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Alumni Speak

‘Creativity is all about giving weird ideas a chance’

Apeejay Stya University alumna reminisces about her journey towards becoming an interior designer



Gaayantika Diwan is a person of details. She is conscious of even the unconscious effects of designs and architecture on the human mind. In a quick interview, the alumna of School of Design and Visual Arts (SDVA) at Apeejay Stya University (ASU) encourages budding designers to explore uncharted ideas and speaks about the best project she has worked on so far that is a royal property in Himachal Pradesh. Read the edited excerpts of the interview of the Interior Designer with Seclude – Hotels Home Style.

What got you interested in interior designing?

No matter where you work, design has an indirect impact on people’s lives, which is why I like interior design and design in general. Whether you are creating hotel rooms, lobbies, workplaces, or homes, the decisions you make as an interior designer have an impact long after a project is complete. Both poor and excellent decisions have an impact on the setting in which individuals work, relax, or play.

Walk us through a regular day at work?

My job as an interior designer at Seclude – Hotels Home Style ranges from scouting properties for the hotel chain to executing projects on-site. Making a design concept, creating a chain of vendors in different cities, executing the project to its finest detail is all a part of my day-to-day job.

Tell us about the School of Design and Visual Arts days? Any special memories?

School of Design and Visual Arts has been a core part of my life and career. The four years there have taught me a lot about the value of exploring creativity even in the smallest, most random places and things. Choosing your own designs and finding a way to execute them independently was something I learnt there.  Managing the fests and other events was also definitely fun.

Tell us about your topmost interior design projects?

My topmost interior design project would definitely be Seclude’s Nahan-Bantony Cottage. A heritage property located in the serene and picturesque town of Nahan, Himachal Pradesh. This seven-bedroom property previously served as a holiday home for the Maharaja of Sirmaur and now, it is a unique blend of an old-world charm and modern comfort. The royal property is designed around a colonial concept with warm colours, beautiful artworks, wallpaper palettes, wainscotings and antique pieces, creating an altogether relaxed and inviting atmosphere. The entertainment hall hosts a small reading corner, a movie spot and a special candle light chandelier set up for date nights, creating an unforgettable dinner experience.

A designer you look upto?

My favourite designer would be Geoffrey Bawa. Bawa was influenced by colonial and traditional Ceylonese architecture. The way Bawa uses local tropical material, plays with curves and arches and aptly uses natural wood and contrasting material is a complete inspiration.

What are your future aspirations?

My future ambition would be to explore more design themes and concepts and do justice to them while maintaining comfort, practicality and aesthetics. I am hopeful to work with a leading hospitality design firm in the future.

Lastly, one quick tip for all designers?

Try exploring all sub-fields of your career. For example, if you are an interior designer, try and explore everything from residential to exhibition design. And, never fear exploring concepts that you’ve not heard of before. Creativity is all about giving weird things a chance.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected].