Smita Vijaykumar, Co-founder & CEO, reNNovate

Smita Vijaykumar, Co-founder & CEO, reNNovate

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Good design must check off some of our internal parameters like good lighting, unique product usage or application, good ergonomics, functionality, quality and pricing. It seems easy to spell out but it is actually extremely difficult to pull off the above with style and panache

For architectural spaces, Zaha Hadid is my personal favourite for the flowing spaces that she has created. She has redefined spaces, visualisation technology and actual building materials for generations to come! I am also a huge fan of Norwegian designer and Italian furniture designers who are extremely talented in their product. Specifically for Interior Spaces, Nate Berkus has always been an inspiration for his versatility and effortless interior spaces”, says Smita Vijaykumar, Co-founder & CEO, reNNovate

We are all strongly committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” – tell us in detail about this. Are we? Will we?

We are strongly committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Market forces and customer choices are also leaning this way. Many people like to save on budgets by recycling, reusing if possible! There are many green building/interiors certifying agencies with world standards which are attracting people. Paints and adhesive industries are also marketing good health and green products. Many building materials are going green to reduce land dump pressures as well. We also do our part.

The much talked/discussed shift towards a low carbon circular economy, improvement in waste reduction, re-use and re-cycle, creating new jobs, increasing resource efficiency. – are these just words or are we on the path to achieving it? What is your opinion and also suggestion?

There are many words and there is some action, towards low carbon circular economy, improvement in waste reduction, re-use and re-cycle, creating new jobs, increasing resource efficiency. Both words and actions are necessary, as this is a new effort in a new direction! Creating awareness is always the first step. I would say that as far as implementation goes, we are just beginning to walk the path. There are many new methods, standards, materials and related market forces that will come into play going forward.

What/How do you define sustainable development of cities? Where do you think the design field is headed next? 

Sustainable development of cities is a very enormous discussion point because there are government and non government agencies of various types involved. Design in its part works within the confines of policies defined at a government level. We are currently overwhelmed in terms of urban planning because the rate of urbanization and absorption of urban migration is not being addressed by development at the same rate.

    1. So sustainability for us is not a design oriented problem but urban planning oriented. It needs to take into account, transport, pollution, waste management, population densities, city spreads, connectivity etc.
    2. We need more cities to be sustainable
    3. We need more intercity connectivity
    4. Water and its conservation and urban waste are jarring issues that need attention

Branding seems to be often portrayed as simply the addition of company logos and colours. Do you find there are misconceptions about what it is or what it can be?

Branding must reflect on all visual mediums, online and offline. It would be simplistic to think it’s just the logo or colours. However, branding nowadays can be done on so many marketing collaterals, blogs, websites, social media options, flyers, and brochure. There is no real limit to it.

What is “design” for you? Where do you think the design field is headed next?

For us at reNNovate, good design is customer delight! The only reason why there are so many styles is because creativity doesn’t have one formula of expression. Having said that, good design must also check off some of our internal parameters like good lighting, unique product usage or application, good ergonomics, functionality, quality and pricing.

It seems easy to spell out but it is actually extremely difficult to pull off the above with style and panache. Our images speak for themselves!

Tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

With over 15years in architecture & interior design and having worked in different parts of India and abroad, my experience has been very diverse and eclectic and the same has been replicating in my designs. I also find that residential design improves when looked from the lens of the users, especially the mothers and home caretakers of the family. I find that my own life journey helps to embellish the space with more useful and aesthetic products that we curate all the time!

We truly believe in inclusive styles and prices. We are also very open minded and inclusive of the customers’ viewpoints. We also strongly feel that design should be affordable to everyone. We also address the disconnection there is between design and actual execution!

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

One of our first design yardsticks is to make every project unique visually. All our clients are unique and we wish to capture that uniqueness in every project. One of our internal mandates is to ensure that every home has at least 1 WOW factor that can be captured in each space through colour, texture, new material or a different way of using existing materials or spaces.

Our design priorities are to be extremely functional without any compromise on styling. Unusable design, however aesthetic, is not acceptable for us.

What is your dream design project? What is your biggest design work?

Our biggest accomplishment has been to get a chance to do interiors for people like Harish Salve, Sandeep Bedi, Bapuna Family, Hirco villas etc

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

We have helped SOS children’s villages in a personal capacity. We are strong proponents of green design in all of our projects.

Who is your favourite designer?

For architectural spaces, Zaha Hadid is my personal favourite for the flowing spaces that she has created. She has redefined spaces, visualisation technology and actual building materials for generations to come! I am also a huge fan of Norwegian designer and Italian furniture designers who are extremely talented in their product.

Specifically for Interior Spaces, Nate Berkus has always been an inspiration for his versatility and effortless interior spaces.

What are some benefits associated with a company brand being strongly represented in the workplace?

Creativity needs nice workspaces. We sit in a wonderful office with hanging out spaces and spill out spaces and also workspaces! I think it’s important to balance everything.

Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

I remember distinctly a classic that I read before starting out as an architect, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand which dealt with the thread of the architect’s life influences and design! Creativity is such an interesting outlet from so many different sources, books being only one.