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The Black Rabbit (Bangalore), Maia Design

Young Blood

We scope out some trending design professionals who are making their mark in the fields of architecture and design.

The field of design seems to be flourishing in India and a young bunch of designers and architects is helping it propel even further. Young and emergent designers bring in a fresh perspective to design. They determine in what direction design and innovation should be headed by taking inspiration from around the world and melding it with traditional, local and original design ideas.

We at The Inside Track have picked out a few of the most original and accomplished young designers, with some studios established as early as the 2010s.

Arjun Rathi, Arjun Rathi Design


Arjun Rathi is the principal designer of the self-styled multidisciplinary design practice, Arjun Rathi Design. Rathi and his firm seem to be at home with the more technical aspects of design. An architect, industrial designer and a photographer, Rathi seems to be juggling differing aspects of his field remarkably well.

Arjun Rathi Design works with both extremes of the design spectrum, creating single pieces with craftsmen on the one end, and collaborating with manufacturers to develop mass-produced objects on the other. For Rathi, “Each project proposes a simple solution that often involves a narrative aspect. The approach to design is hands on, practical and collaborative.”

But who inspires the studio? The reply is revealing and specific: “Works explored by Archi-gram, Super-Studio, Verner Panton and AMO are of great inspiration to us as they always look to better; or engage human imagination towards what more architecture and design can do for the living environment.”

Geodesic Lamp Collection, Arjun Rathi Design
Geodesic Lamp Collection, Arjun Rathi Design

The firm has a string of impressive projects lined up, included air-conditioned clothing which they have been researching for a few years and are finally close to a final initial product.

In a country like India, such clothing is automatically infused with much potential.

In terms of dabbling in new materials, the firm always wants to explore and research about them. Currently, the firm has been extensively looking into ‘cast glass’, a material that has the quality of frozen ice when lit, for the purposes of lighting and furniture design.


Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar, FADD Studio


Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar seem to have chosen the name of their studio in delightful irony. FADD is an acronym for Farah and Dhaval Design, but it also plays on the word ‘fad’, which refers to a passing trend or fashion.

FADD Studio refuses to stagnate into a singular style that becomes its ultimate identity. Having a pet style defeats the purpose of design, according to the duo, who believe that its purpose is to push new boundaries to accomplish something unique in each project.

Founded in 2012 in Bengaluru by the duo who met while working under Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand for the firm, Khosla Associates, FADD Studio strives to create its own fads but not get too comfortable in any one in particular.

Nadhani Residence (Bangalore), FADD Studio
Nadhani Residence (Bangalore), FADD Studio

What inspires them is not restricted to the field of design. It could be anything from an element of nature, a colour combination well-used, a painting, or a brilliant piece of design in any field. As the team explains, “you have to be in the moment and get fired up when you see a spark!” More specifically though, the duo are inspired by the works of Zaha Hadid, Frank Ghery, Tadao Ando, and Sandeep Khosla.



Shruti Jaipuria, Maia Design


Shruti Jaipuria founded Maia Design, an eclectic interior architecture and spatial design studio in early 2011. This young firm is clear about what it wants to do and what it is not. It does not have a particular style, for instance. Proclaiming that they “design experiences,” the firm has a new and innovative design solution for each individual project. For this firm, how a space feels is as significant as how it appears.

Jaipuria at her firm delves into the function of spaces and tries to understand its context. The team “orchestrates” the environment in such a way as to retain its context, functional requirements, the client’s own vision and how the firm believes the space can be utilised and interacted with.

Titan Incubation Lab (Bangalore), Maia Design
Titan Incubation Lab (Bangalore), Maia Design

Observing spaces and the way in which people interact with spaces, its language, its emotive aspect all are a part of Jaipuria’s process, which is something that is central to Maia Design as well.

Speaking for her firm, Jaipuria explains that they “draw inspiration from the world around us, constantly questioning what we see and how it can be applied to the world of contemporary design. Nature, spirituality, mathematics, geometry, materials, people behaviour, colour, all provide us with an endless source of inspiration.”

Maia Design is also keenly interested in the revival of traditional arts and crafts, so also in sustainable design.


Text By Alyssa Lobo & Tasneem S. Pocketwala


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