Ashiesh Shah believes that nothing is permanent, finished or perfect - a philosophy he brings to his architecture and interior design practice with great success
What role has formal design education played in your career?
AS: After studying architecture at Rachana Sansad - Academy of Architecture in Mumbai, I went on to Parsons School of Design, New York for a degree in Interiors and Architecture. I worked in New York for several years before moving back to Mumbai in 2006. My time there was an incredible learning experience and proved to be an introductory course into the practicalities of an architectural practice. There are several aspects of the profession that are impossible to learn in university and I think my time there was very important in shaping everything from my approach to design to what inspires me.
Whilst I was in New York, I had the opportunity to redesign my friend’s loft space. She was studying fashion technology at the time and wanted the space to act both as a studio and home. The apartment needed a full scale renovation and was far beyond the point of limited interventions and upgrades. Not only is this my favorite memory of the city, but it helped me develop my language and find learning about my esthetic and capabilities early on.
What did it take to establish your own architecture + interiors practice?
AS: As with everything that stems from forging an identity of your own, to making your work stand out and leaving an impact, it initially took me some time to find my personal visual language. Interior design and related practices have often been dismissed as something inconsequential here in India and that's where the challenge lay. The scope of growth here in Mumbai was inviting but establishing myself at the forefront of a change of perspective was not easy. When I first started out eight years ago, my focus was predominantly on the interior design of homes. While the work was immensely satisfying and garnered a lot of positive feedback, it was limited in its access, in the number of people who got to experience and engage with my work. I think, therefore, it was projects like high-end store Le Mill and the fine-dining restaurant Nido (both in Mumbai) that really helped bring my work onto a more public platform. It was the first time that a wider audience was able to really experience my work. For me, that was an important hurdle to cross.
Which projects have had the most impact on you so far?
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