DSP: designing to become trusted advisors and agents for change

“As a community, we need to realize the significance of sustainability in design and everyday life,” says Architect Mehul Shah
 Mehul Shah, an alumnus of Manipal University, is such an architect who always puts importance in imagination, art and sustainability in his designs. In an exclusive interview with ACE Update, Ar. Shah, Director and Founding Partner, DSP Design Associates Pvt. Ltd., shares his architectural journey, passion and commitment to make a better world.
Journey in architectureAfter graduation, I started working with my father, who was also a leading architect. In a couple of years, I partnered with Yatin and Bimal, who were also my fellow alumni from Manipal, to form DSP Design Associates Pvt. Ltd. which is currently in its 25th year.
We have come a long way and established ourselves in five cities across Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. In all these years, we have graduated from being architects and designers to becoming our clients’ trusted advisors and agents for change. 
Challenges facedWe help our clients work better through their offices and achieve their strategic goals. The biggest challenge is to exceed their expectations and deliver perfection each time. Another challenge is to hire and mentor the right expertise for our multi-disciplinary services and help them become the driving force of our business. At the end of the day, our work is about people — be it clients or our own team.
Memorable achievementsAlong with pursuing design, I indulge the adventure junkie in me — be it via extreme travelling, flying, scuba diving, or adventure sports.
Awards won• Presented with the Economic Times Acetech Award (2009) as leader of Indian infrastructure and construction. • Recognised by International “Who’s Who of Professional” (2004) for outstanding contribution.
Future outlook Having fairly established ourselves within India, we look forward to expanding externally and are working actively towards it. Very recently, we have been commissioned by Tata Housing to design their multi-use development in Colombo. This is our first step in the ASPAC zone, and we hope there will be no turning back.
The business sentiment in India is also changing positively, and we plan to take advantage of a lot of growth in our home turf as well. The clients are realising the significance of a sustainably designed facility, and we are doing many LEED certified and LEED compliant projects. We are entering new service verticals, engaging new clients and building up on our knowledge bank along the way.
Worst architectural designs• Lack of much needed attention to sustainability• Lack of urban planning — problems like infiltration, lack of basic infrastructure etc. • Non functional designs — be it buildings, interiors, or public places.
A conscious effort has to be taken by the government, policy makers, professionals and citizens alike to overcome these problems. As a community, we need to realize the significance of sustainability in design and everyday life. Nothing can be viewed in isolation but has to be dealt with on a macro level holistically.

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