Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The inimitably stylish Sanjay Puri

Read Time: 2 mins 30 secs; viewing time: 3 mins  23 secs

A look at the life and style of the award-winning architect Sanjay Puri reveals a passion for fashion, his profession and a certain country revered for its style! 

Sanjay Puri walks into the living room of his art-filled South Mumbai apartment with an air of nonchalance. His burnt orange leather loafers and sockless look, a brave choice by Indian standards, are a giveaway — the prolific architect loves to dress well. Oozing sprezzatura, or the Italian art of dressing with studied carelessness, he’d be one with the locals in a breezy café on the Amalfi Coast. 

His sense of style - decidedly conventional with a touch of the brash - emerges from the subtle details that speak louder than labels. A peek into his shoe drawer reveals an ever-growing collection of over 100 pairs of shoes, in distressed teals, ochres and tans, most of which are Italian brands like Santoni and Harris, of course. It’s confirmed: Ar. Sanjay adores the Italian way of dressing. 

He is justifiably one of India’s most eminent architects and a recipient of over 128 well-deserved international awards backed by a body of work that includes instantly-recognisable, avant-garde sculptural buildings. A typical day starts at 6.30 am — he goes to the gym or for a swim at 8 am before heading to the office by 10 am. He won’t take calls or speak to anyone till 1 pm when he emerges from his sacred space for meetings until 9 pm.

Sanjay travels a lot, for work and for leisure with his family of four. One day he could be attending an awards ceremony in Amsterdam, the next - he could be jet-setting off to a little town in Europe to experience a structure that’s caught his attention. Cafes, beach time and music figure largely in his pursuit for “la dolce vita” on the odd break from work. Then again, a glint in his eye reveals a passion for his profession even on holiday, when he says that in an ideal world, he’d be unwinding at the café of the CaixaForum museum in Madrid designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Or, pursuing modern structures such as those in Copenhagen.

Back home, music (retro pop, hard rock, house, lounge, and soft jazz), books (thrillers by David Baldacci and John Grisham) and films (everything except sci-fi) help him unwind after a long day’s work. Although, at present, he is fixated on the TV series, Suits. 

Relaxation also comes by way of daily drives to and from work in his BMW 5 Series as he listens to music. Revealing to us that a Maserati is on his wish-list and that he’d love to live in Tuscany and drive around Italy in an Aston Martin Coupe, the fascination for everything Italian resurfaces. This time, it’s evident that the fixation is far from ephemeral. 

Rapid Fire:
Who can bully you into doing anything? 
My daughters.

Designing a building is like writing history in a way that it affects people’s lives. Every line you draw is important. 

A quote or philosophy you emulate?
“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?” – Zaha Hadid
“The philosophy is to study what has been done in a particular subject and not do anything like that again.” – Sanjay Puri

Five things we can always find in your bag?
A sketch pen, pencil, marker, phone, and headphones. 

Describe yourself in one line.
Someone who’s in his own bubble. 

If you could invite three people (past or present) to a formal sit-down dinner, who would they be? 
Zaha Hadid, Wolf D. Prix, and Daniel Libeskind. They’re all architects but I’d let the conversation take its own course.

The one thing you can’t do without for breakfast?
Eggs, done differently every day. 

Interview and text: Beverly Pereira
Videography: Sadaf Khan
Video Editing: Parag Phatak
Sound Engineer: Neal Shenai
Music Funny Song from Bensound.com.
Social Media: Avinash Yadav
Concept & creative direction: Lalit Hira

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