K2India was constituted in 2010, by Sunita Kohli and her daughter, Kohelika Kohli.
K2India was established as their brand to bring all their companies under one umbrella. These are ‘Sunita Kohli Interior Designs Pvt. Ltd.’ (established in 1971), the Interior Design cell of the company; ‘Kohelika Kohli Architects’ (established in 2004), the Architecture and Project Management cell of the company and ‘Sunita Kohli & Co.’ (established in 1972), the furniture manufacturing cell of the company. In 1992, Sunita Kohli was conferred the Padma Shri by the President of India “for contribution to national life by excellence in the field of Interior Design and Architectural Restoration”. That same year she was also presented the Mahila Shiromani Award, which recognizes women of achievement, by Mother Teresa.
‘Sunita Kohli Interior Designs Pvt. Ltd.’ is a research based interior design firm, concerned and sensitive to the physical context of a project and its cultural milieu. They are leaders in interior design and historical architectural restoration.
They have successfully completed projects in several countries such as Egypt, England and Bhutan, and most recently in Sri Lanka and Pakistan where a late Sikh period haveli in the Old City is being converted into a boutique hotel. The company specializes in the design of public buildings, hotels and resorts, luxury hotel boats, forts, palaces, heritage properties, aircrafts, corporate offices and now private residences.
In 1972, Sunita Kohli set up a furniture manufacturing company ‘Sunita Kohli & Company’, to provide to a discerning clientele, fine reproductions of English classical furniture – primarily of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century’s. The furniture is entirely hand-made and hand-polished by master craftsmen. Now under K2India, new styles of furniture have been introduced. Their directory of manufacture includes Contemporary, Classical-Contemporary, Art Deco and Bedermeier collections of furniture.
In New Delhi, they have restored and decorated many British period buildings – designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Robert Tor Russell – notably Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister’s Office and Hyderabad House. Most recently, they have restored the official residence of the Prime Minister; the Office of the ‘The National Advisory Council’; and the bungalows of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum. They are presently working on the restoration and re-decoration of Rashtrapati Bhawan, nee Viceroy’s House. The firm has also worked on the interior design of the British Council Building, its largest complex world-wide. In Thimpu, Bhutan, they have designed and decorated the National Assembly Building which houses their Parliament and the Offices of their Prime Minister. In 2004, Kohelika Kohli, an architect and graduate from the Pratt Institute of Design, New York who had worked with ‘Oliver Cope Architects’ and ‘Foster and Partners’, returned to India. Together with her mother they created an architectural firm, "Kohelika Kohli Architects". Since then the firms have been working on numerous turn-key projects. They have set up a highly qualified team that can undertake the design and execution of architectural, structural, MEP services, interior architectural and interior design projects.
The company is driven by the pursuit of excellence and quality. They strongly believe that one’s surroundings directly influence the quality of one’s lives - whether in the work place, at home, or the public spaces in between. It is their endeavour to provide their clients with the most cutting-edge designs and cost-effective solutions of form and functionality.
Internationally today, all major projects are driven by interior architecture and design to their final architectural form. This is the strength of this firm. They are able to envision spaces from their conception to their final execution and end-use, customized to individual requirements, under the one umbrella of K2India.
Sunita Kohli is a research-based interior designer, a leader in historical architectural restoration and a manufacturer of fine contemporary and classical furniture. She has worked in several countries, notably Egypt where has designed several resorts and luxury hotel boats on the Nile for the ‘Oberoi Group’ such as Hotel Oberoi Mena House, the Oberois in El-Arish and Aswan and the Oberoi Philae Cruiser. She has also restored, designed and furnished Naila Fort in Jaipur for Mr. PRS Oberoi. Most recently she has been working in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. She specializes in the design of public buildings, hotels and resorts, luxury hotel boats, forts, palaces, heritage properties, aircrafts, corporate offices and private residences.
In New Delhi, Sunita Kohli has restored and decorated many British period buildings – designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Robert Tor Russell – notably Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretariat and Hyderabad House. She has also restored No. 3 and No. 5 Racecourse Road, the Official Residence of the Prime Minister, among several other bungalows in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone. She is presently working again on the restoration, decoration and modernization of Rashtrapati Bhawan. She has also interior designed the British Council Building, the largest of their eighty institutions worldwide; and done the interior architecture and design of the DLF Corporate Office on Parliament Street.
In Thimpu, Bhutan, Sunita Kohli designed the National Assembly Building in 1989. She and her architect daughter, Kohelika Kohli, again worked on this Parliament Building and the adjoining National Council Building for the SAARC Summit held in Thimpu, in April 2010.
Sunita Kohli has thrice served as an elected Member of the Governing Council of the 'Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage' (INTACH). She was a Founder Trustee of the ‘Indo-British 50th Anniversary Trust’, New Delhi; established to commemorate India’s Fiftieth Year of Independence. This private Trust, worked in a catalyst capacity, towards the Restoration of the Gardens of Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi - India’s most important Islamic monument. Instrumental in establishing a role-model partnership between the Archeological Survey of India and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva.
