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Improving Cities Through Design Intervention

Sonali Bhagwati was speaking at the Future of Design 2021 virtual event organised by BW Businessworld on 10th April.

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Design plays an important role in renovating cities for the better. In fact, design affects almost everything around us. “It is a misconception that the design is for luxury only – it is all about comfort and simplifying our lives while being responsible for our environment,” said Sonali Bhagwati, President, DPA Designplus Architecture. 

Sonali Bhagwati was speaking at the Future of Design 2021 virtual event organised by BW Businessworld on 10th April. The event saw design thinkers and leaders in the design industry from across the country presenting their ideas. 

Bhagwati stated, “Lack of design has led to uncontrolled garbage, chaotic parking, encroachment, uncontrolled streetscape – this is not only visually disturbing but is wasteful.” Undoubtedly, if we are aiming to build a sustainable future, the issue needs to be addressed.

Revitalise Urban Heritages

Bhagwati believes in the need for a design intervention to revitalise various urban heritages (like Shahjahanabad in Delhi). She said, “Use materials which were synonymous with the age of the city and clean up all the mess that is there. Try and create more pedestrian area and pick the beautiful  elements that still exist.” 

Bhagwati’s alma mater CEP T Ahmedabad had a strong influence on her career. “Responsibility for us as architects came where we studied and that became part and parcel of one’s ethics,” Bhagwati said. 

Building Meaningful Design

When asked for her advice to budding designers, Bhagwati’s advice to designers is: “Every form or space you create need to meaningful and should have an irrefutable reason to it. We as designers can take up pilot projects, if only the government bodies would support us and private bodies would finance for us. One pilot project is a win-win for all and it would show the strength of design can mean in a city.”

Bhagwati graduated from CEPT, Ahmedabad in 1986 and received a scholarship from L’Institute Francaise D’Architecture to work in Paris. She has been published as one of the 20 best architects in India in the book “Reflections”. She has been included in the list of the prominent Women Architects by “Hecar Foundation” and 20 powerful women by “Smile Studios” and was featured in the publication of 75th celebration of Elle Decor. She has received numerous awards including the 11th IID MK Awards in 2006, Architect of the Year Award in 2008 by Zee Business, Architect of the Year Award in 2012 by India Home Awards, Design Excellence Award in 2015 and Leadership Award in 2015 by CE Worldwide. 

This year, the FOD event and awards focused on design for a sustainable world. After facing massive disruption cause by the pandemic, using design to create solutions for problems that plague mankind is the need of the hour.

The FOD awards recognised and felicitated the best prototype and finished design by designers, architects, innovators and businesses. This exclusive event would cater to products from across industries that are focused on touching human lives and making them future -ready.