THE DOYENNE – RENU HASAN
SIRAJ & RENU was established in the early 1980’s by Siraj and Renu Hasan. Renu Hasan, grace personified, decided to pursue Architecture in the sixties, when architecture was an offbeat choice for a career. Like she says, “You could count on your fingers the number of architects in the city then.” Their strength is being able to translate their client’s dreams into reality. They have designed and implemented numerous projects in the hospitality, residential and commercial sectors. Such as the Taj Group of Hotels, Radisson, Sheraton, Jaypee Group, Mythri developers, TATA Housing Development Corporation to name a few.
1. Tell us about what you do and what your work is like
I am into designing architecture and interior designing.
2. What have been some of your most prestigious works? Projects you enjoyed doing?
All my projects are prestigious from small showroom to hotels, homes, restaurants and bars *laughs*
3. Tell us about your professional journey. How did you start?
After finishing college started a boutique called ‘Exotica’ – considering that that also was designing. I then joined my husband, we designed furniture and had a workshop called Touchwood. After this was when we got into our current profession. It took a longtime for people to understand that architects don’t only draw lines but that they have to have designing capabilities too!
4. What is the best advice you have received that has impacted your life/work?
Best advice I’ve ever received is something that my father would say, “Have faith in yourself and do what you think is right and proceed.”
5. What would be one advice you want to share with our readers?
The same advice that I received! Have faith in yourself, don’t get disappointed, do whatever you want with complete faith and love.
6. How important is it for you to integrate greenery in your projects?
Greenery is part of our lives, without that the world would be a dead space to live in.
7. Do you consciously create green spaces in your projects?
It is part and parcel of architecture to have green spaces. We design homes with central courtyards and lawns for hotels and for commercial spaces too. We may not be able to do it for small restaurants and pubs where if we can’t grow plants indoors; we make use of artificial plants to give the green feel. I think most designers are now consciously ensuring that they use greenery in their works.
8.What is your personal take on the impending environmental crisis
My personal take would be to make sure we move healthy trees and replant them if they are to be moved for expansion of roads or for other reasons. It would be best if we could avoid having to move them at all. But under unavoidable circumstances these trees must just not be cut and removed but replanted. These healthy, established trees are what protect our environment.
9.Your contribution is so great, do you feel good about being able to contribute and make it a breathable world?
As in my profession I feel good whenever I can contribute to making ours a breathable world.
10. What initiatives do you think we as a community should take to make a greener world?
The only initiative that a professional one can take is to convince people and make them understand how important Trees, Plants and greenery are for us. Only the media can help promote this and TV is the only way to reach all the corners of the world.
11. Tell us about your journey.
When in school art was my passion and obviously my father was a big help in making me choose my subjects. I am talking of the sixties, where you could count on your fingers the number of architects in this city. And to pursue this avocation was rare.
12. How did you know that this was the career for you?
How one knows what and which profession is good for you… your initial interests! Today it is easier as you have counselors who help kids understand what their passion is.
13. What would you tell an 18 year old?
I don’t have any kids but when someone wants me to talk to their kids and I counsel them, the only advice I give them is to take up any profession that they would love to be in and enjoy, but also not to expect to become rich overnight.
14.What are some lessons you have learnt for your personal life from your profession
I have learnt how to deal and understand people, as we have a variety of them!! This is very important, both in career and in life.
15. If not a designer/ID/architect/builder what would you do?
If I was not in this profession, I would probably be a lawyer! I would be good at convincing the judge! The only difference today is that the judges in my present scenario are my clients. One needs to know how to convince the client of what is good and bad in keeping with their respective designs.