I had the pleasure of attending another delightful edition of FOAID (Festival of Architecture and Interior Design) in Mumbai this September. What began three years ago as a small event with big ambition has grown from strength to strength as a platform for stalwarts and future designers to share thoughts around our industry and work.
The festival has now become a significant annual landmark on the calendars of members of the design fraternity. This year, FOAID hosted over 3000 attendees at The Lalit, with Viraj Shetty and Shraddha Badiani leading the team very proficiently. They brought together various aspects of design through interactive panel discussions and creative installations. The team has never been constrained by their relative youth and has always approached even the industry bigwigs with confidence. The fact that the ‘Design Arena’ was sponsored by Steelcase, a major global player, is visible proof of the remarkable effort of the team over the years.
I also thoroughly enjoyed “Architecture Ideas 2.0”, a creative competition for the country’s young Architects and Interior Designers. As a member of the jury, I was delighted to see that students were able to gain exposure from a number of excellent ideas presented by young designers who brought actual implemented projects. The quality of design effort was incredible: some were so good; they brought in elements that even I would have been hard-pressed to visualize. It made me feel extremely optimistic about the future of design in this country. I was very happy to see the FOAID team provide students and young designers the platform to engage with mainstream, established experts. Students get to interact with successful architects and designers and gain exposure to an abundance of super-quality ideas. I believe success truly depends on the reference points and role models one chooses, so young designers getting to choose reference points from the crème de la crème of the industry is an excellent outcome of FOAID.
It was extremely heartening to see the dream that took birth about four-five years ago reach such heights in a short span of time because of the extremely meticulous team of organizers. It is their values of attention to detail, hard work and humility that most often reminded me of myself, and has brought them great success. From the top managers and leaders to the foot soldiers, the team shares a common goal, indicating the prospects of a bright future and of a great organization and festival. They have always aimed big and even exhibited abundant commitment, keeping in mind the long-term advantages of their actions, making for the perfect recipe for ‘sure shot success.’ FOAID functions rather successfully with the heart of a start-up and the depth of a well-established event.
The real test of success however is keeping one’s feet on the ground and head squarely on the shoulders. ‘Nothing fails like success,’ and no matter how prosperous one becomes, one must never lose humility. This is the quality that Viraj and Shraddha have oodles of, and why I see my younger self in the FOAID team. As they grow year by year, I’m sure that if FOAID ever comes out with an IPO, I’ll probably be the first one to invest in them!