The Future of the Commute: Science fact, not fiction

(Futuristic traffic from Luc Bresson’s ‘The Fifth Element’)
(Futuristic traffic from Luc Bresson’s ‘The Fifth Element’)

In the 2011 film ‘In Time’, in the dystopian future, the currency humans will hold in high value won’t be money – it would be time. And humans would be able to determine how much of it they’ve got left by just looking at the digital time stamp embedded into their forearms. It occurred to me that in this fictional universe, we won’t be spending all our time being hurled into the middle of a fast-paced action scene. We’d most likely be spending a great deal of it in traffic, during our daily commute. Imagine living in this constant state of urgency – watching the countdown to your life, as you’re helplessly stuck at a signal. Several studies today have established that there is a connection between mental health, productivity at work and the time we spend commuting. All of this distress would be further amplified with a clock ticking away at you. It wouldn’t just impact the quantity of life lost, but also the quality of it. There is no amount of coffee and good lighting in the office that can make up for this loss.

Now, if this is the world of the future, the way we’d get to work would also be drastically different. That space-age commute we dreamt of in sci-fi novels isn’t too far into the future. As of today, with just a few swipes on a touchscreen, you can conjure a cab right at your doorstep. Unfortunately, ride-sharing apps don’t solve everything. During the recent Ola and Uber strikes, the roads suddenly opened up, allowing for quicker travelling. It wasn’t just because of a drop in the number of cars on the road. There was also a larger ratio of experienced, better-trained drivers, leading to improved traffic discipline. And that’s the kind of gettable future I picture – seamless movement with minimal scope for human error. If you remove the human element out of the equation, then traffic would just flow according to precise mathematical algorithms – a very valid possibility, considering Google’s driverless car project is already underway. Car makers like Ford, Volvo and Toyota have also been testing their own autonomous vehicle prototypes.  

Some companies are even taking the next time in self-driving car technology – combining the convenience of ride-sharing apps with an intelligent autopilot system. For instance, NuTonomy, a software firm in Singapore, recently tested a fleet of autonomous taxis. These are kitted up with LiDAR sensors and dash-cams, to detect pedestrians and other road users out of its way. Besides safety, it eliminates another cause of distress – finding a parking spot. To paint you a clearer picture, the future is an electric-fuelled smart car, shuttling between offices – on a route optimised for the quickest commutes. Or even the air taxi, which Uber is already experimenting with in some markets.

Speed, however, will not be the only advantage of this new world. Since you’d be travelling on autopilot, your work could begin as soon as you get out of your driveway. You could already get started on your tablet, access WiFi from the car, or remotely carry out video conferences. You could even conduct a physical conference – a high possibility, since driverless cars would not need a steering wheel, eliminating the front seat/back seat configuration, in favour of a configuration that allows all passengers to face each other. Your ride to work could be your remote, mobile workspace. The quality of your day at work is bound to improve when you have already reduced the time you spend commuting and the stress levels involved.

The trends on the road will dictate the way we’d design our offices too. Some concepts which we consider indispensable right now, might become obsolete – the parking space, for instance. All office buildings in large cities are built over a basement parking. Some futuristic articles predict that the basement parking may be converted to an underground tunnel connecting all offices – for the shuttles to move more efficiently, without disrupting other commuters above ground. Another consideration that designers will have to take into account is the fuel of the future. We are slowly moving from carbon-based fuels to electric and hybrid energy. Charging stations for plug-in cars will become a mandate for most offices.

Data sharing tech has also spawned another possibility – the exit of the 9 to 5 work culture. That’s the basis of the rush-hour traffic. Since anyone with a security pass will be able to procure documents from any location, work can begin and end at one’s own convenience. This means that an office building would have to operate at all hours of the day too – since team members could be given access to the building in small batches. This would allow a company owner to expand the manpower without having to expand office space. Here, time would work as a dimension – where you literally make the most of the hours in a day, rather than just stretching the space. The number of resources needed to support a team that works in shifts would also reduce – leading to less investment on behalf of the company. This is an environment that would allow smaller businesses to thrive.

