Designing of oriental worlds

Designing of oriental worlds

One of the toughest challenges about architecture and design is to get them to adapt to different templates. But for Leila Erfan, this has proved to be fruitfully challenging. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Leila began working at the age of 17, by teaching art to children in her studio, while she was pursuing her education at Graphic High School.

She graduated from the Tehran University of Art, where she experimented with graphic art, photography, painting, pottery, handicraft, carpet weaving and sculpture. Her mission is to compile all of these skills and incorporate them in interior design.

Her fondness for India because of its heritage and her admiration for art, craft and architecture were what compelled her to settle in New Delhi almost a decade ago. She firmly believes that with progressive times and developing, contemporary culture, interior design should also move parallel to such ideals. In an interaction with Deccan Herald, she talks about spaces, products, designs and trends. Excerpts:

What are the typical aspects to consider while working as an interior designer? Does this vary from region to region?
The first step is to understand the clients’ style and requirement, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, as well as their personal choices of material and colour. Once you understand the space and client requirement it makes it much easier to give a better input. The average age as well as the size of the family is also a vital point to keep in mind when we design a house. It is important to understand the space (whether it is an apartment or a farm) and incorporate details for interiors accordingly. We must prioritise designing, keeping in mind the natural light. Of course, designing varies from region to region and culture to culture. The climate of a particular region also comes into play while deciding on the interiors.

The advantages and challenges of designing in a country like India...
India has a lot to offer in terms of crafts and workmanship. Each state holds its uniqueness with respect to culture and craft. But with growing technology and everything becoming highly mechanised, we are losing the beautiful artistic touch in our surroundings. It is important to notice the difference in the work done by hand and machine.

How is designing a product different from designing a space?
When you are designing a space, it is necessary to give the attention to the area as a whole and also to each of the subjects from the floor to the ceiling, natural light and indoor light. The right textures, patterns and products have to be chosen in sync with the space. One must be able to establish a balance between the product and the space.
But, when we are talking about the product design, work is much easier and is less challenging. You are giving attention to only one object. You need to do the right calculation and put the right material. Each angle and shape is important till you discover the right product.

What are you watching out for at work this year?
I hope this year brings in new discoveries. I am working on two different collections, and hope it’ll be an exciting year. Luckily, we have very talented designers with potential in the market. I am sure we will get a chance to see a number of new trends and leave behind common and ordinary designs.

Advice for those who like to decorate their own homes...
Do a little bit of research and visit a few studios and boutiques that will help you decide what you like and what you don’t. Help yourself understand which style you prefer. Go through books and magazines and finally shortlist your ideas. It’s nice if you can make a wishlist and go one step at a time.
It is much easier and facilitative to hold a few meetings with different designers and understand which one is capable of making your dream come true. Being guided by a designer is advisable as they are familiar with the material and format. Find out what styles makes you happy. Make a clear budget and divide your time frame and work on your interiors step by step.

Are there any similarities between the designs in India and Iran? What about the differences?
Each country is different. In India, we see that each state comes with different cultures and designs of its own. We do not have the joint family concept in Tehran —  this certainly makes a huge difference in the interior space and lifestyles for both cultures. Tehran is a four-season city. The climatic differences in both these regions also create a difference in interiors.
Also, risk with respect to playing with colours in India is much higher than in Iran. The bold and loud patterns or colours that we often use in India may be rare to find in Tehran.

How does the luxury interior design market look in India at the moment? Any predictions for the future?
I think the interior design market in India is very stereotypical. There are repetitive patterns and mass productions. Young designers are trying to pursue different ideas. But they should also find the platform to showcase their talent...
I am sure that in a few years, we will have a totally different market because the knowledge of the client is also changing by the day. I have also noticed that in the past few years, this platform is getting larger and accessible for everyone because of the support from a few organisations. It would also be nice to see something new and different in place of the common or replicated products in terms of home decor.

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