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MuseLAB wins the Coronavirus Design Competition

Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani of MuseLAB have won the Coronavirus Design Competition

Tell us a little about yourselves? Your firm, your mission, etc.

Huzefa Rangwala (M.Arch graduate from Georgia Tech) and Jasem Pirani (M.Arch graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design) met in Savannah over a long weekend about 15 years back. We both enjoy travelling, that is what got us close. Before founding our practice, we both have worked for larger corporate offices in Atlanta, New York and Mumbai. In 2012 Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani founded the studio built upon our shared passion for design.

MuseLAB is an end-to-end design studio; creating thoughtful and engaging architecture, interior environments, furniture and products. Each experience and or product we create embodies integrity with the same care, skill and attention to detail. At MuseLAB every challenge is treated as an opportunity which is given careful thought and consideration. We use both intuitive and traditional methods of analysis to identify the tangible and the intangible. By a systematic process of conceptualization, schematic design and design development we look to provide pure and focused experiential design. Each project irrespective of scale and typology is concept-driven and relates to a central narrative. Independent of our projects we like to explore and research materials and design and therefore in 2015 we launched MuseMART our product design division.

These self-propelled projects empower us to embrace the uncomfortable, learn from our failures and nurture our creativity. As a practice, we are continuously seeking to explore, learn and find solutions. In early 2020 we launched MuseX, our studio’s dedicated research arm. Through this conscious effort, we are looking to explore relevant technological tools to be able to adapt to changing environments and deliver unique solutions through collaborations. Market on wheels, our entry for the Coronavirus Design competition is a conscious effort to build on that conversation and establish the importance of resilient design. 

Design is at the forefront of our practice. Our team is a collective of architects, interior designers and furniture designers. As designers, we strive to strike a balance between our strengths and weaknesses and believe in the power of collaboration. As a team, we are always curious and constantly exploring ways, by which design can simplify, advance and enhance lives and our environment.  

Our Beliefs

Design is a constant dialogue between the built and the unbuilt, the inhabitable and the habitable, the realized and the desired. Our approach is often pluralistic where we try to find the balance between diverse thoughts and ideas. The studio is held together by ideas, beliefs and shared humanistic values. We refuse to adhere to any defined set of boundaries. We believe in creating with passion and building on the cultural context for the well being of our society. Whether it is the way in which we respond to challenges; by tailoring our solutions to the quantitative and qualitative requirements. Stories excite us. Through each one of our projects, whether it may be through architecture, interiors or products and furniture we are looking to inspire and share a story.

Our Team

Thank you to our team: Namrata Tidke, Bhakti Loonawat, and Atharva Gune.

What inspired you to enter the coronavirus design competition?

The stories, the helplessness and the pain of the loss of lives and livelihood and our unpreparedness for a situation like this are what compelled us more than inspired us to enter the competition. At the time that this competition was announced as a studio, we had already engaged in a dialogue amongst ourselves to see how we could help and what it is that we could create to help the society to alleviate some of the issues faced by everyone irrespective of geographic boundaries. For the competition we had the opportunity to take two approaches; one could have been something conceptual and the second more plausible. We chose the latter as we needed to come up with a solution that could make a difference and one that we could act upon and be realized. At present we are reaching out and engaging with various people and organizations to help us bring the cart to life. 

What role do you think design has in today's world?

Design has always played an essential role in problem-solving but it is in only recently that people are realizing how we as designers can have a larger impact. Every individual experiences design at every moment from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. Not sure who said it first but good design is virtually invisible. I don’t think most of us paid any attention to how many times we touch door handles, surfaces and objects as part of our daily routine before the pandemic. Design is a powerful force. It has enabled us to develop visual metaphors and experiences. When we design something we are altering our built environment to make things more hospitable therefore it is essential that any intervention or creation is contextually relevant and within the framework of the experience and the impact on our world. 

Any closing thoughts? Anything you'd like the world to know?

For the last decade or more everyone has been discussing sustainability. Often the idea of sustainable design has been misused or misunderstood. A good design will consider all aspects of building a conscious product, built environment and service. We all as designers like creating beautiful products, spaces and Instagram worthy built environments. There is no harm in that and we are guilty of that as well. However, it is also important for us to realize the role we play in society and therefore we need to find a balance in what we create. The need of the hour is a resilient design.

Essentially design that exemplifies what is essential and calculates risks. As designers, we may not be able to pre-empt every condition or situation. However, there is a certain responsibility that we carry towards our society and available resources. As individuals, we cannot solve all problems and find solutions to everything. However, as a collective we can, therefore, collaboration has never been more important than it has today. Every partner in the collaboration plays an equal role. Only by sharing our ideas and collectively supporting and building on them can we as designers play an important role in shaping our world.


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