We are delighted to present a selection of enticing furniture pieces by one of India’s most sought-after interior designers. We’ve always been fascinated by the rich diversity of Indian culture in all its forms, and when we met Ashiesh, we knew we had found a kindred spirit who understood and valued Karigari (craftsmanship) as much as we did.
Regarded as a tastemaker in the architectural world, Shah has been spearheading his own design firm Ashiesh Shah Architecture + Design, handling various high-end design projects. In 2017 he launched Atelier Ashiesh Shah, a collaborative extension of his design studio, born from a vision to blur the boundaries between art and design. Empowering the ‘karigar,’ the Atelier aims to work alongside award-winning master craftsmen from all over the country to create design objects with a fresh point of view, informed by the knowledge and appreciation of ancient, traditional crafts.
What drew you to interior architecture and design and what do you like the most about it?
Interior Architecture was a natural gravitation propelled by years of honing my creative half through a self-instilled interest in art, design, and its semblance to the concept of space. In a family of doctors, I found myself gearing towards handmade and handcrafted objects, artisanship or ‘karigari,’ Indian minimalism and its stance in a contemporary setting, persuading me to celebrate space, design, and India’s historical craftsmanship through a formalized learning. The ability to change the perception of a rich cultural heritage through a series of handcrafted collectibles and architectural interventions, simplified through design, is by far distinctly honorable. Design is versatile and consistently evolving, there’s no stagnation and there’s always room for celebrating and embracing change. Through Atelier Ashiesh Shah we have reached remote villages, provided means of employment, revived endangered craft, encouraged regional craftsmanship and collaborated with artisans nationwide. Challenging and breaking boundaries of what design entails, molding the concept of design and defining it subjectively is what I love most about it, it’s a world that intrigues me even today.
Can you describe your work and style in a few words?
The work I produce spatially architecturally and collaboratively finds a deep semblance with India and exaggerates the ancient Indian concept. ‘The Lingam,’ a form unique to Indian geometry is a representation of Lord Shiva, the Hindu deity and often the point of departure for the work I produce. In addition to geometry, the spaces and objects that I create celebrate a brutalist tribal characteristic. ‘Wabi-Sabi,’ a Japanese philosophy of balancing elements through a calculated juxtaposition has been a strong part of the spaces I manifest and now a primary focus of my very own atelier, Atelier Ashiesh Shah. I gravitate towards 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. At the Atelier, visiting remote villages and collaborating with artisans and craftsmen nationwide creates a remarkably interesting back and forth process that celebrates these fabulously skilled ‘karigar’s’ and allows them to have a voice in a contemporary setting whilst influencing the final object in more ways than one – every object has its own story, highlights its own history, and celebrates its own heritage.
The piece of furniture you most like to design?
Through the process of developing the Atelier, it’s always been the most exciting to discover a new craft from a remote region of India and study it in its entirety to work on the possible permutations and combinations of design development. This collaborative process with the artisan is productive, challenging, and inspiring where the ‘karigar’s’ begin to push boundaries of scale, finish, and form within their craft sphere through a back-and-forth process of form development.
The most useful piece of design-related advice you’ve received and would like to pass on?
Your work is the only thing that needs to pass the test of time, it’s the only thing that lasts. Given that talent is a prerequisite, the only way to succeed is hard work and a little secret that will make it easier is the art of managing your time.
What do you like about The Invisible Collection?
Curation, Craftsmanship and Collectible Design. The Invisible Collection stands to have an unparalleled selection coupled with a diverse assemblage of art and design from all over the world. The platform hosts a primary foundation for design curation from architects and interior designers giving furniture design an entirely new spatial perspective.
The Invisible Collection’ simply makes iconic design accessible, an absolute honour to be a part of.