Monday, February 17, 2020

Mathew's First Task at Work!

 
Excited and looking forward to my new internship and assigned my first job into the internship, I walked into an office where the principal architects were missing - apparently they had gone traveling


The first task assigned to me sounded pretty straightforward - I had to supervise and get the tiling done for a small washbasin area in a residence. The tiles were already decided and was on site, all I had to do was figure out a pattern and get the tile layers to do it.






So I started doing the job - making patterns and sharing it with Sai on WhatsApp, who would ask me to make small corrections, it was a to and fro process, going very well for my first day at work.

And then he says, you need to execute this on site, Mathew, be ready to do that tomorrow.

I was nervous, but excited - ready to take on this first task I was given.


But that's when the constraints set in - I needed 12 tiles, but I only had 10 on site. Also, the client, didn't like any of the initial patterns I had shared with him and needed a crisscross pattern using the tiles, which included a lot of cutting of the tiles - sort of increased the difficulty of the exercise one level higher.

But I got through it, the pattern was decided, planned for using exactly the same amount of tiles which was available at site, not one more, not one less. We also planned to cut the usage of tiles by not using tiles where the mirror would come.

That was when another door just slammed in my face. Vastu wouldn't permit me to place a mirror on that wall but 2 tiles had already been cut. I started to panic. The tiles wouldn't last, Sai was about to board the plane back to India, he wouldn't be able to see or be updated with the work, I was freaking out like crazy, sending Sai message after message telling him each and every problem. The reply.. one message. " Mathew, just stop ". I heaved a sigh of relief. I told the masons to focus on some other work. Maybe Sai won't ask me to work on these tiles anymore.

Next day, Sai has finally reached back at the office and I finally meet my principal architects. First thing Sai says to me is that I will work on the pattern myself. He could see the anxiety creeping back up on my face. He reassured me that this is a task which I can do. He sat with me and started to tell me how to work with it. The approach to handle the task, the mindset I should have and how to deal with problems. The morning talk gave me the confidence to rework the tile pattern such that the wasted tiles don't
matter.
The next day I was back at site. The most confident I'd felt for the longest time. Small problems still kept popping up. The material was running low. The masons had doubts on how to apply the cement or treat the wall. But no matter what the problem was I had the confidence to think about it and deal with it, rather than just freak out and frantically spam Sai with messages. A few hours later and it was finally done.

- Done by Mathew

    How it looked when it started
How the final product looks like










 


 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Back to Bawa

We left Sri Lanka last year promising ourselves that we would be back. We had just not had enough of the wonders that Bawa had scattered across the country. We managed to visit and stay at many of his building but Kandalama is now top of the list. We havnt managed to go back yet though. But what I had not expected was to experience this in Madurai!



This site visit was decided a few days before we were to drive down and we were totally caught up with work before leaving. Though a work visit, when Sai, Ally, Ananya and I travel, we always make sure to know of the place to see and the places to have food at (this is top priority). This trip though, our research was done on the drive down and when we read about the Heritage designed by Bawa, that instantly moved to the number 1 place to see!



We drove into Madurai around lunchtime and since we were all excited and not really tired, we decided to go for a site visit that evening. Imagine our surprise when we were talking to our clients about Heritage and wanting to see it and she says that its the next door property and whats more, that the site was part of the Heritage property and was recently sold off to the public!



Highlight of the next day was walking through Heritage, the gardens, the rooms so tastefully and thoughtfully renovated. The clubhouse was beautiful. I felt like I was back in Sri Lanka walking through the corridors ending in the best vistas and peppered with courtyard with gorgeous trees. the play of light and dark was just as it should be. The big difference in Madurai was his choice of local material but the spaces and the essence which had left us in awe in Sri Lanka were all there leaving us in wonder at the genius of this man!



Bawa was on ironically one of the biggest inspirations when we started designs on this house because we were still reeling from our trip to Sri Lanka. And here we are now with the splendid Heritage as out neighbour!

Hoping that this modest residence for two very private, simple people live upto its neighbour!



Thursday, May 9, 2019

Miss Beamish!

 

One of the brightest things in the studio is undoubtedly Ananya's smile. Full toothed, absolutely happy and totally infectious! You cant help but smile back and that too happily! 
You walk into the studio and if Ananya's not engrossed in her laptop, with her headphones on, working frantically to meet deadlines, you are certain to be smiling away just looking at her smile. 



Ananya is the Chief Marketing person, our ardent HR executive, the one who maintains all communications - between clients as well as between all of us. Maintaining peace and order especially in office and mostly between Sai and I as we 'discuss and debate' design ideas. So that smile of hers works like magic. 

You can feel it when you talk to her. You know there is that smile when you read her mails, you are happy and smiling like her when you go through her blogs. Her smile is her stamp and you will know it and will most likely be smiling now if you have met her, spoken to her or read er blogs. 


When Ananya got through the Teach For India program 2 months back and told us that she would want to give that a go, both Sai and I were truly happy for her and excited at her excitement. Its only when we sat back and thought about it that we realised how much we would miss her. Even now I cant imagine the studio without Ananya and her corner and that smile. 



But there is good news! Its Ananya and she can never miss out on anything so we will be graced with all of her 32 pearly whites every Saturday for sure and whenever else she is free and missing us which I am hoping is often :-) 
She would still be a part of Sandarbh. Managing all that she is involved and knowing her, a little more! 

The studio is ever transitioning for us  because of the number of interns who come in every semester. The constants for me in this has been Ananya, Harshita and Sulu. Now Harshita is not there and Ananya will not really be there. ( Sulu, ever so glad you are still there! ) 

Ananya, I am just glad right now that you are still in Bangalore and still with us! That smile of your will be something I so look forward to every weekend now! :-) 
Stay beamish always! 



