Pallavi MN

Director at Oculus Design Studio (Interview PART-1)

A series of questions were posed to Pallavi MN, an expert in the field of design, in order to learn more about the people behind the world of architecture. She bestowed upon us invaluable knowledge and insights into her career, which have defined the modern landscape of architecture in India. She has done her studies from Rvce college and has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of Workplace Design.

Journey so far

She was born and brought up in Bangalore and was inspired to work with spaces. It means a lot to her in terms of creating spaces in Bangalore and spreading that effect back to the global forum. She began her career at Atelier and worked there for nine years. Following that, she received an opportunity from Space Matrix. When she was interviewed for a specific project that was going to be one of a kind, which meant she had no idea how to do it, she jumped at the opportunity because she believed in the vision, which was all about making the workplace completely modular.

And this came to her knowledge when she was looking out for an opportunity. And then she saw this project and decided she had to be there and do it. Since she and her boss resonated together, she quickly jumped on board, and they completed that project without a hitch 10 years ago. And this was a rule for her because the chances of coming across a project with 100% modularity were nil at the time. They customized and introduced so many products globally that no one in Bangalore had ever seen them. So, she sees it with pride, but she has an enormous team behind her who did this with her.

Challenges faced

She enjoys problem solving. Her strength has always been problem solving. As she stated, one of her projects with a hundred percent modular was one of her biggest challenges ever because she wasn’t as experienced as she should have been for that project. But her boss believed in her and pushed her. And communication was the only way she got through. She truly believes that the devil is in communication. And if we go out there and communicate, you have no idea what kind of ideas come out of people, what kind of conversations trigger, what kind of ideas come together. That was her most important learning

Initiative that affected the organization as well as clients

She has two ways of looking at it. One is, as she said, the devil lies in communications; she is always the one who talks and listens. There’s no other way to put it than that she wants to hear and learn. She also wants others to pay attention to her. Specifically, the vendor and client conversations have greatly improved any situation that we are currently in. That’s the first.

Secondly, there’s always a larger picture that you have in mind. When you start a project or solve a problem, you always have a bigger picture in the back of your mind. But she truly believes that the devil is also in the details. Because of the micro to macro approach, when you start looking at details and then look at the big picture, you suddenly realize that you’ve resolved 90% of the issues that could arise. So that has been her forte. And she keeps urging everyone to approach problem solving in a way that moves from micro to macro.

Philosophies adopted

She always makes an effort to bring people together to talk, meet, and share. Whether managing a team or a client. She always prepares the situation so that she can listen and hear. And she believes that is where most conversations and larger thought processes emerge when you listen and absorb. That is one of her biggest philosophies.

Defining moment in your career

It’s been nearly 20 years, and there have been far too many defining moments. But the most incredible one was when she was collaborating with her leader and working on the project, she mentioned in space matrix. She considers that to be a defining moment and her most significant learning experience and Now as a Director at Oculus design studio where she is set out on a journey to create an impact and is walking on a vision to make a difference in the industry through her experience and knowledge.

Message to the aspiring people

She truly believes that designing space is more than just meeting data and requirements. She believes that catering to the human emotion itself is one of the biggest misses that happens most often. For example, that industry is now looking ahead and around to see how they can entice people to return to work. If they had started thinking that, how would they make the space respond to human emotion, to human needs? They woul’t have to think in that way. People want to work in the workplace because it is an extension of themselves.

Prior to COVID, people would spend between 80 and 85 percent of their time at work. But now that they’ve all recovered, they believe that there is a work-life balance that they need to consider. And now, when they want to bring a little bit of their home to work, they’ll want to have those living room conversations.

If you think about it, during COVID, each of us probably grew a jungle at our house because people understood the ordinance of the environment, what it really does to us. And making the space respond to a person’s emotions is the best way forward if we replicate or resonate the same thought process in our workplaces.

Changes that are needed in the industry

In terms of the way the industry is working, at the pace which we are working or growing that technology also is probably running in the same space, or maybe even more

than that. The only thing is we should not be looking at space that imbibes technology, we should make technology as the A of this. It’s part of what we are today. None of us can survive without this, and it’s not going to happen that we can spend two days of work on this. We don’t need a laptop. So, what if you create a space that allows anyone to walk in and spend their day as productively as possible without having to overcrowd the space with furniture, experiences, and everything else? We can make it as simple as possible. To be continued>>