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Categories: DesignSpaces

Designing for a better world: Commemorating International Design Day with stories of purposeful architecture

In architecture and design, true innovation means creating spaces that deeply resonate with human experiences. This International Design Day, explore human-centered design’s impact with eight visionary firms. They prioritise empathy and kindness, crafting spaces that enrich lives and promote inclusivity. From educational settings to urban redevelopment, these stories showcase how purposeful design positively transforms our surroundings.

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Image courtesy- Studio IAAD

Sthapati

“Creating spaces that resonate with people from all walks of life is paramount in architecture and design, particularly in housing communities where inclusivity is key. Prioritising people and their experiences over aesthetics leads to more empathetic and kinder living environments,” emphasises Harsh Varshneya, Principal Architect at Sthapati.

Image courtesy- Sthapati

At Leisure Park, every detail reflects a commitment to enriching lives through empathy and kindness. The design fosters genuine connections, enhancing well-being and promoting inclusivity seamlessly woven into daily life. Varshneya adds, “Human-Centred Design isn’t just a slogan; it’s a deeply ingrained value, redefining the essence of ‘home’ with residents’ comfort and well-being at the forefront.”

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Image courtesy- Sthapati

IMK Architects

“Good design should create maximum happiness for the greatest number of people,” emphasises Rahul Kadri, Partner and Principal Architect at IMK Architects. Kadri’s expertise spans Urban Development, Policy Making, Public Transport, Housing, and Healthcare design, contributing regularly to prominent publications. At IMK Architects, they prioritise a participatory process like SCRUM, engaging stakeholders to identify needs and aspirations efficiently. Their design ethos includes maximising natural elements like daylight and ventilation, rooted in biophilia for enhanced well-being. Kadri exemplifies this at projects like Sona College of Technology in Salem and Symbiosis University Hospital in Pune, integrating nature to create serene, healing environments.

Sona College of Technology in Salem; Image courtesy- Rajesh Vora

Symbiosis University Hospital in Pune

Confluence

At Confluence, we believe in designing with purpose, prioritising empathy and kindness in every aspect of our work,” emphasises Vineeta Singhania Sharma, Founder Partner & Principal Architect. Their design philosophy revolves around enhancing individuals’ health and well-being by integrating eco-friendly materials and sustainable practices. Confluence meticulously crafts spatial layouts and ornamental elements to promote harmony, productivity, and happiness. By embracing biophilic principles and including green spaces, their designs transcend visual appeal to create sanctuaries that reconnect people with nature amidst urban settings. Sharma underscores, “Inclusivity in design fosters environments where individuals feel valued and supported, promoting a sense of belonging and community.

Image courtesy- Confluence

Resaiki Interiors and Architecture Design Studio

Resaiki’s design philosophy embodies kindness and empathy, prioritising the well-being and comfort of occupants. Each project undergoes extensive research to ensure functionality, positivity, and energised spaces. The design approach focuses on creating a calming atmosphere through soft, neutral colors and adjustable lighting, while natural textures like cotton and wood contribute to overall serenity. Aromatherapy with calming scents further enhances comfort, minimising visual clutter and ensuring optimal temperature control for a tranquil environment.

Image courtesy- Resaiki Interiors and Architecture Design Studio

Inclusivity is a cornerstone of Resaiki’s approach, with every space designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or ability. This commitment fosters inclusivity and instills a sense of value among users. Personalising spaces based on individual preferences allows occupants to create environments that resonate with their personalities, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. Resaiki also places great emphasis on understanding human psychology, including the client’s mindset, aspirations, and personality. This ensures that designs are not only visually appealing but deeply personal and meaningful to the occupants, ultimately enhancing their quality of life and promoting a profound sense of well-being and happiness.

groupDCA

At the heart of groupDCA’s architectural and design practice is a profound commitment to human-centered design. They believe in tailoring spaces to meet individuals’ unique needs, providing essential support for thriving in today’s demanding work environments. They apply these principles across homes, schools, public spaces and especially in workspace design, emphasising creativity, productivity and well-being by prioritising people. Just as a well-designed home reflects its inhabitants’ needs and personality, a workspace should empower individuals to grow and thrive. By incorporating comfort, flexibility and inclusivity, they create environments that foster community and well-being.

