We’re delighted to announce that Abi Roni Mattom, Jitendra Makwana, and Jay Kulkarni have joined Unispace as Director - India, Director of Client Partnerships, and Director of Delivery respectively in India.
With close to 40 years of office design and construction experience in India, the trio will be leading Unispace’s launch in the market, combining global expertise with local knowledge and experience. We spoke with Abi, Jitendra, and Jay to learn more about their professional journeys, what led them to join the Unispace team, as well as their outlook on the industry moving forward.
What drew you to Unispace?
Abi Roni Mattom, Director - India: Prior to joining Unispace, I was the launchpad for M Moser in India building the organisation, beginning from myself as one of the first employees to a 150-strong team. I started as a project manager in 2008, and grew to lead the most profitable business unit as an Associate Director.
When I learnt of Unispace’s ambitions in India, I was drawn to the prospect of applying my prior experience to bring the company’s global expertise and proposition to the Indian market. Like Jitendra, who was with M Moser too previously, I immediately saw the opportunity to be a pioneer all over again in a new, dynamic environment. That’s incredibly exciting for us.
Can you tell us more about your professional experience?
Jitendra Makwana, Director of Client Partnerships: I’ve spent my whole career in the design industry, with exposure to both the creative and commercial aspects. I started out as a designer myself, before moving into project management and subsequently, business development. In my most recent position, I led the team at M Moser’s Mumbai office to build client services and establish the brand’s presence.
Jay Kulkarni, Director of Delivery: I have worked across design and project management functions, with particular focus on emerging markets, including some of the most challenging environments around the world. I’ve managed delivery of projects across EMEA and South Asia. Right before joining Unispace, I was one of the initial few employees at WeWork Global, dedicated to the expansion in India, where our team built 34 spaces in six cities across the country.
Given all the recent changes in workplace design, what are some of the key trends you’ve been discussing with business leaders in India?
ARM: In many ways, India was late to the workplace game and had a steep learning curve, but the events of the past year have only accelerated the country’s digitisation journey. The current reality of work requires a whole new level of open collaboration, and when everything else is virtual, the physical workspace only becomes all the more important as that common touchpoint. Businesses are looking to designers to create spaces that people actually want to return to. This involves incorporating elements of hospitality into interior design – something that is now known as a “resimercial” transformation..
JM: Definitely, these spaces for collaboration are continuing to evolve in new ways. We’ve been talking about flexible working for five or six years, but the amalgamation of technology into these spaces is taking on renewed urgency for businesses. Hybrid working and all kinds of design possibilities are being explored now to enable the workforce to plug in from anywhere in the world.
What do you think the future of the industry is going to look like as a result of the pandemic?
JK: Technology is a huge game-changer in our industry, especially amidst current realities. Companies are starting to turn towards innovations like augmented reality and mixed reality in order to avoid going out in public and maintain social distancing during this time, with robots and intelligent IoT systems being used to facilitate site inspections. On the whole, the rate at which innovation and technology are being incorporated into the workflow in recent years has been astonishing, and the pandemic will only serve as a catalyst for that transformation.
While you must be very busy with Unispace’s launch in India at the moment, what are some hobbies that you enjoy pursuing outside of work?
AM: I split my time across many things, including updating my knowledge base with short courses on self-awareness, leadership series and more. Additionally, I’m a planter and love growing coffee. I’m also a trainee pilot – in fact, I think flying must be at the top of my list.
JM: I love playing all kinds of sports. I was previously a basketball captain in school, I represented my college in cricket, and I was an inter-college champion in chess. Even now, I still play volleyball every Sunday, so I guess you can call me a sports fanatic.
JK: For me, I like going on motorcycle rides every weekend. As a third-generation motorcycle owner, it gives me a chance to enjoy some personal time to clear my head and take stock of everything that is going on in my life.
We are thrilled to have Abi, Jitendra, and Jay join the team to support our local and multinational clients looking to transform or deliver a new workplace across the region, reinforcing our proven track record of delivering high-quality projects around the world.
To meet more of our global team, head to our Team pages.