How Indore based architect Manish Kumat’s architecture is close to nature

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Manish Kumat is an architect at par excellence, who has more than 1000 projects under his belt. Indian Institute of Interior Design was his brain child. He was the founder Chairman of the institute. Besides being the Chairman, he also held several important positions in IID. Abir Pothi had an hour long conversion with Manish Kumat where he give insights about his journey as an architect. He has some word of advice for the young and emerging architects. Watch the conversation here.

When I see your projects they are also assembled with lot of other things, it’s like an amalgamation of functionality, design, philosophy, productivity, product design. You have also kept lot of projects under the ray because on your website a lot of projects are not visible which I have heard of. When I try to look for the project which I have heard of are not on your website. So we would like to talk about those projects as well. So Manish ji let’s start with your schooling. You have done your schooling from New Delhi, from schooling I mean your masters in School of Design in Architecture and planning. Then you moved back to Indore and I’m sure at that time Delhi was a bigger city than Indore but you still moved back to Indore. Why is that?

What I would say is that basically we’re a very small family and I had an opportunity to move to US also having got admission as all other people were applying in those times. I got an invitation from a couple of universities in US in those times but when I thought in detail even in those times I felt that I should be with my parents and I should try to find good opportunities in the country itself. So I moved on to Indore although I worked in Delhi and Mumbai for a year and I was very clear that this working time would be not more than 15 months. To the extent that in my second job I told my employer that I will be working for only 3 months and then he said that why should I employ you? But then I said that, sir I just want to learn. Then he said that we will not give you any salary I said that’s ok because I’m here to learn. So he didn’t give any salary, but after 3 months he realised that yes he has really worked hard and he gave me all 3 months’ salary and I was back to Indore. So I was very clear that I have to start on my own and Indore is a city for entrepreneurs and this city has witnessed a very good journey for me. I’m so happy that I was with my parents all the time.

 

What a wonderful thought to begin with. I work with a foundation where we provide helping hand to young and emerging artists from hinterlands, second tier and third tier city. They have this notion of moving to big cities where as you chose to go to Indore. At that time and age when it was much smaller than Delhi, you moved back. Wherever the talent may be, it always gets its recognition. That’s what has happened with you and people came looking for you to Indore from all other places because when we l      ook at the chronology of your work you are practically working in all part of the country. So I think people and your creativity have made Indore synonymous to Manish Kumat. People know that we have to go to Indore, if you have to find Manish Kumat. So I think it’s not the place, its the person and people and philosophy. As you rightly said, it was your decision and Indore and you have seen an amazing journey of your company which is Manish Kumat Design Cell.

But very interesting thing when I was reading your profile you have a very interesting design philosophy in which you say, “The god is the greatest designer himself and I appreciate beauty in its any manifestation and try to learn from it”. Can you please elaborate on this thought on your design philosophy?

So what my take is mine is a very unorthodox journey and we were living in a city which was a core city and lot of hustle and bustle and traffic and all those things were there. So, way back may be in 1997 I requested my parents that we have to move out because, I don’t know, sustainability was not talked of and there was not much movement about green buildings and green movements also but I was very firm and very clear that I wanted to be with nature, I wanted to live in a place which is close to nature in all respect. I would say this was almost may be 25 years back, when I was very new to the profession. So that was also the time when I started observing, and when I started seeing things around me. When I started doing projects, although very small projects in the beginning, one thing was very clear that the thing which brought me peace was nature, the thing which brought me peace was when I was able to look out from the window and I could see the green. So when we decided, it took a lot of effort and time for me to convince my parents, but eventually they got convinced and then we moved out. But I really think that it really helped me in terms of evolving my thought philosophy and when we designed our own house it was something where every room of the house was facing green and I think, I always also feel that a designer should try to design in which the projects they should merge with nature rather than standing out. At times when we see the cityline and we see the profile of the city we think that every building is trying to compete with others and that is actually not my way of thinking. I really appreciate when the buildings merge with nature and become a part of it.

