The art of converting the space contained within four bare walls into a loving and cosy space has gone far beyond just interior design. Nisha Jamvwal explores the field Perhaps since I was a child I knew clearly that my life would be driven with design. My main profession has been interior architecture. Since I was a child I’d assist my parents, aunts, friends, their friends in re-arranging furniture, buying furnishings, redoing spaces, and as time went by, I got more and more involved way. Never was I conflicted about where I was going. My parents, very intellectual economics and management graduates, had hoped I’d go the London School of Economics (LSE) assuming that I’d have inherited their scholarly genes, but I was born with the ‘art gene’.
To me my abiding interest is to remodel and revamp interiors, without breaking and remodelling, doing a soft revamp make-over where an entire new look is created in a matter of days without stress to the client, and to the absolute delight of the client. A grooming of a space in an age where breaking down a space can become cumbersome to a client. Like a grooming job upon a woman, a recolour, re-dress of the home/ office/ restaurant!! To re-invent a space is my delight.
The path to learn and study design was breathtaking. I worked and studied in America and France and I have worked in Japan, California, France, and Australia. On my return to India twelve odd years ago, I’d say my launch pad was the Jaipur airport after which there was no looking back. It was my first project and I kept doing homes and offices and wrote about design and interior solutions all over the world to spread the knowhow as well.
I drew and coloured before I could write…for me design, shapes, and forms have been attractive since I was three or maybe before even.
There was a point in time when architects themselves would do all the design work, even the interiors. But then clients became more aware, and tasteful designs were created for homes, offices and factories. This was the turning point that opened the door for a large number of professionals in this field.
What you’ll do
When you are in a space do you tend to take notice of your surroundings? Do you frequently make suggestions on how to improve your home surroundings, or do you like to design or redesign your personal space? You probably can consider becoming an interior designer. Interior designers are creative, imaginative and artistic. Of course they need to be disciplined and organised, but the main agenda is to combine knowledge with aesthetic vision. As profession, interior design depends heavily clients, and sometimes, other design professionals. They work towards developing space and design solutions that allow for optimum space usage, and are safe, functional and attractive.
Designers usually specialise niche areas, like business design, or on residential design. Landscape designing is also coming up in a big way. The mainstay of the business is to incorporate the client’s needs, tastes and budget in any design that is created. The designer has to take care of the choice of material of everything, including walls, floors, roofs, choice and placement of furniture and other indoor objects, window treatments and other indoor objects, lighting and control of visual and sound effects.
What it takes
All projects are special, but once I accept all of them are close to my heart. A designer is like a friend and a counsellor to the client. Designers work in a team with clients, and if satisfied, thee clients always recommend the designer to their friends.
I have tons of energy and am always impatient to do many things, exactly how a designer should be. A designers mind should be fed with art and history, architecture and words. He should understand aesthetics, a lover of the arts, and be able to work with all media that allow one to dabble in design and art. As soon as you see a space, your mind has to start clicking with ideas to enhance it to its aesthetic function in accordance with your vision and the client’s brief. Sometimes there is an upsurge of ideas; and sometimes it is a struggle. That is something you have to deal with.
I also work with a desire to bring issues to the forefront with the peg of glamour, to help in whatever way I can to bring about some meaningful change in our society. Like wheelchair access in public spaces and care and concern for animals being my primary priorities. If you can pull off working for a cause, it would be worthwhile.
The study route to success
The various branches of interior designing in which students can specialise are lighting, product design, furniture design, and furnishing, depending on their preference and interests. Some of the phenomenal schools in the world are National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad; Parsons School of Design in New York, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Prat Institute in New York and Graduate School of Design at Harvard. These are places where you are challenged and allowed to think; these schools teach you how to design. These schools teach you how to think out of the box.
My suggestions to students who want to become interior designers is to work hard, work hard and work hard, there are no shortcuts! And second very important suggestion is to always go with your design ideas when you are sure, don’t allow people to shilly-shally around you and detract you with silly ‘judgement’ and ‘verdicts’, especially idle socialites who come to college juries and browbeat students to show importance.
The eligibility depends on the programme, but a candidate has to have at least passed the plus two examination to take up any programme, whether degree or diploma.
As a professional interior designer, there are many moments that were special landmarks that made my journey until now special
- Standing on stage with adulating students clapping and cheering at my key note speech made me feel like Ms Universe must feel winning a crown;
- The completion of Jaipur Airport after the trepidation that the Airports Authority had felt about one so young handling such a big project receiving accolades for it;
- The opening night of my book release about The Craft Of Stone Sculpture: ‘Iconic & Narrative Symphonies In Stone’; and
- The house I painted and designed for Lisa Ray appearing on the covers of International magazines.
The writer, Nisha Jamvwal, is well known as a Star Interior Architect. Yet, this glamorous long-legged belle dons myriad hats – Fashion Designer, Art Consultant, Columnist, and Craft Activist – all with equal ease and élan.
- Garware Institute of Career Education and Development, University of Mumbai, Mumbai
- Rachna Sansad School of Design, Mumbai
- LS Raheja School of Architecture, Department of Interior Design, Mumbai
- Raffles Design India, Mumbai
- Apeejay Institute of Design, New Delhi
- INIFD Kothrud, Pune
- IMS-Design and Innovation Academy, Noida
- Academy of Applied Arts, Delhi
- Raffles Millennium International, Delhi
- Symbiosis Institute of Design (SID), Pune
Volume 1 Issue 5