The leaps in technology are not just here to turn us into a sedentary species. Electric-assisted bicycles have made pedalling to work easy too. This aspect of technology would allow us to use our commute to get more active and adopt a healthier routine. Workspaces would, of course, have to change to accommodate this lifestyle as well. Some offices today have already started offering gym facilities in the building. This cycling trend would eliminate the need to allocate large areas to heavy fitness equipment. Instead, shower cubicles would suffice, for team members to freshen up in, before they head to their desk.

An overall raise in the standard of living is a dream that technology has made possible. But what I look at is an improved quality of one’s life. Better work-life balance, fitter and thus happier people, fewer hours in the office with each minute spent more productively – these are the factors that make me think that the future world may not be a dystopia. These sci-fi films have perhaps got it all wrong. While the machines carry out our everyday tasks, humans will still be doing human things – emoting, creating and surviving. But not just barely – we’d be able to unlock the full extent of our human potential, using the machines as just an aid, not a replacement for us. So even if my currency in the future is time – I’d spend less time staring at the countdown on my arm, and more time doing things.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in the years.”

Success Needs A Sense of Purpose… And This Book Book Name: Catalyst, Author: Chandramouli Venkatesan

JTCPL Catalyst Image

When I first met Chandramouli Venkatesan a few years ago over a cup of tea, I had high expectations, because he had a reputation for depth and wisdom. He did not disappoint. His extensive experience as business leader, together with his natural inclination for teaching and mentorship gave him a remarkable vantage point that led to fascinating insight. He mentioned that he had developed a program that could help corporate folks maximise their career potential. It was a three hour session called ‘Tee Off with Mouli’ which he has taken to scores of organisations, with some stellar feedback and outcomes.

Some time later, I discovered that he had developed this session into a book, called ‘Catalyst’. This immediately made it a must-read. Then a video popped up on my timeline. It featured the venerable D. Shivakumar, former CEO of Pepsi and Nokia and someone I have looked up to, giving some stellar career advice. It turned out the video was part of the clever promotion of Mouli’s book. Now I knew I had to drop everything and get my hands on it.

I promptly did just that. I finished reading the book cover to cover in one sitting, which I don’t recall having done for any book in a long while. At that point, it came as no surprise that ’Catalyst’ is a bestseller. I may have contributed a teensy bit to that, because I made sure to get every member of my team their own copy of the book.

The theme of the book is built around the thought that although most of us are presented with the ingredients that lead to a successful career, these ingredients are not sufficient by themselves. Mouli underlines the importance of certain ‘catalysts’ – organized actions and behaviours, that help in converting the available ingredients into ‘real’ individual growth, ultimately leading to the desired career growth.

The book lays out the structure and principles of career growth, the various moving parts of this structure illustrated with examples and anecdotes and then a behavioural recipe that brings all of these into sustainable action. Most management books tend to offer either high strategy or utilitarian advice, in mutually exclusive ways. Mouli’s mix of motivation, action framework and pragmatic to-dos make this an excellent guide to build and strengthen a career, and one that is equally suited for leaders as it is for team members that are fresh into their careers.

A few ideological choices that the book makes resonated very deeply with me. The idea that how you live your life impacts work rather than vice versa, the concept of learning cycles, the fundamental need for pristine honesty and humility as catalysts to leadership, the important role that bosses and mentors play in shaping not just your foundational years but enduring success as well, among many others. I could validate much of all this from my own experiences, and Mouli’s articulate exposition crystallizes these beliefs very effectively.

Perhaps, the most striking thought in the book is Mouli’s concept of the TMRR module, which stands for ‘target, measure, review, and reflect’. Most of us stop after the first three steps, but the book emphasises that a small amount of effort invested into mulling over   “what could I have done better?” is what may extract the most learning from an initiative or project. In fact, Mouli goes one step further to exhort us to reflect on each day’s activities, to build a continuous process. He even has a cool trick, the idea of ‘anchoring’ the habit of reflection in a daily routine to make it an automated act.

