‘Architects should work honestly’

Mumbai: Each time I interview an architect or an interior designer, his or her background and the career path s/he has taken intrigue me. Dushyant Ghatalia, a Mumbai-based architect and interior designer is no exception. He’s a consultant and an entrepreneur.

After graduation, Ghatalia left for Canada where he apprenticed under reputed architects. During this time, he worked on varied reputed projects like Mount Sinai hospital; departmental stores, like Marks and Spencers at Montreal, Canada; public facilities like North York Civic Stadium and various other residential and office buildings.

Ghatalia returned to India in 1984 to set up an independent practice, Ghatalia Associates, with his wife Darshana Ghatalia, in the western suburbs of Mumbai. The architecture and interior designing industry has seen tremendous growth. In an interview Ghatalia talks about the industry and how it relates with the present Indian economy.

What kind of work does Ghatalia Associates do? What are some of its success stories?
Our company does any kind of work that stimulates, to create something new, something that has not been done before. We are passionate about doing something different, whether they are retail outlets, offices or residences. After understanding what our clients require and the budget assigned for the project, we try to do what suits them best. We avoid taking on anything that is not very clear, and we maintain a lot of transparency in what we do.
Some of the prestigious projects that Ghatalia Associates has worked on include corporate houses like American Express Bank, Dow Jones Telerate, Oppenheimer & Co, Sony Entertainment office, Asian Capital Partners, Kleinworth Benson Strategic Capitals, entire projects that included residences and offices of RNA Builders and Manickchand Group, homes and showrooms.

How do you measure and validate your results?
We try to retain our clients. I guess word of mouth has really moved us on. Near-to-perfect coordination between clients, contractors and architects is maintained. We call this ‘project management,’ and if the link loosens, we fail. This is coupled with cost, concepts and time management.

Is Ghatalia Associates all about customer experience? Or is there something else as well? How do you measure improvements in customer satisfaction?
Yes. Ghatalia Associates is about customer experience. Every experience is different, even if we were to follow it by the management techniques we have outlined at the company, although at times the client and contractor may not want to follow it. Turning towards the project, though results are never 100 per cent, success stories have been anywhere between 85-99 per cent. The reasons for the shortfall are mostly external factors — like holidays, riots, lack of coordination when client is not available, money shortage…