 

So that’s what I have noticed about your, especially residential project that they are not imposing but they look as if a part of their surroundings, their landscape. Do you do your landscape designing as well because they are almost like an extension of a house. They are almost like it’s been placed as in a house is placed in between a landscape. That’s how beautifully it’s been placed. The other thing which I have noticed in your residential project is that, they are very sunny and airy whatever little photographs I could see they are very airy and sunny. I think wherever we have seen the pictures, we have found out there are big windows, there are big openings, and sunlight is coming in the house. As you rightly said that you design house amidst the nature and not try to impose your design in the surroundings into nature. So I think you have also done justice to your philosophy, when you are saying this and it is very evidently seen in your projects. So one philosophy you talk about is being a part of nature, being surrounded by nature and that gives you calm and peace and that is when we want to move from philosophy to your design process because you know I’m an artist, I’m a painter, if I take a big canvas and put a red dot and if I say it’s my artwork, I’m not supposed to justify it to anybody it’s my art work but architects cannot do that they have to think of end user, they have to think of the functionality of that space. So it’s more like a scientific approach to creativity and design. So how do you go about it, what is your process when a big piece of land come to you and how do you process it, what is your design process?

So what we do is, we have evolved over a period of time in a way that I always think that design is a very dynamic thing and it cannot be a static thing. Eventually it has to cater to the people, it has to cater to the lifestyle of the people and there has to be a balance between the user centric and the designer’s imposition. So there is a lot of education which happens in the design process. Having said that, so whenever a client approaches me, may be a couple of meetings just goes into the discussion so that we come at a common platform. Wherein I try to understand lifestyle of the client, how he lives, what is his culture, what is his exposure, whether he has been exposed to the world. Then we also try to understand and go into the minute details like who cooks in the house, what kind of storage system they need and all those details and notes are made personally by me only. Still we try to work in a philosophy because unless I understand my client nicely it becomes very difficult. So small and small details are noted down in those couple of meetings and then we start our design. So of course the input from the user is already there so the design which evolves specifically adheres to the input from the client. Then while designing I try to ensure that how I can bring nature into the house, how the interiors and exteriors can become one, how the elements of nature which are very basic very simple common sense kind of thing that we have a proper daylight. Most of my projects I would say almost all of my projects they dont need any kind of light during the day. If I see that any project requires to have any artificial light during the day then the whole team brainstorms on it. We ensure that there is no artificial light throughout the day we try to ensure that there is proper cross ventilation in the system, we take care of the directions where the sun rises, what openings have to be given and in which direction, which is very basic. So once the plan is done then we have an audit team. The senior and the young designers sit on the plan. Now what is the value addition they can make, the client has already confirmed the plan but then there is some scope of value addition in it. We can bring in some sunlight, we can make some small opening from here when the sun will move from east to west so it will create a very interesting skygraphy inside. So all those small small things we use to discuss before going into the working stage. So I enjoy this whole process in which we can predict the design, how the design would perform when subjected to the elements of nature. So that kind of predictive design happens and we enjoy because that outcome surprises us, that outcome encourages us to design in this way.

 

That’s what is very visible in your project and one important thing you said that, each client has a different requirement you yourself look into it and you figure out the requirement and then you design. That’s why it’s not Manish Kumat style housing you are doing, it is your signature style but it’s still different than your previous project and I think that’s what made your entire portfolio very interesting because it keeps changing with the client and you know there could be a joint family, there could be a small family and they have different requirements. As you rightly said it cannot happen without a solid philosophy which you already talked about. So now the second part of it, once you process the architectural part of it you’re also doing interior of it. Architecture and interior when you are doing it together it is an extension of what architecture has already delivered and then in that interior you take liberty of creating your own handle, creating your own ceilings, you create your own doors. So you gave a beautiful body and then you put a lot of soul into it. That is why your designs are at very par excellence, ready to pick stuff and put in the house. They all feel like customised, it feels like it’s meant for this house and it won’t fit into some other house. So when you design interiors, the process remains the same or it changes with interior ? Because when you are doing architecture, you are taking care of ventilation, taking care of sunlight taking care of flow of the space, you are taking care of the connectivity of the house from each other, from the rooms and stuff like that, but when you design interiors, so you are also designing a room for the grandfather probably staying in the house or may be a 10 yr old boy living in the same house there it varies from room to room. So how does your process work there while designing interiors?