Each chapter ends with an actionable summary under the “Unleash the Catalyst” This act of repetition, rather than being a drag, actually helps change gears and get the reader into an  implementation mindset. In fact, as Mouli rightly says in the last chapter, the more you read a book, the better it will build conviction. In that vein, I’m going to read Catalyst again.

Evolution of Workspaces – Part II

The innovation in technology has led to a sort of renaissance in the office landscape (and culture).

In less than three decades, the authoritative, monochrome, rigid workspace that allowed minimum interaction has evolved into an aesthetically appealing, open, responsive, flexible one.

Anyone from the ‘80s and ‘90s will not recognise an office, as we know it, today. That was a  time when most offices would have the same format as either a maze of cubicles or huge desks lined in rows. Work was mostly a somber affair with people crammed into cubicles. Modes of documentation were typewriters, and of communication were typed letters and landlines. Then there were fax machines and other bulky equipment that ensured one was chained to the desk. And recreation? That was catching up on the grapevine by the water cooler.

Third Bridge - copyright JTCPL Designs
Third Bridge – copyright JTCPL Designs

Workspaces have evolved like computer processors have over the years. Earlier (in the ‘50s), a single computer would fill up an entire room. Now, an average workspace in corporate India has more IT / Telecom processing power than the Pentagon had 30 years ago.

We owe a great deal of what we see today to the IT revolution that changed the way we work and exist in an office environment. Global IT giants like Microsoft and GE introduced the office spaces that at that time felt otherworldly. They brought in their global architects that changed the way workspaces looked, inside, and out.

Brookfield, copyright JTCPL Designs
Brookfield, copyright JTCPL Designs

The transformation of the workplace has been a direct result of how technology reduced and practically eliminated bulk from the office desk. The desktop PC replaced typewriters and fax machines. E-mail and chat messengers reduced paperwork, and calls. Soon, the bulky desktop became a laptop, and then a pad. Landline telephones were made redundant by the onset of mobile phones. The mobile phone only became smarter replacing the computer altogether. With video-call, WhatsApp, e-mail, and a suite of office apps at the press of a button, one could be accessible anywhere, everywhere, and work remotely from a café, or even at home. The shackles attached to the desk have now been completely shattered.

ICBC, copyright JTCPL Designs
ICBC, copyright JTCPL Designs

The challenge for the leadership now is to bring the team member back to the workspace. Only good coffee and WiFi doesn’t make the cut. The office is now designed keeping the needs of the modern workforce in mind.  The office now needs to be a place where unbound occupants feel comfortable, can hang out with like-minded people, and where all their needs are met. It inspires and gets their creative juices flowing, an office they would love to keep coming back to, and even boast about. Additionally, it proves to be a great USP for recruits looking for ‘cool places to work’, on job search portals.

Deutsche Bank, copyright JTCPL Designs
Deutsche Bank, copyright JTCPL Designs

The contemporary office space often reflects not only the industry, but also the mood of the current workforce through bold colours and graphic elements, ample glass walls, and hip décor. It doesn’t stop there. The workspace and meeting rooms can resemble a whole different world made to recreate the outdoors, the inside of a subway metro, or a cool café, or even that of a spaceship.

Deutsche Bank, copyright JTCPL Designs
Deutsche Bank, copyright JTCPL Designs

Offices like Google, Swatch, Skype, Facebook, have ensured that their culture is immediately made apparent through their interiors. Google has a slide instead of a stairway. One of the biggest draws is the recreation or breakaway space. Here team members get to interact and mingle with co-workers over something other than work.  Some have game consoles, to pool tables, to ones like Infosys that has an actual bowling alley on the premises. With ‘perks’ like these, why would anyone want to go home?

Picture Courtesy: Glassdoor.com
Picture Courtesy: Glassdoor.com

And what makes the interiors more fun? Furniture that is as evolved as the interiors leading to an aesthetically inviting space. Breaking away from the traditional seating arrangement, many offices have an open plan where people can sit wherever they want to, or even huddle together, in working corners.

