Attended by more than 700 Architects & Designers & Artists over the 2 days, WADe Asia – 1st platform of Asia to celebrate Women-led Development in Architecture, Design and Art concluded its second edition on the 28th& 29th Oct 2017 at the Leela Ambience, Gurgaon. WADe is about documenting the progression of Women in Design. It is also about a common ground for women in creative pursuits to meet, network, learn and share. With the coming together of 6 countries, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand, WADe Asia received thunderous applause from the entire fraternity.
One of the most wonderful highlights of the event was the movie screening and live presentation by 88 year old self taught architect known for her sustainable buildings using local materials, Didi Contractor – aptly receiving standing ovation at both the sessions and rightfully awarded the First ever ‘Lifetime Achievement Award by WADe Asia.’ Her rare presence in any event has elevated the efforts by WADe Asia to a new level.
Highly regarded Padma Bhushan awardee Shri Rajeev Sethi, scenographer, art curator and the person behind the beautiful Art Walk at Mumbai’s T2 Airport, unfurled WADe Asia and gave the morning keynote address.
Vertica Dvivedi, Founder, WADe Asia shared her vision with the women in design & art, “My vision for WADe Asia is to see it move beyond me and team. We have created the platform. We are here as enabler and facilitator. Now, it is time for you to STEP IN, take ownership and give more meaningful direction to this movement.”
Eminent Architect and Author of ‘Letters to a Young Architect,’ Christopher Charles Beninnger’s speech on woman was quite liked. Nela De Zoysa, who is a very popular architect from Sri Lanka provided an insight into Sri Lankan Architecture through the works of famous architect Geoffrey Bawa and some of her own projects. “I appreciate WADe Asia for seeing the vacuum that existed to recognize Women. WADe gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my long lost Indian friends and make new ones,” she said.
Amidst celebrations, recognitions and togetherness, there were deep emotional moments as well. When the name of octogenarian Didi Contractor was called on stage, Actress Bhagyashree who was on stage to give away the award stepped down to present the award to Didi sitting among the audience. The beautiful actress with the lovely heart said, “Didi doesn’t have to come up the stage for award. We will go to her.”
WADe with its objective of connecting the Role Models to the juniors also started with its first ever SPECIAL Session called WADe MASTERCLASS WITH MENTORS, an hour long session presided by 5 Respected Senior Women Architects such as Shimul Javeri Kadri, Sonali Bhagwati, Canna Patel, Parul Zaveri & Anupama Kundoo. They answered questions from the community of Young Architects & Designers rightly represented by Manishi Agarwal from Design Cosmos. The session received overwhelming response from the audience.
Quick talks by Change Makers, a series of short talks by Young & Enterprising Designers on varied subjects was also loved by all.
Popular celebrity designer Manjeet Bhullar was a part of panel discussion along with daughter Anhad Bhullar, Ar. Bobby Mukherjee from Mumbai, Dr. Sheetal Jain of Luxe Analytics, and author of Decoding Luxe Mahul Brahma.
“One of the best things about WADe was the active and enthusiastic participation from not just Women Architects and Designers but from Men as well which was a wonderful achievement since WADe Asia strives to create an inclusive environment for all,” says Madhurima Chowdhury, Associate Director, WADe Asia.
At the same time, a wonderful blend of various topics interwoven with the objectives of WADe, yet diverse and unique in their own way was much loved by all. From Slum/Shelter housing to how consumers perceive luxury, from design journeys to the art of scaling up businesses, topics were diverse, significant and well curated. The 2 day event apart from including Panel Discussions, Keynotes, Master Class and Talks, Book launches & presentations, Students Workshop on Gender Sensitive Design in Public Spaces also had a lot of apt entertainment as well.
While Stand-up Comedian Rajneesh Kapoor made people laugh out loud, a beautiful Sufi dance performance& Ancient Martial Arts in a special Dance on Wheelchairs made everyone’s eyes’ moist with awe and pride. WADe believes in supporting such initiatives. Others included a performance by the young singing sensation Alisha Pais as well as seasoned Bollywood Singer Hema Sardesai of several Bollywood hits such as ‘Awara Bhawre’, ‘Badal pe pau hain’ from Chak de India, and more.
WADe Asia had something for all who visited. For an event that is just 2 years old, the reach and scale had been stupendous.
Neera Adarkar from Adarkar Associates, Mumbai, who is an Architect, Urban Researcher, Academician, Author, Heritage conservationist and Social activist was felicitated with WADe Special Contribution Award for Academics, Architecture & Social Causes. Neelam Manjunath from Manasaram, Bangalore, who is known for her sustainable architecture and extensive research & work towards development of Bamboo as a material received the WADe Sustainability Champion Award. Pratima Joshi from Shelter Associates Pune was awarded WADe Special Contribution Award for Social causes. Pratima is an architect who has worked in the area of Sustainable low cost housing & sanitation for the urban poor for nearly 25 years. “I was interacting with so many women peers for the first time in the last 25 years. It was such an enriching experience for me as I have been mostly working in my own silo for years without much interaction with the fraternity. I got to know some great people and work during the last two days and feel very inspired to be connected to this platform WADe Asia,” she said.
Other categories include WADe Excellence Award, Young WADe, WADe Artist Award and WADe Student Project Award.