An Interview With Milind Pai : An Architect Who Believes in Balancing Man With Nature & Technology With Heritage
The Interior Directory Interviews : In the series of Interviews with world famous designers & architects, this time we have brought forward the views of one of the most famous names in Indian Architecture , MIlind Pai. Milind is based in Mumbai, India and a name to reckon with Indian Contemporary Architecture & clean line Interior projects across India & Asia.
TID :  First and foremost we would like to know more about the person behind Milind Pai Architects ?
MPA : Passionate to become an Air Force Pilot, Architect Milind Pai who is enriching the industry with his unique designs, got into the field of architecture and design by a series of circumstances and flukes.
He joined UDCT (ICT, Mumbai) to become a Chemical Tech graduate, still unsure of securing admission in J.J. College. Later he also qualified for the admission at the Catering College, Dadar, Mumbai and also was cleared for admission into the NDA to train as a cadet for Air force, which was his dream. However after securing the admission for architecture, the one week he spent in the J.J. College of Architecture was enough for him to realize that this was his calling and he was destined to be an Architect..!
Milind is very much a family man and also active in various fronts from Society to Rotary. He is an ardent traveler and love to take up outstation projects which he thinks are good for introspective senses. Loves to keep in touch with old friends and family alike. He is also very fond of meticulous working and loves to work on process implementation.
An Interview With Milind Pai : An Architect Who Believes in Balancing Man With Nature & Technology With Heritage
An Office Decor Project by Milind Pai in Mumbai – India
TID : In today’s changing environment of Indian architecture, where does Milind Pai stand ?
MPA : Chief Architect ‘Milind Pai’ of the firm Milind Pai – Architects & Interior Designers, graduated with a 1st class degree from Sir J.J. College of architecture in 1987. The core purpose since the inception of this firm has been to ‘Inspire creativity’.
In this firm, the Architects & the Interior Designers work in close collaboration with other experts including Engineers, Graphic Designers, Artists, Sculptures, Landscape Designers, Lighting and Acoustic Specialists. They have been constantly adding new milestones by propagating values, team work and expertise to every project.
Committed to feed this growing appetite for design, Milind has never hesitated in accepting projects in various verticals, as long as there is a design expertise involved at the core. They are today a multi-specialty firm undertaking projects in Commercial, Residential, Institutional, Health and Hospitality Interiors and presently operate from a well-equipped office in Mumbai suburbs.
Besides Mumbai, they have executed projects in almost 30 Indian cities like Delhi, Surat, Pune, Bangalore, Nagpur, Indore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Pondicherry, Jodhpur, Bhubaneswar, Raipur etc. And to add to that, 3 International Cities of Dubai, Muscat and Singapore.
This philosophy has led to the firm becoming a multi-specialty, dynamic and energetic interiors solution firm, targeting designs with a holistic approach. Covered in many Magazines and other Media on a continuous basis, this firm is today a brand par excellence in the Field of Interior Architecture and is fast growing into a Top International Class Design Firm to watch for. The ‘Core Purpose of their Organization is to “Inspire Creativity that turns Dreams to Reality”.
An Interview With Milind Pai : An Architect Who Believes in Balancing Man With Nature & Technology With Heritage
TID : Is Indian Architecture lacking global appeal ? Why Indian construction industry couldn’t match with Chinese construction and building industry in last one decade?
MPA : The architecture of India is deep rooted in its history, culture and religion. Indian architecture progressed with time and assimilated the many influences that came as a result of India’s global discourse with other regions of the world throughout its millennia-old past. The architectural methods practiced in India are a result of diagnosis and implementation of its established building traditions and outside cultural interactions. Though old, this Eastern tradition has also incorporated modern values as India became a modern nation state.
In an age of rapid industrialisation, raging construction, a networked economy and state indifference, meaningful architecture in India is volatile. Since Independence, democracy, development and the economy have been the driving agendas in India. After seven decades, the country has undergone profound political and social economic changes. Over the last years, since it became liberal economic policies, India has witnessed a pivotal acceleration in growth and more indicating that it may well outdo China.
Despite the evolution of  creative practices, the demand for good design is yet to grow substantially. We have meaningless construction rather than quality architecture. The challenge is to expand the consistency for good design. The best design talent is nurtured by the limited number of professionals for private homes and institutions. For most property developers, a building is a means to maximise profit as such, it is not surprising that we are yet to see an elegant design solution for vertical living.
