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Aum Gohil on winning the Asia Young Designer Award for Best Sustainable Design 

Twenty-four-year-old Aum Gohil talks about how he won the Asia Young Designer Award for Best Sustainable Design

September 25, 2022 12:04 am | Updated 12:04 am IST

 Aum Gohil with the AYDA award

 Aum Gohil with the AYDA award | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

My interest in Architecture stems from curiosity. During my time at the Academy of Architecture (Mumbai), I heard about the Asia Young Designer Award (AYDA), an initiative by Nippon Paints, from my seniors and during my internship. Since it is important for young designers to showcase their work among academia, participation in an event like this is the first step towards establishing a practice. The competition has a national and an international leg and the India phase of the 2021 edition had 12 participants from different cities. The workshops conducted by architect Pulkit Gupta gave us an opportunity to bond with each other, bring our projects to life visually, and to get to know the world of Indian design and architecture.

At its core, “Apparatus of Amusement” is a critique of the fast, consumption-fuelled, socio-cultural milieu that is Mumbai. My project was meant to reimagine malls from the perspective of sustainability, and provide lifestyle-related objects a second life through recycling, reuse, and refurbishment.

Recycling to repurpose

I chose clothing, plastics and smartphones as my building material. The building, too, was based on an approach of repurpose, using an existing structure rather than constructing a new one. My project was conceived as an allegory for waste-management issues and how consumerism has created a “buy and discard” society. It was also intended to be an alternate repurposing solution; a post-consumption network that is a radical step towards circular sustainability. By demonstrating systemic change through an architectural exercise, I wanted to create awareness and start conversations in the public domain. Presenting these ideas on this platform and representing India in front of 15 other Asian nations was a huge opportunity.

I received positive feedback for my project. The manner in which my fellow participants and the jury pushed my boundaries of thinking makes me wonder about how we can keep learning and evolving. There is still a long way to go, because architectural practice is said to be a marathon. But for a young designer, there is nothing like beginning this marathon with something that is truly significant.

The writer is from the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai.

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