Sussanne Khan started her career as an interior designer in 1996 after completing her interior designing course from Brooks College, California. She is known for her unique style of working with metal, wood, natural fiber’s, concrete, geometric pattern embellishments — all woven together — to create her signature ‘luxe and edgy’ style.
She partnered with film producer and interior designer Gauri Khan to launch ‘The Charcoal Project’, a unique design concept store in Mumbai in 2011.
Sussanne was in the city recently to launch the German brand Sternhagen’s ‘Rose Gold, Shin and Opale Collections’ of premium sanitaryware and bath fittings at Taj West End.
In an interview with Metrolife, Sussanne talks about stepping into the design world, her style of work and more.
What made you take up interior designing?
My parents are extremely creative people. When I was growing up, I remember my home was filled with artistic things. My mom used cane furniture and painted it in a certain colour, and then used tropical upholstery and lemon walls to decorate a space. This was back in the early 80s, I was about seven then, and it was very different because people didn’t do things that way. So I think that route starts from my parents. They are my biggest influences. My three siblings and I always found design very exciting and interesting. Design is something that I probably have in my bloodline.
Also, over the years, I have had so many experiences of meeting interesting people. I am so humbled that they like my design and sensibility because I am always trying to do new and different things.
What elements define your style?
I have a strong attraction towards metal, stainless steel, brass and wood. I prefer materials that are natural such as linen, cotton, silk and wool. I try to stay away from artificial materials and fabrics.
Where do you find your inspiration from?
Since I’m a student of design, I find inspiration everywhere — in travelling, in my children, lyrics of songs, nature... there is no limit, there’s no lead.
What is the most challenging thing about interior design?
The most challenging thing is to execute a project with a deadline. I feel we have very skilled people in the country but we lack structure and discipline. Our craftsmen are very talented, but there is a lack of commitment. I think discipline is very important to make your company go in a certain direction.
Tell us about your collaboration with Sternhagen...
It is a company that I admire. Though we haven’t designed any products yet, we are in talks. Chirag Parekh, its chief managing director, is a friend. I am very impressed by his commitment to innovation and his efforts to make technology meet design.
A few design trends to look out for in 2020...
Classic blue is the colour for the year 2020; it signifies calmness, anti-anxiety and anti-stress. As designers, we have to promote that too. There is a lot of chaos around us and including this colour in your everyday life will spread the feeling of serenity and calmness.
Have you designed or have a design in mind for your dream house?
I have just designed my dream house and that’s where I live right now (laughs). It very special to me. It hasn’t been photographed and I don’t want to photograph it because I don’t want it to be out there.
Since I live in a tropical city like Mumbai, my home has got the feel of a ski lodge. It has a lot of whites and charcoal hues, the woodwork gives it a warm but at the same time very cooling effect. I think it is my best works to date.