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A quick conversation with Umamah Khalid; A budding name in the world of architecture

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Umamah Khalid

1. What was the inspiration behind Architects InDesign?

We, as architects, knew that we wanted to do something which can change the way people see design. There is a difference in what we need and what we design for ourselves. This idea was enough for us to come up with our own company which provided us a platform where we can freely express ourselves. After all, what would the world be without design?

2. What are some of the ongoing projects Architects InDesign is working on?

Currently, we are mainly working on a number of houses and restaurant designs. We love both the typologies because they give us the chance to go into the most intimate details. There are some retail outlets in Lahore that are also underway.

3. What is the firm’s design philosophy?

Architects indesign believes in the statement “Less is not always more, more is more”. Despite the trending belief that less is more, we are following it in complete opposition. We love to fuse different design languages together and create a new experience of space.

4. Do you think there is an increasingly ‘globalized approach’ to architecture?

Definitely, architecture is one of the main things affected by the global culture. It is the most frequently needed type of art, requiring new inventions in terms of materials and concepts. These inventions then spread throughout the world making those concepts approachable for all, thus making it part of a globalized approach.

5. Which architects from the past you admire the most?

Andrea Palladio and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are two of my favorites. They will seem poles apart but the use of proportion in both their works is magnificent. The Palladian architecture follows the details whereas Mies has clean cut lines. Both cannot look as good, if the sense of proportion isn’t understood.

6. What advice would you give to the aspiring architects?

My advice to young architects would be to learn and learn everything and anything. This is such a vast field that this process of design will never end. And that should be enough to prevent yourself from falling in love with your own designs, because there is always room for improvement.

7. What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?

The way we work, brings us to a conclusion that we love to mix and match different styles of design. This gives a more stylized feel to our work. We want to be remembered for this element of fusion.

8. What is a weakness you’ve noticed some architecture firms have and Architects InDesign doesn’t have?

We owe a group of young and energetic people, always looking for new ideas to make. Our strength is the fact that we create design concepts on our own and not rely on cookie cutter approach.

9. What are some of the opportunities and challenges your office faces now?

Where there are opportunities, there are challenges as well. People have started to value design and as the land value has increased to such a level, we as architects are needed more to create more efficient designs. One of the challenges in our society which we face is that most people, who are our potential clients, know you as an architect but don’t know what to do with you. There is still a percentage of people who don’t exactly know what the scope of work of an architect is and no, it is not repairing rainwater pipes and parapet walls. There’s much more.

10. Architects InDesign has been providing architectural and planning services for nearly half a decade now in Pakistan. How do you think we have evolved over the time?

As I said earlier, design has direct influence of the economics. The land volume has appreciated in favor of architecture services. At least, we are looking at one aspect, numbers. As far as the value of understanding of design is concerned, we are way better now than we were. But for an intellectual change to take place, it is still going to take time.

11. Of the varied projects that you do, which kind of projects do you enjoy the most?

We definitely enjoy dong residences more. The spaces become more personalized and the experience is more intimate. We are focus on passive designs, which creates a different sort of experience altogether. This keeps us looking for more.

12. With so many achievements under your belt, where do you see the firm in next 10 years?

We do plan to be a part of the people who actually contribute in increasing the awareness of architecture design systems. Our society is already informed at the base level right now. But, as our city has already achieved its saturation point, we plan to float along using different design strategies, which are new not only here but globally as well.

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