SPOTLIGHT- Architect Profile-Rooshad Shroff,

February, 2017


Rooshad Shroff, architect, product designer and owner of Rooshad Shroff Architecture + Design Studio, Mumbai.

Popular for designing the Christian Louboutin store in Bangkok, architect and product designer, Rooshad Shroff has garnered interest in the world of design for his curiosity for craftsmanship and experimental style. Shroff received his undergraduate degree in Architecture at Cornell University and a Masters at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, after which he worked with Zaha Hadid Architects in London and OMA/ REX in NYC. After his international stint, he returned to his hometown and started Rooshad Shroff Architecture + Design Studio in Mumbai, which he likes to describe as a multidisciplinary design studio.Speaking to CW Interiors from his factory space as he preps for his next product exhibition, he discusses the importance of craftsmanship and his work. “It’s been five years since I returned to India and I have spent all this time traveling and researching techniques and craftsmanship that is indicative of traditional design practices in India,” says Shroff. Famed for his architectural design work, he is now veering more towards product design. “I have always been drawn to product design and furniture. During my work in India I noticed that there were many craftsmen doing the same type of work over and over again. The repetition makes their work common and they are reduced to mere memorabilia. I wanted to enter this space and revive traditional practices but interpret them in a contemporary setting,” says Shroff. Talking about his exhibition, which is titled 15556, he says, “15556 is the number of man-hours that has gone into making the pieces for this exhibition. There are three aspects to my exhibition

wooden embroidery, layered painting and working with marble. For wooden embroidery, we reinterpreted zardosi thread work onto wood and work in 3mm and 4mm spaces, so the product is very intricate. I have the global patent for this technique. For the layered painting work, we paint surfaces with different colours and then hand-sand them down till you can peel the layers; the result is beautiful as you can see the textures emerge and different colours mix and those contours of colours are stunning. Marbles are being looked at in two ways – one is huge monolithic chunks are being hand carved into side tables and coffee tables. The other is we are using a special technique to hollow out marble chunks and form light bulbs. The light bulbs are reduced to 6mm width so this allows light to pass through,” says Shroff.

While he will be retailing more of his products, he wants to stay clear from the concept of mass production; quality over quantity seems to be way for him. “I have shown people my designs and it has appeared in the media but they were always in the prototype stage. This is the first time I am making enough pieces to retail. But, even then it is very important to me to stay away from the culture of mass production. I want people to experience my pieces and see how craftsmen spend hours to create one product,” elaborates Shroff.

I wanted to enter this space and revive traditional practices but interpret them in a contemporary setting.

His work will be presented by Pundole Art Gallery in Mumbai and it will be shown at the Bikaner House in New Delhi. So, what’s next for the multi-faceted designer? “The collaboration with Atmosphere is something I am looking forward to; they are a sophisticated brand and they saw my work at the ID fair and opened up their factory and working space to me. Textile is not a space I was familiar with so this has been great learning for me as well. They have told me I can create anything I like and so I will not be limiting myself to upholstery. In terms of architecture I am working on the Good Earth store in Jodhpur; I am working on stores for a luxury shoe brand called Private Collection in Abu Dhabi and in Doha. I am also working on some residential properties in Mumbai and a club house for Lodha in Pune,” signs off Shroff.

                                                              – RINI MUKKATH