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Arunima Maharshi

IWB Blogger

Interior Designer Shabnam Gupta Gives Us A Window-Peep Into B-Wood Celebrity Homes

  • IWB Post
  •  July 8, 2019

“An interior is a natural projection of the soul.” Fashion Designer Coco Chanel’s design philosophy perfectly describes Celebrity Interior Designer Shabnam Gupta’s take on Interiors!

You’ve heard about her in regard to the much-talked residence of Irrfan Khan, and recently in the news circling around Kangana Ranaut’s Vacation Home in Manali. Mumbai-based designer, she is known for her eccentric play with colours. And one needs to see the way she blends tradition with modernity in her exquisite projects!

“It is about allowing your style and taste to guide you. I am deeply rooted in traditions, but I am a hippy at heart and love playing with colours. So the modernity just pops in,” Shabnam on her Traditional-Pop-Art MO!

Hop along as we get a closer view of her studio, The Orange Lane, and of the celebrity homes she’s made into works of art:

Shabnam Gupta

How did your rebel-child attitude shape your personal and professional life?

I come from a traditional Punjabi family, where small glitches like wearing shorts and playing with boys were enough to earn you the rebel child label. But regardless, my parents have played a very important role in shaping our lives. My dad was the one with a vision and thanks to him, my sister and I got acquainted with museums, art galleries and theaters at quite a young age. And my mum was the one who kept things tied up. And together they gave us a rock solid base. From them, I learned the importance of keeping belief in your child.

Did your childhood room reflect your creative madness?

Ha-ha. Not at all. My father had got my room designed in the shades of pink, he believed that it would have a good impact on me because he was always apprehensive that I wouldn’t turn out the lady he thought I should be. But one summer night, my sister, who is a fine arts student from Sir JJ College of Architecture, painted it all grey. And my dad was shocked at the sight of the street-art version of my room next morning, she laughed while remembering.

Haha okay. So do you now have a ‘me corner’ at home?

I live with three boys in my house, my two sons, and husband. “Because husbands never really grow up!”.  Oh and, technically five boys, two of my dogs, too! So you can imagine that I dare not think of having a corner restricted to myself.

My design studio actually is the place where you I find my creative zone!

Shabnam Gupta

Oh wow! Could I get a quick look around?

It’s a fun relaxed place, nothing like a typical office. Anyone who walks in will be like, hey that’s a cool workspace! Few nooks and corners of it are home to quirky installations that sometimes don’t end up at a client’s house or office. Overall a relaxing happy place, I’d say!

Tell me more about your house interiors; does it thread together everyone’s individuality?

My house if full of elements that speak of one or the other family member. Like I’ve got a particular arena floored in stone, so the kids can skateboard and play football. In the living room, we have these American size comfy sofas and a center table that has a huge drawer with a glass top that showcases shells and other souvenirs that we pick on holidays. And my son does pottery, so one shelf is all about that. I believe that it’s not just about having expensive things, but ones that reflect emotions, too.


Shabnam Gupta

What aroma does your client-designer creative brewing give out?

I’ve been very fortunate with my clientele, and The Orange Lane attracts only a certain kind. The people who approach us are well acquainted with our style and primarily come for their creative space’ designing. But it’s important to get an understanding of the client’s mindset and inclinations because the space has to speak of them and should be borne out of their style. Their preference of colours, natural light shelters, the minuscule elements as such play a significant role in creating the ambiance.

You’ve designed homes for many Bollywood actors! Would you share the unrevealed interior notes that speak about the personalities of the following few?

Parineeti Chopra Her den! It is full of colour, and is fun and funky. It also sports a huge monopoly themed center table. And a niche with pages from her favourite childhood books and comics painted on its wall!

Irrfan Khan The center space that partially comprises of a water body! And also his room! He likes the sound of water, and focuses on the finer details; anything minutely wrong also bothers him.

Shabnam Gupta

Rani Mukherjee – Rani knows her mind clearly, and her house is a lovely image of that! A work-in-progress, so you’ll know soon.

Kangana Ranaut – She is a very free spirited person, and extremely secure. She has given us a free hand, in fact, has come on site only once, which speaks of her trust in us.

Speaking of Vacation Home, what would be the three points that you’d suggest our readers not to miss on?

I always tell people, please design your vacation home/office/home keeping yourself in mind! It should meet and reflect your family’s requirements and personalities, and doesn’t have to be about what is in trend. Or what will be liked and complimented by the visitors! There exists this perception of “ideal home,” but important is what is ideal for you.

Secondly, please don’t be afraid to play with colours. And if you do love having colours around, I’d say please give them good space in your interiors.

And lastly, don’t stick to the idea that only branded stuff looks good. Go to chor-bazaars and flea markets; they serve you with some real eclectic items. And the real fun is in making them compliment the other exquisite pieces.

Shabnam Gupta

I love flea markets! Do you also visit them as frequently? And do designers really possess a special lens that recognizes treasures?

Oh yes, I’m a real hippy at heart, and pick a lot of stuff from the flea markets and other pop-ups. But it isn’t something that needs to be advised upon, because it isn’t about ‘what you should pick’. Just go for ‘what sings and speaks to you’. Picking interior accessories shouldn’t be a job, so not something that calls for an expert eye or too much thought!

You recently launched your retail chain, Peacock Life. Will it be adding colours to the online market also?

Yes, we launched it last year, and it’s been received very well. Peacock life is basically meant to cater the smaller segment that Orange Lane can’t entertain, and am glad that it has found a good audience. So we’re not planning to open the online market anytime soon, but may plan out in the future.

Shabnam Gupta

I quickly asked her if she could help direct us to few of her preferred online design stores, but Shabnam prefers flea markets and hopping around in stores than scrolling through the virtual avenues. We get the emotion, Shabnam!

How do you blend pop art with traditions to create that perfect “Traditional Pop Art” touch? Few things to save from crossing that thin line between tasteful and kitch-y?

It isn’t something that you have to or should try hard for. It is about you allowing your style and taste to guide you. I enjoy and find inclination towards the Indian accents just as much as I like pop art. I am as deeply rooted in traditions as I love playing with colours. So the modernity just pops in.

 Bollywood often highlights on-set interiors, a film that the designer-you really likes?

All of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films! I look forward to his films for the sets.

Shabnam Gupta

Designers whose work you’d compliment?        

There are many. Architects like Geoffrey Bawa and Antonio Gaudi; the work that they’ve left in the World, is just phenomenal. Among the Indian contemporaries, I really appreciate Rajeev Saini and Bijoy Jain’s work.

A project that you really enjoyed working on in recent?

The Bar Stock Exchange, at Kamala Mills, Mumbai. It was one of those projects where the client left everything on us because of their trust in the Orange Lane. And that really adds to the experience!

Shabnam Gupta

Homes, offices, restaurants – your preferred site to work on?

Hospitality sector projects!

Is there a rule that you observe every day to keep away from creative burnout?

I try and maintain a balance between my personal and professional life, which proves helpful in preventing the chances of burnout. I strictly remain off-work on Sundays, and on weekdays, my clients know that I am not available before 10 in the morning and after 7 in the evening. So I am at work when I am at office, and when at home, I am just with and there for my family!

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