“Never ever think you know enough – everyday is a learning experience.”
You are the founder at Rakeshh Jeswaani Interior Architects. Tell us about your journey from being an aspiring interior designer to having your own firm today.
It’s been a long and sometimes bumpy ride. I started as a trainee interior designer 25 years ago. After working on numerous interior projects, both residential and commercial, I set up my furniture design studio in 2001. From this point on I was doing fewer projects on a freelance basis as I wanted to devote more time to the furniture enterprise. It was only after the business was properly established and through the support of my partner in the furniture venture, Roomi Maneckshaw, that I was able to set up RJIA and devote maximum time to it.
You have taken up a number of projects till date. Which has been your most memorable project and why?
My most memorable project has undoubtedly been the villa that I designed in Indore because my vision for this project was totally in tune with what my clients wanted so the journey and the outcome were both a pleasure and an experience that will always be special to me.
What challenges do you face on such projects?
There are always challenges in any design project, mainly to make sure that what you have conceptualised gets created properly. Also, to make sure that your design is something that your client will be comfortable with in the long run. But I always see a challenge as an opportunity to be creative and achieve something to be proud of!
Can you briefly describe your approach towards an assignment?
Firstly, I make sure that I have understood my client and what they need and want. This is the foundation of the project. Then I ensure that the design and planning is done to a very advanced stage before beginning any work on site. This avoids a lot of issues at the implementation stage. I also like involving my clients as much as possible during the design and selection stage as they are the ones who will finally use the space. During implementation, I’m very involved in the process as I love to see the design taking shape!
What inspires you or keeps you motivated to come up with such extraordinary designs?
Nature, in all its many forms. I’ve realised that anything we visualise or design already exists in nature even if we can’t see it. It’s there already. This always fascinates and inspires me.
What skills, technical and otherwise, should aspiring designers need to have?
Drawing by hand. This is a must. When I started, we didn’t use Autocad or any other software, everything was hand drawn. Today, everything is drawn on the computer. While this does make work a lot easier, it’s also necessary to express ideas by hand. We visualise and process things much better when we draw it with our own hands. You also need to be very well versed with all the materials that go into creating an interior space. If you don’t know the nature of your material, you won’t be able to create with it freely.
Do you also mentor youngsters or take them as interns to learn the nuances of this field?
Yes, but only if they are extremely dedicated and disciplined.
What advice would you want to give to the aspiring interior designers?
Never ever think you know enough – everyday is a learning experience. Be humble and have a huge amount of gratitude and respect for the workforce who labour to create your designs. Keep a scrapbook and collect all your ideas. This not only helps you to remember random thoughts but it also shows you the progression of your sensibility and helps you evolve as a designer.