Stepping out of your comfort zone is not a cakewalk. It can sometimes be too troublesome. However, one who builds up the courage to take the adventurous ride of challenges and experiences always succeeds. Today, SURFACES REPORTER (SR) is sharing the story of a woman who broke away from her well-established life as an architect to start her new venture. Read the enthralling and encouraging narrative of Hiral Shah, a Vadodara-based architect, here. This story is a part of SR's campaign in association with WADE ASIA where we invited women in Design to share their inspiring stories from 2020.
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“Architecture arouses sentiments in man. The architect’s task therefore is to make those sentiments more precise.” – Adolf Loos
Meet Hiral Shah
Hiral Shah is an architect based in Vadodara. She completed her Bachelor of Architecture degree from CEPT University, Ahmedabad and had been an exchange student for the university at Eidgenssische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. As a trainee she had worked at eminent firms like Chandravarkar and Thacker Architects, Bangalore and Arya Architects, Ahmedabad. Post her graduation, she worked with Talib Patel Associates, Vadodara and Dipen Gada & Associates, Vadodara for two and four years respectively. At present,she owns the Inklets Studio.
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The Journey To Carve Out Her Own Niche
After six illustrious years of working at two of the most privileged firms based out of Vadodara, Hiral broke away from her well established life as an architect to start her own venture back in 2016. Apart from helping her create her own identity starting her very own venture helped her understand aspects of the architecture business which is usually glossed over during the college days.
Along with understanding the language of space and acquiring the skill of nurturing an order through responsive and responsible design her new venture helped her learn pertinent skills of business development. Her six years of work experience played a major part in her sustaining her venture through the initial days.
Philosophy Of The Firm And Its Budding Growth
The first order of business that Hiral carried out for the firm was to draft a proper and concrete design intent. This served the dual purposes of having clarity for herself and her firm and her clients knowing exactly what they would be receiving. The most important realization that she and her firm came across during these times was that ‘A happy client will always lead to more business.’ This made them revolve their design innovations based on the needs and desires of the client.
The main selling point of the firm was their unique take on creating a soul for the space by incorporating innovative and sensitive values towards light, air and building materials.
To herald in the spark in her clients’ everyday lives, her firm focused on a stunning unification of texture and colour of the materials in appropriate details to create the space.
Sustainable Architecture Towards An Environmentally Positive Future
Hiral and her firm imbued the idea of sustainable architecture for the sake of an environmentally positive future in their designs. She says, “Only by living more cautiously with our resources can we hope to protect our environmental climate.”
They have immense confidence in their belief that sustainability is all about smart designing by incorporating the same in their initial planning concept itself.
Some of the primary steps towards sustainable architecture is employing the traditional architectural concepts of basic design principle, reinterpreting and exploring vernacular materials and thinking locally in terms of materials.
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Entrepreneurial Drive To Expand The Fledgling Business
Hiral understood that the proper presentation of her skillset, past projects and most importantly herself is an essential step in the expansion of the business. Along with these, quite evidently, any business requires a fair bit of financial investment and a futuristic approach to expand in this age of technology.
To this end, they set up a dedicated office space for their studio and started off with freelancing consultancy. This helped them to gradually shift to a rented place to finally realize their dream of having their own dedicated space. This made them easily accessible and more convenient to locate for their existing and expected clients.
Promotion Through Social Media
Hiral and her firm understood quite early on, that in this age of social media, showcasing their work and social media, and promoting their business through them was an invaluable step towards the growth of their business. They started off by sharing key architecture and interior designing done by them on their dedicated website. Moreover they did not stop there, instead they focused on updating themselves regarding the existing trends of business promotion. And these efforts bore fruit as they slowly began to make their presence felt in the world of architecture and interior designing.
Documentation, The Step Most Overlooked
After a project has been completed and delivered to the client, probably the most important step in the matter of business promotion is still left.
Detailed and precise documentation of the project is an irreplaceable entity in building the design portfolio of the firm which is the primary weapon in a firm’s arsenal for drawing prospective clients.
The selection of the appropriate photograph, the angle to showcase the product, the content of the shoot, the density of views, angle of the sun and a plethora of other factors play a key role in the in creating an appropriately documented project.
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There has been a number of tactics employed by the firm and its employees to enable the growth of the firm. But none, according to Hiral were as important as “thinking and figuring out the details at various stages” as these constant introspections led to ironing out a lot of flaws that could have otherwise curtailed the effectivity of the project.
Keep reading SURFACES REPORTER for more such articles and stories.
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