So what happens is in our office we don’t separate, the teams when they are working for architecture the moment the plans are ready, there’s an interior team which starts doing the layout thing because we as a design philosophy, we as an office, we think that both the micro and macro level they should be addressed together. So when we’re doing the layout of course again the client comes into the picture and now we’re living into a world where the exposure in terms of social media exposure in terms of google, pinterest and instagram and facebook and people travelling across the world so that is happening at such a huge speed that everybody forms their own philosophy. So it is becoming increasingly challengeable for a designer when he meets and talks to the client  and they come with very different expectations. There are themes which are to be done what kind of theme they are looking for and all those things happen at the same time. A designer who is also the director of a movie, I myself am a director of the movie because there are so many things which are coming up and at the end of the day whether it is scriptwriting, whether it is the dialogue delivery and everything, it should happen properly. So lot of interaction and discussion happens and at times at the end of the day the project has to come out good. That is the objective, then we explain the client that yes we encourage the client to give a design brief what they are looking for, ‘Sir we have travelled to this place we stayed into this resort I saw this friend’s house’ and then they would say somebody I like this… and all those things they happen. I think typically it must be happening with every designer. So what we do is, first of all we encourage the client to give a design brief, now when we say design brief we encourage them thoroughly that whatever you have liked in your life, which has been your inspiration, you come out. So there the client is opening up, the client opens up and then we say that you keep this compilation ready when we will do the designing part, we will discuss that. So that compilation comes to me then there is again a couple of debates because that compilation may not match because the exposure of the client in terms of design is limited. So that thing is again debated, discussed and the fine creasing are removed, so that we both are on the same platform. This is a very interesting task which we do but we do it at the micro level which we call as interiors. Of course ergonomics for me is very important, of cousre simplicity in furniture design is very important. Basically the trends may come the trends may go but the simplicity will always remain. So you can understand that how much education must have gone behind the back, because clients at times he’s looking for something like palatial. May be the house is small and he’s looking for something which is where the kings live. But then he forgets that the size of the room the proportion of the room they don’t allow. So each and every step there’s a design process and over a period of time now there are people who connect with my design I think that is good because we also like to take those assignments in which the design connectivity is there and people are comfortable with the kind of work which we do. So ergonomics is being taken care of, simplicity, not everything can be a focus point. The focus point has to be defined, that is what the role of the principal designer which is me is that, you cannot overdo on the ceilings, you cannot overdo on the flooring, you cannot. You have to create nice focal points within the interiors which are soothing, which are timeless and that is the way we try to approach interiors as the design process.

 

And you I think handsomely strike that right balance of not overdoing and not underdoing I think you have strike the right balance of doing that in your all the projects. Since we’re talking about the projects and dealing with client and making them aware of things what is possible and not possible in their project, can you think of any project at top of your head which you thought was a milestone project or a difficult project or some project where you have to get out of your comfort zone or you have to really do your homework or undo your homework or something like that. If you have some interesting experience to share with us.

So, usually I think every project is challenging in some way or the other. But when you ask me, immediately the few projects which come to my mind is, long time back, I was also associated with Art of Living foundation and I was the apex member for the state. At that time they asked me to design a school which was the first school in Madhya Pradesh before that we hardly did any school. So I went to Bangalore ashram, I saw that school and since the resources were meagre and the project had to be done in a rural area not actually in the core urban area, it was in the suburbs of the city which was with the purpose of imparting good education to rural kids. So the project was challenging because it was coming with a very small budget. So that project was interesting and the way it got finished and completed it got featured in lot of magazines and it was done in a very small budget. 

So that project was interesting, then we did a 125 yr old club in the city which was at the British times, which was initiated by the British and that is called as the residency club. That project was initiated and we wanted that the old character of that British. Those sloping roofs and that varandha and all those high ceilings, that is kept and again a contemporary touch to that is given and some kind of connection with the city is established. So it was a public place, so when we did that again that turned out very well and we were able to complete it in a budget which was lesser than what was sanctioned.

