A Master of Fine Spaces - Raseel Gujral

Can opulence also be an idiom for understated artistry? Can modern maximalist co exist with vintage designs? Can palaces of today reflect the regal richness of the past, with all the modern day amenities intact? In the world of Raseel Gujral Ansal the answer to all these questions are a big yes.

One of India’s much-acclaimed architect and interior designer, Raseel is behind many a VIP homes, both in India and abroad. Born to the arts, the prodigal daughter of the much loved modern master Satish Gujral, she believes in creating artful interiors where creative outpourings go beyond the canvas and reflect in every element that makes a home beautiful.

Brought up in Lutyen’s Delhi where every corner is a stark reminder of the colonial era, Raseel, also an avid art historian, bases her design on various architectural schools that influenced palace architecture. The richness of the Renaissance era, the cadence of art deco, the warmth of neo classical and the chutzpah of India vibrant all come together in her homes.

A true exemplification of the Renaissance ethos, and the guru-shishya tradition, Raseel was schooled in her creative career within the architectural firm led by her father Satish Gujral and brother Mohit Gujral. As in the renaissance, she has disregarded all compartmentalisation between creative fields.

A burning and restless quest to explore every medium of creative application has led Raseel from interior-architecture to adding in furniture and product design, and organically evolving into an architect searing through graphic illustrations for home and fashion.

Spaces deigned by her are richness personified, largesse of design getting its gravitas from tiny, intense detailing. To the 50 feet high roofs and 12 feet long doors that are integral to her spaces, she adds ornamental elements of jeweled furniture, precious stone surfaces, lacquered finishes, art infused vibrant wall papers, luxurious furs and feathers as well as a series of objet d’arts that she herself curates from European luxury ateliers each year. She smiles as she shares that, “Balance is the key to good design. Good homes should not adhere to a straightjacketed single design ethos. Instead they should be a confluence of varying schools of design that are brought together in a harmonious manner.”

With ornate touches, and artistic regal being the corner stone of her design sensibility, she finds instant affinity to Hyderabad, the city dotted with many an opulent homes. Having already handed over an ambitious project to one of the city’s VIP citizen, she ties up with Jannath, an established brand based in the south to represent her in the region.

To Hyderabad she brings not just her expertise in creating a complete home, but she also hopes to collaborate with the city’s established architects to add her fine soft furnishings and incredible accents to an existing space. An arm of the business that is led by Casa Paradox, the India Luxe design brand that she brought alive along with Navin Ansal, the co founder and directorof the brand. Navin, a sharp marketing mind and belonging to aristocratic Punjab adds his design direction to this creative enterprise.

Raseel has never succumbed to the slavery of monochrome or the beige to brown understatement that many modernist gush over.  Instead, she fills her spaces with art and artful wall paper that has larger than life imagery of Indian flora and fauna, dilapidated forts filled with langoors, oriental lattice work. Generous use of Indo–Sarcenic influences of the arch, the lattice design, the mandala motif and dull gold polish is yet another of Raseel’s signature style. “I love the landscape of Hyderabad’s affluent addresses…the homes of Banjara Hills and Jubilee hills with their largesse of design, their unabashed opulence. To me it feels like getting lost in a candy store. I hope to see many of my designs adding to this rich terrain.”