‘Green materials are now being used widely which are unique in nature and allow more latitude in terms of design’, says Shagufta Anurag, Founder & Managing Director, Space Matrix Design Consultants Pte Ltd in a conversation with sawdust.online
In your eyes, what design elements are important in creating a modern/contemporary look?
Modern design is characterized by simplification of form and appropriate lighting. ‘Less’ is more and in such a scenario, attention to detail is a must.
What do you find so appealing and rewarding about your career?
The most appealing and rewarding aspect of my career would be that my vision is now a reality. What started off as a small three-person design company in 2001 has now grown to 300+multi-disciplinary firm. The fact that Space Matrix is the number one design consultancy firm in terms of revenue in just a by-product of years of collective toll by the whole team. To have grown with such passionate people is what makes us a special firm. As an organization, the highlights are yet to come in terms of being a fully global firm. Working each day to achieve it step by step is an exciting process.
What are the basic principles you consider when you take up a project.
Basic principles of design are universal. Be it interior design, architectural design or master planning. Out of the main principles, balance, alignment and contrast are key for me. These, when applied appropriately, can make a project successful.
Design has largest implications on the human psyche. Therefore, these principals should be followed at every scale, be it the cityscape or an interior space.
Do you have a separate section for designs/designers for different parts of the world? What unique style is common to both?
No. We do not. Our teams have a good mix of multicultural designers from various parts of the world. Each lends a different flavour and bring freshness to a project – be it in India or Europe. They thoroughly research and understand the region for which they are designing for and if they are from that location, it does bring an added advantage sometimes. In terms of unique style, I would have to say the modern contemporary style is common to both.
How does a designer balances creativity with the practical requirements of the project? Or is there a constant conflict between the two?
Well! One needs to develop a balance. Sure, there will be an occasional conflict, but with experience one is able to fathom from the start what should be considered or delved into based on the budget and parameters set. Creativity is not about colours and materials; it is about how one will deal with any situation innovatively – be it cost related, procurement related or detailing related issue.
Today’s designers are not single dimensional individuals. They need to interact with clients and suppliers. Therefore, design creativity is not the only basis for success. Also, frequently it is about educating the client about the right choice for the project in terms of their long-term goal.
How does one creatively do the interiors given the modern-day space/budget constraints?
Modularity and flexibility hold the answers to the solution. A space which is designed to meet various needs of a client would be an effective solution. We have explored several ways of pursuing this.
I have worked on several projects from corporate interiors to retail to hospitality to master planning. I have felt the challenge lies with who the client is, what kind of team we are working with and the environment in which the project has to be delivered.
How important is the material selection in interior design and what is your pick – for flooring, walls, furniture and lighting with the advancement in technology.
Again a very ‘project’ specific question. Today, we have more options as compared to a few years ago. Durable flooring materials would be vitrified tiles for indoors which can take wear and tear and are easy to maintain.
For cafeteria space, vinyl tiles would be a good recommendation. Wall option are varied as well. This could range from texture paint to glass cladding, wall paper, based on the requirement of the space and the user needs. Green materials are now being used widely which are unique in nature and allow more latitude in terms of design.
Furniture and lighting help enhance a space. Lighting design accentuates and highlights features and finishes. Both work in conjunction of each other. Lighting levels vary based on the occupation associated with the space and helps elevate the mood of a space.
Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?
N R Narayana Murthy – the founder/chairman of Infosys Technologies Limited and his wife have been the inspiration for my career.
What has been your key to success?
Success means different things to different people. For me, the key has been hard work, determination and the will to succeed in any situation. It is not easy and the immense support from my ecosystem, my Space Matrix team and my family helps keep me grounded. The sense of accomplishment is what drives me and my team to get to the next level.