KBS House, copyright JTCPL Designs
KBS House, copyright JTCPL Designs

Some offices have replaced chairs with swings. Often, the chairs and tables are not just a work of art, but modular, multi-functional, and most importantly, ergonomic incorporating an element of wellness to it. Heard of the standing desk? It has proved to be beneficial for those who use them and studies have shown that excessive sitting is the new smoking.

The Future is Here

Picture courtesy: Wired.com
Picture courtesy: Wired.com

Why carry your laptop, when your meeting table can be the Microsoft touchscreen tablet table?

Picture courtesy: Bondstreet.com
Picture courtesy: Bondstreet.com

Kinetic Furniture – This is the future of modular furniture. It is a technological innovation that involves robotics in the design of furniture. Kinetic furniture is responsive and reactive. They are fully automated and can adjust their positions in the most optimal manner, and strikingly gorgeous to look at.  

Picture courtesy: Bondstreet.com
Picture courtesy: Bondstreet.com

The levitating coffee table, that looks like an oversized Rubik’s cube is a marvel in kinetic furniture where science meets luxury.

 

Creating a Co-working Community

A black and white television, a typewriter and closed-door cabins; the one thing these three have in common is that they’re all outdated. Young India is all about latest gadgets, coolest apps and an unconventional way of thinking. It is not just one’s lifestyle; the Indian economy is also facing a substantial change in its structure, owing to the spike in start-ups. This start-up generation has also influenced the new working environment of co-working spaces. With the rising cost of the commercial estate, co-working spaces such as WeWork, Awfis Space Solutions, The Playce, Mumbai Coworking, Bombay Connect, The Hive, etc, come as a breath of relief to the ones high on passion and expertise but low on business capital.

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Branded co-working spaces have seen an impressive hike in 2017 with a 40%-50% increase in such facilities to reach a million square feet in India. These co-working spaces are expected to grow four-fold by 2020. The leasing model of co-working spaces allows a provider to rent out desks/conference rooms on an hourly basis. The low rates make it an easy option for startups trying to keep the operational costs low.
Source: mumbaicoworking.co

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Not just branded co-working spaces, multiple restaurants have also now started renting out space to professionals during the day with redeemable offers and a nominal fee. Starbucks has been providing it for a while now but other brands are catching up and with better-renting options too. These restaurants and cafes are also focusing on providing a semblance of privacy and personal space. Founders Tashi Dorjee and Robert Walker launched TwoSpace in Australia late last year with one simple goal: to make use of already available empty spaces. For instance, in India, the ‘Social’ circuit in Mumbai has enabled the millennial crowd to work where they chill and work while they chill too.

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Most of the Co-working spaces offer options of hot desk, dedicated desk or a team box for 5 to 50 people. The key lies in making a layout which is flexible and can be reconfigured based on the market demand.  Also, what really attracts startups and young entrepreneurs to a space such as this is the ample networking opportunities that it presents. Hence, the design needs to incorporate multiple collaborative and huddle spaces which would help in bringing people together. 

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With branded co-working spaces catering to a wide range of businesses across industries, it is imperative that a deeper understanding is applied to designing them. The generation that is driven by innovation & invention and demands a working environment that represents just that.

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My team and I have recently completed the latest Regus project & it was unique in its own way. With projects such as this, while the brief about the structure remains unchanged, there are multiple variables that no one can account for in advance. How a team reacts to these variables is what makes all the difference in the outcome. On this project, like most others, we were racing against time & it is only our disciplined approach that helped us deliver within time and beyond expectations.

 

Evolution of Workspaces – Part 1

Architecture has been a crucial part and an indicator of the evolution of civilisations through time. If history is any proof, right from the start, architecture has remained well-woven with both, cultural and industrial growth in and around human life. This has also led to a monumental growth in workspace design.

