5 MINUTES WITH ASHIESH SHAH

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The architect reflects on the elements of his home, which is an ‘art gallery in disguise

Mumbai-based Ashiesh Shah is an exemplary interior designer and an avid art collector. He has an impressive array of projects under his belt which include Le Mill’s concept store, Restaurant Nido and actor Hrithik Roshan’s home, to name a few. His own home is a sanctuary for his eclectic art collection-which spans centuries and continents. Below, the award-winning interior designer and architect reflects on the elements of his personal space 

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Design approach 

My home, it’s an expression of what I do and who I am. I feel like it was mine from start to finish. I have worked on some very exciting projects, with clients that were keen to experiment. But when you’re designing your own home, there is an artistic freedom that you can’t compare with client work.

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Working with limitations

The apartment was initially a two-bedroom with an enclosed kitchen. It felt boxed in and limited. The space seemed much smaller and in terms of the light, it was definitely much duller. With the new layout, I attempted to create a more open and free-flowing space. Hence, we took down more than nine walls. The kitchen for example, opens into the main living room and the stairs lead directly into the master bedroom. The rooms are less contained and seem to move into one another giving one the impression of a space that is more coherent than detached.

Kitchen and dining area of the house of architect Ashiesh Shah in Mumbai, India on Dec 17, 2010. Shah designed the interior. Photo by Kuni Takahashi NYTCREDIT: Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

Highlights

The staircase is the pivot point of the house. Made mostly from a monolithic piece of marble, it pulls the room in with its sheer impression of weight and gravity. The stairs open into individual drawers that hold delicate works of art. For this reason, I’ve dubbed them as ‘curious steps’. Not to forget the massive sculpture by Max Streicher that looms over it – it’s impossible not to notice the minute you enter.

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Choosing textiles

I’ve played with a combination of white and off-white, beige, brown and grey. I think I wanted the wall to act like a canvas, thus, the colors come from the artwork. I’ve mostly used organic fabrics like linens and cottons. In terms of choosing the fabric, there are a lot of decisions that go into it – colours, patterns, textures etc. But for my home, I would say, I worked very intuitively while selecting textiles 

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His most treasured art piece

Too difficult to choose! I’m specifically interested in collecting South Asian art. Politics, gender materiality and physicality all play an important role in my selection. The art in my apartment does not have a consistent theme. Having been collected over the years, I think, each piece tends to represent a certain time in my life. My favorites include the bronze Shiva that I found at a local antique dealer, the sculpture of the donkey by Sakshi Gupta, the bindi panel by Bharti Kher and a Subodh Gupta sculpture.



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