By wadeasia 29 December, 2022

Founded by Vertica Dvivedi, WADe was launched as WADe India in May 2016. The launch was graced by the presence of ‘woman of substance’, Dr. Kiran Bedi who had fondly shared her experience in designing the New Tihar Jail along with the architect. There were presence of eminent celebrity designers Sussanne Khan with her mom Zarine Khan. Television star Hussain Kuwajerwala hosted the WADe Awards. WADe as a concept received a lot of applause.

In continuation of the same, the recently concluded annual celebration of WADe Asia 2017 received enormous response. “Attended by more than 700 Architects, Designers & Artists over 2 days, the coming together of 6 countries, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand, WADe Asia was magnanimous beyond our imagination,” said Madhurima Chowdhury, Associate Director, WADe Asia.

WADe was aptly supported by the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID), Bhutan Institute of Architects (BIA), Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA) and Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs (COWE).

The Keynotes by Didi Contractor, Padma Bhushan awardee Rajeev Sethi, Christopher Charles Benninger and Nela de Zoysa from Sri Lanka were most enthusiastically attended. WADe Asia is proud to have speakers like Shimul Javeri Kadri, Anupama Kundoo, Sonali Bhagwati, Parul Zaveri and Canna Patel in ‘WADe Masterclass with Mentors’ which was one of the highlighting sessions. Young architect, Manishi Aggarwal communicated the questions to the mentors on behalf of the aspiring ones.

With a host of Panel Discussions, Keynotes, Masterclass, Book launches, Students Workshop in association with IIA, WADe Asia had apt dose of entertainment as well. Stand-up comedy by Rajneesh Kapoor was thoroughly enjoyed. Also present were Bollywood Actress Bhagyashree and the soulful Singer Hema Sardesai. The panel moderated by Anuradha Chatterjee from Australia had international guests like Dorji Yangki, President, Bhutan Institute of Architects; Anju Malla Pradhan, VP, Society of Nepalese Architects, Nepal; Shamima Sharmim & Nadia Farah, Bangladesh, and Patama Roonrakwit, Case Studio, Thailand.

WADe Asia is glad that female designers have started to get value out of the conclave. Other talks were ‘Design Journey’ moderated by Sonal Sancheti, ‘Business of Architecture’ moderated by Ramprasad Akkisetti, ‘Slum & Shelters’ by Gita Balakrishnan and ‘Building with love’ by Payal Kapoor. Some of the panelists were Lalita Tharani, Rahul Sabrawal, Prasanna Desai, Swanzal Kak Kapoor, Pragati Jain and Supraja Rao. A special talk session called ‘Time is Changing’ had quick talks by change makers like Tanvi Jain, Tanya Khanna, Kavita Murugkar, Shweta Deshmukh, Maitri Buch and Pavitra Sri Prakash.

Brinda Miller was the jury for WADe Asia Artist Award. This edition of WADe saw the coming of beautiful arts and artworks by young women artists from around India.

Receiving of WADe Asia Life Time Achievement Award by Didi Contractor received standing ovation from audience. The 88 year old lady is known for designing sustainable architecture in the Himalayan region with local materials like clay, bamboo, slate, river stone etc,. When her name was announced on stage, actress Bhagyashree decided to step down the stage to give Didi the award. That was the most memorable moment at WADe Asia, recalls a delegate. The audience appreciated this lovely gesture from the actress-turned-nutritionist Bhagyashree.

Neera Adarkar of Adarkar Associates, Mumbai, was awarded the WADe India Special Contribution Award 2017 for Academics, Research and Social Cause. Pratima Joshi from Pune received the WADe Asia is glad that female designers have started to get value out of the conclave and so many men from the industry are standing by WADe to support spreading of women-led development.

Neha Barua, Associate Director, WADe Asia is pleased to receive numerous messages from delegates sharing what they have taken back from WADe Asia.

The coming together of women in design during WADe Asia was a joyful gathering. Neha said, “In our years of experience in the industry, we realized that women hardly network. Amidst managing professional commitments, family responsibilities and self, networking sub-consciously takes a backseat. Something always comes-up that ranks above networking in a women’s priority list. WADe is glad to receive numerous messages from delegates and speakers sharing what they have taken back from WADe Asia.”

A young architect, Tanvi Jain from CEPT, wrote, “For a young architect such as me, hearing architects of the like of Didi Contractor was truly inspirational. It’s absolutely commendable to have seen the architects WADe brought together from such diverse backgrounds, and with such a rich body of work.”

“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,” said Pratima Joshi. Nela de Zoysa from Sri Lanka felt quite the same. “The WADe Asia Conference gave me the opportunity to reconnect with many long lost Indian friends through my journey in life,” she said.

Nikita Mathur, a delegate was enthralled by the optimism prevailing in WADe Asia. She said, “The optimism in WADe Asia was worth watching. I was amazed to see men participating enthusiastically, celebrating the recognition of women in design.”

Neilesh Kenkare, co-founder of Arch Aid from Mumbai who accompanied his wife & partner Bhavya Kenkare commented, “WADe was one of the most memorable events I have attended. Felt more like a close family function where you literally feel sad while leaving. Didn’t feel like Architectural event for even a minute. Best part was seeing all Asian women Architects on same stage with superb array of works.”

WADe Asia is glad that female designers have started to get value out of the conclave and so many men from the industry are standing by WADe to support spreading of women-led development. There is no better learning than to listen to the experience of people who have walked the path.

Vertica Dvivedi shared her vision for WADe Asia. “My vision for WADe is to see it move beyond me. We have created the medium and will act as enabler and facilitator. It is time for you to step in, take ownership and give more meaningful direction to this movement.”