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Hafele-TFOD Profile Of The Week: Ar. Suvarna Sathe, Mumbai

Posted by
on August 14, 2015 at 10:14 AM

One of India’s first practicing landscape architects, Suvarna Sathe has a lovely profile on The Future Of Design! Tiny terrace gardens, clubhouses in residential societies, public recreation facilities, quaint restaurant backyards, lavish resort properties, and colossal corporate office parks – her portfolio has it all! The highlight of her work is that regardless of scale, the landscapes are tactfully designed to fulfill their function – while blending with the topography or enhancing the architecture around it. 

© Courtesy of

Landscape architecture is a specialization of architecture that encompasses the designing of outdoor spaces. It is a multi-disciplinary field involving basic knowledge of botany, horticulture, geology, ecology as well as fine arts and aesthetics. The scope of the profession includes site planning, storm-water management, environmental restoration, parks and recreation planning, visual resource management, and green infrastructure planning - at varying scales of design, planning and management. Simply put, it involves the understanding of climatology and soil conditions and a fair knowledge of plant types and their characteristics and suitability to the local conditions - to plan the green spaces in and around a built form. Ideally, the lanscape architect should be involved from the very onset of the project, in the development of the site plan itself. 

When Suvarna Sathe started her independent practice as a landscape architect over 25 years back, the field was relatively new to India, and certainly wasn’t a preferred choice of career for women! But she took the path less trodden and rose to achieve much success and respect from her peers, clients and the fraternity at large.

Practicing out of Mumbai, as Sathe Architects, a firm she co-owns with her illustrious architect-husband Rajeev, Suvarna’s career has been an eventful one. Her projects range in scale; from housing master-plans to corporate parks to civil infrastructure and the reclamation of degraded landscapes – each showing a soulful understanding of climate and context, respecting the land and the needs of the users.

Plants have sculptural forms, they can be colourful and decorative; stones have rich colours and varied textures; water is magical in any setting and any form either as a pond, a pool or a waterfall; and it is the manipulation of these primary elements that is the basis of landscape design. Other interventions include lawns, walkways, outdoor seating, and gazebos. Good lighting design is also a critical factor in landscaping, as the designer must visualize and plan the space with its electrical layout to enable a effective and aesthetically pleasing look of the landscape, by night.

Whether a public garden or a private farmhouse, a corporate park or a resort, Suvarna astutely blends hard and soft landscaping elements; with attention to colours and textures, to create engaging landscapes. Being appropriate to the specifics of the site, functionally relevant and ecologically sustainable, Suvarna’s landscape liaisons elucidate the significance of sensitive planning and designing.

The Future Of Design applauds the landscape architect's wholesome profile; with 73 images and a wonderful display of the vast variety of projects to her credit! 

Designer : Ar. Suvarna Sathe, Mumbai
Photography :Courtesy the architect

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