Conscious Design

Sidhartha Talwar,Ambrish Arora and Ankur Choksi Sidhartha Talwar,Ambrish Arora and Ankur Choksi

Founded in 2002 by Ambrish Arora, Ankur Choksi and Sidhartha Talwar, Studio Lotus is a multi-disciplinary design practice that believes in delivering enriching design solutions through a value-driven process empowering all stakeholders and the environment

Studio Lotus’ work is grounded on the principles of Conscious Design, an approach that celebrates local resources, cultural influences, a keen attention to detail and an inclusive process. Working in a highly collaborative environment, the Studio’s team of 60 people combines distinct strengths over multiple disciplines to craft solutions that are benchmarks of sustainable design in the way they address society’s changing ways of living and working. Ankur Choksi, principal and co-founding partner, Studio Lotus, explains, “We follow an iterative and incremental methodology of innovation and root our learning in history and local context. This is the basis of our work that includes master plans, buildings, interiors and related endeavours, which are at the cutting edge of design thinking.

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BARADARI CITY PALACE JAIPUR, Pic credit : Edmund Sumner

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KAINOOSH DELHI, Pic credit : Eye Piece

Studio Lotus works towards creating paradigm shifts through its design approach which is in-turn highly process oriented. “We take pride in and are deeply interested in constantly pushing the envelope. Pursuing how can we uplift the conversation of what design can do – for ourselves, our projects and all our stakeholders. Our process responds to a brief, challenges it and transforms it to articulate how we can go beyond. Guiding us in crafting a detail, translating a space, an experience into an exemplar that elevates the final outcome,” adds Choksi.

Design’s socio-economic impact

Sustainability is integral to the design process.  Apart from the most apparent aspects of energy efficiencies and containing operational costs, reducing impact to the site and natural resources, choice of materials and processes that are contextual – there are a whole bunch of other parameters, which are important for the Studio. “We extend our outlook to all stakeholders and collaboration; creating an alignment of everyone to aspects such as the socio-cultural and socio-economic impact of projects to the construction teams, neighbouring communities and inspiring the segment to find better ways to doing things,” says Choksi. As for using local materials in its projects, the Studio’s choice of material is driven by multiple parameters integral to the design brief – the site context, process of construction, skills available, relevance to the expression in space, project costs etc. “Within this framework wherever relevant and sustainable, we work with local materials and skills as much as possible. Over the years, we have built this understanding of local materials, skills and process as a strength and it naturally flows into our work,” he adds.

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CAFE LOTA DELHI, Pic credit : Randhir Singh

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JAMIES PIZZERIA, Pic credit : Ravi Asrani

Studio Lotus is at the last stages of delivering public spaces of a new property in Himachal for the Taj Group. Other projects include the new aloft in Delhi for Starwood Group and a boutique property for the Hilton Group in Chennai. As well as a new hospitality property for the Oberoi Group.

Choksi informs, “The multiple award-winning project RAAS Jodhpur has provided for a great start in the domain of hotels and we are engaged with the same client for a new 50-suite luxury project in the Kangra region, which uniquely re-interprets vernacular hill architecture in a contemporary idiom, and public spaces for RAAS Devigarh, which is their recent acquisition.”

New typology of projects

Another project, which is a completely new typology for Studio Lotus is the recently-completed Clubhouse & Wellness Centre for Max Group’s senior living residency project, Antara at Dehradun. “This is one of the first projects of its kind in India. We had the opportunity to closely work with the Antara team to evolve an elevated experience for the senior community who will be spending a significant amount of time in the campus. The Jamie Oliver Group also connected with us to translate their first restaurant in India. Post that we helped the brand articulate an upscale QSR model for Jamie’s Pizzeria which has been rolled out in India and is being now taken forward globally. In the domain of restaurants, we are currently working with Dubai on two new brand offerings and are amidst the exercise of reinventing ‘Copper Chimney’, the restaurant brand from Mumbai,” reveals Choksi.

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LEMP BREWPUB & KITCHEN, Pic credit : Andre J Fanthome

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INDEPENDECE BREWING CO. PUNE, Pic credit : IBC

Another completed project is Baradari at City Palace Jaipur, which won the Creative Re-use Category at INSIDE World Festival of Interiors in Berlin and was also a Category Winner at the A+ Architizer Awards. The design transformed a neglected cafe space into an aspirational F&B destination for the city. Studio Lotus’ experience in the domain of adaptive reuse and public spaces are the additional layers that made the project convey a new paradigm.

Choksi opines that over the last few years, hospitality experiences have been moving outside the realms of conventional/ traditional notions. Both smaller and larger players are focusing on experiences, on all human touch points and nuances of services to create differentiation. “These experiences are usually built on an underlying story that evolves from the brand ethos or the values of an individual provider, which actually translates into what the end users experience. Apart from the understanding of the functional aspects of hospitality, our approach for hospitality spaces gears up to tell these stories and effectively render these experiences. Notions of what a hotel is and what a home is have been turned on their heads. Inspirations are drawn from both these domains to create unexpected, intimate, distinctive and seamless experiences. This provides a lot more opportunities to question, rethink relationships and scales of shared spaces and private spaces,” he believes.