Architect & Designer Profiles

Vinu Daniel on the glory of garbage in architecture and Chuzhi House

Vinu Daniel never aspired to be an architect. Born in Dubai to parents of South Indian origin, he was always expected to pursue something mainstream, such as law or medicine or even chartered accountancy. ‘Certainly anything but Carnatic classical music,’ jests the founder of Wallmakers of his childhood proclivity for the arts. In a bid to reconcile his passions and his family’s hopes, Daniel moved to India for university, enrolling at the College of Engineering Trivandrum for a degree in archit

[Print] Heartfelt Memories: Melissa Joseph

As a child growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Melissa Joseph was deeply influenced by her father's Malayali heritage. "From the lungis he wore everyday to the appams he taught me to make, and the Malayalam music and movies that were constantly blaring from speakers around the house, there were reminders of Kerala everywhere," recalls the Brooklyn-based artist of her bicultural upbringing (her mother, an American, hailed from Pittsburgh). And yet, for Joseph, the only tangible reference to her Malayali roots was photographs. "These images were my connection to family far away, whom we would visit every few years. I would see my aunts and uncles and cousins, my grandparents and my great grandmother, and hear stories about them at the same time I was learning about figures from the bible and reading fairytales. All of these characters took on an almost mythical existence."

Julien Sebban of Uchronia on his love affair with colour | Effect

At the age of six, Julien Sebban was gifted a Kapla set for Christmas. “I started creating structures right away,” recalls the founder and principal of Paris-based design firm Uchronia, for whom the game—which involves constructing 3D objects—sparked a fascination for the built form. “I come from a family of doctors and lawyers who wanted me to follow a similar path, but after repainting my room dozens of times as a teen, I quickly recognised that I was destined for design.”

[Print] Getting Candid With Smita Thomas

Of all her memories growing up, Smita Thomas's most significant are those of her mother. "Specifically, her fingers. She was always very creative, making intricate dolls, painting with oils and watercolours, doing needle art and conjuring up the most exquisite puppets," recalls the founder and principal designer of Bangaluru-based design firm Multitude of Sins (MOS). "I never appreciated her then, but as I reflect back, I realise she was so much more creative than I could ever be. I am a designer, but she was an artist." Today, MOS is a manifestation of her flair for the outré, where projects aren’t just projects; they are whimsical experiments with each having a story to tell.

[Print] Meet the Makers: Khanoom

Priyamvada Golcha was raised with a deep respect for craftsmanship. After all, her family had been in the business of clay and particle technology for the better half of a century, and she had grown up around artisans and makers breathing life into the most beautiful ceramic objects. "And yet, it took the pandemic to prompt me to venture out on my own. Well, that and Simon," she laughs. This would be British-born, Jaipur-based designer Simon Marks (who has dedicated the last two decades to working with artisans in India and Indonesia), whom Priyamvada met through a mutual friend. "He was designing tiles for a commercial kitchen project at the time, and was looking for someone to make them. We kept brainstorming, experimenting, and the ideas kept flowing. At one point, we realised we were remarkably compatible, so why not set up a studio together?" says Priyamvada.

Legeard Studio on their compelling yin-yang partnership

The designer and architect duo of New York-based Legeard Studio are known to create magic with their complementary design styles She grew up in Kosovo and left the country as a war refugee. He hails from the Loire Valley in France where he grew up appreciating its architectural marvels. And yet, Valmira Gashi and Julien Legeard’s paths were destined to cross in a country that belonged to neither. “Growing up in Kosovo, architecture wasn’t exactly on my radar. I was always drawn to maths and art

[Print] Meet the Makers: Vāhe Ensemble

It was during a summer trip to Delhi that Vaishnavi Walvekar first met a Naqaashi artisan from Srinagar. It was in Dilli Haat, she recalls, and his name was Riyaaz ji: "His stall had all these lightweight, ornate products—all made of recycled paper. I was pursuing my MFA in Industrial Design at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco at the time, and had flown back for the summer." That this particular summer would change the course of her career—and her life—was something she would only discover later.

[Print] Getting Candid With Gunjan Gupta

Growing up, Gunjan Gupta was her mother’s accomplice in all things design. “Whether it was laying the table or matching her jewellery to her sari, my opinion was always considered. At a young age, my mother seeded in me the confidence to go against the grain. My father, too, had an egalitarian outlook and gave me complete freedom to pursue a career of my choice,” she says. What she also remembers is that she had a mind of her own when it came to aesthetics, arranging the plates and crockery in her own signature style. But that was just the first glimmer the world would witness of the now-acclaimed designer rewriting the rulebook. More than two decades later, Gunjan’s penchant for upending convention remains just as steadfast. Today, she helms three design verticals: her eponymous design studio which specialises in limited-edition collectibles, furniture and objects; Studio Wrap, her interior design and custom furniture firm; and Ikkis, her affordable furniture and object range. Her limited-edition pieces have been internationally acquired by renowned museums including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany.