Sunita Kohli has been Chairperson and Founder Trustee of ‘Umang’, a non-government organization that has worked for street and slum children. She is a founder Trustee of ‘Satyagyan’, an affiliate of ‘World Literacy of Canada’, an organization that works in Varanasi and its environs with children’s education, women’s advocacy and women’s empowerment through vocational training. She is Chairperson of the Governing Council of ‘Save-a-Mother’, an NGO which is dedicated to decreasing maternal and infant mortality rates in India. She is a Patron of the Women’s Cancer Initiative – Tata Memorial Hospital, Bombay.
In 2005, Sunita Kohli founded the ‘Museum of Women in the Arts, India’ “to honour women artists of the past, promote the accomplishments of women artists of the present and assure the place of women artists in the future”. This is associated with the ‘National Museum of Women in the Arts’, in Washington DC, where she has also served on their National Advisory Board.
Amongst many institutions in the USA, Sunita Kohli has lectured at Harvard University’s ‘Kennedy School of Government’, Massachusetts and at Emory University, Atlanta. In 2003, she was the first Indian designer/architect invited to lecture at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. She has presented several papers on architecture and architectural conservation, design, literature, traditional Mughal jewellery and most recently on ‘World Heritage Cultural Sites in India: Monumental Statements of Faith and Empire’.
She has been invited to participate in several discussion groups and think-tanks in the USA, on various subjects such as ‘The US and India through Each Other’s Eyes’ and ‘Women as Leaders of Change’. In January 2010, she was invited to The Dubai Forum to speak on ‘Architecture and Sustainability’. In September 2010, she was invited to speak at the inaugural seminar of the ‘Forum in Mauritius’.
Presently, a few books are under print: 'Tanjore Paintings - Golden Icons of South India' and is co-authoring a book on ‘Awadhi Cuisine: From the Jehangirabad Palace Kitchens’ with Jamal Rasool Khan of Jehangirabad. She is also working on a Children’s Series on Indian Culture. The first of these, ‘A Children’s Book on Delhi’s Architecture’ is illustrated by two of her young grandchildren and is scheduled for release in 2013. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA) in England and India and of the ‘Halle Institute of Global Learning’ at Emory University, Atlanta.
For 'The Millennium Book on New Delhi', published by Oxford University Press and released on January 24th 2000 by the President of India in Rashtrapati Bhawan, Sunita Kohli wrote the chapter titled, 'The Creation of a Planned City'.
Sunita Kohli was one of the Literary Festival Coordinators for the first ‘International Festival of Indian Literature’, held in New Delhi and Neemrana Fort in February 2002; under the auspices of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and in partnership with the American Centre, Sahitya Akademi, British Council and Ford Foundation.
In 1992, Sunita Kohli was conferred the Padma Shri by the President of India "for contribution to national life by excellence in the field of Interior Design and Architectural Restoration”. That same year she was presented the Mahila Shiromani Award, which recognizes women of achievement, by Mother Teresa.
Kohelika Kohli believes that the job of an architect / interior designer cannot be simply based on one’s credentials. An equally important role is played by one’s experiences and exposures to people, places and cultures.
At seventeen, she went to Millfield School in Somerset, England to do her A-levels. Here she was appointed Head of School. Prior to this, in India she had been a National Equestrian Champion, at the sub-junior level, for five consecutive years. After Millfield, she received her formal education as an architect from ‘Pratt Institute of Design’ in New York and graduated in May 2004. She interned for the summer of her second year in England, working for Sir Norman Foster. She worked on three projects: the competition for the interiors of the roof-top restaurant of the Swiss Re Headquarters, City of London, England; the early stages of the Hearst Tower in mid-town Manhattan, New York, USA; and, most importantly, the ‘Foster Extension’ of I.M. Pei’s East Wing in the Boston Fine Arts Museum’, Massachusetts, USA.
At Pratt she was a Resident Advisor for two years, until she went to do “a study abroad programme” in Rome in 2003. She travelled extensively through-out Italy, primarily and notably studying the works of Palladio and Michelangelo and the works of one of her favourite designers, Carlo Scarpa. On her return to New York, alongside architectural school, she began to work for a very renowned architectural and design firm, ‘Oliver Cope Architects’. They specialize in high-end town houses in New York and the Hamptons. She worked with them initially as an intern, specializing in making models. Within a year, she was individually conceptualizing and executing architectural and interior work. After graduation, she went on a road trip across America, to look at and study great urban design.
After graduation, she returned to India and in October 2004, started her own architectural firm, ‘Kohelika Kohli Architects’. Since 1999, she has been a Director in her mother’s company, ‘Sunita Kohli Interior Designs Pvt. Ltd.’ and is now the Managing Director. This is a research-based interior design and architectural restoration company that specializes in the design of public buildings and hotels and the restoration of heritage properties.
Lutyens Bungalow Zone