Partner, Design Accord Consultants (Interview Part – 1)
Vipul Singh, CEO of Design Accord Consultants, passed from SPA Delhi in 1998 with a master’s degree in product design. After that, he worked briefly for 2.5 years with Noted Designer, MR. Kedar in 2001, this Vipul partnered with Madhup Mazumder, Design Accord Consultants and successfully designed many projects including Hotels, Resort, and Malls. hospitals, institutions, and now airports in different parts of our country. He has worked on various international projects including South East Asian and the Middle East countries.
This complete information is from an interview of The Best Creator (TBC) with Vipul Singh as TBC took the initiative to approach leading personalities of the architectural industry and collaborate with them to share their valuable thoughts which can enlighten the coming youth generation into the architectural field.
He stated that I feel that Design should be SIMPLE and easy to understand for clients, believe me, it’s the most difficult thing to do as simplicity also involves refiness in design, detailing, and sense of proportions.
According to Vipul, achieving simplicity in design is quite challenging. This is because simplicity doesn’t mean stripping things down; it also requires a lot of effort, thought, and refinement to create something simple but effective.
Secondly, the design should be practical as whatever you design is going to be used for the long term whether it’s an architectural or product design, and it can take the test of TIME.
When designing something, it’s crucial to consider how it will be used over the long term. Practical design ensures that the object or structure serves its intended purpose efficiently and effectively. Additionally, the design should be timeless, and able to withstand changes in trends and preferences over time. This means that the design should not only be functional now but also remain relevant and useful in the future, standing the test of time.
It is critical to consider how something will be used in the long run when a designer designs it. The object or structure’s practical design guarantees that it accomplishes its intended purpose efficiently and effectively.
Additionally, the design should be timeless, with the ability to endure changes in trends and tastes throughout time. This means that the design should not only be effective right now, but it should also be relevant and valuable in the future, withstanding the test of time.
Vipul briefs his implementations which impacts the efficiency of his organization and clients that we follow strict stages of designs and their approvals from clients before we move to the next level.
Because, this is the importance of a systematic and client-focused approach to design, ensuring that the final product meets the client’s needs and expectations while maintaining quality and efficiency throughout the process.
He continues, no, two projects are not identical – hence each project requires a new approach. We try to first understand the client and then the requirements of the projects – However, we have made it a point to narrow down the SOP’s and SOW’s, so that there is not much to ponder.
Moreover, we have trained ourselves to be PATIENT with the clients and also inform them if we are breaching the date of commitment due to design which is good communication, and mostly it’s our design that we get satisfied and then move forward with the final decision. Good Communication is what we keep with the client at all stages.
Vipul replied that there are three main learnings, being a designer, being patient with your client, communicating well with them, and being honest with your design which you want to pass on to others.
Designing a particular project can be complex, and sometimes clients may not have a clear idea of what they want initially. You need to be patient and understanding, guiding the client through the process and helping them articulate their needs and preferences.
He continues, that clear and open communication is essential for making a project successful. So, we should listen carefully to their clients’ requirements which helps us in ensuring both parties are on the same page and reduces the chances of misunderstandings.
Honesty in design means we have to be true to the principles of good design and should not compromise on quality or integrity for the sake of convenience or expedience.
Vipul said that the first and foremost challenge is fixing the fees i.e. NEGOTIATION! But, as time changes and obviously with age, we have learned a bit to make the client come to a mutually agreeable fee or we also have learned to say NO to the project if the client is not understanding the fact.
We should learn strategies to handle this challenge better as this includes being able to guide the client towards a fee that both parties find agreeable. And, learn to say ‘No’ to the project mutually because this indicates a level of professional confidence and a willingness to prioritize projects that align with their values and expertise.
And, when two/too many people are there in contact for the particular project from the client’s side, it becomes very difficult to satisfy them and keep them in the loop accordingly- hence we have almost closed on residence interiors as it is difficult day by day with INTERNET and people not zeroing on to a design for a very long time.
Project execution we do not undertake as we want to focus on design only as we have observed that execution is a difficult ballgame if one has to do it properly – it’s at least not our cup of tea.
