Karan Danda​

Architecture is a profession which conceptualizes the surrounding with visual art. The profession requires the expertise to be able to put two bricks together which lays the foundation for others. However, every structure is based on details and those details form the design of the architecture. This time we bring to you the story of Mr. Karan Danda who decided to make his designs visible to the world.

Mr. Karan Danda is an architect who completed his Master’s (MSAAD) from Columbia University and is the co-founder of Studio KE Architects which is based out of Mumbai, India. Mr. Danda is a single child and during his childhood, he used to have the majority part of the time with himself and for himself. In his leisure time, he used to watch cartoons of that time i.e. Duck Tales, Batman, and many more. Watching these creative and visualized characters, he started waving it down on paper. Mr. Danda used to draw those cartoon characters on a blank sheet of paper and fill it with his vision of colors. His motive used to be to replicate the cartoon characters and Mr. Danda developed a natural inclination towards graphic novels and comic books. He was always in for a hunt for comics like ‘Tintin’ and ‘Chacha Chaudhary’. Mr. Danda went to a nearby bookstore all elevated as they were selling 25 comic books for Rs. 100/-. In the 1990s, ‘Star Wars’ movies started paving their pathway to India which further stimulated Mr. Danda for drawing, designing, and gradually architecture as he was inspired by the distinctive method of story-telling of ‘Star Wars’ and the architecture showcased.

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Mr. Danda started his partnership venture with his wife that is Studio KE Architects. As they were completing their Master’s from Columbia University, they were inspired by their culture and architecture as the culture and architecture of every region has its own color. In general, comic superheroes are always portrayed with glitter and glamour. But in the U.S.A.; superheroes always had a story like a real human being, were culturally relevant, and were grounded like normal people.

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Mr. Danda is also the creative director of Gone Case as he has been friends with Mr. Shiv Pannikker (author of Gone Case) from a very tender (6 years) age. Even though Mr. Danda and Mr. Pannikker had chosen different fields, they shared similar interests and always kept in touch which further bought them together for Gone Case. One day, Mr. Pannikker was sharing his story idea with Mr. Danda but Mr. Pannikker was skeptical about the circumstances which might follow for the story’s production. There they decide why not draw it out as script can be interpreted as a storyboard with visuals. Thus, the team of Mr. Danda and Mr. Pannikker started working on the graphic novel Gone Case! 

Many at times, it takes a journey to uncover your actual voyage. After his Bachelor’s, Mr. Danda started working in a firm where after working for a certain tenure he realized that he was wasting his potential in the wrong direction. The vision of the firm was different from Mr. Danda’s and he had no clue where to head next. Mr. Danda decided to quit his job in this firm when his saturation level was attained. He shifted to Bangalore and started working in ‘Mindspace’ where he started feeling pleased after a long search. He learned a lot there and worked really hard as he was doing what he loved. Mr. Danda even made a music series of animals playing musical instruments which has 30 pieces of original music made by Mr. Danda himself. 

After his Master’s, Mr. Danda started working in New York where the architectural laws were extremely strict and had to be abided by. This made the job for Mr. Danda monotonous with missing creativity. He quit his job and came back to India to start his very own firm by the name Studio KE Architects along with his wife. It has been 2 years since they started their firm and till date has acclaimed 12 big projects under its name. Mr. Danda being a designer at heart has also been involved in branding projects for several tech finance start-ups and doctor’s clinics for branding and logo designs along the way. There are also talks of working on something with Indie musician Mr. Tejas Menon for some of his upcoming projects.

Lockdown has been digressing for each and every individual. Mr. Danda’s business has been lately hectic, but rewarding. He is a professor of architecture in the morning and the architecture-designer in lead and businessman by day end. Mr. Danda envisions producing his own fictional graphic novel in the coming year along with the creative direction of Gone Case parts 02 and 03.

Mr. Danda expresses his gratitude for his father, who never stopped him from drawing even in childhood. He always supports Mr. Danda’s work and praises his work in front of everyone else. He is also thankful to his wife as she has always pushed him for his creative context and had his back always.

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One should always pursue where your heartbeats. Everyone should work hard and their working hard should be worth it. Never lose your ray of hope for following your desires. One day, all of it will shine bright withing you!

A personal message from Mr. Karan Danda,

“keep doing what you believe in and send positive vibes into the world. Do what you do with your 900% and believe that the universe will acknowledge you”.

- Team Satyavachan

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