Image courtesy- Atul Pratap Chauhan

Imagine a workplace breaking away from traditional cubicles, embracing dynamic design with focus rooms, soundproofing, adjustable lighting and integrated whiteboards for collaboration. Comfortable lounge areas encourage informal meetings and idea exchange. Their design employs a free-flowing layout, segmenting workspaces into functional zones with strategic furniture placement. Biophilic design principles, including lush greenery, purify air, reduce stress and enhance cognitive function.

Photography courtesy- Lokesh Dang and Saurabh Suryan

This modern approach fosters a symphony of spaces, allowing employees to choose environments based on tasks, enhancing efficiency, agency and control. The contemporary Indian workplace is evolving from rigid spaces to dynamic arrangements that celebrate multifunctionality and inclusivity, catering to diverse workstyles and individual needs, ultimately promoting employee well-being.

Studio IAAD

“Designing with purpose isn’t just about crafting beautiful spaces—it’s about weaving empathy and kindness into every thread of the design fabric,” emphasises Rachna Agarwal, Founder and Design Ideator at Studio IAAD. At the core of this approach is human-centered design (HCD), a methodology that prioritises the needs and emotions of people above all else. Agarwal stresses, “Empathy is the cornerstone of HCD. It’s about understanding the struggles and joys of others.” By immersing ourselves in the experiences of those we design for, we unlock the power to create solutions that truly resonate with their hearts and minds.

Image courtesy- Studio IAAD

Designing with purpose extends beyond individual well-being; it embraces a warm embrace for the world around us. Climate-friendly practices, like reducing, reusing, and recycling materials, minimise our ecological footprint and safeguard the planet for future generations. Every decision in the design process—from material selection to energy systems—represents a vote for a kinder, more sustainable future. Agarwal concludes, “Designing with purpose is an act of love—a commitment to weaving empathy and kindness into our designs, ensuring that every space we create is beautiful and truly meaningful.”

Image courtesy- Studio IAAD

GPM Architects & Planners

“Integrating empathy and kindness into infrastructure development is crucial,” emphasises Mitu Mathur, Director at GPM Architects and Planners. She highlights the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation in India, stressing the need to address diverse community needs and promote social inclusion through sustainable redevelopment.

Image courtesy- GPM Architects & Planners

“Our priority is to develop a sustainable model for inclusive city development,” Mathur explains, underscoring the importance of minimising human suffering and slum development. “Redeveloping under-utilised urban areas prioritises the well-being of those who occupy these spaces,” she adds.

Image courtesy- GPM Architects & Planners

Through innovative technologies and design that integrates nature, urban redevelopment can retain the essence of these areas while alleviating existing issues like traffic congestion and inaccessible services. Mathur advocates for using development as a catalyst to create safer, walkable communities and world-class amenities, ultimately fostering more equitable and livable environments for all.

Creative Designer Architects

A New Delhi based architecture firm that is an established established in health and wellness, institutional and commercial projects, Creative Designer Architects believes that good design offers elegant solutions to common human complexities. Design significantly impacts our environmental perception and well-being, often in ways not immediately apparent. Human-centric design directly correlates with health and wellness, nurturing overall well-being in spaces.

Image courtesy- Creative Designer Architects
Image courtesy- Creative Designer Architects

For instance, ensuring adequate natural light (215-300 lux) with minimal glare promotes indoor well-being and supports circadian rhythms. Addressing air quality through effective filtration systems and low-VOC materials minimises airborne contaminants, enhancing health and comfort. Incorporating biophilic elements like plants fosters a connection with nature, reducing stress and improving health outcomes.

“Design elements like biophilic elements can directly improve health and reduce stress,” says Ravideep Singh, Associate Director at Creative Designer Architects.

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