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Sunday, April 14, 2013

'International architects are attracted to India's strengths'

This Q&A first appeared in DNA Money edition on Sunday, Mar 17, 2013.

Starting with designing luxury boutique Blakes Hotel in London, Anouska Hempel, promoter of international design and architectural practice Anouska Hempel Design (AHD), went on to design critically-acclaimed luxury hotels, restaurants, private residences, yachts, retail and products throughout the world.

One of world’s most celebrated designers, Hempel was in Mumbai recently to participate at the India Design Forum 2013. In conversation, she shared views about the design market in India and work AHD is doing for Indian clients. Here are some excerpts...

What are your views on the design market in India?
The market is most extraordinary and going from strength to strength. India is refining and redeveloping itself. A lot of architects from developed economies are attracted to the strengths of India, especially on the commercial level. In fact, I think there are a host of other people coming to India all the time to create things and be influenced by the country.

Are you working on any project in India?
Nothing at the moment sadly.

What about any international project that’s owned by an Indian?
Yes , I am doing a city hotel project in Santiago. This development is owned by an Indian client based out of Jaipur. I’m are also designing their house in Singapore.

Why haven’t you taken up a project in India as yet?
I have been approached from time to time but haven’t had the proper opportunity to conclude anything here. While there are a host of designers doing similar stuff, I don’t and hence, tend to be a risky bet.

What would be your dream project in India?
I’d love to do a boutique hotel with a proper Indian flavour. It could be a certain period like the turn of the century, going back to the Maharaja era or something that gives a museum like quality to my work.

We have had the likes of Giorgio Armani being signed up for landmark developments by Indian companies. Are you considering such associations as well?
Yes, I’ve heard about it. I like such partnerships and I think they do quite well. I am not that commercially structured, so, an Indian company will have to take me on board for their projects and I’d come willingly. I’d really like to do something that’s an important landmark development here.

Follow Ashish K Tiwari on twitter @ashishktiwari

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