1 Square Designs: A Visionary Architectural Firm for the Future—Blending Innovation, Sustainability, and Client-Centric Design

20 Most Innovative and Reliable Architectural Firms in India 2024

1 SQUARE DESIGNS

The architecture industry plays a vital role in shaping our built environment. Architects create functional and beautiful spaces that meet the needs of their clients while also considering the social, economic, and environmental impact of their designs.
1 Square Designs is a leading architectural firm founded by Ar. Shera Bano Merchant. The firm offers a comprehensive range of services, from urban planning to interior design. 1 Square Designs takes a client-centric approach, working closely with their clients to understand their needs and create spaces that reflect their unique vision.
1 Square Designs is a forward-thinking firm that is committed to creating innovative and sustainable designs. Their mission is to create spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional, sustainable, and meet the needs of a changing world. Their vision is to be a leader in the architectural industry, known for their innovative designs and commitment to client satisfaction.
We are delighted to bring to you an exclusive interview with the director of 1 Square Designs, Ar. Shera Bano Merchant, in our prestigious edition, “20 Most Innovative and Reliable Architectural Firms in India 2024.” In this interview, she will share her inspiration, ideas, and life lessons on how to excel in the architectural industry and build an innovative and reliable architectural design firm. Stay tuned.

1 Square Designs

Prime Insights: What inspired you to start your architectural firm? Share the story behind its beginning and the vision that motivates your team.

I was inspired by my grandmother, who was very imaginative and resourceful when she was planning her home. The inception of our architectural firm was born from my own passion and shared vision. Traditional practices inspired me, but I saw a gap in sustainability and social impact. This fueled my passion to create a firm focused on innovation, collaboration, and designs that go beyond function. We prioritize human well-being, creativity, and a sustainable future. Our team thrives on diverse perspectives, fostering a strong spirit to deliver exceptional design solutions.

Prime Insights: What were the initial challenges your firm faced, and how did you overcome them?

Early on, convincing clients of a design’s value, especially on tight budgets, was tough. We tackled this by educating them on how good design goes beyond aesthetics, boosting functionality and well-being. We got creative, seeing budget limitations as a chance to innovate with materials and strategies. Persistence and exceeding expectations were key. We delivered value-driven solutions, building trust and a reputation for reliability. By nurturing strong client relationships and staying true to our core values of integrity and innovation, we overcame those initial hurdles. Now, we’re seen as a trusted partner, helping clients achieve their design goals, no matter the starting point.

 

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: How does your firm build and demonstrate trust with clients and stakeholders?

Trust is the cornerstone of our architectural practice. It’s built on open communication, transparency, and truly understanding our clients. We keep them informed every step of the way, listen actively, and leverage our expertise to exceed expectations. We sweat the details to deliver flawless work, building trust in our commitment to excellence. But it doesn’t stop there. We see clients as partners, offering post-project support. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of ownership and reinforces trust. By being transparent, empathetic, and a reliable partner, we’ve earned the trust of clients and stakeholders industry-wide.

Prime Insights: Describe your firm’s services and solutions that meet client needs and address architectural challenges.

We offer a full spectrum of architectural services, from urban planning to interior design. But it’s not just about the services themselves; it’s about how they address real client needs and challenges. We focus on S.O.U.L.—sustainable designs that prioritize well-being and the environment. They’re optimal in cost, time, and space. We create unique spaces tailored to each client’s personality, and most importantly, they’re livable—comfortable, well-lit, and low-maintenance.
For example, with residential projects, we don’t just design a house; we design a lifestyle. We take a holistic approach, from architectural design that reflects their vision to crafting stunning, functional interiors. Our master planning expertise helps create vibrant communities, and our turnkey solutions ensure a smooth, stress-free process for clients from start to finish.

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: Have you noticed changes in how clients trust architectural firms over time? How does your firm adapt to these evolving trust dynamics in the industry?

Indeed, we’ve witnessed a significant evolution in how clients perceive and trust architectural firms. Technology and lifestyle shifts mean they expect more. We adapt by being transparent, accountable, and reliable. We use technology to collaborate better and streamline the process. But it’s about more than that. We focus on creating designs that are not only beautiful but also sustainable, efficient, and unique—a reflection of their story. We understand time is precious, so we offer comprehensive project management. And let’s not forget value! We deliver luxury within budget. By staying responsive and adaptable, we build trust in this ever-changing industry.

Prime Insights: Share insights into how your firm has gained recognition in the architectural sector and how you prioritize client satisfaction in your projects.

