What if we could do business different?
When I graduated from architecture school, my friends and I got together and
formed the architectural firm 42mm. I had no idea about how businesses were
run at that time and ended up learning a lot along the way. Through the years,
we picked up a lot of points of views from different people and businesses in the
industry about the profession, the practice and how business is done.
This gave us a foundation and we worked for a while, creating and learning as we
went along. We created systems and changed them and created more systems
and sometimes didn’t end up using them, but everything was designed towards
structure and bringing in order. However as we grew as architects and
entrepreneurs and as the firm kept expanding, I realised that this wasn’t the way
to move ahead.
Since then, I’ve moved into a different space as an entrepreneur. This also
reflected in my work and my leadership during the last few years at 42mm. I’ve
been actively empowering my team, coming from a point of view that if they’re
going to be the future leaders of tomorrow, how would they be looking at
business and architecture and how I could contribute to that learning.
Today, with my complete transition to The Earth Home (TEH), a business my
partner, Eena and I started just over a year back, we’re creating with
‘empowerment’ as one of the basic building blocks. A business is about the
people within, at the periphery and outside - those with whom you associate to
create together. Instead of categorising them as per their skill sets, education,
core competence and assigning or communicating with them from the singular
expectation of a conceived outcome, we now ask what contribution could this
person be to the business and to us, and what contribution can they truly receive
from the business? It has amazed us to see that people, who come trained with a
certain skill set to work with us, can sometimes contribute so much more in the
other domains or just trusting someone to lead with their knowing can create
way more results than we could have possibly ever imagined.
The top-down approach of running a business can oftentimes create massive
information blockages within the organisation. Information and an all rounded
awareness is extremely crucial for the health of any organisation, whatever be
the size and an unwillingness to receive information as a leader can be extremely
damaging. This creeps down the hierarchical ladder creating fear, anxiousness
and anxiety, all of which might not be contributive for the overall wellbeing of
the organisation. Most businesses knowingly or unknowingly take this approach
and it works for them as long as the business is growing and there is overall
client satisfaction but a crucial question that we asked that changed our way of
looking was - what kind of world are we creating here? We’ve all complained
about the system and everything outside of us but we very rarely can catch
ourselves how we unwittingly become a part of that very system and how we
feed it everyday to help it thrive.
TEH started out as a product and furniture design company and my transition
from 42mm has brought along with it the entire architecture and interior design
portfolio. This has led to an integration of the product design studio and the
architecture design studio and is transforming into an enthusiastic inter-
disciplinary space where a lot more information and creative abilities are
available to everyone.
The architecture profession, as it is practised today, is very definitive in its
deliverables as a fixed set of services. There is much more to the art of designing,
building and creating that can be immensely joyful and satisfying. Today, at The
Earth Home we are looking at what else is possible with all the other aspects
beyond the set of deliverables as an architecture studio. Integrating the product
and furniture design workshop along with the architecture and interior design
studio has already made us happier and added a completely different dimension
to our business. We’ve built three projects on a design-build model and are
extremely enthusiastic about the possibilities of expanding that as a full-blown
vertical within the business.
Creating truly sustainable buildings comes really easy to me and it finds its way
into all my projects. However, often I’ve had bleak to zero enthusiasm from the
clients regarding this amazing aspect about their projects. At TEH, we’re looking
at creating a product – the building, integrated with the service – the design. We
are extending, an invitation to all of those who are looking at creating the future
with the planet rather than disregard it, to come and associate with us to create a
Since the day we met, Eena and I have been looking at creating businesses that
help us create with the Earth and it has been immense fun. Eena is a great
designer, be it communication, spaces, products or furniture, and we’ve created
many projects and products together. She looks at design from a very different
space and together we have created with a great sense of ease and joy.
We’re going to be showcasing our next collection at the India Design Week from
the 16 th till the19 th of February and we’re really looking forward to what that
creates for us and whoever comes to play with us.
The Author Adreesh Chakraborty is a founding partner at The Earth Home and
42mm architecture. He has more than a decade of experience as an architect and an
entrepreneur. Follow him @adreeshchakraborty on Instagram and Twitter. You
can also follow The Earth Home @theearthhome on Instagram and Twitter.
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