As 2017 draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the past year…
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
It is often said that change is the only constant in life, and yet we resist change because of the risk associated with it.
Napoleon Bonaparte once stated, “One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.”
In today’s society, change is fast-paced, and as it will only continue to accelerate. Organizations and people that don’t embrace change are bound to lose ground, stagnate and eventually decay.
As 2017 draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the past year, for it has been a year filled with valuable lessons.
But most importantly, 2017 was the year when it became apparent that sometimes one needs to put a little distance, change location and even go through personal disruption in order to gain a different perspective on work, life and ‘architecture’.
So here is “My year in review – 2017 edition”…
An ‘ALL in ONE’ approach to architecture
After many years operating as a sole proprietor, working on projects as they came, rather than selectively, doing less and less design and more project management, all the while losing my passion for architecture – it was time for a change.
2017 saw ARCHIOPTERYX become a private limited company.
This seemingly simple change allowed us to refocus our outlook and goals and start aligning the projects that we accepted, with our mission and beliefs as a business – design and build sustainably, with ‘harmonious living’ between animals, plants and humans, in mind.
A move to a new larger office furthermore allowed us to test and experiment with our concepts first hand, and create a professional work environment that nurtures ‘life’ within the same space.
As we bid goodbye to valued team members, who were ready for new challenges, I took a more strategic approach to hiring replacements.
Thinking of what projects we had in the pipeline and looking forward to the future, where I can go back to doing more design, I added new senior staff, allowing us to provide better professional experiences to our clients; be it with project finances, schedules or design.
With better people next to me, we were finally able to start working on ‘design and build’ construction projects. This allows us to take full responsibility for the execution of our design and vision efficiently as well as ensure that our clients get the best quality and service at a fair price.
Building our own construction team has come with a steep learning curve at a time when I had already spent fifteen plus years in the architectural profession.
Refocusing to our business mission has also meant that I no longer take on projects that are not in alignment with our philosophy. In other words, I have had to learn to say “NO”.
This change in attitude and way of functioning is a work in progress but I have already begun to see its various benefits – gaining invaluable ‘time’ is one of them.
TAKING IT FORWARD
The time gained has been put into sharing the knowledge gathered over the years with colleagues, young professionals and students.
Over the years I have worked on projects of various sizes and scales from lighting installations, bespoke furniture to mid-sized family homes, interiors and large hospitals.
This experience has been shared through teaching in my alma matter – SPA, over the last few years.
Additionally, ARCHIOPTERYX presented its work at some of the leading Architecture and interior design institutions of the country.
We spoke of our theories and ethos at the Gandhi Foundation and created an online presence to share our views and beliefs with a global audience. ‘Harmonious Living’ is an online forum, set up this year, wherein like-minded individuals and professionals can interact and share experiences, enhancing professional outlooks and culture and find collaboration opportunities.
It is still early days, but we have plans for this small corner of the internet.
We took on a variety of interns, training them in the space of a relatively short time, to professional standards, equipping them better: to not only join but to also hopefully enhance the industry in the future.
FOREIGN TRAVEL AT LAST
“The best education one can receive is through travel’ – whoever said that was right.
2017 saw me for the first time to venture beyond our shores and be inspired by new cultures and experiences. I learnt how to use “chop-sticks”, even though a stained shirt each time I dive into a bowl of ‘laksa’ would prove otherwise….
I had never lost a wallet, until…..I did!
While in the East, I lost that “virginity” ogling at a ‘TESLA’ car, and in the WEST, I almost got run over by a cyclist (but I trust you to keep this between us, because here in India, on our four-wheel dominated roads, ‘death by cyclist’ is stuff that jokes are made of).
I walked roads with a freedom I had never experienced before, staring at amazing pieces of architecture, soaking in modern, urban and transport planning, that celebrates the ‘old’ as much as the ‘new’. These experiences will eventually inspire me and ARCHIOPTERYX in myriad ways, and we look forward to our forthcoming designs with child-like enthusiasm.
WHERE WE DIDN’T DO SO WELL
While the above sounds like we moved mountains, it wasn’t all as rosy as it sounds. There were frustrations and disappointments too.
Initially, our business over-dependence on primary designers, to execute visions and deliver the ancillary services associated with costing and project management, led to delays and burnouts.
We lost out on a few projects because we could not deliver a consolidated package to our clients from design to implementation.
We also learned painful lessons from hiring wrongly, from not double checking other people’s work and by not being clearer and fast enough at times.
All good lessons that we won’t be re-learning in 2018 for sure.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
And so, as 2017 draws to a close, our sight is firmly set on to the next year.
Through 2018, sustainability and harmonious living will continue to be the core ingredients of ARCHIOPTERYX’s endeavours.
Creating a “sustainable product-centric design” approach, wherein we deliver projects from ‘drawing board’ to ‘built space’, from ‘pencil on paper’ to ‘keys in hand’.
Moreover, our work will be further reinforced by an architecture ‘designed, built and constructed’ with a finesse that will allow animals, plants and humans to thrive together.
As part of our reorganisation, we now actively work towards the cultural upliftment of construction workers and their families, along with a greater role in the cultural acceptance of harmonious living amongst all the stakeholders of a project.
Lastly, 2018 shall see ARCHIOPTERYX further the quest to help young professionals and students alike to face the ‘outside’ world with greater confidence.
As I sign off, I’d like to thank our team and clients for providing constant inspiration, challenge and at times drama, that have all made this past year as valuable as it is.
It is because of 2017, that 2018 beckons with renewed hope, better structure, more focus, passion and love….
Happy New Year!