How did you come up with the name of your studio?
S.ALT is – Simple Alternatives Atelier. It is a small boutique design studio, we primarily do residential interiors & renovations. The name for the studio was conceived back in 2015 when I was exploring the possibilities within the field of interior design and products. My personality and design sensibility is heavily influenced by nature and SALT as a name brought all that together with it, along with its own implied meaning of purity and taste. I often compare the good design with Salt as its presence isn’t felt yet its absence makes things tasteless.
What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
I have always been a creative child growing up. I sketched a lot, portraits, nature, structures you name it. In pursuit of taking it digital, I got intrigued by photography as a teen, dipped my toes in it for a few years – shot concerts for bands & artists, etc. I love business studies and managing people, so I was planning to pursue a Master’s in Management abroad but canceled it at the last moment to get into Interior design. When I did, I just felt at home. Now starting my own Studio makes a lot of sense as I can bring my design expertise and business interest together.
What kind of projects were you doing when you first started as a designer?
I am from Pune, I did my design studies in Pune as well, however, I always wanted to work with the best in the industry to learn the right things, at the right time, build a strong base and then build a career on top of it. I started with JOSMO Studio in Mumbai. Working with Anjali Mody for my first residential bungalow project in Alibaug was a huge learning experience and a boost of confidence. Grateful for all the knowledge I gained there.
What field of design are you most interested in?
Residential interior design, product design interests me the most. I strongly believe that well-designed spaces influence our mental being. The global pandemic has made it ever so evident the importance of having a neatly designed home, which provides peace, safety, and well-being for all the inhabitants.
What is your favorite book/magazine on design? How about your favorite site?
I love biographies of Designers & Architects to understand their design philosophies. Currently, I am reading “Pocket Full of DO ” by Chris Do. He explores the topic of Business of Design & it’s a must-read for all creative entrepreneurs.
Magazines I derive inspiration from are Yatzer, Design Milk, Interior Design, Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, etc.
Hopefully, someday S.ALT Atelier will create something of its own to call it a personal favorite. There is still a lot to learn from all the design masters and practicing designers around.
What is your Signature Style?
My design is more contextual, I borrow heavily from what the site demands and collaborate with clients to achieve the results. I do a lot of referencing of art & history combined with more contemporary pieces to create nostalgic and unexpected experiences at the same time. I aim for an emotional reaction from space by putting forth my point of view through the language we know best i.e. Design.
What inspires you to thrive in this industry? Which piece of architecture inspires you the most.
Being close to my creative self & designing spaces is something I always dreamt of. I strongly believe in the quote by Marshall McLuhan which says “ we are what we behold, we shape our tools & then they shape us ”. Well-designed spaces hugely influence and mold us on a daily basis. This gives me immense hope for the future of interior design as a field of study and profession.
I admire and have learned a lot from the works of Geoffrey Bawa, Vincent van Duysen, Rajiv Saini, Bijoy Jain just to name a few.
From your point of view, is design an art or a science?
I think Design walks a fine line between Art & Science. A strong aesthetic along with a defined user case (a solution to a practical problem) should be adequately defined as Better design. We strongly advocate it to be taught the same way where Art and Science is a part of a single entity called Design.
If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
Ah, a dream. I think I will end up spending the most to buy huge forest land by a mountainside, conserve rainwater, build a sustainable bamboo home, grow my own organic produce, & preserve the green cover from further encroaching development for later generations to enjoy.
Did I go overboard, I hope not! ;D
What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
Avoid starting up on your own as a fresher. There is a lot more to the field of interior design than what meets the eye, think long term.
Get work experience. I would advise them to work for the best in the industry and learn if given a chance, to hone their technical skills.
Understand and learn how the business works, even if you are working for someone else.
Be fearless as designers, take risks. Watch things get executed on site.
Be ethical, help the fraternity.