I love it when readers share with me what they think I will love and what other readers might love. With so much love in the first sentence of the post itself, you must have gotten an idea of how happy I was when Elise, a long time reader, shared Shivani Dogra's work with me. As I browsed through her portfolio, I marveled at the range of her design aesthetics and the brilliant styling. Her creative use of textiles and colors seem to bring new life to spaces, as is also very evident by some of the before afters showcased on her website.
Shivani and I connected, and she shared her portfolio of work and her story with me. Over to Shivani now, as she takes us through her journey so far, in the world of beautiful interiors...
I left my first job in the film industry in Mumbai to take a break and stay with family in Delhi hoping to return shortly. That never happened and I soon found myself in a new job in Delhi, and in a small 1 room set with, a large, shady Jamun tree just beyond the window by my bed and masses of vibrant bougainvillea - something I could work with; even it wasn’t in the best shape inside. I worked on these rooms in fits and starts. I’d pick up artifacts from old markets around the country on my travels for work, reuse old bedspreads to upholster chairs, paint the walls and doors in colors I loved, till it became a space that I loved coming back to in the evening after work. It wasn’t till one dull afternoon at work, however, when I decided to start a blog about my room and how you could live quite well on a relatively small budget that a new, unexpected career started to take shape. That amateur blog opened new doors for me and I find myself deeply involved in a career I love..
My biggest influences and inspiration is color, color, color. Present in abundance throughout this country, the creative use of color is a constant source of inspiration for me. The varied shades of a street vendor's saree, a two-tone book jacket in a store window, bright graffiti on a crumbling wall, intricate weaves dipped in natural dyes--the sight of vivid colours uplifts and excites me, even when I'm stuck in traffic.
I find it thrilling to encounter beauty in today's built environment, amidst concrete monotony. Despite the mad rush to grow and develop in India, beauty in our lives and surroundings persists and that encourages me. I see examples of this constantly-- in a charming and quaint old home, with a sprawling veranda, amid Mumbai's high rises, in a uniquely preserved and a colorful old house amid Amritsar’s bustle.
Old homes and gardens have long been a passion. This goes back to my upbringing on the tea plantations of the South. The simple, elegant bungalows surrounded by flowering gardens and orchards, were my first lesson in style. It was a lifestyle that reflected warmth, simplicity, and a closeness to nature. I work to create those qualities in every project I take on.
Whenever I begin a new project, it’s important for me to wander a bit at first, exploring the space’s environs, learning about those who will reside or work in it—their stories, its story. Much like a good novel, the space becomes a world that I inhabit for the length of a project and miss when it’s over. I immerse myself in the design traditions and crafts of the area and source materials locally whenever possible. I also work closely with the client to understand his or her vision and interests. A space should reflect both the personality of its inhabitants and the context in which it exists. I strive to bring these together in my designs. I especially love creatively matching and harmonizing the colors of a space’s interiors with the shades of its natural surroundings.
Shivani: Thank you for sharing your work and inspiration with us! Hope we get to see many more of your creative projects on An Indian Summer in the future!
[All images copyright: Shivani Dogra and An Indian Summer]