Recognition came from a focus on innovation, quality, and putting clients first. We push boundaries to create spaces that are both stunning and functional. Our unique selling point is “Innovative Designs Fused with Sustainability.” Sustainable designs that wow, seamless integration of smart home technology, and custom spaces that reflect each client’s story.
But awards are just a part of it. Client satisfaction is paramount. We achieve this through transparency, keeping them informed every step of the way. We’re also big on continuous improvement, constantly learning and adapting to stay on top of trends and technologies. It’s about creating spaces our clients love, not just designs that win awards.”

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: How does your firm build and maintain strong relationships with clients throughout the architectural process, from idea to completion?

Strong client relationships are our foundation. We start by truly understanding their needs, from wanting a unique design to managing the project. We address their concerns about budget, time, and complexity. Then, we guide them to the perfect service, be it design, management, or turnkey solutions. Throughout the entire process, our priority is their vision and satisfaction.

Prime Insights: Discuss any initiatives or projects through which your firm engages with the local community and positively impacts the built environment.

We’re committed to our community. We partner with local artists and vendors on public art projects, creating beautiful and meaningful spaces. We also use sustainable practices like green spaces and local materials. It’s about giving back, fostering local talent, and creating a positive impact on our built environment.

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: Highlight any sustainable practices or innovative approaches your firm uses in architectural design and construction.

Sustainability is a must for us. We use passive design to cut energy use and source eco-friendly materials like bamboo, wood, cork, recycled glass, green roofs, fiber cement, natural stone, etc. and recycled content. It’s about creating beautiful spaces that are kind to the environment.

Prime Insights: What are the recent changes in your firm this year, and what are your future growth and innovation plans?

We’re always evolving! This year, we’ve been big on tech—project management software, 3D rendering, VR—to collaborate better and design more creatively. Sustainability’s still a priority, with a focus on new eco-friendly materials. We’re also investing in our team, providing training, and fostering a culture of innovation. Ultimately, it’s about exceeding client expectations through clear communication and exceptional work.

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: How does your firm measure client trust in your architectural solutions, and what steps do you take to improve it?

We measure client trust through surveys and feedback sessions. It’s all about open communication—keeping them involved, updated, and heard. We use their feedback to constantly improve. By exceeding expectations and fostering trust, we ensure clients feel confident in our work.

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: How do clients perceive your firm’s unique identity and values in the architectural field?

We want clients to see us as the perfect blend of innovation and value. We use cutting-edge technology to create beautiful, functional spaces. But it’s not just about the tech; every design tells the client’s story. We’re detail-oriented, sustainability-focused, and known for exceptional quality. Our team is full of inspiring architects, and we’re always looking to improve by measuring client trust. By being transparent, communicative, and responsive, we build trust and exceed expectations on every project.

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: Reflect on your journey as an entrepreneur in architecture, highlighting milestones, challenges, and lessons learned.

This has been an incredible ride! Founding the firm after years of learning and passion was a huge moment. Completing our first major project and growing the team were stepping stones to bigger, more creative projects. Awards were a great validation, and launching our sustainability initiative felt right.
There have been bumps: finances, competition, and managing expectations. But they taught us perseverance, innovation, and the importance of focusing on clients. We’ve learned to adapt to change and keep learning. The biggest lesson? Networking is key; keep learning and find balance. It’s been about growth, not just for the firm but for me as a leader and designer. The challenges made us stronger, and the milestones remind us of the impact we’re making.

1 Square Designs
Prime Insights: What are your aspirations and goals for the coming year in advancing architectural excellence and client relationships?

Next year, we’re pushing architectural excellence with innovative design, team training, and even an R&D department! For clients, we’re focusing on education, tailored solutions, strong feedback loops, and even post-project support. By doing this, we can create even better designs, happier clients, and keep our firm growing strong.

Prime Insights: Share valuable advice and insights for emerging architects and firms based on your experience in the industry.

For young architects, here’s my advice: hone your fundamentals, but find your unique voice! Collaborate with other professionals and prioritize sustainability. Communication is key, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Attention to detail is important, but be flexible. Finally, perseverance is key. Challenges will come, but if you stick with them, you can make a real impact on the world of architecture.

You Must Read:

  1. Khurmi Associates: Shaping Skylines and Architectural Legacies Through Innovation
  2. Aeiforia Constructions: Propagating the Ideology of Adopting Sustainable Civil, Interior, and Architectural Construction
  3. Beyond Aesthetics: The Psychology Behind Impactful Interior Design
  4. 100krafts: Reflecting People’s Happiness Through Marvellous Interior Designing Services
1 Square Designs

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