Rahul Das Menon & Ojas Chaudhari|Studio Tab |Mumbai
Studio TAB – Making a difference breaking away from the routine culture
LoStepping away from the routine nuances of art and design, Studio TAB, Mumbai, sheds away the mundane designs by adopting the most innovative art and creating a difference in the market. With a unique approach, Studio TAB was founded by duo Architects Rahul Das Menon & Ojas Chaudhari, with unprecedented artistic skills.
Studio TAB is an award-winning multidisciplinary design practice comprising like-minded professionals. Here every design process involves unlearning the routine nuances and understanding the project environment at micro and macro levels. The drive is to constantly evolve designs by creating a harmonious mélange of the built & unbuilt, form & function, synergy & flair.
The ethos of the organization is what sets them apart from most other firms. The team works together and celebrates together. The annual office trip or the weekend get-togethers are well known. The office recognizes no hierarchy. The working atmosphere is exceptional where everyone, be it an intern or senior architect or the principal architects are actively involved in everything. From design discussions, to voicing ideas, to client meetings and to making coffee for everyone. The office culture encourages people to open up and embraces everyone who comes in. The camaraderie of the office culture has been so strong that now there is a TAB alumni group who actively guides and trains the new entrants. As one of the architects working in the office mentions, “studio TAB is like Hotel California – The famous 1977 song by Eagles, you can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave”. Indeed, how touching the emotional attachment each person has at TAB!
Architect Rahul was born and brought up in Mumbai and comes from a business family background and Architect Ojas was born and brought up in the idyllic town of Nashik. He moved to Mumbai during graduation. Both graduated in 2008. While Ojas worked with one of Mumbai’s leading architectural companies, Rahul worked with one of the emerging and now renowned companies of India. Later, Rahul also worked with a US based architectural company’s Indian office. The similarity in their passion and dedication brought the architects together to build up a venture to vent out their creativity and unique artistic skills.
Ojas was always a focussed student and that showed in his aptitude tests and exams leading upto taking up architecture. He always had an ambition in becoming an architect and this skillset was always exhibited in his keen sense of detailing, fine eye for perfection. Ojas emerged as one of the top rankers during graduation.
As conveyed by one of the company’s associates:
When in conversation with Rahul Menon, co-founder of studio TAB, one can quickly assume his ability to emote. This gift, whether a sum total of his life experiences or simply a product of evolved mind, gives him an uncanny edge while seeing spaces. The result is finely crafted spatial arrangements with each one expressing an emotion of its own, an identity, and yet coming together as part of whole. He has always been one to see the larger picture first and then striven to achieve that goal, perfecting the picture step-by-step. Relationship building and backing his team in every scenario is an attribute he possesses.
In contrast, Ojas Chaudhuri, has always looked at architecture through a looking glass. For him, the entirety of a space comes together by crafting the tiniest of details with much thought. He carries in his repertoire, hand-crafted stationery and a keen set of eyes that has allowed him to understand and refine his tastes, which result in often unpredictable choices unique in nature. Together they complement each other, forming thus, a very formidable pair who are never afraid to evolve and whom people can only look up to.
Studio TAB is a multi-faceted firm with various verticals led by individual creative heads. The firm is actively involved in Architecture, Urban planning, interior design, product design and EGD (Environmental graphic design) projects across 16 cities of India. In 2019, they collaborated with the German design firm 1zu33 to design and execute the uber luxury retail projects for BSH Gaggenau.
Challenges had always been a factor to push the duo architects to do wonders with fighting spirits. The usual challenges for most start-ups were undoubtedly faced and fought back. Here, they speak more about them and their learning experience,
“The transition from academic knowledge to real world was the first challenge. But this was probably the sweet pain challenge. We began learning the nuances of execution by literally functioning from on-sites. We began gathering know hows of the trade by working hands on. We preferred working out from a site office rather than a corporate one. This helped firm up our basics and set forth a strong foundation.
Coming from a non-architectural background and thus having no past backing, we had to bootstrap our business from day 1. In hindsight, we feel this helped us manage our finances realistically too. We never fell for the bubble of investor funding and rather depended on ourselves to fund what we believed in. When your own money is on the line, the seriousness and realistic approach tends to be on another level. This approach has helped the firm remain debt free, even in the most challenging of times.”
Working together, exploring and experimenting is indeed an enlightening journey for the duo Architects. They add,
“The fact that we brought to the table nothing more than just talent was a double-edged sword to begin with. Sometimes, our talent was respected and awarded; sometimes we lost out on projects because we didn’t have a name to bank on or were considered too young for the job, we took both results positively and part of our learning experience.
The profession itself is laden with uncertainty. The threat of projects being called off, delayed indefinitely due to factors beyond our control are high. This is something which all firms face and we are no different. A dozen or more of our pet projects never took off or got stalled indefinitely due to change in govt norms, market slump, etc. But there’s very little we can do in such times. All we can do is rise again.”
Challenges led their way to victory and here is their tub of Major achievements:
- iGEN Top 50 Emerging Architects by Architect & Interior India.
- Top 3 finalists Grohe NDTV Design & Architecture Awards 2016.
- TOP 5 residential luxury residential projects at FOAID awards, 2016.
- Top 3 retail projects at Manorama Veedu Awards 2018.
- Silver winner for retail projects at FOAID Awards 2018.
- Grand stand awards for the best expo design for atACETECH , Bangalore 2018.
- TOP 5 residential luxury residential projects at FOAID awards, 2018.
- Grand stand awards the best expo design for atACETECH, Hyderabad 2019.
- Winner of Retail category, Ace of Space awards by Architect & Interiors India, 2019.
Their most challenging project delivered is Project Balaji silks in Mumbai which was their stepping stone project. They state more about their best delivered projects,
“We envisioned a sari showroom like never before. Every single aspect of this showroom was minutely thought of. Also, because, this was probably our only project in hand during those times. We gave it our all. This project bagged many awards and commendations.
The next silk sari showroom JJ Silks Bangalore was where we took it a step further.
Restoration of a 100-year-old property in Kerala that got ravaged in the 2018 floods was probably the most emotional project for us. Restoring the house back to the glory it deserves was our one-point agenda when we set about the project.
House in the Hills Darjeeling and Farm on the house Cochin are two of our satisfying projects in terms of having been able to design along with nature and local materials. The designs in both projects encourage sustainable living, eco-friendly approach and very little dependency on artificial thermal solutions.”
Collaborating, sharing, and establishing the best firm is indeed an example to many aspiring architects and partners who thrive to begin their journey with trust and faith building a true bond both on the professional and personal fronts. They put forth few words as suggestions to the aspirants,
“Starting your own studio/ firm/ company is probably everyone’s dream and a proudest moment too. But the real challenge is not the start. The real challenge lies in sustaining the enterprise. Have a contingency plan to help the enterprise sustain for a time period.”
The journey to achieve more and more continues with new plans and progress. They say,
“Professionally, we are striving to push our boundaries to learn and reinvent with every project. We have now become more selective of the projects we work on. We are working towards collaborations that help elevate our learning experiences.
Simultaneously, we are desirous of setting up a studio in the outskirts where we would intend to conduct workshops, interactions with local community and help build the community infrastructure. Here we would encourage our team to live and explore design as an integrated lifestyle rather than an exclusive office hour one.”
With a wonderful working atmosphere and a strong team, Studio Tab is sure to reach the peaks of success.
Designs and Stories , Bangalore wishes Architects Rahul and Ojas, and their Studio TAB, all the very best for their future endeavours!
To know more about Studio TAB, kindly visit,
phone: +91 989 218 4331/ +91 981 968 5052.