Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I’m from a services background with my father being a decorated senior naval officer from the Indian Navy. We are three sisters but raised no less than boys, disciplined and told firmly to learn to be financially independent, hence good education was always important. All are professionals and decently placed. I am happily married to a person who is highly qualified, academically brilliant and very well placed in the corporate sector and holds a very senior position in a MNC.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
As a qualified architectural interior design consultant I would , apart from my work definitely try and improve the life in cities environmentally. That would mean better civic amenities designed in a constructive manner and more organised.
For example a better system of garbage disposal, colony parks to be landscaped in a more systematic and appealing way. A few areas and special parks demarcated for pets, more flora in the colonies, rear streets clean and plantation done so that the role of civic bodies is minimal and citizens take pride in keeping their colony clean. More amenities like dustbins placed at strategic places, public utilities as well every few metres away.
This goes more in terms of my line of work though socially a lot still needs to be done.
You have recently completed some amazing projects, which have made India proud, tell me about the same.
For me each project is important irrespective of its scale and size. The very fact that I endorse it and agree to be the one to associate with it, means I need to give it my 100%. Recently I have completed the following projects:
The Savoy Mussorrie UK ITC , Welcomegroup. We have just revamped and refurbished the ball room,and suites of the hotel are being done up .
A 9 acre property At Udaipur for a wedding resort is near completion done up in a raj era Mewar style.
Banquet halls in Delhi have been given a facelift in a contemporary style.
We did luxury villas for a mini city at outskirts of Delhi. Modern style
So to sum it up, I really do not like to be typecast in one style where design is concerned. Contemporary, classic, modern, Indian Raj style, retro and fusion ,all are design styles I like to work with.
You are an Icon , and your achievements have made India proud. Yet you remain so low profile, why is that?
Well the honest reason for remaining low profile is that I have engrossed myself in a lot of activities (social and professional). I am a visiting faculty for a few design institutes.
On request also go as a motivational speaker and encourage young talent. I am also called as an external board invigilator for some international level colleges offering design degree in India. I feel this is a way I can contribute in giving back to the design industry in a small way. I also write columns for design magazines on request. Apart from my professional obligations, I also happen to be a house wife and mother which are a full time job in itself. Therefore that leaves me with no time to socialise!
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Biggest challenge in achieving success has been, that I come from a totally non business set up and background.
To learn the nuances of this trade, financials and marketing apart from the academic side, has been a challenge.
After the formative years, one learns of course and overcomes the challenges.
The biggest challenge has been to keep my team motivated by exposing them to new trends , styles , techniques which I pick up from my inbound and my international travels.
Since we do a lot of turnkey projects, to keep my team to stick to timelines and yet deliver a product with a good workmanship can be tricky at times as we at times work 3 shifts for commercial projects .
However to work honestly, within timelines, financial constraints, and an above board product delivery as per our commitments is always a challenge.
This is essentially a male dominated industry. Not that gender matters in any field today as , as long as you deliver well within the set guidelines and constraints , you get recognition . It’s only a matter of time ! Hard work and honesty always pay in the long run.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have issues with doing regular run of the mill work
I need a good challenging projects which need to be commercially viable as well.
I have immense respect for all professionals of any field as I do understand that in tough competitive markets of today , how difficult it gets to keep the work flow going and at times to keep yourself afloat given the various constraints is a challenge in itself!
However having said that now after 3 decades, I feel that my biggest challenge, and competition in life is None other than Me .. Myself !
Anyone who is fighting against odds of any sort, overcoming the various challenges life throws at him or her and yet comes out shinning is a achiever and my inspiration! To add further , if despite being a achiever , you continue to remain humble and grounded and a good human, then you are a super achiever par excellence!
Especially when it’s done without any god father! Yet I believe nothing works without the divine grace and a good karma and being honest to yourself!
You are a qualified interior designer but in all your projects you have worked from the structural stage and designed the facade and handled a lot of civil work. This is most unlike of interior designers who mainly limit their work with internal finishes, furniture, color schemes etc. So how come your approach to design is so different from other designers?
My shift from being an interior designer who limits herself to interiors to working on structures, external elevations , MEP and civil side has been there since last 2.5 decades.
I could never see the architectural and civil detailing not go hand in glove with the interior decor. There had to be a perfect marriage between the two from inception of design.To conceive a look for any space has to merge beautifully with architectural elements and interior elements. Not to forget the very essential side of operations which entails that we dovetail every little detail of the MEP services in our design to facilitate a final product which has no scope of any flaws. My interest in design encompasses architectural elements such as facades , landscape ,civil materials , detailing of Reflected ceiling plans , electrical, plumbing, mechanical details.
I like to integrate the same to the interiors as for me their cannot be a disconnect. In case of a hotel project if we are not handling the architectural side, then I like to work very closely with the architect, structural designer and other consultants to understand the way the project has been conceived and give my inputs so that the same can be integrated with my design.
We handle all the details such as toilet detailing, RCP, MEP,flooring, HVAC services, to internal finishes of hard and soft furnishings and accessories and accents.
The entire journey cannot be seen as a disconnect as it has to merge and look connected. Hence my interest in civil side is natural. Since we handle a lot of projects on turnkey and do not outsource work, our costs are reasonable. Most of my civil and interior teams like masons, electricians, plumbers, craftsman, vendors and other related services staff have grown with me since last 25 years and we have learnt from each other how to respect timeline, and deliver a above board product.
My projects do not look alike as I like to understand the design brief from my client and his mindset and positioning and branding of my project. Once that is clear we design the project on board accordingly and there is no scope of repetition. Hence no project looks alike and I cannot be typecast into any particular style.
What does the future hold for you?
In the future, I wish to execute more projects overseas and work closely with professionals at an international level on hospitality and commercial projects. Designs for simulators, ships, trains, educational institutes, resorts and hotels is what really excites me as these are fast paced projects and give me a platform to showcase my creative skills in a time bound manner.