Ashiesh Shah | #ArchitectsOfIndia

Every Architect builds not just a house, but also lays the foundation for a lifetime of stories. We’re celebrating them with #ArchitectsOfIndia: an interview series with India’s upcoming architects. Our 1st interview is with award-winning Architect and Interior Designer Ashiesh Shah, from Mumbai.

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I) What was the brief you were given for this project?

Ashiesh: The home was for a young couple in their 30s with 2 children. They wanted a space that had a contemporary-meets-vintage feel. The home needed to be extremely versatile, suited for both the family and children as well as being the kind of space one could entertain in.


II) How do different types of spaces (flat/bungalow/row house) affect your design?

Ashiesh: The flat was in a high-rise in Mumbai and that definitely influenced the way I designed. Space was limited compared to a bungalow or row-house for instance, so we really tried to maximise the space we had, build smart storage, bring in a lot of natural light, take advantage of the fantastic city view and really create a well-balanced space.


III) Did you maintain a theme in your design (colour palette/décor pieces and so on)? What was this theme influenced by?

Ashiesh: A home is fluid, versatile and constantly changing. A well-designed home allows and helps the space subtly transform as it begins to be lived in, it allows the space to remain engaging. I think for a well-designed house to become a home, it just needs to be lived in, soon each corner collects memories of past journeys, times and places.

The key is keeping the future owner in mind during the design process, maintaining a balance between aesthetics and functionality.  A well designed home gives its owner a platform to create an ideal home. Of course there is a unifying element- but not a theme as such. Each space is designed based on context and keeping in mind what it’s ultimate function will be.


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IV) How did you visualise the new space?

Ashiesh: Playing with one’s perception of space and volume is something that I try to  consistently incorporate in my projects. The outside environment also plays a major role in the design process, influencing everything from the lighting, colours and the material. I also love creating spaces keeping particular pieces of art, design or even architecture in mind.


V) What is your design philosophy for the spaces you work on, including your own?

Ashiesh: My practice has evolved over the years, and with it my philosophy on aesthetics. What has remained constant however, is my belief in aesthetic philosophy of Wabi Sabi. The Japanese concept is derived from Buddhist teachings. It is the aesthetic of a beauty that is imperfect and incomplete.

Asymmetry and asperity play a major role in my practice. I appreciate spaces that incorporate natural objects and processes and I try to maintain this principle in my own practice. Nothing is permanent, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. The idea of balance also plays an important role in my design practice. A well designed space is a balance between materials, textures, surfaces and colours.


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VI) What is the biggest influence on your design aesthetic?

Ashiesh: Travel is an essential source of inspiration There’s a lot of different things I find inspiring; art, architecture, design, literature and nature. My work doesn’t make direct references to any particular designer, architect or artist but they become important elements in my creative process. Travelling is one of the best ways to open your mind to new ideas and possibilities and engage with these ideas creatively.

Read more about Ashiesh Shah and his work:

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