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Forbes India ‘The Bold Club: India’s Top 30 Architects’ Powered by Kohler includes the journeys of prominent and influential architects making an impact in the country and across the globe in their own unique way. This annual initiative is an effort to recognise and promote bold leadership and foster authenticity and passion to inspire innovation.

Design Forum International

It was 1995 when three friends, fresh out of college, decided to take a big chance on a long-shot idea. Anand Sharma, Goonmeet Chauhan and Anoj Tevatia had just graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, when they decided to launch their architecture firm. “Fortunately, the shot worked,” says Sharma, founder and partner, Design Forum International.

Twenty-six years later, their partnership and the business are going strong. The New Delhi-based firm has worked on numerous projects across 22 states, and overseas in Nepal, Seychelles and Kenya.

The transition from being a startup working on small family homes, primarily in NCR, to becoming a countrywide player occurred over time and was threefold. The growth of long-term clients associated with real estate, foraying into government-funded projects and taking up large-scale projects of national importance helped them become less prone to business cycles and contribute to nation-building.

Doing meaningful architecture with the end-users’ requirements has been the company’s mission since its evolution. “We want to do things which contribute to the built form, contribute to the user experience, become useful additions to the urban landscape while being true to the immediate socio-cultural and physical context,” says Sharma.

Select CityWalk, New Delhi, is one such project that was designed with the foresight of people’s needs and behaviours. The Dakshineswar Skywalk in Kolkata was designed to improve congestion-related issues en route to the Dakshineswar Kali Temple.

The firm is currently involved with several critical public-sector projects, including the New Integrated Terminal Building at Guwahati International Airport and the National Institute of Technology in New Delhi.

Sharma feels built environments are being created in an unsustainable way and require change. “What is needed is to re-densify the development in such a manner so that the central portions of the city are more low rise, pedestrian-friendly, more open, and vehicle-free,” says Sharma.

By Darielle Britto

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