"Breathing life into space”
Debashish Majumdar is a young architect based in Delhi. He jointly owns and runs an architectural firm by the name of Line & Form which undertakes constructional work in the entire National Capital Region, besides cities and towns in other parts of the country. The firm has also made a foray into the international arena. During the course of his architectural career, Debashish has dabbled in designing of quaint off-beat (but very artistic and eye catching) furniture and fixtures. This stood him in good stead and at present he can conveniently take on complete designing jobs for his clients.
Architect (Line & Form)
Despite his successful career, Debasish prefers to be modest and keep a low profile. The NNE team
caught up with him on a pleasant winter morning. This gentleman with boyish good looks, spoke affably and at length about his past, his innings upto the present, the dreams that he nurtures, and his views about the profession at large.
Excerpts from the interview:We would like to know about your background, your early years schooling etc.?
I hail from a Bengali family that has settled down in Delhi. My father was in a PSU and mother a housewife; I have two older sisters. I did my schooling in Delhi Public School Mathura Road and then opted for architecture.Who or what was it that attracted you to architecture?
During my class XI-XII days, I enjoyed studying the sciences and mechanical drawing. Fortunately, we had a very good teacher for mechanical drawing teacher who inculcated in us a completely different approach for looking at buildings and edifices and the general surroundings.
About that time I happened to read Ayn Rand's sensational bestseller, The Fountainhead. It was astounding. I realised that Architecture was the thing I wanted to do. I looked around and tried to select some top-notch institutes. I stumbled across CEPT (Centre for environmental planning and technology), in Gujarat and of course the SPA. I qualified in the entrance exam and got into the School of Planning & Architecture , New Delhi, from where I graduated in 1989.At that point of time architecture as a profession seemed highly attractive and creative, vastly different from engineering.Please trace your career graph for us?
While still in fourth year, I along with my batchmates, began to take up freelance work. We worked on a project under the aegis of HUDCO- rebuilding and redesigning a slum in the capital. It was a good training ground for us. After graduation, one of my classmates Amardeep teamed up with me and we set up Line & Form our joint venture. In course of our work we happened to meet a senior architect Mr Vijay Kapoor ( partner of another well-known architect Anil Laul) who needed young architects to work in tandem with the duo and undertake a good many projects. Gradually we floated another company ADM Architects, which was heavily into designing furnitures for diverse projects.It was more for fun, generated a lot of excitement, the clients liked it, and it was total sell-out. Which are the architectural marvels that you admire?
Picking at random, I would like to mention the Al-Hambra mosque in Spain, The Red Fort in Agra, the shore temples at Mahabalipuram, the National Institute of Immunology building complex, New Delhi among others. Moreover I admire several other specimens of traditional architecture, scattered all over the country. Who are the prominent architects whom you admire?
I personally admire the famous ones like B.K Doshi, , Raj Rewal and Charles Correa, to name a few .Which areas the major areas of your work?
We have undertaken projects mainly in hilly areas like Ranikhet, Dalhousie,Nainital, places like Ramgarh, Mukteshwar, besides a few projects in Iran & US. We have done corporate residences, MNC offices and so forth. We work on schools, apartment buildings/flats and lots more……What are the personal attributes, which an aspiring architect must have?
What according to you is the future of architecture in India?
- He/she must be very sensitive
- Must be questioning, inquisitive,eager to learn
- Should be open to all kinds of experiences
- Must possess a basic creativity
- Must be aware of the prevalent fashions, trends, lifestyle etc as they mirror the mindset of the people who are going to inhabit the constructed environment that the architects create.
- Must have strong foundations in maths and sciences
I think the future is very good. Good because we area developing nation, and any development whatsoever, is inevitably associated with the built structures, edifices and the surroundings in general. Architecture in India has a lot of scope. There are a lot of qualified architects coming into the fray. So you have to look sharp, work hard to make an impact. You must make the most of the opportunities you come across. To a certain extent, it is personal. Either you have it in you and can do it ; or else you get nowhere and end up disillusioned.You message to the young career aspirants?
I appeal to the youngsters: Please, for God's sake donot get into an architecture course as merely a second option; just because you could not make it to engineering. Architecture is a very demanding field. You need to give to it a lot of yourself, your energy, your time. Architectural courses demand tremendous hard work, compiling lengthy theses and more. Infact architecture will be and has to be a part of your day-to-day life, the environs you live in …Therefore you must evaluate the pros and cons carefully before taking the final plunge.