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  • TADstories with Ar. Ashish Sethi and Ar. Vrushali Sethi | Reflective Practices

    Ar. Ashish Sethi and Ar. Vrushali Sethi, the founders of Reflective Practices share their profound passion for design.

    Reflective Practices is an architecture and interior design firm situated in the city of Indore. Founded by Ar. Ashish Sethi and Ar. Vrushali Sethi, the firm crafts spaces which reflect the clients lifestyle in their designs.

    In an interesting conversation with Reflective Practices, the founders share their design story.

    Reflective Practices founders

    What is the story of your passion for architecture? 

    Reflective Practices began as a dream, nurtured by a profound love for architecture and a deep understanding of the power of reflection in the creative process. We are not just a design studio. We are a collective of passionate individuals dedicated to crafting meaningful spaces that resonate with the human experience. Our story starts with a vision to integrate the principles of reflective practices into the very fabric of our work. From our inception, we embraced the belief that true architectural brilliance comes from continuous learning and adaptation. This philosophy shapes everything we do. Thus driving us to constantly evaluate our designs, engage with our clients, and refine our approach.

    living room design by Reflective Practices

    At Reflective Practices, we approach every design challenge with fresh eyes, always striving to create spaces that are as functional as they are beautiful. Our process is deeply collaborative, involving continuous dialogue with clients, stakeholders, and end-users. This iterative process allows us to adapt and refine our designs, ensuring they meet and exceed expectations. Our studio thrives on the diverse experiences and perspectives of our team. We believe that the best ideas emerge from a collective effort, where every voice is heard. This culture of openness and continuous learning fosters innovation and creativity. Thus enabling us to push the boundaries of what architecture can achieve.

    Today, Reflective Practices stands as a testament to the power of reflective design. Our projects are more than structures; they are living, breathing spaces that evolve with the people who inhabit them. We are proud of our journey and the impact our work has had on communities and individuals alike. At Reflective Practices, we believe that architecture is beyond buildings. It’s about creating lasting legacies that enrich lives and shape our world for the better.

    dining interior by Reflective Practices

    What pushed you to commence your own architecture studio?

    At Reflective Practices, our journey began with a profound realization: architecture is more than the creation of buildings. With a deep-seated passion for architecture our founders were driven by a lifelong fascination with the built environment.

    From an early age, they were captivated by the way buildings could evoke emotions, tell stories, and impact lives. This passion for architecture fueled their academic pursuits and professional experiences, leading them to explore various design philosophies and methodologies. During their journey, our founders encountered the concept of reflective practice—a continuous cycle of learning, evaluation, and adaptation. This approach resonated deeply with their belief that great architecture is born from a process of constant reflection and improvement. It became clear that by integrating reflective practices into our design process, we could create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of their users.

    Foundation of Studio

    Reflective Practices was founded on the principle that architecture should be a thoughtful and intentional process. We believe that every project is an opportunity to learn, grow, and refine our craft. Our commitment to reflective practices ensures that we approach each design challenge with fresh perspectives and an open mind. Engaging with communities we understand that architecture is deeply interconnected with the communities it serves.

    Our studio was established with a commitment to engaging with clients, stakeholders, and end-users throughout the design process. By actively listening to their needs, aspirations, and feedback, we ensure that our designs are truly reflective of the communities. We are dedicated to exploring new ideas, technologies, and materials that can enhance the functionality, sustainability, and beauty of our designs.

    The reason for commencing Reflective Practices is to make a positive impact on the world through architecture. We believe that well-designed spaces have the power to improve lives, foster connections, and create lasting legacies. Our studio is committed to creating environments that are not only visually stunning but also deeply meaningful and beneficial to the people and communities.

    Journey of the Design Process!

    Could you write in short about the philosophy you go with when designing a certain project?

    At Reflective Practices, our design philosophy is rooted in a commitment to thoughtful, user-centered, and sustainable architecture. Each project we undertake is guided by ensuring that our designs are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and responsive to the needs of their users. We believe that great architecture begins with a deep understanding of the project’s context, purpose, and stakeholders.

    Our design process starts with comprehensive research and active engagement with clients and communities. Thus ensuring that our designs are informed by their insights and aspirations. Our designs prioritize the experiences and well-being of the people who will inhabit the spaces we create. We focus on creating environments that foster connection, comfort, and inspiration, always considering how our designs will impact daily life. Sustainability is at the core of our design philosophy.

    Foyer design by Reflective Practices

    We strive to integrate environmentally responsible practices and materials into our projects, aiming to minimize our ecological footprint. This iterative process ensures that we are always improving and pushing the boundaries of innovation. At Reflective Practices, our philosophy is about more than just creating buildings; it’s about crafting meaningful spaces that reflecting human experiences.

    What is the inspiration behind your concept developments and design ideations?

