This Delhi-based practice headed by Manish and Tanushree Gulati is known for their sustainable footsteps. We dropped by their office to know how it all began…
Growing up, did you always want to be an architect?
Playing with clay, making landscapes and carving soap sculptures, I actually didn’t realise when the idea of being an architect germinated in my head. The day I did decide was when I was in high school, no other profession made sense to me from thereon.
What were your earliest influences?
My life can be decided on pre-university and post-university influences. The former was all about informal understanding of various art forms and skills whereas my alma mater gave me a vision to observe and understand those art forms better. I always dabbled with multiple mediums, right from childhood working with artists, watching theatre and choosing to watch alternate cinema over commercial. My influences right from my childhood were people like Michelangelo, Mirza Ghalib, Naseeruddin Shah.
When did you launch your practice?
We went through a few ground testing before M:OFA was formally created. Starting my career from designing events, exhibitions and graphics, I worked on multiple kinds of projects. M:OFA was formalised in 2007, and since then we have designed projects in almost every sector within this industry.
Where was your first studio located, and how has it progressed to what it is today?
When we launched, it was only the two of us, Tanushree (my partner), and I. We had one intern, and we slowly expanded the practice project by project. Even today, we are a mid-size boutique practice as we believe in quality over quantity.
How did you go about designing the space?
Since we took up the lower ground floor as the office space, the prime focus was to get as much natural light as possible. The other resolution was to construct the space only through recycling and reusing old materials. Since inception, we believe in sustainability and recycling thereby reducing our carbon footprint. So while doing our office it was a great opportunity for us to showcase this idea. The whole office is constructed using recycled shipping pallets, old furniture, and lighting fixtures made from recycled trumpets culled from the old city.
What is the design philosophy that you follow at M:OFA?
Architecture at M:OFA is deemed to be a more fluid expression. It is a celebration of lines, tectonics, flow, nature, and everything that forms a part of the continuum. Every project brings with it an idea or a thought that gets nurtured through the journey of its manifestation. Our constant inspiration comes from life and nature. The various instances of everyday life allows for a lot of introspect, contemplation and extraction. Our designs are an interpretation of these very snippets where we turn a thought from the virtual canvas to reality.
What are you currently working on?
We are working on a series of projects comprising of Public Spaces, institutional, residential and adaptive reuse projects.
The library covers the entire length of the wall of the studio leading to the pantry.
Manish's desk is a mix of stationery, scraps of paper and quirky accessories.
A view of the studio with stools fashioned from old, recyled PC shells.
Tools of the trade - Manish's go to elements while working on the design of a project.
Wooden shelves not only act as storage but also serve as placeholders for elements you may need handy around the studio.
A view of the common area with furniture made from recycled produts.
The entry to the studio is marked by a large laser cut metal sheet that spells out the ethos of the studio.
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