The Design Guru

October, 2017

Being a celebrated designer is a big responsibility. From his early days to his evolution as a TV host, Ashiesh Shah talks to CW Interiors in an exclusive interview.

With a journey from Parsons School of Design to high profile homes and spaces around the globe, Ashiesh Shah’s name is synonymous with design excellence. In less than a decade, Shah has become a household name in the luxury interior space. For the past eight years, the award winning architect and interior designer, has been spearheading his own practice at Ashiesh Shah Architecture + Design. In 2014, Shah was nominated by Forbes India for being one of the most influential young art collectors in the Indian subcontinent. His fine design sensibilities are a reflection of his eclectic tastes as an art collector, a hobby that takes him to different countries. In his most recent venture, he opens up the design realm to the television audience. Taking viewers on a tour of some of the most influential celebrity homes, Shah hosts Design HQ, an exclusive show on Fox Life India. Airing in September and October, every Thursday at 10 pm, Shah gives viewers a never-seen-before peek into the homes of Bollywood A-list celebrities such as Hrithik Roshan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandes, Pernia Qureshi, Sussanne Khan, AD and Sabina Singh and Masaba Gupta among others. In a DIY segment, he demonstrates how viewers can design their spaces like the celebrities and brings to table some of the craziest design hacks with his new show. A trendsetter and a celebrity himself, it is hard to talk about interior design without mentioning his name. CW Interiors caught up with this sassy designer to decode what drives him to world-class design.

Jacqueline’s living room is bright in all its pastel hues.
A bed stool adds elegance
Abu Jani’s living room features an eclectic mix of décor.
Fashion designer Abu Jani.’s living room...
Fashion stalwarts Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla feature on Design HQ.
Sharing a light moment with Aditya Roy Kapoor...

Q Tell us about your design process…
My practice has evolved over the years and with it, my philosophy on aesthetics. What has remained constant, however, is my belief in the aesthetic philosophy of Wabi Sabi. This Japanese concept is derived from Buddhist teachings based on the beauty of the imperfect and incomplete. Asymmetry 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. According to me, nothing is perfect. Nothing is ever permanent and that is why nothing is ever completely finished.

Q Do you see an increasing impact of Indian art on interior design?
Lately, there has been a steady growth in people’s desire to collect real design and art pieces for their homes. A direct result of this much-awaited shift in the market is a rejuvenation of young, home-grown talent in fields like architecture and design. Today, people want to incorporate good design into their everyday life, including interiors.

My practice has evolved over the years and with it, my philosophy on aesthetics.

In conversation with Pernia Qureshi...
Discussing home design with Hrithik Roshan.

Q Translating opulence into a minimalist palette is a delicate task. What is your secret mantra in bringing this design style to fruition?
A home is fluid, versatile and constantly changing. A well-designed home enables the space to subtly transform as it begins to be lived in, besides keeping the space engaging. I think for a well-designed house to become a home, it just needs to be lived in; soon, each corner collects memories of past journeys, times and places. The key is keeping the future owner in mind during the design process, maintaining a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

AD and Sabina Singh’s home features funky décor.

Q How is the use of technology changing the face of interior design?
The use of technology in homes goes far beyond the idea of automation. Today, both homeowners and architects alike are aware of sustainable materials and practices. ‘Up-cycle and recycle’ is the new mantra, and designers are coming up with innovative new technologies to achieve this. Sustainable and vernacular technologies, concerns of ecology and built forms are becoming more important in both architecture and design, in general. India is currently on the cusp of a design revolution. Not only has this technology affected the way a space is constructed and designed, its far-reaching effects can also be seen in the smallest elements in a space – be it a light, a piece of furniture or even textiles and fabric.

AD and Sabina Singh’s home features funky décor.

Q Describe your journey with Design HQ. What do you seek to bring to the table?
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.

Q Why is celebrity home design a starting point for the Design HQ journey?
Today, people want to incorporate good designs into their everyday life, including interiors. Edgy and contemporary aesthetics are the talk of the town. Today’s celebrity home owners have a discerning eye for all things chic and sophisticated. I have designed most of these spaces, so it is great to be able to show them. The others are homes that have been designed by the homeowners themselves and so it is interesting to hear their design process as well.

How does this show seek to challenge or empower design lovers?
I think what we are showing is extremely adaptable and easy to recreate. We will be giving our viewers a lot of tips, tricks and DIY hacks to help them create the look. We are not only showing our viewers some fantastic spaces, but also demonstrating how easy it is to recreate these looks. We are trying to make design less intimidating and more accessible!