By Arushi Sakhuja
When it comes to some of the most renowned names in the space of architecture and interiors in India, Ashiesh Shah is one name that can’t be missed. Being one of the most sought-after architects and interior designers, Shah is known for his aesthetic that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. With a varied portfolio, during his illustrious career, he has worked on creating office spaces, penthouses, concept stores and restaurants and many Bollywood homes.
Venturing into the world of liveable art, Shah joined hands with Jaipur Rugs for a unique collection of watercolour painting-inspired rugs – the Brahmaand collection. The collection brings to the limelight watercolour paintings by Ashiesh Shah that are seamlessly translated into a series of beautiful hand-woven rugs dyed in hues of deep indigo.
Known for his strong design sensibilities and tasteful aesthetics, we caught up with the veteran to know more about this latest collection, liveable artwork and his design philosophy.
Tell us a little about the new collection.
Channelling cosmic energy, the ‘Brahmaand’ collection dyed in hues of deep indigo is an exploration of visual dimension through gradient, texture and handmade perfection. A series of watercolour paintings developed over the lockdown is seamlessly translated into these hand-knotted rugs through this collaboration with Jaipur Rugs. Capturing the mysteries of starlit night skies through its soft silhouettes, the collection draws inspiration from ancient Indian science and mysticism. These effortless contemporary rugs spew forth the essence of the cosmos serving as a physical manifestation of elements from the universe. The forms of the rugs are rather organic and draw inspiration from the ancient geometry of India, the cosmos and the architecture of the ‘Jantar Mantar.’
What pushed you towards pursuing a collection of rugs?
At the atelier, we subscribe to the notion of craftsmanship and are committed to empowering the ‘karigar’ by designing objects that employ craft techniques, materials and processes native to the country thereby creating objects that exude the philosophies of perfect imperfection through a contemporary flair. This collaboration with Jaipur rugs has been a process of meditation and reflection weaving our visions and design ideologies through this collection of rugs, a celebration of fine artisanship.
Throw light on some key design trends that are taking over the home space.
I strongly feel that craftsmanship and a celebration of handmade processes are definitely on the rise. People are gravitating towards indigenous design objects and indigenous methodologies, honouring artisanship and its individuality. I have witnessed a definite shift in preferences: looking at design and design objects through a local lens – celebrating furniture pieces and processes that are hand crafted to perfection. People have started to look beyond aesthetics to value and celebrate the maker, the locale and processes.
Top interior trends for 2022?
In light of the pandemic, we have surpassed the era of trends. I firmly believe that trends have become more personalized. If there’s anything we’ve learnt in the past year, it’s that one should be true to themselves, their preferences and tastes. It’s essentially about making a trend your own by tailoring it to suit your personality.
Tell us about Ashiesh Shah’s signature style.
My practice is deeply rooted in the Japanese philosophy of ‘wabi-sabi,’ describing beauty in imperfection where asymmetry and asperity play a major role in the spaces I create. Hence, spaces that incorporate natural elements and celebrate objects in their raw form through handmade processes truly stand out for me.
What made you take up your current line of work? And if you were not an architect and interior designer what would you be?
Hailing from a family of doctors, I gravitated towards dentistry initially. With time, I found my calling in architecture and design. Having been exposed to art from a very young and tender age, I was always inspired by it. With time, I geared towards design and there has been no looking back. If not an architect and designer, I would probably be a dentist!
Tell us about one project you enjoyed working on and why?
Every project we do, we endeavour to reinvent ourselves while creating a new atmosphere and aesthetic with a distinct language but if I were to pick one it would be Neuma. The idea of Neuma draws parallels with filmmaking and storytelling – much like creating a world within a world. Concocting multiple experiences within one environment, the diner is able to experience a change in the pace of time through space. As one traverses from one room to another, they are offered to experience the joy of slow living and a contrasting fast-paced high energy environment within the same space
What is your dream project?
A resort in a beautiful setting.
Tell us about the most challenging project you’ve worked on.
While designing the recent rendition of Sequel was quite exciting and stimulating, it was challenging to strike the right chord and achieve a minimal yet perfectly balanced interior environment. We endeavoured to elevate the diner’s experience through a very minimal and contemporary narrative with its distinct design language staying true to its beliefs. Marrying modernity and subtlety through a fusion of craft and organic food, the space was designed to allude to a timeless charm, abiding by the very same ethos of subtle luxury, slow living and refined lifestyles.