With 25+ years of experience in architecture and interior design - Kulin Kapadia, Founder and Principal of Alcove Designs, offers research-based solutions to its designs.
A graduate in Architecture from the CEPT University – Ahmedabad to completing a design semester at the Bezalel School of Design in Jerusalem, Kulin’s foray into education continued to recently finish an Executive Management Course in Design Thinking from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.
Currently, Kulin is pursuing a course in Disruptive Strategy from the Harvard Business School.
Before incorporating Alcove Designs, Kulin worked with various local and international design houses to gain the appropriate experience.
Identifying and Working Towards Your Vision
In 2004, Ar Kulin Kapadia stumbled upon the book – “The New Office” By Francis Duffy, analysing new ways of working, new kinds of technology and the dissolving of boundaries between office and home to the innovative trends in products and services worldwide.
This was the turning point which defined a specialised career path toward workplace design for Kulin. At that time, Indian offices were designed per the client’s requirement list with aesthetic elements. Ar Kulin Kapadia realised that design was a process, and there was more to an office design than a basic requirement brief. It requires understanding the organisation's needs and the science behind workplace experience. A workplace design based on research eventually leads to creating experiences which reflect the organisation’s personality and enables employees to achieve their potential.
With this approach, Kulin got his first design research and strategy project for an Energy company’s campus development in 6,00,000 sqft in Pune. During the project, he was offered a partnership with an International design company’s India operations, further enhancing his managerial skills and widening his knowledge base for offices across Asia. This venture was for six years.
He set forth to lay the foundation of his current design practice - Alcove, with the simple objective of achieving clients’ goals. They approach each project with research-based solutions and strive to introduce new ways of productive working. Their portfolio includes Workplace Design, Hospitality, and Residential Design.
… Of Time, Quality and Value
The integration and combination of time, quality and value describe the working of Ar Kulin Kapadia.
Regardless of social situation, humans tend to form and live by tenets -absolute principles that stipulate how a person or entity should think or behave.
For Kulin, an avid marathon runner, time is one of the few sports where one competes with oneself for constant improvement. Time leads to self-discipline creating order and structure that allows him to regulate his day. He emphasises order and structure provide a sense of control and leads to self-discipline, the ability to do things on time, even when you don’t feel like it.
The second aspect is quality - beauty, aesthetics and appreciating all things that are put together well. It can be a painting, building, furniture or decorative object when considered in isolation and yet fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Aesthetics, a core design principle, defines its pleasing qualities, including balance, colour, movement, pattern, scale, shape and visual weight. Kulin applies this to projects he delivers, what he wears, and his daily life, which creates values. Fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. In a narrow sense, values are good, desirable, or worthwhile and the motive behind purposeful action. They are the ends to which we act and come in many forms. Kulin applies this to work and, in general, all other aspects of life, capturing its costs, benefits, worth, usefulness, and importance.
The Hybrid Workplace
Designing a hybrid office is a chance to reset priorities while discarding unnecessary legacy processes or programs. It is a business model combining remote and office work, which includes the onsite presence of a core group while others are free to come and go as they please, within reason.
In 1997 Francis Duffy wrote – The New Office, in which he identifies four office types based on the type of work. Alcove’s Custom Hybrid Solutions for your office are based on this idea.
They identify office types with their unique characteristics based on Work activity, Workstyles, and Company Culture, leading to specific design and spatial components. Based on it, they develop a Program framework (Space budget) and define relevant Data outputs (Area/Footprint, Desk-sharing ratios, the proportion of meeting rooms and semi-open collaboration areas etc.) It helps organisations have a unique hybrid solution integrating company culture and work styles backed with data while optimising real estate, cost savings, Employee Retention and Industry Agnostic.
Alcove developed an immersive, experimental, intelligent and personalised in-house custom software that offers unique solutions to clients adapting their workplaces to the time. Alcove aspires to build workplaces for employees to come together, meet, build a community, and foster deeper connections.
Technology and Design Collaboration
Alcove disrupted the design process with two major initiatives – Interactive Design and International Design Collaboration. Integrating digital technology and design fundamentally changes how they operate and deliver value to their customers. The introduction of VR in their designs to turn models into immersive 3D experiences eliminated the inconveniences of production by shortening the feedback loop.
Alcove utilises technology to collaborate with designers in Thailand and UK for global and distinct design solutions for their India projects, which sets them apart.
Awards and Accolades
With businesses shifting online, awards are getting increased exposure than ever. Alcove was listed as one of the 25 best architecture firms in Mumbai on Archello, an online platform for architecture and design with a mission to connect the whole built environment, making the industry more transparent and efficient. The Indian Review of World Furniture, Interior and Design (IFJ) and Index fairs recognised Alcove Designs at the INDEX FAIRS, JIO World Center, Mumbai. Indigrid, the award-winning interior project of Alcove, was showcased in Kudos Gallery.
Kulin says, “Appreciation and recognition are powerful motivators. They lead to an increase in performance, productivity, morale, employee retention and overall satisfaction.”
Indigrid’s interior workplace project was awarded the Best Luxury Office Interior Design in India by Luxury Lifestyle Awards, a global award selecting, recognising, celebrating and promoting the best luxury goods and services worldwide.
Alcove’s diverse and multicultural team includes quality design professionals, engineers, and associated MEP and allied consultants. Apart from leading the team of Alcove, Kulin is also the Managing Director -India at Paper Space Asia, an international venture offering collaborative design solutions to clients from Singapore, Thailand and The Phillippines.
The eminent clientele of Alcove spans India, UAE, UK, Germany and USA. It includes industry leaders like Facebook, LinkedIn, SONY Entertainment, Regus Business Centres, India Infoline, Spencer Stuart, Johnson & Johnson, EnerNOC, Sterlite Technologies and others.
Alcove has offices in Mumbai and New Delhi.