Workspace design has the potential for exponential growth and advancement. And, while we’re celebrating new milestones in the field every day, it is important for us to look back and appreciate where it comes from and how tremendously it has grown. As a perpetual student of architecture, there are certain ancient architectural practices that caught my attention and interest, Roman architecture being one of them.

What intrigued me the most about ancient Roman architecture was its adaptable nature and how it catered to the requirements of a well-functioning workspace. It is no secret that Roman architecture was heavily inspired by the Greeks whom they regarded as their superiors in all visual arts. However, the Romans pursued a utilitarian approach in every piece of work. What made their creations stand out was their in-depth attention to practical applications of the buildings that were fortified by their flair for engineering and construction. Speaking of fortifying, it wasn’t just engineering that the Romans aced, innovation and invention favoured them as well. For instance, the Roman invention of concrete, in the 3rd century BCE encouraged architects to be bolder in their design. It didn’t just change the way buildings were designed then, but also helped expedite Rome’s role in inspiring engineering and architecture for centuries to come.

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The Romans built many commendable structures but the ‘Forum’ or more famously known as ‘Forum Romanum’ has the most significance for me and anyone trying to learn more about and bring dynamic innovation in workspace designs. The Forum was the centre of everything in Rome, probably the first ever co-working space the world has seen. It was a place for social gatherings, religious ceremonies, but more than anything it became the centre of trade in Rome. This open-space architecture that amalgamated the social, political and business needs of the people in ancient Rome is only ancient by its time of creation. The relevance of it is still evident as most offices that we see today follow the open-floor designs combining the practical needs of a business with the social needs of its team.

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When I think about the interiors of the Roman workspaces, the ‘Basilica’ immediately comes to mind. The large public building was utilised for all business and legal matters. A public basilica formed a part of settlements that were categorised as a city. There was a huge similarity between this and the medieval covered market houses of northern Europe; where the meeting rooms were set above the arcades to derive optimal utilisation of the urban space. Basilicas varied in forms but usually contained space-dividing interior colonnades providing aisles and arcaded spaces on both sides and an arch at one end. The surrounding sides were lower as compared to the wide aisle in the centre which allowed light to enter through the clerestory windows. The space optimisation techniques used in that era hold prominence even in today’s time with new startups and businesses growing faster than ever. The best contemporary example of this would be the growing co-working spaces that are expected to receive up to $400 million in investment and set to reach over 1 million sq. ft. of leased ‘alternative’ workspaces in India, by the end of 2018.
Source: en.wikipedia.org
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While we may have just started adapting our work cultures to open and co-working spaces, there’s still a lot to explore, try and implement in this area. It will take time as all great things do but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

 

An Outlier’s Route To Success

For a few years now, reading has become more than a hobby. Every time I find myself looking for inspiration, I turn to books and they never disappoint. One such book is Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, which over time, has become my annual read and manages to leave my belief in human potential strengthened every single time.

In this book, Gladwell emphasises on the factors that create success stories. According to Gladwell, one must never ask what successful people are like but where they’re from. He focuses on elements that are at the heart of transformations that turn ordinary individuals into ‘outliers.’ His theory highlights how the time, the place and the environment someone is born in impacts the individual’s chances of attaining success. He elaborates his claims with examples that include the journey of ‘Outliers’ such as Bill Gates, Bill Joy, The Beatles, and even top hockey stars. Gladwell’s research reveals that in the seventh grade, Bill Gates attended a private school where he was given almost unlimited access to programming on the newest type of computer available. By eighth grade, Bill Gates was spending his entire week learning to program on a system that was very costly, and at a time when computers were a rarity even on college campuses. According to Gladwell, if Gates wasn’t given access to this computer, he would still be smart but probably not one of the richest men in the world.

The other important aspect of this book is the 10,000-hour rule, now, this is what brings the book together. While the external factors play an imminent role in providing the right opportunities to the individual it is up to them to realise the potential and put in the hard work that could turn it into success. Gladwell advocates that it takes 10,000 hours of practice for anyone to master a skill & what these hours comprise of, determines the chances of success for them. For instance, between 1960-1964, The Beatles, one of the most famous bands in history, performed a total of 1200 shows which in total amounted to more than 10,000 hours. The Beatles had immense talent and ensuring they perfected their skills by putting in the maximum effort is what brought them success.

