StudioPod – Transforming Spaces into Places

StudioPod – Transforming Spaces into Places | Mansi Sahu |The Enterprise World

As it’s said evolution is the basic part of nature. After world war I many things underwent changes likely technology, globalization, Health sector, Education system, etc. overall all kind off sectors and fields underwent changes as per the demand and closer to a luxurious and simpler life. Architecture sector has been recognized as a most ancient art of mankind. Though it said that ancient architecture was a masterpiece today also the sector proves it right by new innovative and luxurious ideas beyond normal thoughts proving to be the best ever creation of man-made things which can be beautiful with safety.

 Such an architectural firm named as StudioPod has developed its name over the decades. In this interview with Mansi Sahu, Founder & CEO of StudioPod an Architects Designers Firm, we shall know more about journey of company.

Q.1. Tell us about the company?

StudioPod is an award-winning, international planning and urban design practice with them headquarters in Mumbai, India and recently incorporated in the United States. Our projects are of varying scales that include strategic and regional plans, transportation and campus plans, landscape urbanism, placemaking and streetscapes.

Q.2. Tell us about the journey of the company so far?

About the Founders: Mansi Sahu, Sarfaraz Momin, and Mahesh Waghdhare co-founded StudioPOD in 2013. After working in the US for a few years, we decided to quit our comfortable lives in the US and move back to India to start an Urban Design practice that focused on human-scaled design. In the past nine years, we have worked relentlessly to push the boundaries of urban design in the Indian and global context.

The context that we are in, puts us in various roles varying from consultants, activists to advocacy for core issues. We have now completed 50 projects globally and with some implementation projects recently completed in the public and private sector. Some of our projects over the last few years include detailed master plans in Abu Dhabi, sustainable development toolkits for the heritage city of Puri, stream rejuvenation in Naya Raipur, tourism master plans in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, and detailed streetscape design execution called One Green Mile in Lower Parel, Mumbai.

We are also working with several private developers like Godrej, Mahindra, Reliance, and Piramal for Master Planning, Landscape Urbanism, and Implementation projects in multiple regions across India. On all the projects we have worked on, we have tried to push the conventional design boundaries and employ state-of-the-art design ideas and principles.

Q.3. What do you think triggered the growth of the company?

City Planning has been traditionally practiced by Architects and Planners in India in a conventional way. With the growth of urban India, it has been quintessential to look at planning and urban design in an integrated manner of systems-thinking through different lenses. With us highly adaptable and collaborative practice with different disciplines that deal with urban transformations and infrastructure, we have been able to position urban design in the mainstay of several infrastructure and transport led projects.

This unique proposition has led to several interesting projects in the public sector. Similarly, our positioning for development within the private sector, has gotten interest from several of the leading developers in India. They now see urban design as a specialized role that we need to be hired for, for integrated and holistic master planning exercises revolving around the three pillars of sustainable urban development.

Q.4. What establishes the long-standing success of the company?

Our highly collaborative approach allows us to work seamlessly with private- and public- sector clients such as local municipal corporations, development authorities and other government agencies.

Q.5. What are the services/products you provide?

We specialize in urban planning, urban design, landscape urbanism, transport planning and real estate market analysis.

Q.6. Any new additions to your service lineup?

Real Estate Market Analysis Design-Build and Project Management Consultancy for our large-scale urban design projects

Q.7. Tell us about your professional journey?

Mansi Sahu, Sarfaraz Momin, and Mahesh Waghdhare co-founded StudioPOD in 2013. All three had different journeys and global experiences but decided to quit their comfortable lives in the US and move back to India to start an Urban Design practice that focused on human-scaled design. The main aim of creating an Urban Design & Planning focused firm was to execute and design projects that become incubators of change in the neighborhood, region and also at global scale.

In 2014 Rahul Dalal, a transport engineer and planner joined us with a similar goal to integrate Urban Design & Transport Planning. In the past nine years, we have worked relentlessly to push the boundaries of urban design & Planning in the Indian context. The context that we are in, puts us in various roles varying from consultants, activists to advocacy for core issues. Today, we are working with Government agencies, Private builders, Mumbai & Bangalore Metro department as well as NGO’s with similar ethos and visions to design spaces with the lens of People Oriented Development.

Q.8. Any achievements you would like to share?

StudioPOD has won several accolades since its inception.

2014 Best Upcoming urban planning start-up in India – by Smart Cities Council

2015 AIA Middle East Urban Design Award for Masdar City Phase 2 Detailed Master Plan in collaboration with CBT

2016 Represented India and presented at the International Smart Cities Summit at Washington, DC, along with Australia and UAE

2019 Won 1st prize in the Eyes on the Canal Competition for Restoration of the Buckhingham Canal in Chennai, India

2019 AIA Middle East Urban Design Award for Masdar City Phase 4 Detailed Master Plan in collaboration with CBT and many more

Q.9. Your take on where Architecture Design is going ahead in the future?

For an Urban Design firm, architecture does' t stops within the compounds of a site. We think the Public Realms within the buildings and spaces can become incubators of urban life in Indian cities. With them rich, historic and social context, Indian cities offer tremendous opportunities for integrating significant public spaces with infrastructure upgradation. For an Urban Design firm is a constant exercise of zooming in and zooming out.

Large scale vision plans with small interventions with big impacts directly on the life of the users. India offers opportunities for design at every corner, one needs to just identify potentials of projects whether in cities and villages. We have design and planning opportunities everywhere.

New opportunities could be created to develop a better and impactful public realm that can truly transform our country’s quality of life. Boosting the live ability of cities through this innovative integration will make Indian cities truly smart and help transform spaces into successful places is out plan ahead for all future projects at POD.

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