Design Thinking, Interior design

The Shifting Nature of International Collaborations in Interior Design

Interior designer Shonali Mahajan opines international collaborations add a unique perspective to the local problems and context and are far more humble and gratifying to work with

The Shifting Nature of International Collaborations in Interior Design

Today international collaborations in Interior Design are not as unheard of as they probably were in the past years. We at Studio Wodehouse for instance pride ourselves in having an International label like Matteo Nunziati, with whom we collaborate on certain projects in India and the MENA Region.

What this does is it gives us access to design from the heart of Milan, we learn details, international trends from ground zero of design. We learn processes, finishes, working details, brands that would come to India a few years later.

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What they get in return is a design driven partner, with insider knowledge and experience of having worked within the studio in the past, who will pay equal attention to detail at site during construction as they would during the design, thus ensuring the quality of the design is adhered to. This avoids unnecessary back and forth between projects in India and the studio in Italy, as we can then solve the issues at hand immediately - saving both time and money. Finding substitute products and finishes, working with local labour all help and enable on ground realities of projects that have international designers. Major design decisions of course will always be taken by the Principal Designer, but those changes are far and few between.

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The benefit of such collaborations are - access to International designers at a reduced cost as you supplement the execution phase with a local partner, thus reducing the time required by the international studio and hence design fee.

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This also helps increase variety in the design language and landscape in India. Gives things a fresh perspective and the ability to reference cultures and develop a cross cultural language in design where unique skill sets are touched upon within an indian context could benefit local know-how tremendously. Not only that, it also allows smaller studios to scale- to take on more work, and different types of work.

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My opinion is that Indian designers are too narrow minded and egotistical. International collaborations add a unique perspective to the local problems and context and are far more humble and gratifying to work with. It’s always interesting to see how different cultural backgrounds respond to indian problems and bring up design solutions.

Editor's note: The views expressed are of author's own