VoxTalks With Aaromale : A Co-Creative Space Designed To Guide You Into The Nature’s Abode

Aaromale : A Nature’s Nest For Creativity

In this day and age of capitalistic urges, we often see ourselves in a madrush to do something and more importantly to be something. Most take up jobs, which offer them a sense of security, others take a leap of faith in making their own path. However, in the latter scenario, the enterpreniul race is also a race at the end of the day. Innovation is now colored with a sense of competition, which is making us forget the absolute joy of creativity which inspires us in the first place. It is in this scenario, that it becomes essential to go back to our roots, take a step back, socialise with fellow thinkers and creators, and come up with ideas which are sustainable and better than anything else. Hyderabad today is privy to many platforms which offer startup support and collaborative spirit. However, Aaromale is a space which stands out with its acute sense of  naturalistic approach towards synergies and innovation. Built in the sumptuous style of Kerala shelters, Aaromale, offers something for everyone. To know more, we sat down with Anvesh, one of the founding members of Aaromale, in the luxurious smells of coffee and natural bliss…

So we’ll just start with the name itself. Again, I guess it’s a very genuine question everywhere, but still. What is the definition of Aaromale and how does it fit here?

Basically, we were brainstorming a lot – the idea was conceptualized an year back, but when it came to the naming, I mean, you know, there’ll be a lot of things to be considered. Namely, the vibe of the space, the architecture, and all of that. So when we walked in and brainstormed, the name seemed to fit automatically. Ofcourse, first thing is that the name is an inspiration from the ‘Aaromale’ song.

And secondly, it’s a Malayalam word which worked well for us, because the structural architecture that you see here has a lot of Kerala influence. For example, the tiles that you see, they were laid by a family who came from Kerala, stayed here for three months and did the work. If you ask anyone else, masons from perhaps Siddipet, Srikakulam or others, they can’t really do it, as it requires a certain regional expertise. Also, the rosewood inclusion and the estate feel you get, it’s all in here for the Kerala vibe.

Thirdly, Aaromale in itself means ‘Oh! Beloved’ which fit well with our thematic, because what we are trying to do here, is to ask people to come home to love, and do what you love. So, it’s all about love, towards your art and work and this space is designed to cater to that.

What was your thought process in forming Aaromale now, given that the city already has multiple cultural awareness venues with ample stage spaces? Ofcourse, there is still a requirement to bring in the cultural awareness, but apart from that was there a specific reason?

Actually, there were multiple factors in play. So one reason was to have like a space where you bring in the age old tradition of how people communicated in villages where they used to sit under a banyan tree and talk about stuff.  Yes, you can see these sorts of things happening at different places. Maybe if you speak of it, historically, it used to happen here and there. And then if you go to places like Delhi University, things like these used to happen. But here and now the communal communication is lacking. Thus, we wanted to cater to all the age groups, and we thought, why not a space which was built like that?

Obviously, Lamakaan was already there. But we thought, how can we differentiate ourselves from others spaces. Although everybody is sort of on the same segment ie., a community space. Or people are into co-working spaces. Ours is not a co-working space, for sure.

We are a co-creative community space. And then we decided to have five offerings over here which cater to the five senses we have. Take for example, our café where you can come and eat, yes, but also learn something new from it. Everything in Aaromale has a story attached to it, and so is the café. The reason behind building the café, is to the answer the question – In the age of Swiggy, what would be the one reason for you to come to a café? So, we thought we’d create an experience where you come in not just to have food, but there are different things you can do as well. There could be a ‘pup-therapy’ session happening, where you can play around with the pups, feel rejuvenated, and then have some delicacies off our café. There could also be someone painting outside, which you can observe and admire, as an hands-on experience, and so on. Thus, it becomes an enriching experience.

You connect with the other creators, attend the workshops and events that we conduct on regular basis. Also, you can also buy stuff from here, curated stuff which is exclusively out of our campus by the co-creators themselves. So, it becomes an overall experience for anyone who visits the facility.

At the end of the day when you enter our premises, we wanted all your five senses to be activated. Now, taste is only one of the five senses. So, we’re creating an experience over here, where you know, you see something and it’s beautiful. And you hear the birds chirping, and the winds swaying, and its pleasant to your ears, you eat something that’s tasty. So, it’s an overall package or an overall experience that you get. That’s how we address the technology disruption where you know, right, if you come into Aaromale, you go back with something to cherish.

Could you tell us about the team constituted under Aaromale? The founding people behind it and how do you bring your experiences to board?

We’re are a group of friends. All of us were roommates in the US except for one, and we moved back to India around the same time. We all come from different backgrounds and passions. I came back to pursue a career in filmmaking. My friend is into construction, and another into law. This is our connected, kind of a pet project, that we took up. You know, so basically, none of us are from an art or design background, but when I pitched this idea, and all of them were willing to support it.

When you talk about a ‘co-creative’ space as opposed to ‘co-working’ space, on a theoretical basis, how would you differentiate the two concepts?

We have identified our core. The idea being sticking to it, which is Fine Arts or Performing Arts. However, in the thematic, the people who are coming in are defining and evolving the space with their ideas and inputs. Thus, they become ‘Co-creator’ for Aaromale. If you see the occupants of the campus, we have different people bringing their own artform to life, and in turn defining the overall meaning of Aaromale. So each perspective integrates itself into the overall philosophy of the place. Their inputs only affect and design the functioning of the place.

