What Inspires An Interior Designer | Interview With Sonia Saraf
Lover of art and adventure, Sonia equally values the power of storytelling when designing spaces. Her designs aspire to connect people to their dream spaces while inspiring, driving and exciting them!
Saraf's versatility reflects in her portfolio. She has worked with infrastructure projects such as metro stations and aviation planning, landscaping projects, residential bungalows, and interior design projects for both residential and commercial spaces. After having worked on projects in USA, Zambia and various cities in India, she has set up her own firm in Mumbai and currently has projects going on in various cities in India.
We recently caught up with her for our interview series, and here's how it went!
1. Thanks Sonia for catching up with us. Before we get to know more about your company and aims, we'd love to know a bit about you. Tell us about how it began for your interior designing career.
I knew at a very young age, while still in grade school, that I wanted to be an interior designer. I did my B.Arch from the esteemed Sir JJ College of Architecture and then my Masters in Urban Design from UC Berkeley. I worked with various esteemed architects and infrastructure firms and finally started my own firm Rock Paper Scissors focusing on interior designing and landscape designing.
2. How would you describe your design style?
My design style is very client oriented and I work out the design based on the client’s tastes and budget. I do not have a set way of designing and am able to mould my designs easily based on the client’s likes and dislikes. I would therefore like to call myself as a versatile designer. I am also big on reuse and sustainability and try and avoid wastage. I always suggest to the client how they can reuse or revamp things, which also reduces expenditure. Clients are able to trust me because of this. I like to incorporate a lot of natural plants in the space to add greenery and freshness. I also like to add bold colors and points of focus to the space to help boost the mood.
3. From where do you pick your inspiration for your work? What kind of projects intrigue you the most?
The client itself is the inspiration for my work. I like to provide my client with the best design suited for his or her needs both in terms of function and budget. I like to improve the living condition of people and yet keep in mind the very important factor of affordability. At every step of the way, I make sure the client knows how the design change would affect the budget. Projects that intrigue me the most are ones which are very practical and sustainable and allow for a lot of natural light and ventilation to come in to the space. I like to reuse things for my projects and am very conscious of sustainability and reducing waste. I make sure every space has natural light. I try to incorporate natural plants wherever possible.
4. What's your creative process when you onboard a client?
I begin by first understanding my client thoroughly. I get to know their likes and dislikes and room wise requirements, color preferences, budget and timeline. Based on their requirements and preferences, I prepare a layout based on their requirements, along with mood boards showing the color scheme and the style of design. I try and bring in sustainability into all my projects by reusing things, adding natural light, natural plants and ventilation. I prepare a budget and timeline with the mood boards. There is no cookie cutter presentation and each idea is tailor made for the individual client.
5. You've worked in different countries and there must be a distinct requirement for every project. How do you cater to all these distinct client expectations?
Each country is different culturally and professionally. There are different expectations in terms of timelines, budgets and ideas. As mentioned before, the first step is thoroughly understanding the client and the brief. I spend a good amount of time on this, even before on boarding the client. Once I have understood the client and the brief well, then it becomes very easy for me to gel with the client and cater to various expectations. I have learnt to make myself very flexible to different people, personalities and ideas. There is a lot of compassion also that I have learnt to add to my personality as this helps me to work with various kinds of people and personalities.
6. According to you, what's the future of designing?
According to me, the future of designing is technology and innovation. One needs to keep upgrading and changing themselves to adapt to new ideas. If one is stuck on a particular idea, they will not be able to progress in this fast changing and fast paced world. Designers always need to come up with new ideas and then create a process to make complex ideas simple and achievable. Integrating technology is every project now is essential as that is where the future lies.