Photos: Tony Joseph (centre, middle row) with members of the Stapati team; Alila Diwa in Goa; the Vythiri Resort in Wayanad, Kerala
Sometime ago, architect Tony Joseph, founder of the firm, Stapati, had gone to Singapore. While having a meeting with one of the island’s top architects, he was introduced to a group of people. When he told them that he is from Kerala, they said that they had stayed at the Kumarakom Lake Resort. “I designed it,” said Joseph. There was an instant elation among the group members who congratulated him on designing such a beautiful property. “It feels great when your work is appreciated,” says Joseph.
The book, priced at Rs 2600, has been published by the San Francisco-based Oro Editions. While leading architect Christopher C. Benninger has penned the foreword, the text has been written by Stapati architect Sujith GS. It was released at a function at the Crowne Plaza, Kochi, on December 21, by Alex Kuruvila, the Chief Executive of Conde Nast India, in the presence of Kochi Biennale founder Bose Krishnamachari.
“It is always an honour when a monograph is published on your works,” says Joseph. “Oro Editions are the leading publishers of international architecture books. People will get a feel of the type of work that is being done in India. Also, a lot of the projects are from Kerala, so it is a great mileage for the state.”
“Our team does an extensive study of the local architecture as well as the site,” says Joseph. “In Vythiri, the project was located in an abandoned coffee estate. We did a detailed survey where every rock and tree was inspected. We made sure we did not cut a single tree. And every rock was preserved. We did the same thing at the Alila Diwa in Goa. There were a lot of old trees. We made sure the design revolved around the trees, so that there is a natural landscape.”
Asked his philosophy, Joseph says, “When you are sincere to a project, you will make sure that the site is not disturbed. This will ensure that the end-user is happy. It is also important to keep the costs low, so that the owner is also happy. So, for me, the prime attitude is one of sincerity.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)