Smart Design Conclave & Awards: A New Benchmark in Pune's Architectural Landscape


The Smart Design Conclave & Awards showcased an inspiring convergence of architectural talent, innovation, and excellence, setting a new benchmark for the industry in Pune, reports Syed Md. Ehteshamul Hasan.


The first week of June 2024 witnessed another edition, i.e. 7th edition of the much talked about Smart Design Conclave & Awards (SDCA), organised by Building Material Reporter (BMR) and curated by Ar. Ketan Jawdekar of Studio K7 along with Ar. Prashant Sutaria of PSA. Took place at the prestigious Westin in Pune, this event marked a significant milestone, bringing together prominent figures in the architectural world to celebrate creativity, innovation, and excellence in design.


The conclave began with a ceremonial Lamp Lighting, symbolising enlightenment and illumination, followed by a warm welcome from Ar. Ketan Jawdekar. The day unfolded with vibrant presentations by renowned brands such as Parryware, New Mika, Haique, Sega Tiles, Ledure Lightings, Alstone Industries, Blooms India, and Canon, showcasing their innovative products and services, sparking inspiration among attendees.



Keynote addresses by Ar. Vivek Singh Rathore, Design Principal of Salient Design Studio and Ar. Shirish Beri of Shirish Beri & Associates were among the highlights. Ar. Rathore's presentation, Shift To Sustain, emphasised the urgent need for sustainability in architecture, advocating for reuse and restoration. Ar. Beri's talk, Materiality and Space, focused on using nature as a material in design, stressing the importance of integrating the local environment without disrupting ecological balance.



The Panel Discussion on Adaptive Reusage of Abandoned Structures was a riveting exchange steered by Ar. Anil Ranka, Principal of Anil Ranka Architects. Esteemed personalities like Ar. Kalpak Bhandari of Veekas Studio, Ar. Satyajeet Patwardhan of Amoeba Design, ID Elham Mirza of The Wall, Ar. Dhairyasheel Powar of Unitecture Design Solutions, and Ar. Nilay Parekh of Vaastavya Architects shared their diverse expertise. Their discussions delved deep into design's pivotal role in tackling contemporary challenges and enforcing adaptive reuse of abandoned architectures, illuminating the audience and emphasising design's transformative potential.


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The event also included the felicitation of curators, keynote speakers, moderators, and panellists, acknowledging their significant contributions to the conclave and the architectural dialogue. The evening culminated in the Recognition & Awards ceremony, honouring exemplary architects and designers across various categories:



Group Housing: Ar. Girish Mohile (Studio 55 Architects)

Villa/Bungalow: Ar. Gaurav Bhangre (Studio Anhad)

Corporate Buildings/Offices: Ar. Divya Jyoti & Ar. Prasanna Morey (PMA Madhushala)

Institutional: Ar. Manik Buchade (Manik Buchade Architects)

Hospitality (Resorts & Hotels): Ar. Shobha Bhopatkar, Ar. Mohan Bhopatkar, ID Mayuri Bhakay, Er. Gaurav Bhakay (SBA Architects & Designers Pvt. Ltd.)

Retail: Ar. Neelesh Chopda (Neelesh Chopda Architecture)

Landscape: Ar. Manjiri Mahajan (SAMA Landscape Architects)

Weekend Homes: Ar. Ankur Kothari & Ar. Anil Poduval (Red Brick Studio)

Community Wellness: Ar. Khushru A Irani (Localground)


In the Interior category, awards were presented to:


Residential Apartments: Ar. Akanksha Mishra & Ar. Ojas Kulkarni (Studio Space Unfold)

Residential (Villas/Bungalows): Ar. Chetan Lahoti & Ar. Anand Deshmukh (Mind Manifestation Design)

Corporate Offices: Ar. Darshan Medhi (Darshan Medhi Architects)

Hospitality (Restaurants/Bars/Lounges/Pubs/Standalone): ID Nikhilesh Garud & ID Utkarsha Mahajan (Studio Untitled)


The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Prof. Christopher Charles Benninger, Chairman of CCBA Designs. Although he was unable to attend due to illness, Ar. Ram Prasad Akkisetti, Managing Director, CCBA Designs accepted the award on his behalf, sharing Benninger's invaluable insights on architecture and urban development.


Prof. Christopher Benninger, an internationally renowned architect, planner, and educator, holds advanced degrees from Harvard and MIT. He founded the School of Planning and the Centre for Development Studies and Activities in Pune. A recipient of the Great Master Architect Award and six Indian Institute of Architects’ National Awards, his fifty-year career spans projects in India, Bhutan, China, and Africa. Notable works include IIT Hyderabad and IIM Calcutta campuses, the zero-energy Suzlon One Earth office, and the Supreme Court of Bhutan. His affordable housing projects include India’s first EWS scheme in Jamnagar and 15,000 units in Chennai. He is designing a Brain Research Centre in Shanghai and 23 Metro stations in Pune.


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The Masterstroke Award was bestowed upon Ar. Chandrashekhar Kanetkar, Principal & Chief Designer at Chandrashekhar Design Inc. for his remarkable contributions to architecture and design. With over 40 years in the field, he has introduced bold and creative design concepts, adapting to various site conditions and client briefs. His designs create spaces with subtle visual drama and a sense of belonging, reflecting the inner soul of the space. Some of his notable projects include the Grand Hyatt in Goa, a high-rise residential complex in Mumbai for D.B. Realty, a 30-story residential complex in Navi Mumbai for M/S Wadhwa, and a high-end clubhouse and bungalows at Vapi for Avadh Group Surat. Additionally, he designed a 2500-unit residential cluster in Pune for M/S Goel Ganga, Sangam Solitaire luxury apartments in Pune, God’s Grace and God’s Blessings luxury apartments, and the Hilton Hotel in Mumbai.



The success of the SDCA was bolstered by the generous support of sponsors, including Parryware, New Mika, Haique, Sega Tiles, Ledure Lightings, Alstone Manufacturing, Blooms India, and Canon. Their contributions underscored their dedication to advancing sustainable and transformative design practices.



The event concluded with a dedicated networking session over cocktails and dinner, allowing attendees to forge new connections and reflect on the day's enriching experiences.



In summary, the Smart Design Conclave & Awards in Pune was a resounding success, fostering dialogue, inspiration, and celebration within the architectural community. It left an indelible mark on all participants, setting a new benchmark for the industry's future.


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