Quoting Gladwell, “Those three things — autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward — are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfils us”. He further says, “I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I’m guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that’s worth more to most of us than money.” The example stood out for me because of the point it brings forth and also because I can personally attest to how fulfilling my professional life as an architect is.

Being someone who believes hard work can take you a long way, I concur with Gladwell and believe that success is not an esoteric domain. Anyone can turn an opportunity into success given they recognize it at the right time and keep working towards achieving their goal. 15 years ago, when I started JTCPL Designs, I envisioned turning it into one of the top workspace design companies across the globe. Fast forward to today and we’re designing workspaces for some of the world’s biggest names & business houses across continents. This has only been possible because of the hard work and efforts of my team at JTCPL Designs and also because we were able to seize most opportunities that came our way.

Gladwell largely speaks of the effect someone’s time and place of birth can have on their chances of success. While those factors had valid applications back then, they certainly do not anymore. The lack of opportunities and the limitations on having access to them is going down rapidly every single day. There hasn’t been a better time to be one’s maximum self because unlike the yesteryears, this is the era of abundance. I believe, in this day and age, success is not exclusive to a select few and anyone who seeks it has the means to achieve it one way or another. And they can do so by bringing into practice my 5Ds of success: Dream, Dare, Discipline, Determine and Deliver (you can read more about it here).

‘Outliers’ has the power to change the way you perceive success as a destination, a result & show you the journey it truly is. I strongly recommend you give it a read.

 

Launching 2018 with 5 Multiplier Strategies

2018 has begun on a positive note for JTCPL Designs and a lot of it has to do with the change that we implemented into the business over the last few years. Technology, innovation and a deeper understanding of the human mind are seeing advancements every day & we at JTCPL Designs can’t help but be inspired. So as we look forward to 2018, here are a few things that you can expect to see become a part of our legacy of workspace designs.

  1. Art & Graphics
    Delivering a successful project to one of the foremost global creative agencies early on gave us the added advantage of learning and adapting to the needs of the creative minds. A number of researchers around the globe have also proven its positive impact on productivity and overall health of the team. That’s why, while the workspace designs we create are highly functional we are consciously driven towards making art & graphics a mandatory inclusion in our workspace designs.
    art and graphics 2 art and graphics
  1. Greenscape
    Besides adding to the aesthetics of the office, planters can help reduce stress & increase creativity. They also help reduce health problems by providing cleaner air which in turn enables higher productivity. Dr. Chris Knight and his team have been studying the issue for 10 years, & have concluded that team members were 15% more productive when “lean” workplaces are filled with just a few houseplants, as team members who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers. We highly recommend this to all our clients as it is cost-effective and the positive outcome at team level benefits the overall business too.

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  1.  Acoustics
    In a workspace, communication is the key and that is why paying special attention to the acoustics in a work environment is a must. Julian Treasure, one of the most sought-after speakers, studies sound and advises businesses on how to best use it. I happened to witness one of his talks in which he mentioned how noise can affect co-workers in the workspace by making them less helpful, less collaborative and reducing their productivity. Sadly, a majority of the Indian market doesn’t pay any heed to the importance of incorporating acoustics in design as yet. JTCPL Designs hopes to change this scenario one project at a time.

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  1.  Engagement
    One of the major problems offices with huge structures face is the engagement within one team and multiple teams altogether. Intelligent workspace designs help enhance the benefits and cut down on the drawbacks of such offices. With our projects extending over 3 continents, the work culture and nature of different MNCs everywhere have motivated us into acquiring a deeper understanding and inculcating the practical application of modern technology in design. Different areas such as the meeting rooms, open workspace areas, and lounge areas all have stark differences in their functions and effects on the work culture. Hence, striking the right balance between them with regards to design and technology is what we aspire to achieve in our future projects.

