NOTES : ASHIESH SHAH
Notes is our latest series on exploring the dynamics of creativity over an informal break. We chatted with some of the most eminent as well as some of the upcoming artists in India today. Our second edition is with Ashiesh Shah, renowned architect and art collector.
1. Could you tell us a little about your journey towards design.
I was always fascinated by architecture and design and painting was just something I did since before I can remember, I think it started there. When I was studying dentistry, I realized quite early on that it wasn’t something I felt passionately about. It didn’t allow the kind of free thinking and creativity like in fields like architecture and design. I needed to be creating something, and architecture seemed like the right choice. With time I became more interested in design based practices.
Interiors by Ashiesh Shah. Images via Ashiesh Shah on Instagram.
Interiors by Ashiesh Shah. Image via Elle Decor India on Instagram.
2. What’s the one piece of design that’s imprinted itself in your mind?
There’s a lot of different things I find inspiring, art, architecture, design, literature and nature. My work doesn’t make direct references to any particular place, designer, architect or artist but they become important elements in my creative process. I think some of Le Corbusier’s work is pure genius, with respect to both material and form. I’m also influenced by modern movements like the Bauhaus.
Governer’s Palace, Chandigarh by Le Corbusier. Image via Alexander Gorlin Architects
Bauhaus Chair by Marcel Breuer. Image via Red List.
3. What’s on your reading list?
Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition by Kimberly Elam
History of Modern Design by David Raizman) and Design as Art by Bruno Munari
4. In your capacity as an art collector, could you recommend some young artists to keep an eye on?
Collecting art is not just for the super wealthy, it’s definitely not about how much you spend; its all about what you spend it on. Starting a collection often seems like a daunting activity, where does one begin? It might come as surprise, but the truth is that anyone can collect and buy art intelligently, even without an art expert showing them around. All you need is a love and appreciation of fine art and design and a few simple techniques to help evaluate the work you’re interested in. Stay true to your taste, buy work that you appreciate regardless of what the current rage may be. Learn what you like. Start by looking at a lot of art, follow gallery programs, visit museums and try to attend open studio events where artists talk about their work. There’s a lot of young artists worth looking at Sahej Rahal, Prajakta Potnis, Ayesha Sultana.
Sahej Rahal. Image via KHOJ.
Prajakta Potnis. Image via ArtSlant.
5. Could you let us into your thought process for creating the Arcus for our Sensorium?
Characterised by a vocabulary of clean lines and geometric forms, Arcus appears minimal but is full of subtle details. Created using brass and the perfume bottle itself, it appears almost sculptural- with an added material play, the opaque brass and the translucent liquid perfume. The arch of the stand is a central element in my architectural practice and reappears in my body of work. Drawing inspiration from mid century masters like Le Corbusier and Etorre Sottsass, I feel like the stand exudes an almost vintage meets contemporary feel.
Arcus by Ashiesh Shah.