Design is India’s leading interior design agency established in 2014. It is developed and directed by Dhvani Bhatiya and Rhea Jacob Eapen. The co-founders and partners, au fait with contemporary tastes and techniques, reinvent almost all kinds of spaces- residential and commercial estates, holiday homes, show flats, retail stores and showrooms. Contemporary by style and minimalist in statement, Design Attic, suggestively, is an attic of resplendent designs, details and dimensions that transforms houses into homes and commercial spaces into safe havens. In an exclusive interview, they tell us…
How do you get your best ideas?
Dhvani: Inspiration lies everywhere for me. I create mood boards of colors, textures and sketches and amalgamate them all together to create a design.
Rhea: Keeping our creativity alive is so important, I often seek inspiration from experiences, photography, artistic designs, architecture, vintage pieces and people around us.
What’s something they don’t teach you in university that you should probably know?
Dhvani: The reality of all the challenges faced in our day-to-day life is what we don’t learn in college.
As Designers we face a new challenge everyday which pushes us to brain storm and come up with innovative solutions immediately.
The tact of dealing with clients, follow ups with all the contractors & vendors is surely something no one can learn in college.
Rhea: To be the best version of yourself!
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
Dhvani: The first thing I do as soon as I wake up is say my affirmations, a prayer and have my cup of americano.
Rhea: I Make my bed & sip on chai
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
Dhvani: I hope to see all small businesses flourish and have a name for themselves.
Rhea: I hope they get their due recognition for the amazing work and also a chance to design and execute big projects.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of Design Attic?
Dhvani: Our biggest stroke of luck was being recognized for the work we do by word of mouth. It definitely got us a lot of more projects.
Rhea: Working out of our own design studio.
What do you typically read? / Favorite book?
Dhvani: Personally, I dislike reading and can barely even get myself to read news articles, but one book which I really enjoy is: The power of the subconscious mind.
Rhea: The Notebook and becoming Michelle Obama
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
Dhvani: The best boss I worked with was Mr. Pinakin Patel, he taught me how to design freely without initially focusing on the execution. Each design must have a unique feature with every detail incorporated in it.
Rhea: I never had a boss, but follow your heart and don’t limit yourself. Hard work, determination, perseverance and having the right attitude always. Definitely gratitude changes everything!
What question do you ask at interviews?
Dhvani: Apart from asking all the usual questions like work experiences, software skills, etc. We always ask the designers about why they are interested in joining our team, what inspires them to be a designer, what are their career goals and what is their most preferred design style.
Rhea: Definitely would want to understand their design style and more about their strengths, what sparked their interest to work with us, What do they find most challenging in interior design, Portfolio review and technical expertise etc, Do they prefer functionality or aesthetics?
One thing you learned about yourself?
Dhvani: I learned that I’m a go-getter, If I put my mind to something I can figure a way of getting it done.
Rhea: I am stronger than I think. Super proud of what I have achieved and the risks I have taken so far!
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
Dhvani: We always encourage them to design freely without keeping any limitations in mind. We guide them whenever required but also give them a free hand to explore all design options and I tell them the firm is yours as much as mine. The environment in our office is very friendly and we always appreciate our team for their hard work and dedication.
Rhea: I Make it a point to communicate. Make them feel valued and listen to everyone’s perspective. Create a culture of positivity and collaboration where they feel they can do their best. Having one-on-one conversations is key.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
Dhvani: When you love what you do it doesn’t feel strenuous or like you are actually working but time management does help me balance my personal and professional life. When required I do work on Sundays and bank holidays and at the same time, I ensure that I haven’t compromised my family time.
Rhea: I unplug. I definitely believe in “ME ” Time. Also, fortunate to have great support system around. Planning ahead helps.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?
Dhvani: My grandfather always taught me to see the positive in every situation be it good or bad, I have imbibed that and try as much as I can to remain positive.
Rhea: Watching my father go to work irrespective of the situation and making it a point to visit the sites daily.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Dhvani: Just go for it, follow your instinct and don’t let anything or anyone demoralize you.
Rhea: Never stop evolving!