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  1.  Leadership
    While physical modifications to workspaces can bring out a drastic difference in various aspects of the business, nothing affects it more than effective leadership. Leadership helps define and lay the groundwork for the work culture of any office. Interacting with leadership from the client’s end and incorporating their vision with ours has always borne fruitful results which is why we aim to continue this practice for all our future projects.

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 Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, we agree and we’re just getting started.

An ode to the Indian Masters

India as a country possesses a rich heritage of ancient and modern art and architecture. For decades both of these have been admired by experts and art lovers equally across the globe. Art and architecture aren’t too different, in fact I’ve always found one to inspire the other. So before the year ends, I thought of sharing with you my favourite Indian masters, the ones who inspire and leave me in awe with their magic on canvas.

  1. Vasudeo S. Gaitonde
    The Padma Shri award winning artist was regarded as one of India’s foremost abstract painters. Gaitonde was often known to give away his paintings as gifts for free, paintings that are now valued in millions. Humility combined with sincerity and genuine passion for art make him one of my all time favourite Indian masters.
    vasudeo_gaitonde-1                                                                  Source: www.rediff.com

    vasudeo_gaitonde-2                                                   Source: www.contemporaryindianart.com
  2. Jehangir Sabavala
    He was known as a talented artist and a charming gentleman. Having grown in a highly intellectual environment of Parsi aristocracy, he turned out to be one of the best trained and  accomplished painters of his generation. He was known to practise modernist style with a deep & classical influence. Sabavala’s attention to detail is what makes his work stand out.

    jehangir-sabavala-the-casuarina-line-i                                                                  Source: http://www.artnet.com

    Jehangir-Sabavala-Dark-Silhouettes-The-Moon-2003-Oil-on-Canvas                                                                  Source: blog.artsome.com

  3. Manjit Bawa
    Majit took inspiration from people, nature and life around him. He was known for his vibrant paintings as well as his love of spirituality, and particularly of Sufi philosophy. Most of his paintings reflect the universal themes of hope, compassion, love and peace. Manjit Bawa’s work mirrored the honesty in his pursuit and that struck with me the most.manjit bawa 1                                                                 Source: www.artsy.com
  4. S.H. Raza
    Raza was one of India’s most prominent artists and his work deserved all the attention it received. His paintings evolved from fluent watercolors of landscapes and townscapes to a more expressive language, painting landscapes of the mind. His work is a treat to the eyes and mind, inspiring with every brush stroke. I recently visited the newly launched Louvre in Abu Dhabi and as an Indian, as someone who appreciates art, I felt extremely proud to find S.H. Raza’s ‘Bindu’ being featured amongst Picasso, Monet, Mondrian, Gauguin, Kandinsky and Matisse.
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  1. Artisera_Fine-Art_Limited-edition-prints_SH-Raza_Punaraagman_1_large                                                               Source: shopify.com
  2. 5. Jogen Chowdhary
    Jogen Chowdhary has been considered as an eminent and influential painter of the 21st century. He not only has incomparable paintings credited to his name, but also has written extensively about contemporary art. Chowdhary has also made immense contribution towards inspiring young artists.

jogen 1                                                                     Source: www.artsy.com

All of the above mentioned masters are my favourite artists and the one common virtue they share is honesty. Honesty towards the pursuit of their artform without succumbing to the distractions that fame often brings. Their work often transcends into my approach towards the projects that we work on at JTCPL Designs and they’ve only helped derive better results.

Have you come across artists who have inspired you in anyway? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The world belongs to those who read

Rick Holland’s profound words stand true now more than ever. The times are only moving forward and faster & having the wealth of knowledge helps one remain in step with the world. It is safe to say that the practical application of the knowledge I’ve acquired with experience and through books has enabled me to stay a step ahead and achieve greater milestones.
As the year comes to an end, I encourage everyone to use their time the best possible way. On that note, here are 5 books from my current library that remain at the top of my favourite reads of all time:

Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
We at JTCPL Designs practice optimism on every level and this book helped back my belief with facts and reasoning. The quote, “Abundance is not about providing everyone on this planet with a life of luxury – rather it’s about providing all with a life of possibility” covers the essence of the book very well. It is the chance of growth that inspires a person to crossover the thresholds of their limits. The takeaway – ‘The future is better than you think’ is enough to reinforce optimism into whoever looks forward to bringing a change into their lives in the coming year.

