Ambrish Arora

Ambrish Arora of Lotus Design lets us in on the firm’s philosophy and what drives their creative process.

Lotus is the coming together of interior designers, architects, graphic designers, exhibition designers etc… how do all your synergies come together while working on a project?

We work on the principles of conscious design — an approach that celebrates local resources, cultural influences and is sensitive to the impact on all stakeholders. We have a highly collaborative work environment, which brings the best out from the team of 45 talented and committed individuals from multiple disciplines — a common sense of purpose towards creating excellence and bringing value to all we do.

There’s an element of surprise in every project… how do you achieve this? How do you
stay motivated?

We start from the first principles each time, wanting to create a sense of surprise for ourselves. Our profession allows us to approach everything with a sense of wonder, a ‘what-if…?’. I do not need to keep anyone motivated. I am surrounded by the most amazing bunch of people you could imagine. They keep me motivated!

What kind of design know-how are clients bringing to the table these days? And how does that impact your working process? Has ‘individuality’ in projects become a deterrent in creating something out-of-the-box?   

Clients are increasingly aware of design being a key differentiator in the quality of projects. This has allowed us to engage in interesting conversations and deepen our design process to become more inclusive, working as a collaborator. As a result, the process of creating a project has become  a lot more rewarding. Far from being a deterrent, the ‘individuality’ of the client/ the context of the site or the brand, is what informs our process.

In Indian design, a war is waging between traditional aesthetics and contemporary sensibilities. What according to you is the way ahead?

How can we fight with where we come from? Today is built on the past… there is so much wisdom in tradition. We would be fools to not learn from it. It does not mean we ape it. We make it ours and continue to speak today’s language. The more important question is, whether we are open enough to treat each project for what it is; be sensitive to its
needs, rather than project our prejudices and style-based responses onto these  diverse scenarios.

What keeps Lotus engaged and busy  these days?

We are currently working on a new hotel for the Raas clients in Kangra; Crafts Museum in New Delhi; the new global retail identity for Royal Enfield; the new retail format design for Louis Philippe and Fastrack; a hospitality project for Anamcaara;  a small real estate project, and several private residences, office and food and beverage spaces in various parts of the country.

On a lighter note

Your quirkiest and most unusual inspiration?  
Everyday objects and chance encounters…

The project (by another firm, of course), which tops your list in ‘horribly designed buildings’?
You can’t be serious!

If you could play a movie character, which one would it be? Why?
Che from the Motorcycle Diaries… for the absolute freedom of it!

The top three songs on your iPod?
Make that four: Here comes the sun by George Harrison, Yellow by Coldplay, Suzanne by Leonard Cohen and Wonderwall (cover version by Cat Power)

A question you hate to be asked in an interview?
What are your favourite xyzabc…? Grrrr


Some more images…