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Nischal Abhaykumar of M9 Design Studio Envisions Spaces That Will Inspire People

By admin / Published on Friday, 08 Feb 2019 18:45 PM / No Comments / 408 views

Nischal Abhaykumar of M9 Design Studio Envisions Spaces That Will Inspire People

Nischal Abhaykumar founded M9 Design Studio in 2009 after competing his Master of Art & Architecture Design from Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC) in Frankfurt, Germany. He holds Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from R.V. School of Architecture, Bengaluru, India. Prior to M9 Design Studio Nischal has worked with InFORM Architects and renowned architecture studios in Frankfurt, Stuttgart and London before returning to India in early 2009. Recognising every great design is the result of a combination of ideas, inspired by the dynamism of urban life views Nischal Abhaykumar in his interview with

Nischal Abhaykumar Founder & Jesal Pathak, M9 Design Studio

What does the name M9 signify and your thoughts behind its unconventional title of the firm?

There are many words beginning with ‘M’ in architecture vocabulary like material, massing, management, etc. We aspire to take them to the highest level of ‘9’ in the projects we do; also, it is a numerology thing that a very dear friend suggested.

The inspiration behind choosing this profession, the philosophy of your work in the projects you undertake

The ability to impact lives and make dreams come alive inspires me the most. At M9, we strive to impact people through spaces. No matter what project we are designing, we always aim to make a difference in the city’s landscape. We envision spaces that will inspire people, help them connect with one another, and enrich the human experience. We do this by embracing the life, love, and diversity of the city. Recognising that every great design is the result of a combination of ideas, we are inspired by the dynamism of urban life.

You had the experience with InForm Architects, how it helped in the projects of your firm, your learnings here.

My experience in InForm Architects has been very enriching. It made me aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a designer. This learning helped me greatly in taking all my professional decisions.

Tell us about your experience doing the first project. Which and where was it?

My first built project was a residence in Bangalore – Skew. It was quite challenging. We were working on a shoestring budget. Lots of vicissitudes, constant trials and experiments – learning from mistakes and few happy surprises.

How was it when you began your journey amongst the stalwarts in the industry?

I was quite prepared. My work experience with renowned architecture studios in India and Europe had me all set for what it really takes to be in this profession. Sincerity and hard work go a long way.

You have done some amazing and unconventional projects such as Wilderness Pavilion Kenya,Amsterdam Art Bridge, Sunrise Garden Restaurant, 40 x 4 x 0 and more in the making, how was it designing all these in different categories, your experience and challenges. Elaborate

More than category or size, what largely draws us towards a project is its nature. Its the idea to go beyond the obvious. The wilderness pavilion and art bridge – both were competition entries while the garden restaurant and 40x4x0 are built works. Competition entries are very liberating creatively as we do not have to worry about realities of building them, while building a design is far more complicated and rewarding as it gives us the high of seeing our vision/imagination for real.

What do you have to say about the projects in the making Hyde Park Library, Namma Canteen, the similarity and differentiating factors which makes them unique.

In both these projects, the type of people we were catering to was completely different from one another. In addition, our design approach is very context driven. For the library, our criteria was to address the way we wanted users to perceive the space and its surroundings. In case of the canteen, we made the design modular almost like a kit of parts, which can be easily adapted to the needs of each particular location where it is being assembled.

Which was the most challenging project you have undertaken this far?

The CMRU Admin and Academic block has been most fun to work on. It is also because I am drawn to steel constructions more as they are very precise with minimum room for error and its fast. We finished that building in 5 months.

The important designing aspects you consider for any project you undertake, what is the USP of your work?

I find myself very comfortable in spaces, which stimulate senses of see, touch, feel and smell (The aroma diffuser from Muji is my favourite and most recommended product). These senses are pretty much the basics of human behaviour. I try to bring some of these qualities to the spaces we design.

Would like to know more about upcoming you projects, which are they, where?

Currently we are working on two institution projects located in cities with extreme climate conditions – one, extremely dry and hot and the other, very humid. There is also a sports arena and a couple of hospitality projects.

How would define M9 Design Studio and the dream of Nischal Abhaykumar.

M9’s vision is that each project – each scenario is different, unique to location and end user – it is almost like problem solving. It is important to bring timeless quality to design relevant to changing lifestyles – one that lives and ages well.


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