Brains behind the beautiful spaces: Gita Ramanan and Shezaan Bhojani, Architects & Interior Designers, Founders, Design Café

They’re a strong force behind truly unique, exquisite living spaces working hard to make your world a better place to live in. RITZ MAGAZINE speaks to some of Bengaluru’s top-notch architects and interior designers who are doing their bit, to not just beautify and enhance the wondrous world around you, but to help you sit back and relax.

BY NAMITA GUPTA

Student life: Gita: I completed my Bachelor of Architecture from BMS School of Architecture, Bengaluru. Due to a unique set of circumstances, a classmate of mine and yours truly quit our jobs and started a firm within a year of graduating from college. We did a variety of projects and gained a lot of experience. This though was a boutique Architectural & Interior design firm. After more than 5 years of practice, we realised we did not have complete domain knowledge/ skill-sets to expand as a full-fledged business. As we wanted to make this transition, I enrolled and won a scholarship from ISB, Hyderabad in Entrepreneurial Management.

Shezaan: Bachelor of Architecture from BMS School of Architecture, Bengaluru.

Design highpoints: For two young upstarts who won a limited design competition for an 800-apartment complex project inside of a year of graduating from college, we have come a long way. We have designed over 500 projects across the country in genres as diverse as Residential, Hospitality, Retail, Commercial and Institutions. As designers we have worn many hats-Redesigning the entire brand story for Au Bon Pain across the country, including an iconic HQ for them in Kolkata on Park Street, designing Gold’s Gym outlets across the country, bagging and designing a 60-room hotel in Chennai, a 100-room hotel in Mysore, a 150 room hotel in Bengaluru, and others in Coimbatore and Mangalore, Creating and executing the first brand design ideas for companies as diverse as Gilly’s, Kilol, The Studio Bar, Green Carpet, Divas & Dudes, Scissors Enrich salon and spa, The White Salon, Legends Hotel, etc, Designing over 350 homes for people in different occupations and pursuits, Designed startup offices and spaces for over 50 companies that have gone onto bigger stories such as Solutions Infini, Golden Square, Vidya Niketan school, Canadian International School, Aspire Builders, Sujay Advertising, Sumo Builders, Gajria Investments, etc. We started Design Cafe with a mission to Democratise design ~ truly give access to fantastic million-dollar home design ideas to people on a budget.

Awards and recognitions: Gita: I was selected and given a scholarship by Goldman-Sachs for their worldwide 10,000-women programme. I’m also a part of IIID: Bangalore chapter and was part of the team instrumental in organizing Bangalore’s first Designuru 2016.  We were awarded the IIID (Institute of Indian Interior Designers) – special mention for Design in the Hospitality sector in South India. We won the Most Innovative Startup of the Year award from Entrepreneur India of 2017.

Signature style: We were always clear from our early days that Design Cafe’s signature style: was that we would not have a Signature Style. We have been and are always focussed on giving people what they want, and what they truly need. We have designed homes in styles as diverse as European Classical, Indian traditional, Classical, Eclectic, Industrial Chic, Minimalistic, Modern International, Scandinavian, Rustic, Shabby Chic, Bohemian, Kitsch, etc.

Current trends: The Home Interiors industry in India is seeing a predominance preference of the Modern International style. Clean lines, geometric profiles, muted colour palettes and few statement pieces are the flavour of the season. With exposure to international trends increasing, we are able to include sub-styles that are in trend as part of the design solution based on the client’s individual style: European Classical, Indian traditional (which is seeing a revival), Eclectic, Industrial Chic, Minimalistic, Scandinavian, Rustic, Shabby Chic, Bohemian, Kitsch, etc.