Ambrish Arora, 47
Sidhartha Talwar, 44
Ankur Choksi, 43
It was at the end of the first year at Studio Lotus, a multi-disciplinary design brand created by Ambrish Arora, Sidhartha Talwar and Ankur Choksi, that Arora ran out of funds. Projects stopped coming in. There was no money to pay salaries.
Sleepless nights were followed by a nagging sense of failure. His respect took a blow. “I had never felt so dejected. Nothing was working out, but I hung on and worked harder,” he says. Perseverance paid off and business picked up again. This time, it didn’t just make him stronger, it made him formidable.
Arora’s mind reflects the same purity his designs exude. Once, as he strolled along the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh, brooding over life, loss and survival, his entire life flashed before him like karma’s kaleidoscope. Memories of his emotional and intellectual investments—designing the Royal Enfield Headquarters in Chennai; the excitement with which his team and he executed Jamie’s Pizzeria in Delhi and Gurgaon; the contemplation with which they created visualised Baradari, City Palace Café in Jaipur; the creativity infused into Kainoosh, Keya and Zerruco restaurants in Delhi; the elegance that laced fashion designer Rajesh Pratap Singh’s store; the thought that went into the National Museum of Afghanistan—all coming together as one big happy reminder of the purity of purpose and the diversity of teamwork. “In these quiet moments we’re able to silence our mind and see the past in slow motion. In the final analysis, we’ve done well,” smiles Arora.
He doesn’t know what force gave him the panache to leave formal education in 1986 as a 16-year-old with no financial security.
Artistically, Arora and his team always look for elements which are relevant and responsive to the conditions of their designing projects rather than being different just for the sake of it. Dealing with their own insecurities is a big deal. “Our triumphs owe to the fact that we are propelled by self-belief when we execute our projects. The motto is, give your best each day in the face of self-doubt. Don’t let go,” its Talwar’s turn to say.