Thirdly, I think I am also very satisfied with the office which we did for our self. This is our third office and I always believe much time should not be taken in commuting. So all my three offices, this is the third office they were very close to where I live. So I have never wasted any time in commuting. This was a very small plot, very small building, yes it was adjacent to my home and when we did it, at that time being a Jain I started practicing Aparigraha also. Having very limited needs in life. So we wanted to make an office which was very energy efficient, which respects the nature, although on a very small footprint. So at that time green buildings were talked but there was no awareness about green movement. In a city which was a tier 2 city like Indore, we started from scratch trying to understand things and eventually now we are the smallest platinum rated green building in the country, we’re the smallest five star rated green building in the country, we’re the most water efficient building in the country. So all those recognitions have come, each and every drop of water is being used. The way the building is designed even on a small 1500 sq. ft plot. So it gives us immense satisfaction and I think that people should demand and people should look for sustainability in whatever they do. 

 

Absolutely because I have read lot about your small green building won lot of awards and that’s why I wanted to talk about it that you did. Thank you so much for doing it. The residential project, residency club you talked about, the colonial club was in Indore? 

Yes, it was in Indore. Usually I don’t I’m not into government projects because somehow I’m not very comfortable doing it. So when I was approached, because the club is headed by the commissioner and the collector and they have taken it. It is a very old legacy in the centre on the town. Lots of old trees and very nice but not maintained and everything. So when we were asked, initially we said that we’re not very comfortable working because we want our own design freedom to be there but then they convinced us that we will get all the support which is required and when we completed, it was really appreciated and liked by the members of the club, by the people in the city. We have used lot of natural materials local materials and we were able to complete these public buildings and immediately after that they increase the fees for the club by almost 50%.

 

So it also helped the economy of the club. It’s a very interesting fun fact that you shared with us. What I observe one more thing in your projects are lot of wall installations. There are lot of walls where there’s an installation. So I see there is a conscious decision of using art in your project, you also buy contemporary art of a young artist and I see that effort conscious decision of using original art instead of taking or buying prints or buying over the shelf solution. So how do you incorporate art in your project, its once the project is done or its while in the process of making that project and what kind of art you would pick up and what you seek in art when you want to pick up art for your client? How it is different when you pick an artwork for yourself ? Can you please talk about this. 

So this is very interesting, what I think is we as designers most of the times we go overboard and we design very fleshy designs and all those things. When I say that the design, the whole process is an evolution, even I went through the journey, we were designing very fleshy projects and all those things were also happening even with us. So somewhere may be I would say 10 yrs or 12 yrs back when I was the founder chairman for Indore Institute of Indian Interior Designers and we went to Sri Lanka on an education tour to study architect Geoffrey Bawa’s project. There he became an inspiration to me that even projects can be designed with lot of simplicity and they feel connected, you connect your heart with the projects. So that brought some change inside and then we thought of doing this in our project and then I also understood that art and design cannot be separated they are actually integral right from medieval times when architecture was there, there were rock paintings, there were cave paintings and all those things were already there. So consciously we make an effort because wall is a very important part of interiors. I think this is one area which is extremely visible. So we gave a lot of emphasis on the walls because the moment you enter the space the wall is the thing which is most visible. Then how to do a wall? 

