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‘Take inspiration from Nature and design accordingly’

An alumnus of Apeejay Stya University, says he owes his knowledge to the excellent faculty at the institute



While not everyone would have heard of Apeejay Stya University in Gurugram, almost everyone who lives in Delhi-NCR has heard the name of Apeejay. The same was true for Utpal Sharma, an alumnus of Apeejay Stya University-School of Design & Visual Arts.

“I took up Commerce stream in my class XI. My family has a business of providing interior solutions including furniture. It was a foregone conclusion that I would join this business and bring in some fresh ideas. But I also want to gain industry experience and see how things are done today. That is what I am doing, I am, at present, working for a company in Sultanpur which provides interior solutions,” Sharma said, who got this job while he was doing his internship at the company.

Excerpts from the interview.

How did you get your present job?

I have been working here since 2022. Though I had got a job through the placement cell at the Apeejay Stya University (ASU), I decided to work with the company where I had done my internship at – Design World. The company has provided all interior solutions – luxe – since 2000. This is what I want to learn and introduce in our family business – luxe solutions. I am here to gain real-time experience and see how the industry works.

How and why did you choose ASU?

To be honest, I had not heard of ASU till someone suggested this institute. I had heard that the Education Society had schools but not a university. So, when I was looking for design school and got to know of ASU, I decided to look further into the course and curriculum. What I saw and read really impressed me and I enrolled in the four-year BDesign programme.

How were your campus days?

They were good. The first two years were spent at the campus and they were fun. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything shifted online including our classes. The good thing about ASU and the faculty was they didn’t let up on imparting knowledge. We were taught everything online. They were extremely cooperative, especially Jayshree Murli ma’am. She was excellent and available to address our concerns all the time.

The good thing about ASU and the faculty was they didn’t let up on imparting knowledge. We were taught everything online. They were extremely cooperative

Utpal Sharma, Alumnus of Apeejay Stya University-School of Design & Visual Arts

How was the faculty?

Jayshree ma’am was my design and college mentor. Whenever I would get stuck somewhere she was always there to guide and help me out. She didn’t spoon feed us but asked us questions in such a manner that helped us to come with a solution on our own. This helped me to develop independent thinking as well as how to be creative.

What was the teaching methodology?

Besides the theory that we were taught, there were several projects as well that we had to submit. In fact, the faculty encouraged us to submit as many projects as possible to learn and understand how the industry works. We were asked to make a PowerPoint Presentation on how to pitch a project to a client. This gave us real-time experience.

Does having these additional skills give you an edge at the workplace?

Definitely. I am so much more comfortable when I am asked to do work on a project from scratch. I know how to execute a project and be able to communicate my design ideas to the client in a better manner. This was a good learning experience and gives me an advantage in the office.

What are the key things that you have to keep in mind while designing a space?

In India, especially in Delhi-NCR, there are people from all strata of the society – from luxe to middle class families. But one thing is common – they all want nice pieces of furniture and or have at least one room designed according to the vision they have. They just don’t know where and how to begin. We, interior designers, bring their vision to life. But it also means to design according to the available space. For this, we have to ensure that we don’t use very bulky furniture or dark colours to make the room appear even smaller.

Second, always keep in mind what the client wants. If his ideas are not compatible, we must advise him/her of better options. Third, use material that works according to the climate of the place.

What are the traits that an interior designer must have?

An interior designer must have practical knowledge. If you don’t know what is trending, how can you design? You must also have knowledge about the material and what will work in a particular space. Always keep the client in the loop; after all you are designing for them. But most importantly, you must let your imagination soar – be creative. Take inspiration from Nature and design a space according to the environment.

Would you recommend ASU to others?

Yes definitely. I even recommended the institute to a student who was looking for an institute. The faculty is good, the curriculum has the right mix of theory and practical, and they have a good placement cell. What more can a student want?

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.