Designing Miami star Eilyn Jimenez on interior design inspiration

The founder and creative director of Sire Design—and star of hit Netflix show Designing Miami—is all about the 3Ms: monochrome, minimalist and modern Eilyn Jimenez dreamed of being a lawyer. “A judge would be more accurate,” quips the Miami-based interior designer, and founder and creative director of Sire Design. After graduating school at 16, the Costa Rica native immediately enrolled at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica for a bachelor’s degree in business. “I thought it would come in handy fo

How Mary Maydan came to define ‘California Modern’ architecture

The former journalist and Palo Alto-based architect has a flair for breathe-easy design As a toddler, Mary Maydan had a rare proclivity for maths. “My mother noticed that I was very good and she would keep asking me harder and harder questions and delighting in my answers. Like any first-time mother, she bragged about me to everyone. I grew up seeing myself through her eyes,” recalls the former journalist and founder of Palo Alto-based Maydan Architects. But for Tel Aviv-raised Maydan, architec

Linde Freya Tangelder’s Latest Exhibition in Antwerp Is Bold, Brutalist and Beautiful.

Destroyers/Builders is an unlikely name for a design firm, but it suits its founder. After all, Linde Freya Tangelder has never been one to fit the mould. The Dutch-born, Belgium-based designer, whose first solo exhibition—titled FUNDAMENTS—is on exhibit between 1st September and 1st October at Valerie Traan Gallery in Antwerp, has upended the rulebook once again with furniture and objects that riff on brutalist: Basel sandstone objects, brick backrests, untreated oak wood stools, hand-sanded al

[Print] Fresh Off the Farm

As a child growing up in San Francisco, Amalia Graziani dreamed of becoming a philosophy professor. “The fact that I now spend my days on construction sites still surprises me,” jokes the owner of Noor Property Group, who at 31 has made waves as one of Hudson Valley’s pioneering developers. In retrospect, the unconventional career choice might just have been written in the stars. “I’d grown up doing renovations with my dad and loved the design process but wrote it off as an impossibility. Although I found my way into development inadvertently, I was methodical about making this dream happen once I recognised its creative potential.”

How Gideon Mendelson found his flair for whimsical design

The Brooklyn-based designer has a modernist signature that nods to his beloved late mother, eminent interior designer Mimi Mendelson Growing up in Scarsdale, New York, Gideon Mendelson was his mother’s biggest admirer. “She had impeccable taste. Everything she did was flawless. And while her personal style was traditional, she appreciated all types of design and could execute almost anything,” says the Brooklyn-based interior designer. So when he launched Mendelson Group in 2003, calling his mo

[Print] Name to Know: Golda Pereira

As a child growing up in Goa, Golda Pereira would summer at her dad’s ancestral home on the island of Divar, along with all her cousins. "We’d spend our days playing in the village, fishing, and walking through the dusty summer fields. At night, we’d sit together on a long dining table for dinner, and then convene in the balcao to exchange stories," she remembers. But the highlight of those annual vacations was a makeshift hut, or homti, that the cousins would build in the backyard, along with some help from their uncles. "Every year, we’d build it at the start of summer, and take it down before the monsoons arrived," she recalls, adding that as the years progressed, the homtis became more complex, and the cousins would try to outdo themselves every summer. "There was a feeling of excitement of having built it with our own bare hands. Today, my outlook on design comes from these experiences, besides the more obvious influences: Goa's heritage homes, our beautiful village lanes, rivers, and the environment where they coexist."

[Print] Getting Candid With Sarah Sham

Born into a fourth-generation business family that specialises in collectibles and objets d'art, Sarah Sham had always been surrounded by beautiful things. So when she graduated with an art history degree from Duke, and spent a year away at Oxford studying 19th-century French art, many might have anticipated that she would pursue a career in design. “Hardly,” she guffaws. “I always thought of doing something in economics, finance or psychology. Interior design was the furthest thing from my mind.” But life had other plans for Sarah. Today, she is the founder and principal designer of Essajees Atelier, a Mumbai-based interior design firm that has completed more than 50 projects across the country.

Slow Living in the Hudson Valley

As a child growing up in San Francisco, Amalia Graziani dreamed of becoming a philosophy professor. “The fact that I now spend my days on construction sites still surprises me,” jokes the owner of Noor Property Group, who at 31 has made waves as one of Hudson Valley’s pioneering developers. In retrospect, the unconventional career choice might just have been written in the stars. “I’d grown up doing renovations with my dad and loved the design process but wrote it off as an impossibility. Although I found my way into development inadvertently, I was methodical about making this dream happen once I recognised its creative potential.”

[Print] Meet the Makers: Claymen

Aman Khanna could never have predicted that he would one day be selling faces. And yet, today, his signature stoneware clay and terracotta figurines, christened Claymen, take pride of place in the homes of fashion designers, musicians, friends and artists, and enjoy a cult Instagram following. "The pursuit started out as something I wanted to do for myself. I had no intention oof Claymen being where it is today. I certainly did not envision dedicating most of my time to a venture like this," he smiles.

4 women-owned decor brands that will usher nature into your home

Gone are the days of mass-produced fabrics and cookie-cutter tableware. With shoppers becoming ever more discerning, and Instagram becoming an ever-expanding cabinet of curiosities, handmade, nature-inspired novelties—from pressed flower prints and flora-inspired artworks to handmade pottery and ceramics—have taken the spotlight like never before. Here are four homegrown brands that are rewriting the rulebook for handmade products with a nature-infused edge. For Charmaine Sah, her home garden p
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