Lot of things were thought of but then few years back we thought of why not to do walls by incorporating our own vernacular craft forms and art forms and we started exploring those mediums. We colaborated with Baaya art in Mumbai, Shivaani Jain then we started doing something and then the results were very interesting. It was perhaps a first kind of effort in the city where the art and craft forms of the country, where the artist comes from a different place and they are doing those kind of wall art on the premises directly. It also reminds me of Michelangelo doing sistine chapel and even at that time kings were promoting art. So we took client into confidence to let us try to do something into contemporary architecture and interiors this way. Then we started doing, teracotta from West Bengal, we started doing Madhubani, we started doing Thikri from Udaipur, we started doing Lippan from Gujrat and all these forms into real contemporary interiors. This fusion of those art and craft forms of the country along with these modern lifestyles created at times very interesting fusions. At the same time we also thought that why not promote the art fraternity of the country, may be the kind of geography I come from, it is not Bombay it is not Delhi the affordability is not that people can buy M. F. Hussain or some senior artist. We thought that there are some young artists who are doing good work and they should also be promoted then we started looking for them, we started collaborating with them and they become a part over a period of time we have handpicked many many artist from all over the country. Lot of good work is happening across the country and that was the time when I met you in an exhibition and we discussed that. So projects, they need art, I need art. Since we’re doing so much work, so art has to be there the walls cannot be blank, so some kind of artwork should be there, but then being from Indore there was little bit limitation that we were not getting good artwork, there were only few limited artists. As since the project quantity was more, it cannot be that the same artist can be repeated everywhere. So we started collaborating recently just few days back, I was invited to be a chief guest for an award ceremony which had to happen for architects.Tthey were small works and when the organisers called me I told that, they have collected these artworks from all over the country and they were small works but when I went and I saw the exhibition I was really filled with joy that very beautiful work has come from all over the country and then I could not resist myself, I also bought few artworks myself. Then I suggested those artworks for my clients. Also I think art is something which is you cannot separate from design, that is integral, anybody who is into design field has to get in touch with those artists and collaborate and get the work done. 

 

In my interaction, because I work with lot of young and emerging artists, and I also work with lot of leading interior designers like you, they have one thing to say, “Ruby by the time we are about to finish the project the client restricts its budget for art.” This is one issue, the other thing is they say “oh we are out of budget”. They would probably use one of the most expensive tap in the bathroom but when it comes to buy a single good artwork, they would give an excuse. But what I have seen in your project, you have very successfully and handsomely managed to convince your client to put a lot of art in their project. So you must share the secret that how do you convince your client to use art. Because what I have realised is, there is one excuse we have always heard from architects and interior designers that people are not willing to buy, and people have one common excuse ‘we don’t understand art’. So when your client says we don’t understand art, what do you say to them? 

Basically what I think is, it is again a part of education when a designer is meeting a client very often. So in the very initial stages, it is being conveyed to them that the art is an integral part of the design. When we are giving our design proposal we are putting a space for the art, that yes some art is going to come over here and we also tell the client that sir look without art it is like your attire is not complete. A woman who is nicely decked and wears a nice saree and jewellery but there is no bindi or there is no necklace or something, the whole thing doesn’t make an impact. What we tell them is ‘Haathi nikal jaata hai poonch reh jaati hai’ (The tail end work of the project remains unfinished) don’t so that. The impact of tail end work is almost more than 25% and the cost involved is hardly negligible. So we are able to convince client that ok you keep depending on the budget, we tell them beforehand that this is there and it has to be done without that it is incomplete. That is where the client agree and they do. I think now the clients are willing, but the thing is of course the affordability segment. I always request the artist also, that the art should be visible. It should not be priced so much that it is not affordable, it should reach common man. It should be appreciated, unless the art is visible it will not reach. There should be a movement from the artist community also that they should make the art visible because otherwise what will happen is that it would just become decoration and we are not looking art as decoration we are looking at art as an integral part of design.

 

So everybody attention, young designer and architects who thinks that they are not able to convince their client to use the authentic art, Mr. Kumat said it’s an integral part of your integral process of designing and articulating your design. So you have to start sharing this thought when you are already actually sharing your design for the first time and the other word of advice for young and emerging artist of India that you price your artwork wisely, if your artworks are lying in your studio, who’s going to look at it? But if you are pricing your artwork wisely they may flow out of your studio and reach people’s house and that is the ultimate goal of art, to reach out to people and to be in an environment where it add value to the environment. So two word of advice by Mr. Kumat

Now we’re also taking note of these and we’re also going to tell this to our young and emerging artist that listen to Mr. Kumat and be a part of his beautiful projects. If you don’t price them wisely you are not going to be part of their project. The other thing I would like to say is we also talk about this in Mumbai, so this is how you would convince a client to buy an artwork, but as an interior designer you are very sensitive about your surroundings you are sensitive about your design process you are very sensitive about art, if you have to buy an art piece for yourself for your house or probably your room, how will you and what will you pick and what will you seek in that artwork? What would be that one thing which you would feel oh this artwork is for me, what woulld be that one thing? 

