Suhani Lal Sanghra had a tryst with her practice Sparc Design started with the vision to do something extraordinary. The practice is fruition of 6 years of profound work experience in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and anticipates the enhancement of the quality of spaces. In the following conversation, she talks through the various themes, embodiments and paradigms of her idea of design. She describes her quest for infusing color and pattern in her design undertakings. She also comments on the bearing research and experimentation holds to amplify the functionality of a project.
With a penchant for experimentation and inclination to create a fresh narrative through spaces, Suhani Lal Sanghra concocts stories within spaces. She narrates her goals, “To create spaces not just because one wants a nice home to live in but to speak of a lineage or a story translated into space with my design and gain recognition for it. It is important to have a story behind why a space is the way it is and a reason as to why you choose a design style or language.” She advocates the use of art, design and sculpture as an intrinsic part of design and that makes spaces alive.
Suhani experiments with the science and symbolism of colours. She professes, “To experiment with different colour combinations and materials is something we encourage the clients to try in all our projects.” Research informs well-thought actions and experimentation gives way to innovation. She addresses one such project in which research and experiment helped translate the ideology into the built form. She thus explains, “The school is a high-tech next generation school. It took a lot of research and experimentation to come up with a built form that reflects its function. The resultant was a louvred detail building, breathable and energy efficient.”
Research informs action in the correct path and experimentation satiates the yearn for innovation.
To make places memorable, Suhani Lal Sanghra adopts humour in her design tool-belt. One such restaurant by the name “The break room” was designed depicting the pun on break in various ways. “A man and woman sculpture appear to punch through the columns depicting a “break-through”, graffiti depicting “break out” and various caricatures and graphics depicting “break even” or “break up”. This also involved collaborations with sculpture artists and graphic designers “to create a strong design language and detailing right from the entrance to every coater and cutlery detail”. The project uses a wide range of recycled and upcycled products. These thus include oil drums for the bar counter, scrap metal for screens, packing and discarded wooden strips for various details.
“To create spaces not just because one wants a nice home to live in but to speak of a lineage or a story translated into space with my design and be recognised for it. It is important to have a story behind why a space is the way it is and a reason as to why a design style or language has been chosen.”
Sparc Design’s office project was based on the theme- “Back to Basics.” Narrating the same Suhani says, “A bare concrete finish is on the walls and flooring. Innovative lettering stencilled on the floor contain a mix on English and Devanagari scripts. Transparency being the key element, the spaces divided therefore allow maximum light into the office all throughout the day.” This project is thus a jumble of various principles of design, architecture and proportion-the golden ratio, the le modulor man, the graphics on the bare concrete walls. She also impresses on how colour can create a certain mood. “Citrus lemon and greens create contrast with the earthy palette and therefore create a feel-good factor.”
No matter how amazing or experimental or path breaking a design is – it has no meaning till you can convince your client to build it.
“The business of architecture is never taught at schools and one therefore needs to learn as you move along in your practice,” says Suhani. Sharing the difficulties faced by a novice in developing client credibility, Suhani Lal Sanghra asserts, “The most challenging situations are handling clients and changing their mind sets as to what would work and what wouldn’t and making them trust you and also getting sites executed on time. The Client needs to be convinced that the design is worth breaking their belief pattern of what is good vs trying something experimental or path breaking.” She also counts on building long lasting relationships as a key to a successful practice. “No matter how amazing or experimental or path breaking a design is – it has no meaning till you can convince your Client to build it.”
She commends various architects like Sanjay Puri, Shirish Beri and Dipen Gada and regards their work as “amazing and inspirational”. She admires the practices of Tadao Ando, Daniel Libeskind and Geoffery Bawa. To conclude, she quotes Tadao Ando, “I don’t believe architecture has to speak too much. It should thus remain silent and let nature in the guise of sunlight and wind.”