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Promising Architectural Practices of India

DesignAware, Hyderabad and Dubai


DesignAware is an experimental architecture and inter-disciplinary design studio borne of a desire to create awareness through liveable, wearable, usable, accessible and responsible design. DesignAware is deeply involved with built and natural environments, and with real and virtual worlds via investigative design research across discipline/method/scale/context/interface.

DesignAware believes in the relevance of an open-ended, bottom-up, participatory approach to design and awareness. Taking an entrepreneurial route, the studio has worked on various self-initiated projects, with a particularly strong focus on socially-relevant work. They continue to question methodological and pedagogical norms through design research and practice, and through the creation of hi-tech and low-tech tools and systems. DesignAware is not just a practice, it’s a movement.

Situated in Hyderabad and Dubai, the studio focuses on process-oriented design, and their projects range from lighting to furniture, interior design to renovation, and residential, commercial and institutional architecture, as well as socially-relevant projects, such as a school for students of disadvantaged backgrounds in the heritage zone of the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad. In a non-profit endeavour, DesignAware successfully raised partial funds and contributions to build the context-sensitive school on a tight budget through the social media crowdfunding campaign, #MakeProgressPossible. The school design won A’Design Award 2018 and was declared the Platinum Winner of Architecture Ideas 3.0 at the Festival of Architecture and Interior Design (FOAID) 2017, a Special Mention in projects Responding to the Demands of Context and Community on The Merit List 2019, and was nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2020-22). The project was awarded the Silver green building certification by the Indian Green Building Council at the Green Building Congress 2018 and is visited by architecture students and design enthusiasts from across India. DesignAware was longlisted in the Dezeen Awards as an Emerging Architecture Studio of the Year 2020.

DesignAware’s design awareness and education initiative, the Fractals Workshop is a generative design workshop for students and professionals from all backgrounds. This hands-on workshop combines design, structure, art, mathematics and computation. Since 2011, the workshop has been to various cities in India, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. The workshop was also an official part of Dubai Design Week 2018 and Hyderabad Design Week and the World Design Assembly 2019. The Fractals Workshop collaborates with Meta Open Arts, Turenscape Academy, DigitalFUTURES, the Boston Architectural College and CEPT University for remote workshops that are attended by participants from all over the world.

The Team

Takbir Fatima is the Director of DesignAware and an architect and educator. She is passionate about design research, digital prototyping, teaching and figuring out how things are made, and aims to balance teaching, research and practice. She was awarded the Telangana Young Architect Award by the Indian Institute of Architects in 2016 and was recognized as an Emerging Architect of the Year by NDTV Design & Architecture Awards 2016. Takbir was an invited speaker at TEDxBITS Hyderabad in 2017. Takbir was included in the annual selection of 50 emerging Indian architects and designers, iGen 50 in 2019. She was also interviewed by Dezeen as a part of the Virtual Design Festival 2020.

Takbir is associated as Adjunct Faculty and Course Developer with the Boston Architectural College, and she guides the Directed Research Project at the Department of Design, CEPT University.

Takbir has a BArch from CSIIT School of Architecture + Planning, Secunderabad (affiliated to JNAFAU, Hyderabad), and an M.Arch in Architecture + Urbanism from the Design Research Lab at the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture in London. She is 2016 a fellow of the Startup Leadership Program.

Abeer Fatima is the Lead Interior Designer of DesignAware and CEO of the signature wearables brand, Eclipse. She has a BDes in Interior Design from Raffles College of Design & Commerce. Abeer is passionate about accessible and universal design and her Major Studio Project was the design of an accessible children’s library on a live site. Abeer is also experienced in project management and execution and has led the design + build team on various projects, including a micro-mosque in Masab Tank, Hyderabad, and the revival of Hyderabad’s favourite ice creamery- Melting Moments. The project was featured in notable publications such as Design Detail magazine, was exhibited at the Dubai Design & Fashion Council during Dubai Design Week 2018 and was declared Platinum Winner of Architecture Ideas 5.0 at the Festival of Architecture and Interior Design (FOAID) 2019. Abeer was named Surfaces Reporter magazine’s Rising Star in September 2017.

Abeer has been accepted to the University of the Arts, London for an MA in Interior Spatial Design and Parsons School of Design with scholarships, and plans to attend in 2023.

Asna Moazzam is an Associate Architect and heads the Dubai studio of DesignAware, and is passionate about sustainability and responsible design. She is the Founder of the Sustainability Initiative, ard, which carries out extensive research on building materials and traditional technology of the Emirati desert, as well as Saray thematic holiday homes in Dubai. Asna has successfully led a design project towards an ESTIDAMA Green Building rating for a government entity in Abu Dhabi. She has been invited to present several DesignAware projects to UAE planning authorities and is working with the Government of UAE to realize urban initiatives. Asna has also been an invited speaker at UNICEF’s WASH Network.

Asna has a BArch from SV College of Architecture, Cyberabad (affiliated with JNAFAU, Hyderabad). She is a Member of the Emirates Green Building Council and PBRS certified by the Urban Planning Council of Abu Dhabi.

Key works by DesignAware

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