So what I think is, it is like immediate spontaneous. I am not a painter or I’m not a sculptor but somewhere something connects immediately so that is the first thing. You should desire the art, you should feel that I want to possess this art, that is the thing which comes there is something which happens inside that yes this is what I’m looking for. Over a period of time then I would say little bit we also learn what is a good art I would say that my understanding would be limited but still we learn. I try to see the effort, I try to see the originality which has gone into it. So there are times when I can understand the kind of effort which has gone into it and the kind of originality of the concept. So I think these couple of things helped me in chosing an art and just few days back I had this idea that I would slowly try to become an art collector because now over a period of time from all over the country. I have some small, some pieces, something some sculptures, some things which have become a collection and I would like to have a very small space which I can call it a, I don’t know an art museum or something. But this weird idea also came to my mind 

 

It’s a very beautiful idea and you must hold on to that. If you remember when we were in Mumbai I talked about my art foundation and I would like to share…  and I’m very happy to share that this year our foundation exhibition is happening in Delhi and we received about 2400 artworks even from Andaman and Nicobar and Mizoram and places I have not heard of. So as you rightly mentioned that, there’s lot of talent, all you need to do is look around and be sensitive to it. We are taking every note of it and we’re going to have a masterclass with young artists and you will have to take the masterclass that please be part of a design process but for that you need to think wisely, price your work wisely. We will conduct a masterclass with you. 

So you talked about how young artists should price their artwork and stuff like that but now the other challenge which I feel, I was talking with Canna ben, I was talking with Hiren Patel as well a very senior interior designer and he said “Ruby these days youngsters don’t want any mentorship, they don’t want to work with anybody the moment they are out of college, they start their practice and they want to do everything very fast it is like quick fix design solution. In your generation, let’s say in our generation we had a process we learnt, had experiences. You were so humble and honest in confessing and sharing with us that before 10yrs you also felt that we get some fleshy projects and you realized that no I want to undo things, I want to unlearn things, rather than undo, unlearn things which you have learnt so far and then come back to your genstage and do the minimalistic projects. You did because you could see your project unbiased as third person and pick and choose which are right for projects and let go of which you felt is not right for the project. You did that because you did the journey after so much of experience but lets talk about the young generation of designers, the moment they are out of college, they want to start the practice, there is a lot of social media pressure there is instagram, there in pinterest there’s a moodboard available for every room every place and every corner of the house or a residential project. So what would be your word of advice to a young interior designer on how they should pursue the practice and what do you suggest, what should they do as a young designer? 

So what I always say is. of course there’s lot of glamour in design now these days with so many events happening across and designers becoming demigods kind of thing. The young designers think that yes this is such a lucrative field and all those things. But somewhere they forget that it is a journey and a journey is a journey, it cannot be that overnight the things can be achieved. Whenever I go to colleges and I interact with students and young designers I always say that you should give yourself 10-15 yrs wherein you need patience and in those 10 15 yrs the objective should be developing a tendency to learn, always learn, always learn. Still after 30 yrs I think that the field is so dynamic that I’m trying constantly to update myself in terms of designs, newer design challenges newer materials, how it can be used. So that learning doesn’t finish, it’s an on-going and ever going process. For young designers they should not fall into the trap, it is actually a trap, it can also be called as an illusion. Most of the times the young practitioners try to take a shortcut and when they take a shortcut, of course they will achieve some kind of results but then, one there is something when you grow with a slow and gradual speed and the other is when you instantly get to the top. When you directly reach to the top, you fail to take the nuances of the field and then the chances of falling would be more. So I give lot of importance to integrity in the practice, I give lot of importance to learning in the practice. I give lot of importance to client satisfaction. I can still remember, even after 15 yrs into the profession, look traveling is my hobby, and I was confused that where have I been. I am not able to travel also, and not able to visit various places and I didn’t have that kind of money for first 15 yrs of my practice. But then you know things start falling into place, what you require is patience and the moment you are happy with whatever is available to you. You have to focus on whatever you are doing then those things will start falling, you will get so many opportunity, you willl get so many recognition so what I think is, try to dream, try to dream big and have patience eventually everything would fall in place. 

