The grandiloquence of Essajees is servicing acclaimed clients including Taj Hotels, Reliance Group, Birla Family, GVK Family and Gautam Singhania amongst others. In the class of Mumbais ace Designers, Essajees deal in Antiques, Art, Bespoke Flooring, High End Furniture and collectibles.
Essajees Atelier is an offshoot of Essajees found in 2014 by Sarah Sham. Being part of a family that has been in the interior decoration business for over a century, did Sarah always dream of being an interior designer?
“Not in the least”, smiles Sarah. Sarah always wanted to fly with her own wings. She had a shot at Psychology, she studied finance at Stern University in New York and went on to work as a News Anchor for Bloomberg. She got wised up to the career path of interior designing during her 5-year stint at Essajees, where she not only stockpiled experience in furniture manufacturing and production but also developed a keen interest and love for designing.
Here is our heart-to-heart conversation with the Charismatic and humble Designer
Who has been your greatest inspiration in the Design Industry?
My inspiration has not been any Designer in particular but I admire a lot of Businesswomen. One of them is the founder of Saffronart – where I interned in 2005 at the initial stage of my career. I extol Minal Vazirani for her aesthetic vision and revolutionizing the way Indians view art. And about her designs, she take her design inspiration from almost everywhere and from everything that catches her attention.
Of the numerous projects that Essajees Atelier has worked on which one do you treasure?
I must admit it is my parents’ home that I went on to design premarriage. Being a family project, executing this one had its own set of challenges, becasue I wanted to decorate the house with the modern interior desing. But the end result was totally worth it. It is not just the design or the love that went into conceptualizing the design, but the fact that I can take joy in my own creation time and again which doesn’t usually happen, as once a client’s work is complete we never get to visit it again. I frequent my parent’s place and truly relish the experience of home decor.
What are the key things you consider at the outset of your design process?
The primary aspect for me is the context of the space being designed. Location of the area, the direction of sunlight, and the entire design sphere in consideration. By and by it is the brief of the client. It is their space, so their style and choice ought to reflect in their space. Amidst the context and client brief, is where our design ideas spring.
What is your individual style when it comes to interiors?
My style is contemporary. I like the blend of traditional and modern design. I love colors and design! Well-nigh everyone feels that colors start to get monotonous with time but that is not true at my end. Colors boost the energy of a room and bring in great vibes. In fact, I have the impression that too much white in a room makes it dull and boring. And most certainly I would prefer a vibrant room to a blank dull space.
I’m a crazy Biophilic fan. I love surrounding myself with greenery and you will find my little abode filled with plenty of plants in every nook and corner.
What projects is your team working on currently and what is your future vision for Essajees Atelier?
The team is working on multiple projects at present. We have 3 projects in Goa, 4 High end residences in Kolkata, a 3-storey residence at Hyderabad and other commercial and residential spaces are also in the pipeline.
When it comes to the future vision for my firm, I am not too big a dreamer. My aim is not to expand extensively but to focus on super-specialized projects. Great design element and projects that are beyond imagination is my vision de facto.
5 years ago, my goal was to build a team of 10. It is the 6th year and I have achieved my goal. If you ask me 5 years down the line then I aspire to increase my strength twofold. I would like to limit my expansion to that and focus on my design in its entirety.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
While I have help at home to manage my kid, I give no credence to micromanagement. Neither at home nor at the office. I place confidence in my team and strongly believe that each member knows his responsibilities. The accomplishment of assigned tasks is all that matters at Essajees Atelier. Apart from that, I end my workday at 7 (which includes not attending work calls) and I also make sure my weekends are work free.
What advice would you like to give to AHL readers?
The best advice I would say is No Advice. It is your space and it should reflect your own style! Glam up your space with things and colors you truly love. Like they say, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. What is unattractive for you might be appealing to me and vice versa. So simply decorate by your choices.
Had it not been for interior designing, you would find Sarah Sham cooking some delicious meals as she loves the role of a chef. I find the art of baking and icing the cakes extremely satiating she expresses. An ardent fan of MasterChef, this foodie is on the hunt for the best restaurants in every place of her travel.