Archohm Consulting - Designing Infrastructures For Emergent India

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Noida based Archohm introduces itself as a design office. It offers consultation for architectural, urban, interiors and landscape design. It also renders engineering services for electrical, structural, plumbing and mechanical systems.In conversation with Abhilasha Dafria for Yourstory.in, Sourabh tells us more about how he built Archohm's strength on its design philosophy that propagates innovation and experimentation!

Sourabh Gupta was the finalist of British Council’s Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, 2011. To know more about the Young Design Entrepreneur Awards, click here. Follow the Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards (YCE) on Facebook

Sourabh, please introduce Archohm to our readers.

Archohm is an international multifaceted design firm which was set up in 1999 by virtue of a design competition. Since then, Archohm has grown steadily to develop into a team of more than 50 people from various faculties of design.

It has a fairly democratic structure. I personally lead all design discussions that evolve out of brainstorming sessions. Thereafter, projects are handled by teams, comprising of architects, interior designers and technical people to facilitate an interesting interdisciplinary flavor that helps evolve innovative solutions. Project heads take the responsibility, from client interaction to communications and design delivery. A separate creative crew adds value to the process through a monthly newsletter, collateral books, and product designs with the help of a graphic design team. Accounts and administration are kept separately so that the design team remains insulated from the nuances of a professional practice. Specialists on design and engineering are brought on board through multiple workshops.

What are the services offered by Archohm?

Archohm offers architectural and engineering consultation for residential, commercial, corporate, industrial, urban and infrastructural set ups. It also has an in house creative consulting team who indulges in various forms of creative expression such as product, communication and graphic design.

Could you tell us how Archohm plays a role in the designing space? Throws us some light on the projects you have accomplished.

Archohm believes in design at various levels. As a design practice it works on a wide range of projects, projects of different types and scales. From product design to urban infrastructure all projects are worked on with equal vigor and enthusiasm. This cross section of projects reinforces the design centricity of the practice.

In 1999, Archohm won a competition to design DND, the expressway and the toll plaza between Delhi and Noida. Same was the case with the Delhi Gurgaon expressway. It won the invited competition to design the Dilli Haat in Pitampura. The caterpillar pedestrian underpass built at Moolchand, Delhi has now become a landmark. Its Agra house residential project was featured in various magazines and its corporate interiors for vestergaard won awards. Archohm also took the design of the year award for the ‘self’ bathroom it has conceived.

Archohm’s keen interest in design detail and production lead to the inception of Zolijns to manufacture high quality design products inEurope. It has also indulged in design education as part of it journey in India.

Could you tell us a little about your market size? Are you focussing on the international market? 

India is in a fantastic state of flux as far as design is concerned. It is evolving and developing at a very fast pace. The exposure level of clients is extremely high courtesy globalization via Internet and the travel culture. This has lead to a phenomenal increase in hunger and demand for 'out of the box’ solutions and Archohm thrives on such passion. The large growth in the construction sector provides enough room for everyone. It is no longer only the survival of the fittest. Hence, for now India is Archohm’s focus market. However, saying this, Archohm does have operations in the Middle East.

Could you tell us a little about your international tie-ups?Archohm acknowledges the importance of cross cultural dialogue and has established offices in the Middle East. It also has a design outsourcing setup in Holland. Archohm has also established partnership with Zolijns, a lifestyle product store where designs from Indiaand Europe are manufactured in Europe and brought into the Indian market. This has given the design team great exposure and created products of international standard with Indian sensibilities.

How does the revenue model work?

Archohm is based on a typical design consulting model where employees are paid on a monthly basis and clients are billed according to the consultation charges.

Are there other players in the market doing similar things? What are your differentiators?

There are many people doing parts of Archohm’s similar things but none with the full range. Archohm’s multifaceted design firm, production facility and education directions give at an edge beyond its competition.

Any notable accolades that you’d like to share?2011 proved to be a good year for Archohm as its monolithic bathroom system ‘self.ao’ bagged the best product design award under bathrooms by Elle Decor. Later on in the year, the corporate interiors designed for Vestergaard Frandsen was the runners up in the Architects and Interiors, India award.

Personally also, I was short listed by the British Council for the Young Creative Entrepreneur award and declared the winner of the Star Young Entrepreneur Award at the 5th Indira International Innovation Summit. 

So how did you come up with this idea and what is your background like?

Life for me has been a process of continuous evolution and education. Being a gold medalist from school and a scholar from the school of architecture (CEPT, Ahmedabad), I developed the necessary skill-set to pursue a career in architecture and design.

My passion towards this field and my understanding of design matured from my exposure at Bouwkunde, the highly acclaimed design school at the technical university of Delft, The Netherlands. Being acquainted to another school of thought internationally, at an impressionable age was invaluable. This is where I became addicted to the notion of ‘exploration’, especially in architecture.

With this as my background and a foreground of successful competitions and commissions in India, Archohm was established. The focus was always on designing at different scales. This became Archohm’s strength as a design company and helped me grow as an individual encouraging farther travel and further explorations.

What are the challenges you face in the line of architecture and designs?

Our greatest weakness at times is the speed at which we are growing and the engineering experience we have. This means our solutions may border the fine line between reality and feasibility. A risk, our clients have acknowledged and accepted as part of their journey to think beyond. It has also strengthened our belief that ‘everything is possible’ and resulted in many out-of-the-box designs. Archohm’s experience over the years has come through trial and error and though popular belief says - being young and experienced doesn’t go hand in hand; I was convinced when I was invited to give a talk at the Entrepreneurial Summit 2011 at the Delhi College of Engineering, that experience is not bound by time - 'being young is incredibly in'!

Did you fundraise to start up? If not, are you looking at getting funded now? 

When Archohm began by virtue of a design competition, it needed no funds; and today it has developed into a self sustainable consulting. However, Zolijns which is Archohm’s partner company needs funding to scale up to stability.

Where and how do you see yourself going ‘bout this? Making it bigger?

'Beg, borrow, steal, kill but get the job done!' is the attitude I work with. There are no alibis for work. Beg for experience, borrow wisdom, steal time and kill egos to accomplish your task. You should do whatever it takes and the work should take from you whatever you’ve got. All these initiatives have been possible only because of Archohm’s mad passion for design coupled with its fun philosophy.

Though I want Archohm to expand both in exposure and experience, spreading then and losing quality is our biggest fear. Thus we have limited the size of our design firm while expanding on other levels. Archohm’s partnership with Zolijns aims at combining international standards and Indian needs so that a perfect design and production balance can evolve.

Also, in its vision to bring in the necessary design exposure to the growing Indian economy, Archohm has embarked on a journey to enter the education space. Its focus is to tap, excite and educate the future designers of the country. This would culminate all the exposure and experiences witnessed so far by building alliances and strengths that would work towards enhancing the design quotient of the country.

For more information please check out Archohm and do share your thoughts with us by dropping a comment here!

 - Abhilasha Dafria

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