FIRM TO WATCH: PATRICK WAHEED
Patrick Koshoni started off as an information management consultant, but after 7 years and without any formal academic training in design, his passion led to the establishment of Patrickwaheed Design Consultancy. Today, under his leadership as co-Creative Director, his firm has become a front-runner in urban development, including interior and architectural design in Nigeria.
- Patrickwaheed is about ten years old; what has been your most significant achievement as a firm?
Being able to always meet and sometimes exceed clients’ expectations for nearly a decade and still remain in partnership
- You are self-taught. What avenues did you use to train yourself in design?
Listening to and watching experts, reading design related books and online information, attending design related exhibitions, practical putting to test the knowledge gleaned.
- You have a design style that you have termed ethno tropical contemporary. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Hmmm…not sure a little will be enough. Anyway… we analyze the complexity of relationships within each project without any assumption or prejudice. Our attempt is to remain intuitive and look for an angle to initiate dialogue. It is through this practice that the matter being observed naturally reveals itself and a feasible solution becomes clear. One underpinning element that has evolved from this approach is a design style that we term as ETC, ethno-tropical contemporary.
ETC relates to spatial solutions based on contemporary design that takes into consideration our tropical climate and incorporates ethnic provenance in its internal styling and decoration, while staying true to a project’s essential purpose. The endeavour is to show the genuine possibility in creating designs that emerge through a process of collective dialogue, a face-to-face sharing of knowledge through imagination, intimacy, and modesty as opposed to a forced, contrived process.
ETC manifests as a building composed of a dateless contemporary form and interior, with our tropical conditions being largely the determinant of the building’s functionality (size, orientation and components of doors and windows, choice of building and finishing materials, and construction process). Then we take into consideration our ethnography i.e. the reality of our everyday traditionally-urban domestic lifestyle and finally, minimally infuse the interiors with ethnicity. So why Greek styled columns, arched windows and doorways, ornate ceiling roses, cornices and covings, when simple contemporary lines and forms are cheaper, quicker to execute and remain dateless for longer? Why huge voluminous roofs to accommodate attics for ‘I-have- an-attic-too’ sake, when a roof terrace could do the same job and allow for private enjoyment of the outdoors without ‘stepping out’? Why huge columns of no structural value or significance? Why install a bathtub, when a good shower system is more refreshing, cheaper and space saving? Why a balcony in front and on the upper floor, when it is no longer comfortable for families to gather on verandahs, since it is considered too exposing in terms of current security concerns? Why not enjoy the breeze, garden, family and friends from a useful wood deck connected to the sitting room and leading to a rear garden, far from prying and opportunistic eyes? And why not include some traditional themed pieces of furniture, interior accessories and Nigerian art to reflect your strong sense of ethnic self and culture, instead of the Greek statutes, untouched baby grand pianos, Van Gogh framed prints and ornate traditional Italian furniture?
- Are there any particular structures in Nigeria that you are inspired by?
There are many, but a few are; Demas Nwoko’s church, nearly all if not all of the buildings designed by John Godwin and Jill Hopwood, Itiku House, Onikan, Independence Building, Lagos Island, the Folawiyo residence, Ikoyi and Alara design store, Victoria Island.
- What do you feel is the greatest challenge when it comes to design and architecture in Nigeria?
The private sector; most of those who have the money, do not have the taste, as well as the public sector where design in general, is not regarded as a determinant of success in, or a fundamental component of nation-building.
- From Aso Rock, to boutiques, residential properties and commercial, which of the projects did you find the most challenging?
Luckily, Patrickwaheed only takes on projects where the client is design-led and understands and values what we bring; this reduces certain challenges. Nevertheless, achieving any business objective within Nigeria’s interesting environment will always be challenging, regardless of industry, scale or location. We are not under any illusions about this, so we expect challenges and take them head-on. Fortunately, in the past 9 years we have become better at forecasting, preparing for and tackling familiar challenges.
- What would be your dream project?
Phew …tough one! But it’s between turning Tafawa Balewa Square into a ‘central park’ and being commissioned to design and construct a public access building to display and store Nigeria’s incredibly astounding art and culture in all its various tangible and intangible forms.
- How can Nigerian and African architects practice environmentally responsible architecture and design?
First, they require world-class theoretical and practical knowledge of ‘environmentally responsible architecture and design’.
- What advice would you give to young designers starting out today?
Dream big, make sure it is hinged on your culture and then start it.
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