Interview with Architect Aishani Kumbhani
Today we have with us Ar. Aishani Kumbhani, a very dear friend and a brilliant architect. She heads a young Mumbai based studio that focuses on all fields of architecture, interior design and space planning. Let’s start and get her perspective on healthy homes and healthy living.
R: Before we get to our topic, can you tell our readers what got you to architecture?
A: As a child, I had seen my mother do a little course in Interior design. It always intrigued me to see how something drawn on paper had so much visualization and thought behind it; and that a mere sketch on paper could turn into a liveable space.
R: Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
A: My work has been inspired to a great extent by the legend – Ar. Charles Correa. I adore his sense of space and planning and strive really hard to achieve the same in my work.
R: From a health perspective, what are the basics that you follow for designing any space?
A: The design of any space, be it an entire bungalow, building or just a room revolves around some essential pointers. As a designer I believe, that if we get these right, any space can be transformed beautifully:
Functionality – It is a golden rule in architecture – Form follows function. For any space to be at its best, it is important for it to be at maximum functionality. A good looking cabinet with not enough depth to store necessary items is of no use. The aesthetics of the space is important, but not more than the function it was meant to serve.
Vastu – At times Vastu is considered an outdated superstitious belief. But for me, Vastu is a science that we can borrow to get our basics right. We do not need to get into depths, but basic locations of fire, water, and some directions if taken care of, can achieve a positive space. It is quite simple – if the Vastu is right, the light and ventilation are right and so is the vibe of the space. Vastu helps in maintaining good health of the space users; based on the age-old timeless techniques. It is like home remedies to the healthy life of a home.
Light and Ventilation – If Vastu is taken care of, natural light and ventilation are most likely to be taken care of. A room that admits huge amount of natural light is any day better for healthy living than a closed room which is lit with artificial lighting.
Decluttering – Whether it is an existing space that we are redesigning or a new space, it is very important to declutter. Unnecessary stored stuff means unnecessary furniture like huge cabinets. With space constraints that we are facing, this habit needs to change if we wish to live in a good, well-designed space. Clutter and excessive furniture hampers the healthy functioning of our brain.
Client lifestyle – It is rightly said that architecture deals with psychology. A space that we design as architects, is going to be someone’s home. The right design elements, based on lifestyle have an impact at a psychological level.
R: What are the most common mistakes people make?
The internet has made everything available at a click. All sorts of design ideas, materials, themes are easily available online. People try to incorporate everything they like, but find it difficult to put them together under one common theme; making it a mess. Even when there is an architect on board, so many clients come up with various options and suggestions, but eventually, trust the professionals to bring in the requirements together; since he is the one who can visualize the end result before even laying the first brick.
R: One advice for good sleep hygiene?
A: Firstly, the position of your head when you sleep is very important. You can experiment, and you will know that you get the best sleep when your head is towards the South and the worst when towards the North. Also, I cannot emphasize enough to keep your room clutter-free in order to get a good night’s sleep. All the clutter, though not on your bed, subconsciously tends to make your mind anxious and disturbed. This is one of the reasons why you feel relaxed even in the most non-luxurious hotel rooms.
R: What have been your favorite projects?
A: I don’t have any specific favorite projects. But the most challenging project so far I would say was a 4-star hotel, where we maintained the structural grid and redid the whole building along with interiors.
R: What is going to be the future of interior design?
A: In the future, I think we will see more spaces that are functional yet minimal. Irrespective of budget, opting for compact necessary well – designed spaces; as opposed to the huge larger than life spaces, is what the future holds. And it is very important to follow this, in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Isn’t that the need for the health of us as well as the planet?
P.S.- You can check out Aishani’s work, and take references too ( wink wink), at https://www.behance.net/aishanikumbhani