Ashiesh Shah is an award winning Architect and Interior Designer, who over the span of eight years has created a niche in the world of architecture and design. Shah, who owns an architectural firm, Ashiesh Shah Architecture+Design, has been handling various high-end design projects in India as well as abroad. Shah was given the Elle Décor Designer of the Year award in 2016 and has also been listed among the 50 most influential names in architecture and design in the country by Architectural Digest. With his new show on Fox Life, Design HQ, Shah takes viewers on a virtual trip as he meets some of his celebrity friends and provides a sneak peek into their luxurious lifestyle on the show.
Shah started his career back in New York but he eventually moved to Mumbai. When quizzed about the big move, he said, “I loved living in New York and did a few projects there, but quickly felt like it was a very saturated market. I wanted to set up my own practice.” Mumbai’s design scene is young and
Shah’s approach towards it draws inspiration from his belief in aesthetic philosophy of Wabi-sabi, a Japanese concept derived from Buddhist teachings. When asked about his creative approach, he elaborated, “My practice has evolved over the years and with it my philosophy on aesthetics. What has remained constant however, is my belief in aesthetic philosophy of Wabi-sabi. It is the aesthetics of a beauty that is imperfect and incomplete. Symmetry and asperity play a major role in my practice. I appreciate spaces that incorporate natural objects and processes and I try to maintain this principle in my own practice. Nothing is permanent, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.”
Shah has his own signature style which focuses on a monochromatic idiom of designing. He prefers more of earthy and natural tones and materials. Shah likes to think of the space to be worked on as a canvas, bringing in colour through art, furniture and furnishing.
From office spaces to celebrity homes to concept stores, Shah has done it all. He has designed Hrithik Roshan’s sea-facing apartment, Ranbir Kapoor’s penthouse, Cecilia Morelli-Parikh’s home, Jacqueline Fernandez’s residence and there are many more to the list. When asked about his experience with designing celebrity homes, he said, “Today’s celebrity home-owners have a discerning eye for all things chic and sophisticated. In my experience working with several young celebrities including Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif and Jaqueline Fernandez, I’ve noticed that today most young actors have a traveller’s eye and their homes often reflect a cultivated sense of art, design and the latest trends.”
He further elaborated by saying, “I think one of the key elements to remember when working on a celebrity home is keeping in mind features like privacy, security and entertainment spaces as well as comfortable areas for the family to be together and relax.”
His new show Design HQ is about planning and processes that went behind designing his celebrity clients’ beautiful homes. Through this show, viewers will be having an up-close look into these homes and their owners’ personal lives. Talking about the show, Shah said, “Design HQ is all about decoding how to get the perfect interiors for your home. The show brings forth a creative facet of lifestyle for the viewers—design and home décor. In addition to some great DIY tips, the show also takes viewers into the homes of their favourite celebrities.”
Interestingly, Shah also has an obsession with collecting art pieces. He has a wide and unique collection of various artifacts, to which the interior designer said, “I started collecting almost 10 years ago, around the time I graduated university. I’ve always enjoyed art, and collecting became a great way to truly keep up with it. I’m specifically interested in collecting South Asian art. Politics, gender materiality and physicality all play an important role in my selection. My collection is an eclectic one, it includes works by established international artists; a work by Tracey Emin, Ai Weiwei’s crystal hanger and photo documentation of Marina Abramović’s early performances. It also includes influential Indian artists like Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Sudarshan Shetty, as well as young contemporary artists, plus a few works of modern art.”
Shah, who has been in the industry for a long time now, has never experienced a spell of low creativity. He believes if someone is constantly doing something engaging then he never goes out of ideas. Shah finds inspiration while travelling, listening to music, and reading art and design magazines.
Shah is also known for his fashion statement. From meeting celebrity clients to attending formal events, he has kept up with every look. When asked about how much his sense of style has changed over the years, he said,” I don’t feel like it’s changed too drastically. I like keeping it simple and effortless. There are new brands I’ve discovered through these years but I would say my overall aesthetic has remained quite consistent.”
On this, he further added, “Less is more. I keep it simple, a white Rajesh Pratap (Delhi-based Fashion Designer) shirt and a pair of sneakers. I always keep a blazer handy in case I have a more formal meeting during the day.”
According to the architect, interior designing is still evolving in India as well as globally. He adds, “There are so many new innovative technologies and materials that are coming into the market now—there’s a lot to play with.”
Shah also gave us a quick tip on interior designing before signing off, and said, “I would recommend building yourself a brief, and choosing an aesthetic for the space and then sticking to it as much as possible.”