    At Reflective Practices, our design ideations are fueled by a deep commitment to creating meaningful spaces. Our inspirations are diverse and rooted in:

    Human Experience: We design spaces that enhance daily life and foster community connections, drawing on a deep understanding of human behavior.

    Cultural and Historical Context: Our projects respect and reflect the local traditions and heritage of their surroundings, ensuring contemporary relevance and historical sensitivity.

    Natural Environment: By harmonizing with nature, we incorporate natural light, ventilation, and sustainable materials to promote well-being and environmental responsibility.

    Art and Creativity: Artistic expressions influence our approach to form, texture, and spatial dynamics, enriching the architectural experience.

    Innovation and Technology: We embrace cutting-edge advancements to push architectural boundaries and create visionary, practical designs.

    Client and Community Engagement: Active collaboration with clients and communities ensures our designs are meaningful and relevant.

    Reflective Practice: Continuous evaluation and learning refine our ideas and approaches, driving our pursuit of excellence. This blend of inspirations ensures that every project we undertake at Reflective Practices is thoughtful, innovative, and impactful.

    With years of learning and practice in architecture, how did you evolve your design language?

    Over the years, Reflective Practices has honed its design language through continuous learning, innovation, and reflective practice. Key factors in our evolution include:

    Continuous Learning: Staying updated with the latest in architectural theory, materials, and technology to integrate contemporary techniques.

    Innovation: Embracing digital tools and sustainable practices to push architectural boundaries and enhance both form and function.

    Reflective Practice: Iterative design and post-project analysis ensure continuous improvement and refinement of our approach.

    Art and Culture Integration: Incorporating artistic influences and respecting cultural contexts to add depth and character to our designs.

    Collaboration: Engaging clients and communities in the design process to create relevant, personalized, and user-centered spaces.

    Holistic Approach: Focusing on human scale, functional aesthetics, and creating environments that enhance well-being and foster connection. Through these efforts, we have developed a distinct, innovative, and human-centric design language that reflects our commitment.

    What values do you prioritize in your life and how do they reflect in your way of work?

    At Reflective Practices, our work is deeply rooted in a set of core values that guide our actions. These values not only shape our professional endeavors but also serve as the foundation for how we lead our lives. Here are the values we prioritize and how they manifest in our way of work,

    Integrity and Ethics: This means being honest, transparent, and accountable in our dealings with clients, collaborators, and stakeholders. Our commitment to integrity ensures that we always act in the best interests of our clients. Thereby uphold the highest standards of professionalism.

    Excellence and Quality: We strive for excellence in every project we undertake. Thus aiming to exceed expectations and deliver results of the highest quality. We reflect our commitment to excellence through our attention to detail, rigorous standards, and relentless pursuit of innovation and improvement.

    Core Values

    Collaboration and Respect: We believe in the power of teamwork and value the diverse perspectives and contributions of every member of our team. We foster a culture of collaboration and respect, creating an environment where ideas flourish and collective success is celebrated.

    Client-Centric Focus: Our clients are at the heart of everything we do. We prioritize understanding their needs, aspirations, and goals, and tailor our approach to meet their specific requirements. By maintaining a client-centric focus, we build strong, trusting relationships that form the basis of successful collaborations and long-term partnerships.

    Innovation and Creativity: Innovation and creativity drive our work forward. We embrace new ideas, technologies, and approaches to push the boundaries of what is possible in architecture.

    Sustainability and Responsibility: We recognize our duty to minimize our environmental impact and prioritize sustainable practices in our designs. By integrating green technologies, renewable materials, and energy-efficient solutions, we create buildings that are not only environmentally friendly but also contribute positively to the communities they serve.

    Continuous Learning and Reflection: We believe in the value of continuous learning, both individually and as a team. By engaging in regular reflection and evaluation, we identify areas for improvement. Thus ensure that we are always growing and evolving as professionals.

    These values form the bedrock of our way of work at Reflective Practices. They guide our decisions, shape our interactions, and inspire us to strive for excellence in everything we do. By staying true to these values, we create spaces that make a positive impact on the world around us.

    Sneak peek into the projects done by Reflective Practices

    Looking back at all the design projects you’ve worked on, which is the project that has made an impact on you?

    Reflective Practices has been involved in numerous design projects over the years. However, one project that stands out as particularly impactful is the café design in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

    The cafe, a pure vegetarian bakery inspired by European neo-classical style, presented a fascinating blend of cultures and design aesthetics. The challenge was to create a space that captured the essence of European bakery culture while remaining authentic to its Indian setting. Especially considering the cultural significance of architecture in places like Indore, where Vastu Shastra plays a prominent role.

    The decision to use black as the primary color for both the exterior and interior was bold and unconventional. Thus challenging cultural norms while staying true to the neo-classical inspiration. This decision required careful consideration and collaboration with the client. Thus to ensure that the design remained authentic while respecting cultural sensitivities. Thus Reflective Practices demonstrated its ability to innovate while respecting tradition.

