Design Story - Sona Chatwani

Principal Designer and the creative force behind her firm SC Design Studio, Sona Chatwani is been into architectural interior design consultancy of Residential and Commercial Interiors from the year 2000. A spiritual person at heart and workaholic by profession, she’s an entrepreneur who’s creative. In conversation with her, we spoke to this award winning interior designer to know more about her work.

You’ve been designing spaces for a while. How have your  sensibilities changed over the years?
I believe that design is a visual projection of the designer’s craft and a reflection of the client’s soul. With every design project that we execute, our persona evolves. When I look back at how my designing style has evolved, from a newbie in the field to today, one thing that does stand out is that I have developed my signature style that has been in synch with the global trends, while at the same time being culturally resonant. We are all emotional beings who live inside our heads most of the time. Then, it becomes all the more important that there is an emotional connection with our exterior world and our interior design needs to reflect, harmonise and balance this aspect. Over and above providing functional solutions, my endeavour has always been to factor in elegant, sustainable, economical and holistic design elements that will weather the test of time.

Do you have any rules you work/design by?
As a designer, there is a unique perspective and work style that one brings to the table. For me, it is working with the five elements of nature in tandem with responsible design solutions. Vastu plays a key role in our observation and approach to a design problem.  Some people may choose to call it a fad but compliance to ancient design philosophies like Vaastu has become an important element today and it is important to recognise that. I feel I should be able to balance the needs of making functional designs that are both practical and intuitive, aesthetically appealing and inspiring. Form follows function is a safe tagline that every designer and architect adheres to. That being said, there is no logical way to design a space until you determine what the primary function of that space will be. As a professional, you bear the responsibility of sensing aspirations for that space. You add value by inputs that are aesthetically appealing, but expression of beauty and elegance should come from the pursuit of functionality, rather than simply using decoration or styling. At SC Design Studio, we believe that God is in details and it is important to do in depth research, to get the right understanding of the project.

What is your biggest design pet peeve?
I get put off by pretentious or over the top decorative interiors. I always advise clients not to go in for the over-dramatic or for too fancy materials. Another thing that is a big no no, is not being sensitive to the design context. As I often say, at my design studio, our focus is designing interiors, for and by the real people. We are more about problem solving and providing solutions that are sustainable and elegant, providing an experiential space that elevates their engagement with the designed space.Personally and as a professional, I like to hear what the client wants and design around the brief, keeping their choices, their lifestyles, their needs as sacrosanct in my design thinking and design solving.

What other interests do you have?
I like to travel and experience new cultures. This is something that’s very close to my heart. Traveling into the interiors of India for procuring for a boutique that I’m a partner in, gives me such a rush. I am lucky to be able to see a facet of our beautiful country, it’s varied culture and to see the ethos of the people etched in their fabrics and craft lore. The lockdown has taken me back to the basics and I am thoroughly enjoying a spell of gardening and listening to ghazals. I finished the entire Mahabharata series that goes to prove that my spiritual side is good and alive! I did a lot of cooking with all the free time on my hands and that was so enjoyable.

How are you planning to celebrate this Diwali?
Diwali has always been special to me and my family. The next day after Diwali is the Gujarati new year that is always spent with family and friends. But this year, it is going to be a quiet celebration as my family cannot travel to be here with me. The catastrophic rains have dampened the mood for all and so I’m going to be sensitive about this. I plan to do a havan-yagna, both at my office and home.  I will probably have a small celebration in the office to cheer everyone up and a virtual online celebration with my family and dear ones. Of course, Diwali will be celebrated with flowers, decorative elements, Mithai, Pooja, gifts and greetings but it will be a low key event.                     -- as told to Anahita