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BW Businessworld

Infusing Life Into Empty Spaces

Two of Manzar’s projects have won her special acclaim— the Gaurav Gupta store in Emporio and the Farzi Café in New Delhi and Dubai.

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She was advised to opt for a study stream that would be ‘easy on her eyes’. Instead, she chose a field that was all about visual appeal, aesthetics and minute detailing. Never mind that she had to undergo a series of surgeries to correct a major defect in her eyes. 

Meet Delhi-based architect and interior designer Aatika Manzar who has scripted a rare success story with Aatika Manzar Designs, a design studio that she founded in 2017 after putting in stints with various firms. Today, the studio boasts of having completed 150 projects so far including such marquee names as Modern Bazaar, Playboy Club, Freemasons Brewery, Station Bar, Bombay Bakery, among others.

Speaking to BW Businessworld about the challenges she faced during her journey, Manzar says, “The biggest challenge has been being a woman in construction field. From plumbers, carpenters to welders to clients, most people I deal with are men. It has taken a lot of perseverance, hard work and dedication towards my work to change their attitude towards me and earn their respect.” 

Letting in on her secret sauce, Manzar says, “Making good relationships and maintaining goodwill. I do a lot of chains/ franchise models which means continuous work. I also have a lot of repeat clients. Also, once I take a project, I work very hard to complete it to the best of my abilities. I get most of my work through ‘word of mouth.’” 

Two of Manzar’s projects have won her special acclaim— the Gaurav Gupta store in Emporio and the Farzi Café in New Delhi and Dubai. However, the project that Manzar is really proud of is Merak in Delhi, touted as India’s first accessible-to-all café. Merak has been designed keeping in mind the entire gamut of the needs of the differently abled. 

From ramps everywhere to tac tiles on floors for direction to colour and tonal contrast between the fixtures, walls and flooring in the washroom to toilet doors that open outward and have horizontal bars to signages in braille to wheelchair friendly furniture to menu in braille and a staff fluent in sign languages, Merak is mindful of every need of the differently abled.

Manzar is backed by a dedicated and talented team. “Whenever we get a new project, we all sit together and brainstorm on the conceptual designs. All suggestions and criticisms are welcomed to hone the designs. Another thing that encourages them and helps them understand and learn better are the actual site visits. I make sure I go with them for the initial visits to help them gain confidence and get the work started. We also attend a lot of workshops to learn about interesting new techniques or materials.” 

Aatika Manzar Designs, whose niche area so far has been commercial projects like clubs, retail stores and restaurants, is now also getting into residential construction.