About

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Meraki Design Studio is an integrated design studio. The studio engages in a diverse range of work, from urban intervention projects to landscape
and interiors, each with a philosophy of sustainability woven into them removing the handed-down limits between Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape architecture.

Meraki Studio realises inventive solutions that turn the very constraints of each project into the design trajectory, exploring opportunistic overlaps between space, program, form, budget and materials. Fundamental to our work is a defined approach to design with emphasis on innovative use of materials, exploration of context and embedding green building techniques.

Meraki is currently working on a framework that intends to detour the city by augmenting its existing conditions by establishing a democratic community
that utilises & designs new or existing infrastructure & juxtapose it with innovative solutions to effect positive social, economic & environmental change on variety of scales to create new urban, sub-urban and rural spaces.

Ar. Priyank shah
M.Arch, P.G.D.C.S.R.

Priyank is an experienced architect and designer based in India, with a history of working in the architecture & design industry. With masters’ in Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture and Post graduate in Corporate Social Responsibility, He is also the Architect at Vadodara Smart City Development Limited currently working with goal of smart utilisation of Vadodara city’s potential for enhancing quality of life for the citizens. Providing access to better quality physical infrastructure, social infrastructure and mobility by leveraging state of the art technology; thus making Vadodara a Futuristic global city with focus on enhancing economy, protecting the ecology and preserving the identity & culture of the city.

Ar. Pavana Hegde
B.Arch, P.G.Sustainable Management of Natural Resources & Nature Conservation

Pavana holds a Bachelor’s in Architecture with a post graduation in Sustainable management of natural resources and nature conservation, with a history of working in the the field of architecture, she is also interested in landscape architecture, ecology and contemporary uses of art. Pavana is at the forefront of Meraki helping associated organisations ideate, initiate, develop & sustain a creative culture within their projects both internally & externally.

While the act of infusing soul and passion into one’s work is deeply personal endeavour, as a firm Meraki Design Studio believes in bringing ‘Meraki’ into projects that engage with larger, more inclusive public realm. Grounded in the understanding of architecture, landscape and urbanism, founders of the studio bring together their unique expertise to create an exciting multidisciplinary design process.

While the idea of creating the studio as an open platform for various creative communities has emerged over time, the original intention of making a positive social impact still stands. Priyank and Pavana invest their time and effort in systematically identifying gaps in society and then create models to bring various stakeholders together to bridge these gaps.

Ofcourse, as with all good design practices, the designer duo admits that the journey of establishing a thriving, open practice has not been an entirely smooth one, but extremely fruitful, rewarding and self-generating nevertheless! Being young, hopeful architects with intentions of uplifting the current urban environment of the cities, and to foster collective urban experiences, Meraki has positioned itself at the heart of urban intervention programmes.

Between the founding duo; Priyank Shah brings an unconventional approach to urban issues, backed by wide exposure to international studies , collaborations and work ethics, and Pavana Hegde, a sound understanding of landscape architecture, ecology and contemporary uses of art. These backgrounds allow the team to constantly re-look at current urban issues in order to create an impressive repertoire of design projects. Since 2014, the Studio has used its base in Vadodara to an advantage; engaging with a vibrant community of artists, illustrators, videographers from the local centres of Fine Art, and amalgamating architects, furniture designers, urban and civic planners to create a truly collaborative design environment.

It is through these synergistic endeavours that the studio approaches each design problem, across varying scales; whether from an intimate urban bookshelf, a mobile CSR van, or to rejuvenation of underpass spaces, and large-scale public furniture for the Vadodara Railway Station.

During media coverage of Underpass development

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The citizens of Vadodara enjoying at the Street Furniture installed at Kamatibaug.

An attitude to active problem-solving at an urban level has earned the firm good reputation as a significant contributor to the cityʼs public- placemaking. The studio works closely with Vadodara Municipal Corporation for Smart City planning as consultant architect, working towards the Studioʼs vision for positive social impact, while also contributing greatly to important public projects.

Each project is done for the city, helped by a community of city-dwellers and ultimately belongs to the larger realm. Through their design journey, an important aspect of jugaad innovation was uncovered and realised. For Meraki, jugaad and its various ideas take root in one common goal: to create meaningful, refreshing experiences for all users of the city, by re-using and renewing relationships with found objects from the city.

The recently completed large-scale public art & furniture project at Vadodara Railway Station is a testament to an evolved jugaad mindset. A collective team of six Sculptors, six Architects and five painters, facilitated by the Studio worked together to create an array of sculptures, furniture and three-dimensional paintings for the Railway station.The Railway Station of an important junction like Vadodara sees a daily footfall in thousands.This project is a great opportunity for people to engage with useable art that evokes wonder and a sense of awareness towards their surroundings! The art-pieces installed here aim to bring out various identities of the city, using common and unknown motifs, symbols and connections of historical value. Many playful and engaging elements such as a live xylophone, rocking chair and solo-seats have been installed to give a rich, lively experience to commuters! Some well-thought pieces such as a large mural at the entrance of the Station showcases important landmarks of the city, and seats made out of reclaimed gears add an edginess to the otherwise conventional station building. Heritage elements from the city are brought to life through mere metal scrap and paint. Converting scrap into valuable pieces of art and furniture is a great exercise in waste- management awareness not only for the public but also for authorities working together.

Other parallel interventions such as the Street Furniture Camp have a larger participatory, open ended process. Organised by VMC Future Planning Cell, Western Railway Division and FGI, the camp was envisioned as a hands-on opportunity for the cityʼs architect/designers to work actively with available metal scrap. According to Priyank, curator for this Furniture camp, the idea was to create meaningful, positive furniture pieces and useable objects to be placed around the city. Many proposals from leading local design studios were invited, reviewed and carried forward.Mentors Vijay Matai and Manish Maheshwari worked together with the Studio and participants to create interesting and user-friendly pieces.

Stakeholder meetings at the Municipal Corporation

Priyank and Pavana hope that through this model of participatory and collaborative design, many such environmental issues can be addressed in other cities and places.

Apart from large scale, systems-oriented projects, Meraki continually engages with warm, intimate work that impacts smaller pockets of people over long periods of time! For instance, the Vadodara Souvenir Shop, a unique and ingenious way to create a brand identity for the city, grew out of a need to encourage a booming cityʼs pride. Located at the popular SayajiBaug, the shop is a thoughtful ( and relevant )re-use of a public toilet at a prime site. The programme is an attempt at using souvenirs specific to Vadodara as a means to create curiosity, memorability and tourist value. On a sunny Sunday walk through the public park one may find the hand painted plates, locally-made curios , city-branded stationery items and lifestyle objects as a good collection to browse through … and perhaps carry back a bit of Vadodara from !

The Urban Bookshelf, another intimate scale ,urban-interior project takes forward the idea of give-and-take as adding value to the city, through the most ubiquitous currency: books . Through this venture , Meraki attempted to turn around the cityʼs relationship to a disused bus-station . By keeping emotional and intellectual value at the centre, the aptly named Urban Bookshelf brought together people and books in the safe,vibrant in-betweenness of a public environment.