An Interview with Akshat Bhatt

Platform Magazine, India

Can you tell us a little about the interiors?
Composed of two twenty-foot-long containers, these clinics consist of a reception, a waiting lounge, an examination room, and a pharmacy, which makes them suitable for routine health checks, testing, and vaccinations. A variation of the standard model has a reading room with a digital library on the upper-level, providing a quiet space for study in dense settlements where such facilities are limited.

The clinic is prefabricated and read-to-install with essential services, fixtures, and finishes. The interiors are aimed at creating a hygienic and comfortable environment for patients. The containers are thermally insulated and lined with Volatile Organic Compound-free birchwood for protection from external heat, and its interiors are temperature-controlled with air conditioning. Interior finishes are designed to be easy to maintain, including the anti-microbial vinyl flooring and medical-grade stainless steel countertops. The clinic’s air-conditioning system is fitted with micro-filters to filter out pollutants. Server rack power strips and a 200L water tank are accommodated to ensure a seamless plug-and-play system and fulfil its intention of being easy to install in any area. Since the project uses repurposed shipping containers, as opposed to construction from scratch, the project costs were kept in check.

What do you think of design in India and where do you think design is headed next in the post-pandemic world?
I think this time has taught us to be more critical — we must be more appropriate in what we build and not just build for the sake of it. It has also made us realise how little we really need to coexist happily. Design is about reduction and optimisation. There is a strong need to revisit the essence of design and start removing all the unnecessary embellishments that result in waste and clutter. We need to champion the cause of the built environment, and we must do so in an appropriate manner. This is going to be the century of recuperation. So, let’s not destroy space, forests, and consume more water. Treating our own waste, generating our own energy and reducing consumption is the miracle we need to save our planet.

What are you working on next?
We have quite a few exciting projects in the pipeline. We are working on hospitality projects like The Postcard Hotel at Turtle Bay, on the coasts of Kundapur, Karnataka — India’s first beachside resort in a high-tide zone. Apart from this we are also working on the interiors of the members only club at The Oberoi, Gurugram called The Belvedere and the interiors of a Michelin-starred restaurant Amaranta at the same premises. There is also the Chairman’s Office at The Leela Palace, Bengaluru.

We are also working on a few residential projects including The Trident Residences at New Delhi, a development of twenty-one apartments. We are experimenting with prefabricated concrete structural elements at a residence in Delhi and also trying out cutting edge technology and unconventional materials for a progressive home in Vagator, Goa.