Boca do Lobo had the opportunity to sit down with one of the most influential names in the international design scene: Krupa Zubin, ZZ Architects‘ Co-Founder! In this exclusive interview and exciting conversation, we were able to discover all the details behind the company’s impressive work! Ready to be inspired?
About ZZ Architects
ZZ Architects is a design firm located in Mumbai that is driven by creativity and innovation. A multidisciplinary award-winning design business managed by Principal Architects Krupa Zubin and Zubin Zainuddin, emphasizes “Attention to Detail” in their creative works. ZZ Architects is an extremely passionate group of Architects, Interior Designers, and Graphic Visualizers who strive constantly to innovate and create amazing interior design projects.
Their wonderful work incorporates modern architecture and interior design projects across many categories and clients spread all around leading cities in India and also internationally cities: each team contains members with expertise in various aspects like project management, visualization, and design development. In this exclusive interview, Krupa Zubin shared with Boca do Lobo a bit more about the studio’s mission, how they handle the pandemic, and where they found the strength to keep working on inspiring projects! Excited? Just keep reading to find more.
Let’s talk about great design: Unraveling creative ideas and thoughts!
How did it all start? How did you decide to create ZZ Architects?
After completing a brief but eventful experience working with a few leading firms, we finally took a leap of faith and decided to formally set up a partnership firm in 2002. We were always keen on creating a firm where we could direct the design narrative and enjoy the process of being involved in every aspect of the design of a project. Over the years, our team of 5 has gradually become an efficient team of over 75 Architects and Designers, however, our role has still remained the same. We enjoy the impact of a different day at work, one that is spontaneous, thrilling, and incredibly rewarding.
Can you tell us what’s your main design mission? How do you define your studio’s style?
We have a well-defined process when it comes to the style of any project and it is intimately connected to the client with whom we are collaborating. Our personal preference has always been to create something fresh and contemporary with a global, timeless appeal.
What makes a design timeless? Which are the key elements?
I think if there are factors that you had to consider, it would be quality, finish, and design, at the end, at the very core that’s what makes a timeless design. We have clients that came back to us, probably for the next office and the next house, our entire work is connected to what we’ve done when we started, so I think that tells us we are on the right path.
How would you describe the relationship of your Studio with your audience? Do you have a special way of communicating/advertising your work? It’s important to get feedback from external sources?
Our constant driving force is the belief and faith our clients have in us and a lot of our work is from repeat clients. Receiving a call from an old client to start brainstorming on something fresh that inspires us is always a treat. Instagram is also a place to share glimpses of work and life, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We feel that our best advocates are our clients, and that ‘social media,’ when used sparingly, is an excellent tool. Working and constantly learning with great clients and brands ensures that you are always performing at your best potential. There is a lot of optimism in the air.
What would you say is the trend at the moment in the design world – creatively speaking?
Our homes have become the main settings of our lives: where we need to unwind and energize ourselves at the same time. We have been forced to slow down and spend time in our homes, this drives a strong desire to really create a space that reflects our inherent selves both aspirational and based on comfort.
How would you describe the typical client of your Studio? What are the main things they ask for? How do you build a professional relationship with them?
Our clientele is diverse and our strength is the method of transparent communication we have with everyone involved in a project. Every first meeting sets up the tone for a project while it helps in the narrative of the design philosophy for the project. Nowadays, social media is so relevant, and when clients come to us, they already have an idea of what they want to build. To us, it’s about creating a real journey for every project, so we’re really close with the design process, and we like to look at a design in every aspect possible, from finishings, materials, collaborations, and artists. In the end, it all comes together when you see the final outcome.
What are your main inspirations in the Design World? And how do they influence your work?
Our passion for travel, reading, and a desire to stay on top of what’s going on in the design industry has opened up new doors for us. We strive to draw inspiration from the diverse experiences we have while traveling. We source extensively from London, Milan, Paris, and Tokyo. Every trip is such an educational trip for us. Movies are also a big source of inspiration, I watch a movie every day, and when you watch a multi-language movie is a great way to understand the design that’s happening in the country. For example, when you watch an anime you are really understanding the Japanese culture, and you can connect to it so well.
How do you approach a hospitality project versus a residential project?
We approach each project based on its location, context, the need of the project, and client specifications. When it comes to hospitality and residential projects, there seems to be a confluence of ideologies. Most of the hospitality projects that we undertake want the experience to feel warm and homely and at the same time, residential homes want to attain the practicality and comfort of premium hospitality spaces. As we work mainly in the luxury sector. it is a great space to be working on and we enjoy the constant unraveling within these categories.
Do you have a favorite project or story about one of your projects?
Every project is clearly associated with anecdotes and each can be a series of stories. All these events come together and help to culture the final project. the relation to clients, materials, and conversations, makes every project an enjoyable experience and milestone. Furthermore, the next two years are also going to be very exciting for the projects that we will complete.
How did you deal with the Pandemic Crisis? Did it change the day-to-day situation of your work? Or did it affect any project in specific?
The pandemic has given us time to introspect, an opportunity to regroup and improve on efficiencies. As a matter of fact, we kept all our projects on hold and restrained ourselves from working from home. We encouraged the teams to just use the time at hand to just stay calm and keep a positive frame of mind. We did not have a single zoom session with our team and just felt that in such uncertain times we needed to support everyone from our team not just financially but also from a viewpoint of being optimistic and ready for the time to come. We had the opportunity to work on and actually design our new studio with a lot of time at hand. It is a new space that we could actually mold as per new requirements and needs that the pandemic also taught us. Personally, we also optimized the use of resources and concentrated more on designs, concepts, and mood boards, all while rethinking how we operated.
Where did you find the resilience to keep working during the most difficult periods of the pandemic? Was it your clients and ongoing projects?
We needed to be patient and make the most of the time at hand. The total engagement of each member of our team with complete faith and support from our clients kept us continuing and flourishing.
Could you describe a few highlights that came from working so much during the Covid crisis?
We spent the time making our processes more structured. Crafted our way into a new era of human connection through the positive use of social media. Besides, it puts a new lens on the organization of the studio and allowed us to dedicate ourselves to enhancing our company’s culture. Finally, set up our new studio space and used the free time to have it up and running in 5 months.
What do you think will be the focus in the design world in the future, especially when this Covid crisis comes to an end?
The cornerstone of this new world will lie in the framework of resilience, humility, empathy, wellbeing, technology and environmentally profound spaces that instill a sense of reassurance and comfort.
Are you working on anything new at the moment? What’s the inspiration behind that project?
What are the main challenges when it comes to a corporate design project?
It is also about time, the kind of time you take to develop a corporate project is probably much faster. We have done corporate projects for developers, investment bankers, marketing companies, and so on. So I think is such a personal thing, and after doing our own working space, we realized that you’re able to give so much more to the team space. Besides, I believe it’s about well-being and empathy.
Boca do Lobo’s essence is connected with the high values of craftsmanship. What’s the Studio’s view on craftsmanship pieces?
The reason why we love collaborating with Boca Do Lobo is for their remarkable pieces with a distinct essence and detailed craftsmanship. Also, Boca Do Lobo’s pieces have a unique synthesis of traditional sensibilities with contemporary designs that are timeless creations. We have always seen that these pieces add a great artistic element to a project. More than recommending a product, we recommend the philosophy behind the product. As designers, that is what we value about design companies, and why we get excited about Boca do Lobo.