by Sukkum Chemjong Limbu

Award-winning Indian designer, Namrata V Shroff is also recognised as an interpreter for child spaces that go beyond the conventional requirements of traditional education. Namrata was born into a family of architects but what makes her different is her insight into people. “Architecture is what I studied and also interior design; I also enjoy studying people,” she says.

Namrata switched careers from modelling to designer and now entrepreneur; this meant unravelling and re-weaving her creative self to bring out the best in each field. She was recently in the capital as a TEDx Durbar Marg speaker.

In this segment, the talented and verstaile designer talks to WOW about her career, child spaces, and her observation of Nepali architecture.

How long have you been in the design field?

Both my parents are architects, and architecture was always what I wanted to study. I have been in this field for more than 20 years. With time my interior architecture practice actually went into a specialty which is childhood spaces. Ever since I stepped into motherhood, I started venturing into child spaces, kids clubs, and kids activity centres in schools and clinics. The architectural spaces that I practice fall for the childhood enhancement and development process.

What is interior design to you?

Essentially interior design and architecture for me are tools to better society. So, I use it as a means to add more value to society and to uplift childhood.

Key elements that you don’t miss while designing…

Well, I don’t confine myself to any particular style. Having said that, my designs are modernist and minimal yet functional. A space has to have lots of storage and be very functional. If I have to pinpoint what my style is, it would be minimal contemporary and I use a lot of art decor elements. Considering childhood spaces, I focus more on how one can learn through play. I wish to emphasise more on child centred attitude, drawings that are very meticulously thought and a lot of visual stimulations. This gives a fascinating space following their personal imagination and creative learning through play. 

How do your children view your designs?

My children are very fascinated by design because they see me working on it. Actually, they help me a lot during the process because through my children’s eyes and perspectives, I am able to see spaces as a child world. A child’s psychology is filled with imagination; hence they are my biggest source of inspiration when it comes to all of my designs. They are like my little junior designers, especially my son as he is a special child.

Suggestions for designing small spaces…

I love designing tight spaces, apartments and what I love about them is that you have to make sure that every part you design will be multitasking. When you design a living room, it can’t be just a living room, it should also be a space where you can work, it can be a place where you can move stuff away and use as a gym area, a place where you can meditate, dance and other activities.

Tell us about some of your design projects.

My latest design project is not related to interior design, but rather a very creative project. I have launched a Sake which is the first Indian rice Japanese made Sake in the market. It is made by the rice grown near our lake house in India and the product is made in Japan. I am calling it a design project because every aspect of it from the bottle design to marketing and everything that goes behind creating visual representation is mine. In all of that there is design involved and I call it as an entrepreneurial design project. 

What’s the future for design?

I have to admit that the future is really about smart design. For example, your phone designs are made so brilliantly. The days when I was in school, my computer couldn’t do what my phone can do today. So, designs have evolved and now we view it as a solution to a problem. It is a continuous process and will keep progressing in future. We might have to adapt to days when the table will not only be a table but a screen, it can be a giant pad and it comes down to multi functionality. Every space does more than what it should be doing. Multi-function accessories, multi-function spaces, and the most important aspect innovation is the future of design.

Colours that inspire you…

Red is the colour of my soul because red has so much power. It is uplifting, red has so much energy and red is also very calm. It is my happy and lucky colour. Even if I am not able to wear red for specific reasons, the red element has to be there like my painted nails. When I am doing something good, I have to add a splash of the colour. Colours speak to me. 

Has Nepal inspired you in terms of design?

Nepal is inspiring in many ways, be it people, landscapes and architecture. On my last visit to Nepal, we went to Lukla, Namche and also took a chopper and landed on Kala Pathar. A visit to Tara Gaon Museum is next on my list. Nepal has inspired me enough to come back and travel. And I have some of my closest friends in Kathmandu so it’s home away from home.

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