Architect Paul Dias' intricate works are inspired by exploration and his travel to 29 countries in 40 years with a pen, canvas and camera. He comes from the old school of thought and ensures that no detail is overlooked when it comes to painting, drawing and sketching
It only takes a few ingredients to produce hand-drawn illustrations: drawing tools, a surface, and of course time. With advancements in architectural software technology, detailed hand drawings and sketches have become something of a rarity within the field of architecture. In that way Architect Paul Francis Dias comes from the old school of thought and ensures that no detail is overlooked when it comes to painting, drawing and sketching.
Paul's intricate works are inspired by exploration and his travel to 29 countries in 40 years with a pen, canvas and camera and is reflected in his memorabilia collections and finely crafted illustrations.
The drawing journey began very early in life and never came on a platter he had to toil hard for it. The rough strokes of pencil gave form to various drawings at age five and grew in finesse and style over the years. While still at school, the drawing took another turn for the good and for some pocket money in the form of designing and assembling wedding centrepieces and decorating wedding cars.
Over the years Paul has meticulously preserved all his childhood paintings in the form of two albums.
“I have saved all my childhood paintings for posterity and I have handed them to my only daughter so that they are passed on to her children and grandchildren,” said Paul, who traces his roots to Loutolim village and has been based in the Middle East for the last 40 years, 22 of which has been spent in Qatar.
“I drew inspiration from my close-door Goa neighbour, the late Mario Miranda, who was a good friend of my father. My father used to work for the Indian Posts and used to occasionally write for the newspapers for which Mario Miranda used to provide illustrations,” said Paul who studied and grew up in Mumbai.
“He is my idol and guru (Mario Miranda). My father was also a mentor and good friend to me,” Paul says about the famous Goan.
Life's journey was not easy for Paul in Mumbai. He had to fight all odds to keep taking forward his painting and sketching journey ahead. Born in a family of six, which included five sisters, his mother passed away at age 36 in Goa when he was just 5 years old. Paul's higher education thus was a struggle and steep mountain to climb which he navigated successfully and tactfully.
Having joined one of the most famous institutes in Mumbai, the Academy of Architecture, the going got tougher pushing him to the wall but it also got the best out of Paul in terms of his survival instincts.
“The most challenging was pulling through 5 years of hard work and study often involving late night work to finish portfolios in time for submission. Having to travel daily from home to the Academy and then on to architectural offices to get basic architectural experience in drafting, designing, site supervision etc.
“I used to work for an architectural company and also attend classes and take tuitions to make ends meet,” who has supervised several infrastructural projects in Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Bombay and Singapore.
“The significant projects I was involved in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar and the type of work I have carried out involved designing, project management, construction of villas, high rise building, housing scheme, school, college, health centre, hospital, hotel, multiple parking building,” he said, with his work focused on architectural design, model making, interior design, site supervision, dealing with clients and contractors.
Talking about his maiden foray into the Middle East some four decades back, Paul said he was lucky to work for a contractor and learn a few new things which have stood him strong in life over the last few decades.
“When I was in India and doing my architecture studies and working on a project with the company I worked in India the materials used and a few other things were different compared to the methods used in the Middle East,” said Paul.
Asked as to whether he specialised in a particular style of architecture he said: “We have to blend the characteristics of the local, traditional architecture into our designs. For eg in the Gulf l had to incorporate elements of the local architecture into my designs. Even though we give our clients modern layouts, we do not deviate from the roots of the local culture and ancient building styles.”
He lamented that not a thought is given to tradition in some parts of the world but everything is now ultra-modern, bound in glass!!
Paul, who plays music on the weekends with his Qatar based friends with band Boomers has some advice for fresher’s entering the architecture field.
“l would say don't get drawn into the easy and common way of indulging in modern styles of Architecture but come up with a unique design, difference from the rest, yet following form and function, bearing in mind always the incorporation of local tradition and architectural style,” said Paul who worked with some of the leading construction companies from Middle East, USA, Italy and Argentina based in the Middle East.