On this Vipul Singh replied, when we design any type of space, our clients are appreciative of the fact that we approach the project on a holistic level, keeping in mind all the details and also MEP considerations, and site limitations. A more integrated and efficient design can be created by the designer by taking into account all the requirements and specifics up front.
Generally, design at the concept level gets approved in the first or second effort itself. By taking into account all requirements and specifications in advance, the designer may create more designs which can be approved usually on the first or second try.
At times, we prompt the client of the problems that might crop up later as our designs are simple aesthetically appealing, and also pocket-friendly. They not only meet the client’s immediate needs but also anticipate and mitigate future problems.
Vipul stated we keep ourselves updated by constantly traveling around the country or internationally sometimes. We are very good at documenting and so we have documented our travels and they become our references. Documenting these journeys allows one to build a library of references that can be used for inspiration and advice in their work connected to trends and designs. These travel experiences and observations can help to broaden one’s viewpoint and deepen one’s understanding of other cultural influences, which can then enrich one’s creativity and design sensibilities.
Also, we have taken our team members on international trips, fully sponsored by Design Accord, so that they get international exposure.
Vipul said there is more than one defining moment like when his furniture design was appreciated and awarded by a jury on an international platform which means his design was recognized for its creativity, innovation, or other notable qualities, which is a significant achievement in the field of furniture design. This recognition could also potentially boost his reputation and open up new career opportunities.
He continued, that the second defining moment was when his tile design was internationally appreciated in Italy and was duly acknowledged. This recognition likely marked a turning point in his career which led to personal development and signified a significant achievement and validation of his talent and hard work. The acknowledgment of work in Italy, known for rich artistic and design traditions, which adds further weight to the significance of this moment for him.
Vipul said, there are a few things that have to be changed in our industry the first and foremost most needed change is the standardization of project Fees, based on some guidelines as this is today the biggest pullback of the industry. Standardized fees cover various stages of a project, such as initial design, detailed drawings, project management, etc.
He suggests that architects should establish clear guidelines for fees that could help streamline business practices, improve transparency, and foster a more stable and prosperous industry environment.
Secondly, the Architects are forced to quote so low just to become L1 to get the project, thereby not leaving anything to inspire them to come up with extraordinary designs.
The contractors should have certificates of specialization as today anybody can claim to be a contractor hence leading to non-standardization of rates and quality of work. These should be certificates or documents that indicate a contractor’s specialized training, expertise, or qualifications in a specific area of construction.
Vipul gave a few tips for the coming generation of aspiring architects that newcomers should focus on detailings of designs and leave nothing to change because detailing in architectural design involves the process of adding intricate elements which includes everything from the accurate dimensions to the selection of building materials and finishes.
He continues, that New-gen architects should Design first and use Technology later because this advocates a balanced approach to design, where technology is seen as a supportive tool rather than the driving force behind the architectural designing process which encourages architects to prioritize creativity, innovation, and critical thinking in their designs, using technology as a means to facilitate and improve their ideas rather than as a substitute for them.
Vipul stated that in this competition-driven industry, my only recommendation is that vendors should not over-commit their services. Rather, vendors should more precisely evaluate their resources and capabilities, be open and honest with consumers about what they can accomplish, and concentrate on providing high-quality services within their limits. This strategy fosters client trust and has the potential to produce sustained success in the field.
He suggested that turnkey contractors should read the drawings carefully before quoting – and if there are no drawings for any project then they should go through detailed discussion with the client when you quote. They ought to undertake the task of comprehending the project requirements with diligence. To ensure successful project execution and give correct quotations, thoroughness is crucial, whether it is achieved through meticulous inspections and talks in the absence of architectural drawings or by rigorous analysis of drawings.
On asking about leadership, Vipul replied that I believe that success needs to be shared with the team. When there are failures, do not blame any individual but again it’s a collective failure as team spirit is most important.
Leadership should prioritize teamwork, accountability, and a constructive approach to both success and failure. It reflects an understanding that effective leadership is not just about individual achievements but also about fostering a strong team dynamic.
He continues, investing time and money in a team leads to good relations and long-term associations, so, we should focus on it. A leadership approach that values the team as a key asset and recognizes the importance of investing in its development for long-term success.