Spruce Up Your Interiors With Design Studio!

Women in India often face a lot of trouble in their lives mostly due to the mindset of the society, but few of them have defied the odds and have come out shining even brighter.

Nothing pleases us more than to see a woman entrepreneur donning the covers of a magazine – a small sense of pride fills us as women. Today, we are elated to tell the tale of one such lady who had to start from the scratch in a nondescript town and it is truly astonishing as to how far she has come in her quest.
It is said that, humility is the hallmark of a truly successful person, as they remain connected to their roots. Shabnam Alam is a true example of being kind, humble and down to earth in her professional life. She has come across many obstacles and hardships in her journey so far, yet she stands strong in her ground despite having a lot of competitors notwithstanding the prevalent gender bias in the industry. Always in touch with her roots, Shabnam is ever so grateful for the support she has received in life. 

It was lovely catching up with her, thanks to First Idea PR, Atreya Paul and Susmita Kundu. We soon realized how soft spoken and humble she was although her work would suggest otherwise. Over stories, laughter, few cups of Elaichi tea and scrumptious munchies, the tete-a-tete began and we enjoyed every bit of it.

Shabnam Alam, Founder & Head Designer - Design Studio

Hailing from Delhi, Shabnam finished her Interior Designing course from South Delhi Polytechnic College in 1997 and it was her destiny which led her to the City of Joy, as she came here just after her wedding. She recalls that it was after 6 years of coming to the city when she truly wanted to outshine herself and make something of her own. When a woman makes up her mind, even the lord dare stop her. Shabnam started out with what rather seemed like a tedious journey into something that she had long lost touch with – but that did not deter her from trying, in fact it only made her stronger.

She started out in the year 2004 and founded Design Studio at 22E Gorachand Road. Park Circus, Kolkata. As soon as we reached the office, the interiors and the details gave away her subtle taste, as a designer. Quite impressed, we moved on to meet the designer herself who was a little busy with her work files and blue prints all over the place – what better way to meet an artist when they are at their very best?

This little corner in the picture turned out to be our favourite in her office space. As the tea and munchies flowed, so did our conversation. She started out with a manpower of 2, and today she stands strong at 25 out of which they have 8 designers. She leads them from the front, being the head designer herself. She talks about the struggles faced while building this firm – knowledge of computer, getting people on board, training them further, making a name for herself, the initial 5 - 6 years were a little difficult but it started flowing smoothly as more and more people realized her potential. 

We also learnt that she has worked extensively all throughout the country in places like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Vizag, Siliguri, Bhubaneshwar, Port Blair, Gujarat and more, although her most prominent and consistent works are in Calcutta. She is very well-known and respected across the industry with and her works that range from commercial to residential. She also gave us an insight about the market here which was quite educative to say the least. Most of her clientele usually range from upper middle class in residential to commercial clubs, boutique hotels and restaurants and many more. 

Her signature style revolves around tall doors, big windows, wall murals (she isn’t very fond of wall paneling though) and maybe a big painting to highlight the place. She definitely goes with the trend and  mostly likes earthy and pastel tones. With a wonderful eye for detail, she sticks to a minimalist approach.

She also cleared the misconception of a woman surviving in the designing industry, agreeing that it is easier for a woman to take this up because given the residential clients, most of them would be comfortable with a woman ideating and discussing about the house than a man. Most middle class/upper middle class families are comfortable with a woman interior designer and this has played well in her favor and got her more clients. 

She in fact was rather amused when she got more residential projects because she had previously decided to stick to commercial projects, given her patience and choice of work. She currently loves working on residential projects and said that the city has really developed through the years. According to her, people really want to brighten up their home interiors as they realize that they could do something with the space and create something worthwhile out of it. 

DesignStudio is a design firm which takes care of the interiors – in a holistic way to say the least. It is an amalgamation of modernity and comfort, taking care of the space starting from the architectural drawings, to incorporating layouts, electrical and lighting plan, sample boards, joinery design (including kitchen, vanities, wardrobes, and entertainment units) and everything else that her prospective clients could possibly need.

Let's take a peak into her Residential Projects -

Signature style with earthy tones, a Painting & Spacious Area

Earthy tones, Big windows, Airy and Spacious

Muted lights & Earthy tones

Her Commercial Projects are like -

Earthy tones for a balanced look. Basic walls with Painting.

Classic earthy tones, Minimalist decor.

Demographically speaking, 60-70% of the people in Calcutta (middle class/upper middle class) are interested in sprucing up their interiors, which has of course happened through the years and wasn’t the case initially. 

We decided to end this little chat with a very nostalgic question for Shabnam and she gladly talked about her most memorable project – She started working on a boutique hotel in Mirza Ghalib Street called Houses 43 in the year 2005. The project was completed in 2006 and the result left everyone baffled. It was a 28 room boutique hotel that Shabnam had furnished and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. Since then, there has been no turning back for her.

To name a few of her successful projects – The Bengal Rowing Club, Merchant Chamber of Commerce, Shrachi Group, Western Carriers, Altius, Walsons Securitas and more.
What we absolutely love is the fact that despite her flourishing career, she is just as simple and homely at heart. With no false pride or ego, she has set an example for all of us to follow. We sure wish her all the love and success in the future.

For more details, get in touch with them here : www.designstudio.firm.in


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