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.
Shivani Bhandari: ‘Art yet pushes us gently but firmly out of our comfort zone’
A young architect and designer helming her eponymous studio Shivani Bhandari Design in Ahmedabad, Shivani Bhandari adheres strongly to the belief that true design is more than skin and treatment — she professes that it is a continuous process of interaction with nature that keeps in mind human needs, and yet pushes us gently but firmly out of our comfort zone. Her practice executes interior design and art projects pan-India, providing services for residential, commercial and hospitality interiors. Her designs include a stunning array of styles, ranging from neo-classic to contemporary, harnessing natural light and juxtaposing myriad materials, while often celebrating the beauty of monochrome in a minimalistic manner. Shivani says that art has always been a prominent part of her life, and she used to paint as a child — an inheritance from her mother, an eminent artist of her time. Shivani also conducts art workshops and teaches at CEPT University, where she finds that art is always a topic of discussion with her students. Shivani asks one to imagine a room, the entire space all in white, and just one small piece of art — obviously the point of focus is going to be the artwork, grabbing your attention. But when you think of the same piece in your living room, and try to imagine how much importance you want to give to it… it depends on you. How do you want to draw attention to the space or piece? Put it on a finely carved wooden or brass table? Open the curtains to let one beam of sunshine come and light it up in a natural manner? This is how she connects the client with the art that is intrinsic to the design process, and also says that the process of conceptualising art and imagining a space as a designer means the understanding that a piece of art has the emotional power to instigate thought in a user, or an energy that will evoke certain senses in users. She also says that when conceptualising art while designing an interior project, the art should be synced with the design language being generated. When she designs spaces, she tries for art to not be a separate entity but an integral part of the space, with all the special elements being chosen getting their own identity.
Some samples of her work: