claimed to be the “world's darkest material”, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light. His best digital platform to explore is Grasshopper3D a visual programming language and environment due to its parametric potential. I would like to immerse myself in digital fabrication tools like 3D printing and architecture materials developed through laser sintering technology.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
KP: I feel most creative when I get a client who challenges my potential and trusts me to deliver their vision. I believe a visionary client who is sensitive to the local community, culture, and environment drives the project beyond design.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KP: I focus on the building performance keeping in mind all its environmental factors. Moreover, my top most priority is client’s ethos that incorporates understanding all their social and cultural requirements.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KP: I treat every design like a kid that needs constant nurturing until project completion.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KP: I feel fortunate about the fact that I was capable enough to manifest my client's vision into reality.

FS: What makes a design successful?
KP: A good team that focuses on the tiniest details throughout the course of the project that results in repeat clients is what we call design success.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
KP: The performance quality of a building is an aspect to judge the design as good or bad. The basics such as daylighting, material usage, and energy consumption should be inspected.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KP: Being responsible towards society and the environment is our focus through design by making them as utilitarian as possible while maintaining their aesthetic value.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
KP: Designs nowadays have become interdisciplinary. The more use of scientific methods, computational methods, advanced digital fabrication, AR, and VR technologies have evolved the design field. In the future, the designs will sustain singularity. With the advancement of technologies, the design will evolve in real-time not just during the design phase but right through construction.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
KP: As an architect by profession we don’t have exhibits, however as an academicians and the faculty for Master’s in Architecture, Algorithmic thinking, my course works was published and exhibits at the university last year.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KP: The advancement of computational tools like Generative, Algorithmic and Parametric Design we now have ability to look at designs quantitatively rather than qualitatively.

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?
KP: Our design style is influenced more by the process of emergence. The idea is that during the design process we have local-level control over each aspect of the design. Through a parametrically driven model, you have a schematic idea of the final result and the final output is always emergent. Here the design is controlled through criteria and parameters at various scales setting up a process of emergence.

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?
KP: Cultural heritage of the country does affect the design. It will speak louder if it respects the cultural context. One of the pro during designing keeping in mind cultural heritage is essentially it adds a good start point to your approach rather than inventing new architecture. Though the cons is that following the heritage of your country can even add lot of restrictions and make the design process rigid to explore.

FS: How do you work with companies?
KP: We work with companies in a more collaborative process where client is involved in each stage of design.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
KP: I think companies should choose a designer or architect on the bases of its merits and design quality rather than their infrastructure such as the scale of the architectural firm etc. At the end of the day, it may open doors for new talents and opportunities.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
KP: The design process for me always begins with a clear understanding of clients/project requirements. Accumulation of research and understanding of materiality in order to influence the form along with climatic consideration in order to address sustainability is what goes next. Finally, I try to optimize all that in order to come up with design solutions.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
KP: Most Apple products are something I feel are very appealing, the office desk that he got a chance to design and build like a little form-finding experiment; I call it seamless, and our family travel wall that elaborately summarizes different cultures and shapes of the travel dishes all together into a mural, Pichwai painting represents art and historical eras of Lord Krishna.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
KP: My day begins early at 4:30 usually with a cup of coffee, looking at the stock markets, and worshiping god. At the office, I usually start my day meticulously cleaning my desk and begin with a delegation of work and site visits. The other half of the work is designated for creative and design work. At the end of the office hours, I focus on physical fitness, meal, and early bedtime at around 10 pm.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
KP: I realized that passion should also be inclined towards reality with the constant for financial stability one needs to support one's shelves and family. As well as use it to grow your knowledge by traveling or anything else that makes them inspired. A proper work-life balance is also very crucial which I think is quite difficult in a creatively inclined profession.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
KP: Positive: Being an architect/ designer helps you be a part of manifesting others' vision. We as architects are able to represent cultures and society. Negative: The profession blossoms late in terms of being “finding your design style and financial success” as they say.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
KP: Always be cost-effective while maintaining a certain aesthetic value through form, scale, proportions, and materiality.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
KP: Being up-to-date with the most recent technological advancement related to the field of architecture in order to stay at the top in the present time has now become a very important factor.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
KP: Rhino and Grasshopper have been my go-to tools in software as they help me enhance geometrical control over the design. ‘Growth and form’ by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson are one of the books I am quite intrigued to read it often.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
KP: Well, I still juggle in trying to manage my time when it come to the designing phase of any project. However, I try time bound technique at each stages of design in order to avoid delays.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
KP: It usually depends on the scale of the project and the complexity involved in it. However, I can say it’s up to 1-2 weeks of conceptualizing and designing.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
KP: Most often I am asked about the project cost considering construction, and how much time will the project take for execution. I am also asked whether I have experience in a similar style of a project base.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
KP: I learned that it is important to identify the different skill sets and strengths of each team member in order to get the best out of the project.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
KP: We have worked with a diverse group of people like Reliance Industries, Adani, Sopariwala Exports, and Gujarat Cricket Association.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KP: I am mostly drawn to generative design and digital fabrication. This is because they help me look at a design in a more pragmatic manner. This kind of design technique gives a designer better control over manufacturing accuracy in the early stages of the design process. It relatively reduces the time and gives one the ability to create feedback between construction analytics and design form in real-time.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KP: Presently I am interested in pursuing a doctorate in architectural materials through selective laser sintering.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
KP: It is actually very subjective, however, this project was teamwork. I was engaged in a major part of designing as form-finding, performance optimization of the project, and fabrication.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
KP: I am currently invested in an interesting project called the SPUR concept. It consists of diversifying and implementing different facets of community living that combine providing stability and opportunities to its inhabitants like food through vertical farming, rehabilitation, medical care, and other services. It also focuses on providing job opportunities and entrepreneurship.

FS: How can people contact you?
KP: I can always be available through email for any collaboration and innovative design prospects worldwide. I think in this digital era, collaboration are possible with anyone and everywhere. I am currently based in Atlanta, USA, and have ventures in India as well.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
KP: No


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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