Some companies in a hurry to reduce overall operational cost, have settled for magnificent sweet shops wrapped around in glass facade. Rapid development and massive construction have brought with them environmental and social challenges.
Rising inequality and disproportionate income levels have created difference within cities. While some are privileged and receive investment and infrastructure, other substantial areas await attention. Land prices have risen drastically over a period of time which resulted in the increase of slums.
India has the opportunity not only to catch up but to surpass China in how well it designs and builds its structures. I believe that this situation we are living in is an opportunity for all of us to design and build a better world. India is a late bloomer like China, and as such we should be more ambitious about what can be achieved through our architecture.
TID : How do you foresee the future of Indian architecture fraternity, when global architecture firms are setting offices here ?
MPA : It is so visible that there is great endowment of architecture in India, like any other country with a history as long and as rich as India’s. Indian culture and history are preserved in the traces of its architecture. I see Indian society is an ocean but with great divergence in society of classes, between the rich and the poor, caste and creed, geographic location, politics, between young and old. In fact I would simply say that Indian culture for me is a split of realities, where the complexity is in fact the richness of Indian culture.
The government of India has a long term vision to build smart cities. Therefore future Indian architecture must be smart too, in how it will form the pixels and fabricate these smart cities. The need for infrastructure is link to these new urbanised areas which will require well designed architecture for airports, roads, railways and utilities. A smart infrastructure will be very much part of the future Indian architecture. Smart networks and smart planning will be integral to the new architecture.
I believe in the future. In fact I believe it so much that I think architecture will itself evolve in this century into a Hi-tech or robotic of sorts, where much of what we have discussed will in fact manifest in the merging of architecture, nature and technology. I believe that future buildings we design in India will be every bit as smart, intelligent, advanced and appropriate for India to become a leading nation.
The challenge for modern Indian architect will be to find the duality that will encapsulate both its past and its future, balancing nature with man, technology with heritage and modernity with values.
When it comes to global firms we need to list out the USP of foreign architecture firm and where we need to cover the grounds to be competing with them. With so many foreign degree holders coming back to India with knowledge and expertise in these foreign firms the gap is reducing.
No doubt we have lot of talent in India but a great idea or design gets diluted since the Architect’s from India gets overruled by the clients when it comes  to the cost, where as a foreign Architect sticks to his/ her ground and this is what makes a difference on the outcome.
Foreign Firms would take up jobs that would suit their portfolio/strengths & help cement their place in a particular segment. Whereas in Indian firms (architects/vendors/manufacturers) are running after clients making them vulnerable in the eyes of the clients which then results in which a project that is not the complete brainchild of the architect but a mixture of many ideas. I understand that pricing and choices are factors to be considered. If we become a little stricter in our norms of quality and pricing, be it an architect or builder a manufacturer etc, then we have the potential to deliver Designs and Products of Quality in sync with Foreign Firms established here.
Foreign firms are more thorough with their proposals. They reason out their concepts. They detail out every mm of their projects. Nonetheless many Indian firms and architects are doing amazing work! Just like in every other field, as soon as the client finds a foreign name in its consultant he/she finds that project has become more saleable and valuable. So sometimes it’s just for marketing. And sometimes just for a different concept. Most projects designed outside are anyway getting detailed by Indian firms and that’s a stage in which the design evolves. Any competition is good for the field. Indian architecture was veering towards complacence in practice. The biggest factor international firms have brought in is accountability; both by the client as well as the consultant.
This situation is actually pushing us to rise above our local competition and may be actually a blessing in disguise for our entire fraternity.


  Design Devil

Design Devil is a multifaceted designer-writer-design analyst who touches upon conceptual interior development, communicate about the essence of designs and talks about design theories. Severely critical in his design analysis and approach, he is the best we got!!! By following his articles , you would get the best in global design information which no one else may share with you …. So follow him


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