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‘Multifunctional spaces have become a necessity in this post-pandemic era’, says Apeejay alumnus

Anitesh Agarwal, an Associate Architect with Modarchindia points out different factors that are influencing the interior and exterior space design in today’s time

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Alumnus of Apeejay Institute of Technology – School of Architecture and Planning (AIT-SAP) Anitesh Agarwal joined the institute in 2003. In 2007, he joined Fountainhead as an intern where he got his first exposure to large scale projects. This is where he also got an opportunity to work on some Metro Station Projects and a few DTDC competitions. He said, “The internship period was the turning point and changed my whole perception, especially time management and the way of presentation, expression and illustration of design.” In the same year, the AIT-SAP alumna received the Satya Paul Award and also presented a Research Paper in IIT Roorkee on the topic, ‘Managing Design’. In fact, he bagged the 1st runner-up award in the Research Paper Presentation. 

Anitesh’s  professional journey kick-started in 2008 when he  joined Space Designers International as junior architect and started working on Group Housing and Commercial Projects under the guidance of Ar. Vishal Mittal. In 2013, he joined Modarchindia as Senior Architect and further got promoted to Associate Architect. Today, Anitesh is heading a team of around 8-10 architects working on Master Planning, Luxury and Affordable Residential, Commercial, Hospitality  as well as Industrial Projects. In his interview, the architect highlights how multifunctional spaces are becoming the latest trend. Edited excerpts: 

What inspired you to study Architecture and choose Apeejay?

I was born and brought up in Muzaffarnagar. I used to visit Delhi as a kid and always wanted to move to the Capital for my higher education. If given the choice, I always wanted to be a musician. I had already completed a Diploma in music while I was in school. But back then in 2003, there were not many resources to understand what to do next. There was also the pressure to pursue a professional course but I wanted to be in a creative field. I had zero interest in any engineering course. So I chose architecture. That’s how Apeejay happened and the next  five years transformed me completely. 

Long nights, few hours of sleep, and hectic submission as well as deadlines were part of my everyday routine and as a student I embraced it. I also appreciated the way my faculty nurtured, supported and mentored me through those five years. It was their support and the values they imbibed in me that I received the Satya Paul Award in 2007. Seniors were also equally supportive. My time at Apeejay taught me patience, management and resilience yet it also gave me some lifelong friends and mentors.

Please explain why and how multifunctional space designs are in trend today?

We have always heard that ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’ and little did we know that a single virus will have the power to change our lives and the way we look at spaces. In 2020 when the global pandemic hit, people spent most of their time in their living rooms due to work from home conditions. 

Social distancing and lockdown scaled down our personnel range to the four walls of our own house. Our rooms, where we used to spend a few hours, encapsulated our entire existence.  The entire definition of the space, our homes changed within a day. The four walls that witnessed us waking and rushing to the workplace became our entire playground for the entire day. 

Even before the Covid, multifunctional spaces were in existence in the form of tiny offices in the living room or a work desk tucked in the corner of the bedroom. However,  post-COVID it has become almost a necessity for all. Another reason I see for this trend is the scarcity of space. Homes are getting smaller day by day due to various reasons. I have been working on many real estate sector projects for the past 14 years. Apartment designs are now all about the space management and multifunctional spaces. To achieve the most in the least possible space/utilising the full potential of the space. Multifunctional furniture, hidden storage spaces, kitchen doubling up as dining, balconies doubling up as vertical garden are new normal today.

Smart home or home automation is a big thing today in the architecture industry.  Kindly explain the factors that are driving this trend.

Safety, comfort and energy saving are the key factors driving this trend today. People simply want a home that is more connected and more accessible while enhancing an individual’s security and comfort. The trend is also ideal for differently-abled people, giving them more access to various things and reducing their dependency. Convenience is the major factor here – being able to control and manage all the smart appliances of your home through one device.

Kindly share your words of wisdom for young aspiring architects

Be curious! The future belongs to the curious. Question it; even if you think it is a foolish one. Develop and sharpen your soft as well as hard skills. In architecture, you will always learn something new everyday.


My Design Philosophy 

It is to keep it simple, integrate the indoors as well as outdoors, and utilise the full potential of the space.”

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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