Abir Pothi presents Room For More Art — a series of features on interior designers across geographic boundaries, discussing with them the nuances of their profession, their methods of sourcing and projecting art into their work, the challenges they face, and a whole lot more perspective.
Riddhi Pandya: An ever-evolving interaction with art
As a young and experimental designer who has launched her studio, Naibu Design, alongside her architect sister in 2019, Riddhi Pandya subscribes quite firmly to the belief that art and design comes from within, from the soul — which is exactly what ‘naibu’ means in Japanese. Over a short span of two years, the studio has worked on several interior and architecture projects for residential, commercial and corporate spaces, extending services to furniture and graphic designs for discerning clientele. The result is fresh, symmetrical, modern and utilitarian, yet comfortable, with pleasing colour schemes compounded by bold splashes of art on the walls or the shelves.
According to Riddhi, her relationship with art has evolved ever since her formative years, but as a professional in the buzzing city of Ahmedabad, she still sees this interaction as nascent and full of potential. The young designer aims to create meaningful and aesthetically pleasing environments that remain contextual, and works confidently with contrasts, a good use of light, the geometry of the confines, and the creation of harmony for every element within — all while perfectly understanding the language with which the space engages with the world.
Veeram Shah: A free-spirited take on art in design
Excitingly unconventional, Veeram Shah brings an aesthetic to the table that is bound to come with a twist. His company Design ni Dukaan, founded in 2013, is an Ahmedabad-based multidisciplinary studio that executes projects of architecture, interior design and furniture design. Hailing from the small Parsi town of Navsari, Veeram is also the co-founder of two experimental companies named P.O.D (Pieces of Desire) and Dotto: Objects of Curiosity. His upbringing connected him to the world of antiques and heritage design, and his academic background brought him exposure to new and exciting inspirations, with influences ranging from Gandhi, Raza and Kumar Gandharva to modernists like Le Corbusier and Scarpa.
The result is designs that respect space and light, and revolve around a minimal aesthetic — to which pieces of art eventually become an integral building block. At Veeram’s studio, design becomes a collective expression and collaboration between the designer and artisan. He believes that the integration of art into spaces should remain an effort to promote the community, which is symbiotic — and thus, sculptures, photography, paintings and more create drama for the meticulously planned canvases of a carefully designed structure.
Hardik Patel: Art turns into a portal to travel in time
With over a decade’s experience in the world of architecture and design, Hardik Patel is of the view that well-structured spaces can bring joy to the human spirit. Having founded H+N Design Partners in 2010 alongside Nimisha Patel, the company has covered a range of projects and dabbled in a variety of aesthetics successfully for pleased clientele, including industrial, opulent, heritage, vintage, functional, and more. The designs integrate elegant and statement pieces in consistent settings that both retain their character and are imbued with a fresh perspective — whether this be carefully executed restoration of antique elements, or lending a touch of modern quirk to a buzzing commercial establishment.
According to Hardik, it is key to encourage a client to visualize the art they hope to surround themselves with alongside the designer, as an ongoing process. Ultimately, he believes that good art — in whatever form — can almost serve as a portal into time to transport the viewer into memories or aspirations harboured in the mind. Art, he says, is the focal point in creating settings that inspire the way we live, learn, heal, work and play.
Himanshu Thakkar: Straddling the past and future worlds of design
Since 2011, Timeless Design Unit founded by Himanshu Thakkar has completed more than 100 projects, ranging from low-cost housing to high-end villas, schools, warehouses, corporate spaces and much more. One of the aspects of this line that Himanshu is really passionate about, however, is Building Information Modeling (BIM), closely marrying the worlds of design and technology to create what can only be described as futuristic art. Enthusiastic about how digital mediums can be used to enhance the design experience, Himanshu also has innumerable forward-looking ideas for how the online world can help boost art, its awareness and accessibility, in coming times. But one eye on the future also has a foothold in understandings of the past, as the architect has a healthy respect for the deep artistic conditioning that most Indians naturally carry.
Amongst many projects Himanshu has taken on, he has worked with classic interiors in muted, earthy yet luxe tones, casting an opulent tone on the setting. Within this framework, he has put forth that art is like a jewel in the crown, which immeasurably enhances the aesthetic and well as value of any given space when curated and embedded carefully.