Working to design the interiors of a constructed space can be a challenging and satisfying profession, says Reena Jhaveri
Since the time of cavemen, humans have had homes and wanted to decorate their homes according to their tastes and likes. Over the years, it became a need to understand the needs of space versus beauty, finding the balance, and also, finding the right materials to create that exact look that one is looking for. And that’s where a designer steps in. A designer who in concerned with built spaces and how to get the optimum use of the space along with making it visually appealing as well as affordable.
It seems that interior design has been a popular profession for many decades now, and will continue to do so. With high rises overtaking the Mumbai skyline, there is much scope for these professionals to put their creative juices and practical training to good use. The trends show that even though most design professions are concentrated in the urban regions, interior design is spread across the country. That is because even in the interior regions, people have begun to understand the value of pleasantly designed spaces.
With passing time, people have realised the value to professional services in this area, not to mention that they want comfort at every step of the way whether we talk of the home or work environment. Indians are now also developing a taste for the good life, and they want this to reflect in every aspect of their lives, including the spaces they inhabit.
There was a time when space was viewed as a merely functional, especially in cities like Mumbai where real estate costs have touched the sky. Spaces are now being viewed in an aesthetic manner, no matter what the size. Between the construction of new homes and buildings, new office and display spaces and renovation of old spaces, interior designers will have their hands full with new demands every day!
To get there
Whether you think you have the aptitude or not, the professional education in this field can start only after completing class 12 (HSC or equivalent). Experts believe that those interested in design professions should have the ability to introspect and understand their aptitude, since this is a profession where talent is needed, and talent cannot be imparted. A person can learn skills, but cannot acquire talent beyond a certain point.
Several institutes offer higher education programmes in the field and these offer a blend of theoretical and practical training. There are diploma and degree programmes to choose from. An aspirant is advised to check all the aspects of a programme, including the duration and fee structure, before settling in on one.
Most institutes hold entrance exams for these programmes (depending on your prior qualification) and test your drawing and design abilities. Some of these institutes may also conduct personal interviews before finalising the admissions. This way, they are able to judge your readiness and skill level to pursue the programme.
Apart from those pursuing professional courses, many graduates of architecture as well as commercial and applied arts gain entry into this profession by way of their talent and experience.
Institutes in Mumbai
- Rachana Sansad’s School of Interior Design, Prabhadevi
- Premlila Vithaldas Polytechnic, SDNT Women’s University, Juhu
- B. K. Somani Polytechnic, Sophia College, Pedder Road
- Sir J.J. School of Arts, Fort
- Raffles Design International, Santacruz
- ITM – Institute of Fashion, Design and Technology
- Pearl Academy, Andheri
- L. S. Raheja School of Architecture, Bandra
- International School of Design (INSD), Mulund
- Garware Institute of Career Education and Development, University of Mumbai, Kalina
- International Institute of Interior and Fashion Technology, Navi Mumbai
- St. Francis Institute of Art & Design, Borivali
Market and remuneration
The market is booming and how. Several budding designers have had the opportunity to branch out on their own after a few years of gaining experience with a large firm. Opportunities exist in large design firms, with personal visits to homes of existing and would be clients. There are opportunities in public and private sector companies, including architectural firms, building contractors, hotels, resorts and individual clients.
A newcomer can begin with any such organisation understanding the basic nature of the work as well as what each type of space entails. Once can also understand which work is best suited, after a short stint at a company. With work experience, there come specialisations through work itself – business projects, residential design, outer spaces and even landscape design. Students in this field need to understand the importance of keeping up with the latest trends, and perhaps even being able to predict the future trends. After your work speaks for you, word of mouth will serve as the best way to get new clients and do more fruitful work with each passing day.
Designers also need to understand that the client is after all at the centre of the activity, so working in tandem with the client is essential, even when ideas and opinions clash. If you deliver well with one client with few hassles, you are likely to score more clients. You also need to showcase your creativity and whip out something fresh at each instance, because even if for you this is an everyday activity, for the client, the idea of doing up a home does not present itself often.
New graduates join as trainees or junior designers, and the remuneration varies from Rs. 15,000 per month to Rs. 25,000 per month. This number can rise rapidly with experience.
A student says
Anmol Surve / Pursuing his course
Even though you might feel that there are many job openings in this field with the kind of construction activities going on, you need to realise that every year, there are many students who are graduating from their courses and are entering the market. As our professor says, you must always think of distinguishing yourself from the others by developing yourself. Once you think about what you are good at and how that can complement the field you are in, you will be able to work towards developing a niche for yourself.
For that it is imperative that you use your time to get some work experience by way of an internship. You will be able to observe the ongoing work on different projects and learn how the world works in terms of demand, supply, sourcing items, purchasing decisions and so on. More importantly, you will also acquire some hands on training in communicating with the workers on site, and how to tackle their everyday issues. You will realise the importance of the client, and how he views the professional whose services he has hired. For the client, you as a designer will be no different from a senior designer and
he is not going to cut you any slack just because you are new. So you better learn how to pull up your socks.
An aspirant asks
Himanshi Mehta, FYJC student
I want to get into this field, since my sister is an interior designer and I really like the work she does and the work culture in her office. I am afraid that I do not know how to check by ability and skill for this field, and want to make sure I am doing the right thing by choosing this field. How do I ensure this?
Our professionals answers: I’m quite certain that no one will tell you this, but look at your drawing and visual ability. Your drawing capabilities will tell you a lot about your talent in design. This profession cannot depend only on what you visualise, you also need to put in on paper, and that is where your ability to scale down things, arrange things spatially will be reflected. I am sorry to say that if your drawing skills are really poor, you should rethink. Another way is to take an aptitude test. Several professional institutes conduct aptitude tests where the score can reveal your capability.
Apart from that, personally for you I will suggest that you shadow your sister (or even one of her seniors) for a few days to see how they function and what kind of design decisions they make every day. You should also question her about how she arrived at certain decisions and designs, and perhaps ask her to set you some task (may be a hypothetical situation) to judge how you would provide the design solutions to the problems posed by her.