de.Sign is an interdisciplinary design firm with international practice in architecture, product design and urban design with offices in New York and Mumbai. Led by Viren Brahmbhatt, the Principal, ours is a collaborative process that defines the firm's design philosophy. We strive to produce structures that are at the forefront of contemporary issues, rooted in local culture and context that address client needs as well as the functional requirements of the program. We have completed and are currently working on architectural, interior, industrial and urban design projects worldwide that bridge diverse scales and design typologies. Our comprehensive portfolio includes urban, residential, civic, commercial, institutional, hospitality, retail and housing design projects as well as space planning, graphic and furniture/product design.
Viren Brahmbhatt (Principal | de.Sign) is an architect and urban designer based in New York. His professional work has been focused on architecture, housing, urban design and cities. Prior to setting up his own practice, Viren worked with NYC Housing Authority as an Architect/Urban Designer and directed various projects aimed at improving the quality of life for New York City neighborhoods. In addition to his personal practice, he teaches design studios at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), Columbia University and Pratt Institute. His work in the area of Informal Architecture in global cites strives to achieve small but implementable change and incremental regeneration of various transitory zones in cities like Mumbai and others in the Global South. Furthermore, Viren has participated in various national and international conferences and presented papers on various themes ranging from social housing in New York to emerging cites of the Global South.
Reimagining Lutyens' Delhi is based on the studies on Lutyens' Plan for Imperial Delhi, by the Urban Design Studio, Spring 2014 (Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design), Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University in The City of New York.
ABSTRACT The subject of the Studio was a comparative urban dialogue between New Delhi, Kisumu, and Medellín. Like dynamic cities everywhere, they share concerns about the form of their continuing expansion and the consequent mandates for compact growth. This dialogue is of particular interest given the diversity of character and context of each, within the broad context of development in the "Global South." The New Delhi mandate involves densification of the Lutyens' Plan for the original colonial city, long considered an international landmark in early 20th century urban design. In question is the evolution of this culturally significant and highly formalized hallmark from its ceremonial significance as new Capitol of India to expanded meaning as center of a new commercial metropolis. For each of the three cities, detailed study sites were carefully chosen as particular "fragments" that could serve as windows through which to view the larger question of their respective development modes, and to comparatively explore "saturation" levels of density within the respective urban contexts.
REIMAGINING LUTYENS’ DELHI examines the present day situation of the landmark historic plan for the new capital of India by the British architect Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), completed in 1931. The original plan has been considerably modified in ad hoc fashion over the past two decades due to real estate pressures related to the large growth of the city and region during this period. Yet much remains of enduring value within the plan such that consideration of preservation measures is crucial, while recognizing that Lutyens’ composition has entered an era of transformation. The four “provocations” presented in the exhibition aspire to address the contradictions between preservation and development. Developed by post-professional students, faculty, and experts at Columbia University in collaboration with local partners in Delhi, each urban design proposal examines a typical condition between the center and periphery of Lutyens’ Delhi. They are the Bungalow Zone; the Janpath; the remnants of Baoli, Hauz, and Nullah; and the adjacent Kidwai Nagar neighborhood. They are proposed with the hope of making a positive contribution to the debate on the future of the past for this world landmark in urban design.
Vacant City deals with the project to revise and reconfigure the Mont des Arts, a neighborhood in the center of Brussels where the museums and cultural institutions are concentrated - the city's 'Museum Quarter.' Originally designed from the perspective that concentrating national cultural institutions and large-scale works in the heart of a city would make a crucial difference in the city's development, the Mont des Arts is now considered to be in need of some serious revision. Vacant City offers a fascinating insight into the problematic history of the Mont des Arts as an urban site, and also proceeds from this concrete ‘case study' to questions of the significance and role of museums and cultural institutions for and in the cities of the future. Vacant City shuttles between the issue of vacant structures in today's cities, the role of culture in urban and spatial planning, and the changing significance of the museum.
Project Team: Richard Plunz, Viren Brahmbhatt (Partners in-charge). Our team was invited by Brussels2000 Committee to prepare urban design proposal for the Center of the City of Brussels. The project brief included redesign and revitalization of the historic core consisting of the Royal Citadel, Museums, National Library & Archives, the Palace of Fine Arts and Central Station. The fundamental approach to design was to make the historical layers of the city legible though a series of transmutations and careful de-masking. The controlled excavation of the site allows it to be de-masked. The de-masking makes a series of public panoramas, transforming the hermetic domain of royalty to a new populist presence. The panoramas are understood sectionally; La Putterie is returned to the body politic through its diverse layers. The Mont des Arts is opened to the city as an emblem of the cultural diversity of the Belgian state.