26 INTERIORS & SOURCES SEPTEMBER 2015 interiorsandsources.com
By AnnMarie Martin | Photography courtesy of Shared_Studios
Design has become the ultimate common denominator. This issue teaches us that more than ever and it’s not illustrated better than here, in our September Collaborative. Amar C. Bakshi, creator of Shared_Studios and more
importantly Portals—an amazing initiative that connects two people between
time and space—was inspired when he wanted to help his grandmother
remember what it was like in her hometown of Lahore, Pakistan.
“Out of college I spent some time traveling around the world reporting on how
people see America for The Washington Post. I had some of the most moving
experiences of my life when I was on a bus ride from one city to another, sitting
next to somebody I didn’t know, without an iPhone or a laptop, talking to another
person just in the interest of getting to know them, curiosity, and passing the time.”
He returned home missing these types of encounters and reflected on
when he’d send video clips back to his grandmother in Maryland, who want-
ed to know what had become of her local bakery and her neighbors
in Lahore since she’d left when she was just 10.
“She passed away a couple years ago and she never re-engaged with
the town, partially because there wasn’t that moment or physical location
to help someone like my grandmother to connect in some coherent context
with that distant space.” And while such tools as Skype, Google, and the
Internet in general do offer people those opportunities, it still makes those
moments somehow less meaningful—especially less so than those unfiltered
moments for Bakshi on a bus or a train traveling during his reporting days.
“In those moments when we didn’t know one another and there wasn’t a pur-
pose to our encounter, we were able to have conversations on a pretty deep level.”
He decided to give those intense moments of communication another
avenue with Portals. These gold standard shipping containers are placed in
various institutional domains and geographies all over the world, where one
person can enter, and come face-to-face with someone in another container
A SERIES OF MOMENTS
Spacesmith and the multidisciplinary collective Shared_Studios prove that
great design is sometimes one that takes a back seat with Portals.