Hiren Patel’s Art and Architecture: A Timeless Celebration of NatureCreators And Collectors
Hiren Patel, of Hiren Patel Architects (HPA) has been an architect par excellence for over three decades, renowned for creating dynamic spaces that embody a harmonious balance between nature and all that is man-made. What makes Hiren a truly unique individual, is that he is as much a prolific artist, as he is an architect and designer. Art and design are interdependent for him, and as he repeatedly quips, Hiren identifies as “an artist first, and then an architect.”
An Early, Intrinsic Bond with Art
Born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, into a family of engineers, Hiren Patel always had a strong inclination towards art. He fondly recalls an art competition from his school days, for which he painted an aerial view of the city of Ahmedabad beautifully dotted with kites, as seen during the Uttarayan Kite Festival. “I had a good sense of perspective even then,” he remarks, adding that he always chose painting as his elective in school and college, even though most of his friends did not.
Mentorship and Camaraderie in Art
Hiren’s eternal love for art was fuelled by some stirring personal experiences of camaraderie and mentorship. As a student of architecture, Hiren continued dabbling in art, his passion for sketching and painting only growing stronger with time. Opting for painting as an elective during his course, he trained under renowned contemporary artist Piraji Sagara. “It was almost like private tuitions, since I was the only one who chose the elective in all five years of architecture,” Hiren smiles. “And that was the best part!”
Starting out as a practising architect, Hiren always ensured that he got original artworks to be displayed in show apartments. The young architect often got Sharad Patel, an artist he admired, to create paintings to be displayed in his show apartments. This practice became a source of joy and upliftment for the artist, who was then suffering from serious health issues. The satisfaction Sharad gained from working with Hiren resulted in the improvement of his health. This positive change in Sharad’s health further propelled Hiren’s love for art.
Hiren also worked with renowned artist Nabibakhsh Mansoori, whose studio he had designed. Hiren and Nabibakhsh often spent time together at the studio, working on their art into the wee hours of the night. Working with acclaimed artists not only fuelled Hiren’s passion for painting, but watching them also gave him the confidence to create large watercolour paintings.
Today, Hiren’s artworks are marketed by Studio Aitareya. Incidentally, the founder of Aitareya, Malav Patel, is a client and dear friend of Hiren’s; Malav’s beautiful Bali-inspired bungalow in Ahmedabad was designed by Hiren Patel Architects.
Malav Patel's bungalow in Ahmedabad, designed by Hiren Patel
A Perfect Blend of Art and Design
Hiren Patel’s art and design projects seamlessly intertwine, borrowing and reflecting off each other. His sense of composition in architecture helps him create his watercolour paintings. On the other hand, Hiren’s approach while completing a design project is very similar to that of an artist. Just like artists complete paintings with a masterstroke, Hiren persistently works on the drawings for his design projects, until he finds a masterstroke. This could be an element of landscaping, interior design, or anything else. And so, art is not just a source of pleasure for Hiren; painting also helps him find solutions when he hits a roadblock while designing.
Malav Patel's bungalow in Ahmedabad, designed by Hiren Patel
Breathing Life into His Creations
Hiren Patel’s artworks are dominated by his portrayal of nature and still life, much like the element of landscaping that is a significant part of his architectural designs. Elaborating on this, Hiren says that nature is an intrinsic and inseparable part of life, and it is unfortunate that today’s fast-paced, urban lifestyle is getting increasingly cut off from it. “Even if you are a nature lover, today, it is extremely difficult to find time to spend outdoors,” he says, his disappointment evident. This distancing of nature from our lives, drives Hiren to emphasize it in his architectural designs and his art.
Homes designed by Hiren Patel
An Enduring Love for Watercolour
Hiren can never be found without a sketchbook while travelling. “If I’m on a trip, and I wake up to a beautiful view from my hotel room, I immediately make a tiny sketch of it,” says Hiren. He later goes back to work on these compositions, developing them into larger watercolour paintings.
Hiren Patel working on his art
Over the years, Hiren has found a comfortable niche in the medium of watercolour. He feels confident using it and does not intend to make a switch to any other medium. Pointing out that only a few artists work on large watercolour compositions, he says that he wants to perfect his style and create more mature work. Hiren, who also works with charcoal, remarks that black and white compositions have their own distinct quality. The artist takes an interest in sculpture as well, and says that someday, he may take it up as seriously.
Timelessness That Takes on Various Forms
A multifaceted personality with a wealth of different talents, Hiren Patel translates his love for art into creating striking three-dimensional artworks and rugs, as well.
Hiren’s intriguing three-dimensional artworks, which are made using scanned copies of his paintings, and cut using a leather-cutting machine, are unique pieces similar to design models. Although AutoCAD is used to draw geometric figures on the artworks, which are later cut to form different patterns, Hiren highlights the fact that the use of technology is kept to a minimum, so that it does not take away from the timelessness of the pieces.
Hiren also transforms his paintings into beautiful rugs. He observes that the handmade texture of the rugs adds character to his paintings, and the process of creating them benefits underprivileged sections of the society. “The centres where these carpets are made are situated in small villages in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. My rugs are made mostly by women, and I’m glad I can contribute to their livelihood,” he says. A means of empowerment for many, Hiren Patel’s rugs are also timeless pieces of art, doubling up as sources of joy and comfort.
Throughout his exceptional journey, Hiren Patel has focused on spreading joy, integrating nature and incorporating timelessness in his art and design. His passion and talent shine through in his work, making all his creations truly stand out.