We react to the feedback in the most organic way possible, creating an environment which is conducive for seamless transition of ideas and innovations. For example, someone suggested that we also include some Vegan options into our food. Thus, we asked them to come aboard and help us design the cuisine along with us, thus making it an inclusive experience. One another suggestion was to put a library. We then asked people for their help in populating the library with material which is most appreciated and effective. Thus, a sense of belonging is established with continuous updating of the facilities.

Now, is there a procedure for you to fit in the ‘co-creators’ within the facility, considering the fact that their inputs are essential in the overall philosophy of the facility?

We do have a team which interacts with ‘co-creators’ which tries to evaluate as to what their goals are, and what their ideologies are, and what background do they come from. And obviously, the first check would be do they fall under this arts, design, creativity, or innovation background. And if they fall in, then there would be the next process where we try to understand what their goals are, and their vision is. And if it aligns with Aaromale’s vision, that’s when we try to get them on board and have like this collaboration, where we call them ‘co-creators’.

We have people ranging from one Event organizers, to someone who is an incubation select of PwC, who works full time over here, but she’s so much involved in doing community related activities that she’s given feedback and inputs and getting people as well.

On the other hand, the number of people who’ve joined hands to create this is huge. You know, people from different backgrounds – we’ve been receiving emails from different clubs. We’ve had literary clubs; we’ve had Public Affairs of American consulate representatives interacting with us. So yeah, people from very diverse backgrounds are coming forward and we’re trying to tie up with them in one way or the other.

Now, what is the vision that you have for Aaromale? What do you have in store?

So, for now, like I said, we are going ahead, with a short-term plan, that is to at least get our core philosophy in place. The five offerings that we have right now is a part of it. When people walk in and contribute to our feedback, we might, you know, change it a little bit. Or maybe we can expand it as well. We might also be looking at residential learning through Aaromale if need be, in places like Ooty or Kerala in the future. But yeah, at this stage it’s still trying to find our holding.

We’ll also be hosting different types of events under the space, which provide a platform towards expression of art. We’re trying to tie up with as many organizations as possible, as each of them, brings a unique perspective to the events. On the other hand, we ourselves are trying to pitch something to the state government as well. So, we are trying to establish synergies with different organizations.

Can you also tell us the type and make of the ‘co-creators’ already existing within the campus?

Yeah, on the ground floor, we have the full time ‘co-creators’. And full time in the sense, they’ve taken up a room over here, and they’ll be working out from here and be displaying the products within the space as well.

So the first home on the ground floor is Amavi, which is a curated travel startup. They curate your travel experience, make it a very special personalized thing, and offers other travel services as well. Room next to it is taken up by Dabaki, an artist engagement platform. Further a room is taken up by a customized tailoring studio, another by ceramic studio as well.

Upstairs is being taken up by a fashion related store. The other room is occupied by a concept-based ad film making studio and so on. The idea is to allow for cross-pollination between arts and synergize the products with new perspectives. Collaborations are the key. So, one startup’s needs might be satiated by another, thus creating an ecosystem. So we have a knowledge base of design curation, platform based advertising, corporate designing construction or more. Thus, it becomes an overall knowledge base.

Coming back to the philosophy of Aaromale, we noticed the logo of the place to be quite intricately designed? Could you tell us more about the symbolism used within the logo?

So, I was mentioning about the five offerings earlier right? So, here (within the logo) the whole strategy was once you walk in, all your five senses are activated. And those five senses are translated to the five elements of the universe. And what we see over there (on the logo) is the alchemy. And the symbology is reliant on the Devanagiri script.

The topmost element is the wave of air. Below that, you see three arrows indicative of forest. And then the center is sun, followed by the waves of water, then the bottom triangle is the soil/land.  So those are the five elements that we’ve touched upon. And each element, talks about our offerings. Air representing growth, forest represents a sense of togetherness, sun/fire is the core power of passion, followed by water indicative of creativity, and lastly soil representing strength. Those are the offering we provide within the space as well, in a comprehensive manner. This message through logo, is what we try to maintain across all our infra as a branding. We also are maintaining a similar thematic within our furniture and tiles. The sense of earthiness is resonant across the facility.

Earlier you mentioned about having different workshops. Could you elaborate on the type of workshops that you might be looking towards in near future?

Like I said, you know, every week we have a couple of workshops – we could have a ‘chakra harmonizing music session’ and then we would have regular art related workshops. We’ve had the ‘resin art workshop’ recently. Also, we’ve had a calligraphy workshop, maybe followed by a quelling workshop. Apart from these, we’ll have theatre workshops. Like I said, we are in a position where we want to put a shout out, and tell people that there is this space and come up with your ideas to best utilize it. We welcome artists from multi-disciplines, communicate with them our ideas and arrive at a consensus as to the best results. We are now open for ideas, and looking to achieve best synergies going forward.

Thus, we took pleasure in checking out the facility of Aaromale which promises to bring about an organic and exuberant change in the way things are conceptualized and brought out to the market. Do check out the place, and take back a little of nature with yourself..!