Saturday, May 4, 2019

Nostalgia

It's been a year since I officially became a part of the Sandarbh family, a year since the day I got my confirmation for an internship.It feels like a lifetime ago, so much has happened since and yet I remember the day in vivid detail as though it was yesterday.
It was a lazy morning for we were done with our internals but I was still freaking out trying to find an internship. In a last ditch attempt I decided to call a few firms to follow up - Sandarbh coincidentally being the first. Owing to network issues I stepped out of the house and dialled the number to be greeted with Sai's voice on the phone. The interview as one would call it was shorter and more informal than I had been prepared for. The entire team sat around the phone and asked me about myseld, my work and my life. By the end of the conversation I was offered the internship and had accepted it too. I remember being completely overwhelmed. The moment I entered the house, I told my mom I got an internship , barely believing it myself. It perhaps took the rest of the day for that bit of information to settle in.
And that was that. I was a part of Sandarbh and it's been quite a journey - there were great days, a lot of good days and some that I'd rather not recall. I miss the morning meetings around Sai's table discussing work or the evenings we all spent together just chatting away. Each person had their own place in the office, their own role, their own quirks. There's so much one could write and yet one blog doesn't seem nearly enough.
Lots has happened since I came back home too - a lot of the on-going projects were wrapped up and new projects have started (some still in the design stage while others are already progressing on site). The Sandarbh family grows day by day (quite literally) and like any family, there have been some bitter sweet good-byes too. But goodbyes aren't forever and this blog is a proof of that. Slowly many anniversaries will follow and each will bring a fresh wave of nostalgia - first day at work, first site visit, first client meeting... A lot of firsts that I couldn't have even imagined. And maybe this is the first of many more blogs to come, many more memories to share, many more experiences to write about...

-Mannat 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Thank You For the Music ....



Its been a little over a year and half but it feel like Harshita has been at Sandarbh forever. So when she told us a few months back that she wants to take a break from work and leave, it took us all a little time to get used to. In fact, it didnt seem real to me at all though shes been counting backward since the last 2 months.
Its been more than a week now and its finally hitting me. Harshita is not here. 



Its a very conspicuous absence. I turn around as I always do to say something and Harshita is not there twiddling with her hair with one hand and typing away on her laptop with another. There is noone to laugh out loud with and exchange looks with when Sai says something incredulous. There is noone to intimidate and rattle the interns (and all others) with the most cut and dry statements. To top all this off, its quiet in the office now. 



Harshita and her legendary playlists are what we have been working to the tune of for the longest time now and suddenly there is no music and we dont know what to play! The Marshall must be wondering what has happened and is probably hoping that his keeper is back soon to manage him. She made me download the app to make sure that each song is played with the right bass and trebles but we have hardly been playing music and I havnt opened the app yet even!! (I will Harshita, I promise!!) 


Its not just the Marshall ..... its all of us echoing the same thoughts ..... We miss you already Harshita and its hardly 10 days! 
Take your long break, travel (dont plan it so much though), do nothing ... just laze with no thoughts, bake away (and try and send us some if you can), make more super playlists (and name them as imaginatively) and come back. I cant imagine so many things without you as part of it! Going out will never be the same .... Gigs will never be the same .... sigh! 



I'll stop because I can go on with this. Suddenly 1.5 years is quite a long long time. So many good times and amazing memories. 
Take care dude and all the very best for everything you want to do. We miss you .... keep coming back and we will build more happy times!! :-) 



Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Virtual Reality Kind of Day

We had a very interesting day at work yesterday. A two hour experience of actually walking through some demo projects and some of our own projects!

As usual, we at Sandarbh approached it as we do everything else. As Arjun put it - " I could do everything that I wouldnt have been able to do in a real life project ". In his case this meant to croucg down on the floor and look under the chairs and jump into a pool from the first floor!

It was a game for Inesh ( as is most things I think!!). He walked, turned in all directions, jumped, bend, dodged attacks from the building blocks and smiled happily throughout!

Everyone was in office during the presentation tried out the Virtual Reality experience. The ones who were out at sites or absent, totally missed it all! All of us started out skeptically but then moved to being happy and exuberent! Laughing, joking and making sure we didnt bump into each other while everyone around was egging you on!

The best part I think was our reactions when we walked through one of our projects. The experience was awesome! We realised that not just will this be a great presentation tool, it will be a better design tool! We could see and feel what it was to walk through something we had designed before it was done. In many cases, we probably had not visualised it as we were when we walked through the spaces.

All in all, it was a fantastic presentation. Darren and Jessica were full of information but fun and the product, very very interesting and innovative. It started conversations in the studio about design and the pros and cons.
Another good morning at Sandarbh .... :-)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Furry Friends in other Workspaces.


We like kittens almost as much as dogs.

As I grew up, it became very clear to me that people were either dog people or cat people. But then, in college, I was surrounded by friends who had cats in their homes and over a course of 4 years, I may have developed a soft corner for them.

Turns out, most people in the office are the same.

This was proven when a litter of kittens was found in our workshop and the first reaction my colleagues at the workshop had, was to inform us about them through a series of images capturing these wide-eyed babies nestled in their arms; and the subsequent reaction Sai had was to make sure that someone informed the workers at the workshop to take care of them.


I have no doubts about the fact the daily workshop visits that we happily undertake to ensure the progress of the carpentry work because of the opportunity they provide us to work and learn at the same time, will now become even more invigorating.

As an office that has no lack of animal interaction within the working space, it is no surprise, I guess, that our extended workspace would also find some furry four-legged friends.

Looking forward to keeping you updated.

As always,
Namitha.

Mathew's First Task at Work!

  Excited and looking forward to my new internship and assigned my first job into the internship, I walked into an office where the p...