 

Yes, the word of advice for young designers. I think there are no shortcut for success and that’s what we tell our young artists but you have to keep exploring and re-exploring yourself and keep learning and unlearning on your journey. I was about to ask about your passion of photography because on your website there are some amazing photographs. We could see and sometime maybe I can come to Indore and we can just create a slideshow of your photographs. So what I wanted to ask is the passion, you said you get little time to follow it but still you do it and wherever you get a chance to travel. You would travel and wherever you get a chance to, if you are busy practicing and busy schedule I’m saying you are still travelling and clicking pictures. So when did the love with photography started and how you have maintained the hobby and took it to a next level of passion? 

Now photography is extremely close to me and few years back we went to Leh and Ladakh, from Manali to Leh by road. So when we came back, I had at that time bought a new camera and the kind of results which came. I have never learnt photography as such from anybody so the results which came, then all of a sudden…  that was also the time, may be few years back we have shifted from our second office to our third office and my second office was in the basement. So this idea came that why not to convert it to an art gallery. Let me put my own exhibition first. So all those things they happened, Leh and Ladakh and the whole topography, geography of that place it initiated photography inside me and then I put my first exhibition and we call it ‘Padao’. So every year we put it, every year I put this exhibition which is Padao and for 10 days I don’t do anything in the office. I try to write poems, each and every photograph has a poem and that poem and those words become a bridge between my philosophy and the picture. You know it’s a very different format, but when we did it for the first time and I called my friends my relatives my clients and all those people. Usually in winter times we do it, somewhere in December January and again we intend to do it in another couple of months. So travelling was my passion and while travelling I was taking photographs and when those photographs, some of them they came good then I thought that why not put an exhibition and that way the travelling and photography went together and I look for now an opportunity to travel and do photography.

 

Perfect! So what I would like to say is Manish Kumat did not do only the journey professionally but he also did his journey internally and internalise his passion, completed the loop by travelling to the place, taking the picture, connect to the place, write a poetry about it, articulate it and share it with his loved ones. So next time when you are having your exhibition I’m coming to see your ‘Padao’ this time for sure. You know one of the most honest and one of the most heartfelt conversations I had because normally I have talk to lot of senior designers and nobody has ever told me or ever confessed that in my practice I have unlearn things and let behind things which I’m not wanting to do now anymore I think one of the most honest and one of the most you know it’s a very brave thing to do, when you said I did some fleshy projects earlier but now I realise that you don’t have to and it shows your personality. Lot of people have told me that he’s in a gen state and he’s one of the simplest person to interact with and that’s what my experience is with you. Whenever I have interacted with you I am very glad that we did this interview with you and there are couple of learnings from your interview, and what I have learnt today is, I have always been a learner myself and I keep learning, but what is my take away from the interview is, be honest and be brave to say that what I have unlearnt. I probably won’t be that brave to say that I have unlearnt those things, I quietly learn and let go of things. But I would not say that probably. But I think I have learnt that, its ok to say that and it’s ok to say that I have moved on. I think that’s one of the best thing I have heard in this interview. The other thing which I loved is about your honesty. Starting a practice from small, Mr. Manish Kumat said it’s not the size of the project, he said in initial career of my life I did small projects but those small projects were stepping stone to large projects and in those small projects he did his learning. He explored himself as a designer, he experienced space, and he experienced interior processes. In those small projects which help him to become today what he is. 

Today when I talk to young designer, they let go of projects because of the size of the project, and this is why they don’t want to do that. So I think no, every project is not about the size but the intention which is important and that’s what matters at the end of the day. So I think lot of learning, lot of fun facts also about the economy change of that club, I think its a very enriching experience talking to you Manish ji and I think we loved talking to you, learnt lot of things today and we should do it more often. Next time we are coming to Indore to see that club, we are coming to Indore to see your ‘Padao’ exhibition and let us know when you are doing anything, any kind of creative process we would like to be a part of it.

 

So thank you so much for your time and it is one of the most beautiful conversations we have.

 

Thank you so much for your time 

 

Thank you so much 

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