    This project serves as a valuable learning experience for Reflective Practices. Thereby highlighting the importance of cultural sensitivity, collaboration, and creativity in architectural and interior design. It showcases our ability to create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also meaningful and culturally relevant.

    Could you share the story of a project which has truly challenged you go beyond your conventional style of approach?

    Pushing Boundaries: The Café Design Challenge in Indore in the bustling streets of Indore, Reflective Practices faced a design challenge that would push us beyond our conventional style of approach. Tasked with creating a pure vegetarian bakery café inspired by European neo-classical style, we embarked on a journey that would test our creativity, cultural sensitivity, and ability to innovate.

    Embracing Neo-Classical Inspiration: From the outset, the café design was envisioned as a homage to European bakery culture, with a distinctive neo-classical flair. Drawing inspiration from the elegant facades and timeless aesthetics of European cafés, we set out to create a space that exuded sophistication and charm.

    A Bold Departure: The first challenge arose when we decided to incorporate black as the primary color for both the exterior and interior of the café. While black exudes modernity and elegance, it also challenged cultural norms in a city like Indore, where architecture is often influenced by Vastu Shastra principles.

    Balancing Authenticity and Cultural Sensitivity: To navigate this challenge, we embarked on a collaborative journey with our client, engaging in open dialogue and thoughtful consideration of cultural norms. Through mutual understanding and respect, we struck a delicate balance between authenticity and cultural sensitivity.

    The Unconventional Approach

    Innovation in Design: Innovative design solutions were key to overcoming the challenges posed by the cultural context. We carefully curated the interior space, fusing black with white accents to create a striking contrast that was both visually captivating and culturally respectful.

    Client Collaboration: A recipe for success central to the success of the project was our collaboration with the client. Their unwavering support and active involvement enabled us to push boundaries and realize our vision while staying true to the cultural nuances of the location.

    Lessons Learned: The café design in Indore remains a highlight in our portfolio, not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for the invaluable lessons it taught us. It challenged us to think outside the box, embrace cultural diversity, and innovate in the face of adversity.

    As we reflect on the journey of the café design in Indore, we are reminded of the power of collaboration, creativity, and cultural sensitivity in shaping meaningful spaces. It stands as a testament to our commitment to pushing boundaries, embracing diversity, and delivering designs that inspire and resonate with people from all walks of life.

    How do you think your projects can make a change in the way people perceive built spaces?

    At Reflective Practices, we believe that our projects have the power to revolutionize the way people perceive built spaces. By focusing on the experiential qualities of each space and embracing diversity of ideas, emotions, and perspectives, we aim to create environments that provoke new experiences and challenge cultural stereotypes.

    Embracing diversity and pluralism central to our approach is the concept of diversity and pluralism. We understand that every individual brings their unique background, beliefs, and experiences to a space. Our designs reflect this diversity by accommodating a wide range of perspectives and ideas, creating environments where multiple narratives coexist harmoniously.

    Unique Approach

    Challenging stereotypes and cultural norms through our work, we seek to challenge stereotypes and cultural norms that may limit our understanding of built spaces. By introducing contrasting elements that soothe and provoke new experiences, we encourage people to question preconceived notions and embrace the richness of diversity.

    Creating memorable experiences our focus on experiential qualities ensures that our projects go beyond mere functionality to create memorable experiences for users. Whether it’s through innovative design features, sensory stimuli, or interactive elements, we strive to engage people on a deeper level, leaving a lasting impression that sparks curiosity and inspiration.

    Promoting dialogue and understanding by fostering coexistence of ideas, emotions, and views within our designs, we promote dialogue and understanding among people from different backgrounds. Our spaces serve as platforms for meaningful interactions, where diverse perspectives are celebrated and respected.

    Inspiring change and innovation ultimately, we believe that our projects have the potential to inspire change and innovation in the way we conceive, design, and experience built environments. By pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking and embracing diversity, we pave the way for a more inclusive and dynamic approach to architecture and urban design.

    In essence, Reflective Practices strives to create built spaces that not only meet functional needs but also stimulate the senses, provoke thought, and foster a sense of connection and belonging. Through our commitment to diversity, pluralism, and experiential design, we aim to shape a future where built environments are truly reflective of the rich tapestry of human experience.

    Beyond Design!

    Apart from architecture, which are other hobbies that inspire you to keep going?

    Ashish: The Avid Reader: Ashish is an avid reader who finds solace and inspiration in the world of literature. His passion for reading transcends genres, from classic literature to contemporary fiction and poetry. Constantly seeking new ideas and perspectives, Ashish’s diverse book collection reflects his intellectual curiosity and love for storytelling. Reading is not just a hobby for him; it’s a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and self-discovery.