Bold by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
This writer duo has managed to create a gem of a book in the form of ‘Bold’. The entire premise that revolves around ‘How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World’ is as positive as a read gets, with an interesting entrepreneurial spin to it. Honestly, this book has inspired me in ways I hadn’t expected it to and I highly recommend it to all entrepreneurs and young students or anyone looking to bring some drastic, bold transformations in your life.

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Fountainhead is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. The entire plot is based on individualism versus collectivism & Ayn Rand manages to portray it so beautifully. The book makes you realize that a man can achieve any level of greatness that he sets his will to and the lead character, Howard Roark left me challenging my view on various aspects of my life at that point. A must read for all! One learning from the book that has stayed with me after all these years is that “Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.”

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Intelligent Investor is every investor’s bible & as time passes, his principles become more and more relevant. Benjamin Graham highlights the importance of patience, discipline and an eagerness to learn while making investment decisions, principles that apply to every person striving towards exponentially growing his business. He also says, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare” and anyone who has ever overcome an arduous challenge knows how true these words are.

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
This book essentially talks about taking 100% responsibility for everything that one experiences in life and moving forward from there. Canfield fundamentals include, “You Need Goals that Stretch You”, and it’s the one that I connect with the most. The book also touches upon how everything one thinks and does need to be aligned with the highest purpose to achieve goals that one sets. The Success Principles have a universal appeal & if there’s one book that you shouldn’t be leaving out of your reading list, it’s this.

These books have laid the foundation of many integral principles that I strongly believe in and practise on both fronts, personal and professional. I hope you will give them a chance to change your lives just as they did mine and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Success Equals Constant Progress For The Marathon Called Entrepreneurship

Humans have the potential to be anything they want, becoming stagnant should never be an option. Thankfully my third consecutive Airtel Delhi Half Marathon was definitely not that. I had pushed myself to go beyond my limits and the result was empowering to say the least. The experience was as exhilarating as the ones I’ve had in the past and the run itself was challenging but very gratifying. After you’ve climbed up the ladder for long distance running to a reasonable ability, extracting even a smidgen of improvement in your performance becomes exponentially tougher. Which is why I was thrilled when I cut down two and a half minutes from my previous time. I clocked 1h 44m 01s, my best performance till date. God is Kind!

For me, every triumph is followed by gratitude for all that led me towards achieving what I set out to. In this case, I felt thankful for having a support system that enabled me to put in my time and energy into the marathon. Incidentally Bisleri was one of the sponsors for the marathon & having recently bagged the interior design and build assignment for Bisleri Towers just added on to the gratitude. For the longest time, I have used the Bisleri 250ml bottle for my practice runs. I couldn’t help but smile & feel grateful looking at that little bottle of Bisleri in my hand as it kept me going throughout the race.

Marathons can sometimes turn into networking events for some. But it was amazing to see a lot of people show up, all set to push their boundaries. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I believe there’s no limit on human potential & progress comes naturally when people truly believe in reaching beyond. It is for such individuals who understand the importance of growth that Dan Sullivan’s ideology of seeking progress over perfection comes in play. What this ideology indicates is that perfection is like a horizon, it’s a mental construct that can never be physically reached. Progress on the other hand lets you set the parameters to measure your growth and advancement.

This stands true for my experience with marathons & has also helped me through my journey with JTCPL Designs. Even as a startup, we didn’t just work towards making profits but aimed at progress in our processes, the quality of work and in expanding our capabilities as a team of individuals. I remember an interview where Messi was quoted saying, “It took me 17 years and 114 days to be an overnight success” and I couldn’t agree more. Success shouldn’t be something you dream of, but something you work hard towards.