Pi­o­neers from the world of de­sign speak their mind

A ca­sual chat with four pi­o­neers from the de­sign fra­ter­nity who have ex­cit­edly tra­versed a jour­ney of 25 plus years

The Ideal Home and Garden - - Contents - IM­PRES­SIONS: BENOY SE­BAS­TIAN

The most ex­cit­ing thing that you’ve worked on in the past few years?

I have worked on some very chal­leng­ing projects like restora­tion of a 1870 AD her­itage ho­tel ball room build­ing of The Savoy, Wel­come Group, Mus­sor­rie; and re­stored it keep­ing the English Gothic style of ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­ri­ors in­tact, blend­ing it with clas­sic style to suit the end us­age. Apart from this work­ing on a big re­sort in Pa­ni­pat and Udaipur; a luxury train in Ra­jasthan of me­tre gauge.

What would you say your sig­na­ture look is?

My sig­na­ture style has al­ways been un­der­stated clas­sic colo­nial. The blend of con­tem­po­rary clas­sic with a few el­e­ments, which speak for it­self, and the ho­mo­ge­neous blend­ing of ar­chi­tec­ture, land­scape, in­te­ri­ors along with styling has al­ways been im­por­tant.

Has your up­bring­ing in­flu­enced your style?

I come from the armed forces back­ground. My ex­po­sure to the civil­ian world was lim­ited. Be­ing from Delhi, with a very so­cial up­bring­ing, I was ex­posed to the Lu­tyens Delhi ar­chi­tec­ture of clubs like Delhi Gymkhana and other armed forces clubs. So my in­flu­ence has al­ways been clas­sic colo­nial.

If some­one were to play you in a movie/ the­atre as a de­signer, whom would you pick?

I would pick two lead­ing ladies from Bol­ly­wood - Priyanka Cho­pra and Anushka Sharma. Both be­long to the armed forces and un­der­stand the dis­ci­pline, the hum­ble roots and the ded­i­ca­tion with which one has to strug­gle.

Your dream va­ca­tion would be?

Dream va­ca­tion would be un­doubt­edly Europe. The love for ar­chi­tec­ture, de­sign, trends and styling are best seen there.

The most ex­cit­ing thing that you’ve worked on in the past few years?

Ev­ery project for me is a breath of fresh air, and a new cre­ative be­ing to look for­ward to. I sin­cerely and un­apolo­get­i­cally be­lieve in my work, and that is the rea­son ev­ery project ex­cites me. It gets me out of bed and out the door ev­ery morn­ing. My cur­rent favourite is our May­fair col­lec­tion.

What would you say your sig­na­ture look is?

I think the bal­ance be­tween sim­plic­ity and op­u­lence is what our sig­na­ture look is. Although when you are in the de­sign field it is im­por­tant for us as de­sign­ers to keep evolv­ing, so the aes­thet­ics may vary from time to time with ev­ery new col­lec­tion, but the un­der­ly­ing con­cept and look is that of un­der­stated luxe.

Has your up­bring­ing in­flu­enced your style?

Ab­so­lutely! I have grown up around peo­ple who were ap­pre­ci­a­tors and con­nois­seurs of art and ar­chi­tec­ture and in the grow­ing years this ex­po­sure to de­sign has def­i­nitely had an im­pact on me and my sen­si­bil­i­ties.

If some­one were to play you in a movie/the­ater as a de­signer, whom would you pick?

It defi nitely is a dream, and I would want my favourite In­dian ac­tor, Shahrukh Khan to don the hat.

Your dream va­ca­tion would be?

For me, a va­ca­tion is a per­fect blend of my de­sign and ar­chi­tec­tural in­ter­ests and leisure time; and so a lo­ca­tion that is a blend of both is my ideal va­ca­tion. Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dubrovnik ex­cites me and my fam­ily.

The most ex­cit­ing thing that you’ve worked on in the past few years?

I love to travel, and I am the hap­pi­est with a plane ticket in my hand. It has been ex­cit­ing to have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate projects in­ter­na­tion­ally. For ex­am­ple, I’ve re­cently com­pleted projects in Ma­cau, China, Tbil­isi, Ge­or­gia and in Thai­land.

What would you say your sig­na­ture look is?

I am known for my com­fort­able, el­e­gant, global style that is al­ways liv­able. My de­signs use a sooth­ing monochro­matic palette with dashes of colour and hu­mour. I in­cor­po­rate ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments that give my rooms an edgy sense of drama.

Has your up­bring­ing in­flu­enced your style?

Yes, very much. Orig­i­nally from Cuba, and well trav­elled since a child, the op­por­tu­nity has given me the ca­pac­ity to be open and to ab­sorb di­verse cul­tures, which I even­tu­ally in­cor­po­rate into my work.

If some­one were to play you in a movie/the­ater as a de­signer, whom would you pick?

The ac­tor Richard Gere. Peo­ple say we look alike.

Your dream va­ca­tion would be?

I love trav­el­ling to ex­otic places where dis­cov­ery of the cul­ture and land­scape is the pre­dom­i­nant fo­cus. I have been to Pa­pua in New Guinea, Dar­jelling in In­dia, Bhutan and China. Given an op­por­tu­nity would love to go back again in a heart­beat.

The most ex­cit­ing thing that you’ve worked on in the past few years?

The most ex­cit­ing thing that I have worked on in the past few years has been the cre­ation of an ul­ti­mate luxury apart­ment in an up-mar­ket gated apart­ment com­mu­nity called the Mag­no­lias in Gur­goan, fac­ing the DLF Golf Course.

What would you say your sig­na­ture look is?

My sig­na­ture style has to be con­tem­po­rary chic with quirky thrown in, along with a breath of fresh air.

Has your up­bring­ing in­flu­enced your style?

Yes ab­so­lutely. I grew up in a cos­mopoli­tan en­vi­ron­ment, with a wide ex­po­sure to the fine and visual arts, and as such, all my in­te­ri­ors have a strong bias to­wards wall art, paint­ings, sculp­tures, lots of ac­ces­sories, as well as lots and lots of colour. I am not scared of us­ing colours on walls, up­hol­stery, ex­te­ri­ors, etc. Af­ter all, one just has to look at ru­ral In­dia, es­pe­cially Ra­jasthan and Gu­jrat to see how vi­brant colours can be used.

If some­one were to play you in a movie/the­atre as a de­signer, whom would you pick?

I think Ran­veer Singh. I have his ner­vous en­ergy, can’t sit still, and I am, at times mad and ir­rev­er­ent. What fun.

Your dream va­ca­tion would be?

Too many to men­tion. Let’s start with Barcelona, go on to Madrid, chug up to Monaco, and end up stretch­ing my legs in Paris.

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