Venky Kamat and the language of design


The language of architecture and the ability of a design to inspire and break barriers is under threat according to Venky Kamat who is now part of the team at Khatib & Alami, a company with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

“When I started in this profession it was the beginning of an unimaginable journey,” he said.

“And something I have come to realise is that I believe in a language which doesn’t mimic what is already in existence. Architecture needs to break through – it needs adventure, excitement and poetry.


“But it has been taken over by technology. That can be a good thing as it allows building to advance. But the problems come when design is so influenced by popular culture – when people copy one another. In some ways we live in a cut-and-paste world and I want to challenge that.”

Kamat said buildings should be in harmony with their surroundings – something which he felt is not always the case in Dubai.

“You take a drive along Sheik Zayed Road,” he said. “To the layman it looks fantastic. But when you look closely you see it is such a mix of styles. I also don’t like the embellishments you see so often on buildings. Those are purely cosmetic additions to a structure which have no logic.

“Dubai has a lot of opportunities to designers to push boundaries. But that can be a dangerous thing if the environment is not respected.

“Architects should be visionaries – looks at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, in a great design with a very public plaza which has been the centre for activities and political discussion.

“I see creating designs as being like a making time capsule – in the present but looking towards the magical potential of the future.”

You can also view his futuristic artwork here. 

Biography Venky Kamat was born in 1978 in the Indian state of Goa and he studied architecture at a local college before working in India for four years. At his BArch degree course at Goa University he achieved a first class distinction and was nominated for the Charles Correa Award for Excellence in Design.

Kamat’s thesis at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL in London was awarded a commendation. He has managed and assisted in award winning projects including the Hanson HQ which was awarded best commercial building in the BD Awards and an eco-home which was recognised for best use of materials. He started working in Dubai last year.

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