    Vrushali: The Creative Enthusiast: Vrushali is a creative enthusiast with a deep passion for music, art, and theater. Music is her soul’s language, and she enjoys exploring various genres and attending live concerts. In addition to music, Vrushali appreciates art and theater, finding inspiration in the creativity and emotion they evoke. Creativity is not just a hobby for her; it’s a way of life that brings joy, inspiration, and fulfillment.

    What impact has the journey of architecture had on you personally?

    Impact of Architecture Journey on Ashish:

    Ashish’s journey in architecture has been deeply transformative on a personal level. Through his exploration of architectural concepts, history, and design principles, he has developed a heightened appreciation for the built environment and its impact on society. Architecture has inspired Ashish to see the world through a new lens, fostering a deeper understanding of space, form, and function.

    As an avid reader, Ashish has found parallels between architecture and literature, recognizing the power of both disciplines to shape narratives, evoke emotions, and provoke thought. He sees architecture as a form of storytelling, where every building tells a unique tale of culture, history, and human experience. The journey of architecture has also sparked Ashish’s creativity and imagination, influencing his approach to literature and storytelling. He draws inspiration from architectural concepts and design principles, incorporating them into his writing to create vivid and immersive narratives.

    Overall, the journey of architecture has enriched Ashish’s life in profound ways, deepening his appreciation for the interplay between art, culture, and the built environment. It has broadened his perspective, sparked his creativity, and instilled in him a lifelong passion for exploring the world through both literature and architecture.

    Impact of Architecture Journey on Vrushali:

    For Vrushali, the journey of architecture has been a source of inspiration and artistic exploration. Through her studies and experiences in architecture, she has developed a deeper appreciation for the power of design to shape human experiences and emotions. Architecture has ignited Vrushali’s passion for creativity and expression, providing her with a platform to explore her artistic talents in new and innovative ways.

    As a creative enthusiast, Vrushali has found architecture to be a natural extension of her interests in music, art, and theater. She sees architecture as a form of multidisciplinary art, where elements of design, aesthetics, and functionality come together to create immersive and transformative spaces. The journey of architecture has also influenced Vrushali’s approach to her other creative pursuits. She draws inspiration from architectural concepts and principles, incorporating them into her music compositions, artwork, and theatrical performances. This cross-pollination of ideas has enriched Vrushali’s artistic practice, allowing her to create more dynamic and impactful works.

    Overall, the journey of architecture has had a profound impact on Vrushali’s personal and artistic development. It has opened up new avenues for creative expression, deepened her appreciation for the intersection of art and design, and empowered her to explore the world with a renewed sense of curiosity and wonder.

    Looking ahead in future, what are some of the commitments to yourself to help you grow as an individual?

    We commit to continuous learning, embracing opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills throughout our lives. We prioritize self-reflection, dedicating time to understand our strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals, helping us chart our path forward. Our health and well-being take precedence, as we adopt habits that nurture our physical, mental, and emotional wellness, ensuring we’re at our best to pursue our aspirations.

    Personal development becomes a cornerstone, as we set clear objectives and actively pursue avenues for growth, whether through mentorship, networking, or personal development resources. We welcome challenges as stepping stones to growth, embracing them with a mindset that sees setbacks as opportunities for learning and resilience.

    Meaningful relationships are essential, as we invest time and energy in fostering connections that provide support, encouragement, and opportunities for mutual growth. Aligning our actions with purpose and meaning, we seek fulfillment by pursuing activities that resonate with our values and passions, contributing positively to our lives and the world around us.

    Beyond professional achievements, what personal legacy do you hope reaches the masses and can make an impact on their lives?

    Beyond professional accomplishments, we aim to leave a personal legacy that resonates deeply with people’s lives on a wide scale. Our vision extends beyond individual success, focusing on creating a lasting impact that inspires, empowers, and uplifts communities. Our legacy revolves around several key principles:

    Firstly, we seek to inspire and empower others to pursue their passions and overcome obstacles. Through sharing our stories of perseverance and achievement, we hope to ignite a spark of motivation in others, encouraging them to chase their dreams with determination and resilience. Education and mentorship are also central to our legacy. We believe in the transformative power of knowledge and the importance of giving back by mentoring and supporting the next generation. By sharing our expertise and experiences, we aim to provide opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development.

    Moreover, we are committed to making a meaningful impact on the communities we serve. Through philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy, we strive to address social challenges, promote equality, and foster positive change at the grassroots level. We aspire to leave behind a legacy of kindness, generosity, and ethical leadership for future generations.

    Additionally, we recognize the importance of global citizenship and collective action in addressing global challenges. In essence, we define our personal legacy by the impact we have on the lives of others and the positive change we create. By striving to inspire, empower, and serve, we hope to leave behind a legacy that transcends time and reaches the hearts of people everywhere.

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