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Creative Voyage with Path-Breaking Expressions

LipikaOne of India’s leading interior designers, Ms. Lipika Sud, Founder Director, Lipika Sud Interiors Private Limited and Dimension Designers Private Limited, has been practicing interior design since 1989. She currently serves as president of the Guild of Designers & Artists and immediate past chairperson of the Institute of Indian Interior Designers-DRC. She is also an All India governing body member of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Co-Chairperson of the infrastructure committee of the Indo American Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she runs Art n Aura – an art services company.
Winner of several prestigious awards, Ms. Sud specializes in interior design and project management of corporate offices, hotels, restaurants, resorts, retail, residences and multi-location showroom interiors. She has designed several significant projects in India and abroad that includes the Havells Corporate office, Ericsson, Hindustan Times-Study Mate, Sharda University, Shivaji Stadium Metro Station, New Delhi Railway Metro Station, Hyundai Motors and Daikin, Escotel as some of her noted projects. She has also done several hotels including Savoy Suites-Ascot hotels at Manesar, Lalit Great Eastern Hotel, Zuari Resorts and Majestic Hotels Limited.
Her Company, Lipika Sud Interiors Private Limited, has been in the field of interior design, architecture, consultancy and turnkey interior solutions for the past twenty-two years, and has carried out over 500 commercial/residential projects. Lipika Sud Interiors claims that it can provide its clients with a complete and comprehensive solution to their interior and exterior needs.
Stone and Tile in India recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Sud about her approach to interior Design and decoration and the progress her Companies have made in the recent past.

A Plethora of Projects

Ms. Sud has done many projects in her career, and all of them have received her undivided attention.

“I have done a plethora of projects in my twenty-five years of practice – ranging from corporate offices and hotels to private residences. And I have done each one of them with great passion, skill, creativity and undivided attention as an interior designer. An artistic creation is the artist’s preface, thus carrying out these projects has brought the best out of me. It was a challenge in my career to understand the client’s requirement and creating a space based on this understanding,” said Ms. Sud.

She added, “As a designer I have to ensure that the client identifies with the space I have created for him or her using my creativity. My clients should feel that the space was created by them with my assistance. For example, if it is a residential project, my main objective is that the client ultimately gets the feeling of belonging and homely connectivity from the house. When it comes to designing a corporate building or office, understanding the corporate culture, the company’s profile and aims of the company becomes really crucial because it enables me to bring the intentions of the company in the impressions to its customers and to the market.”

Thus, the prime drive for Ms. Sud is to create a space that is workable or functional and that reinforces the success story of the business.

“I consider myself successful only when my creativity has ceased my customer to give me a call regarding maintenance or quality. For instance, five years ago, Hindustan Times started Studymate learning centers for students all over the country for which designed a retail identity manual. It is a docket that a franchisee taking a Studymate centre has to follow so that there is complete synergy in terms of wall colors, the fabric on the chairs, the look and feel of the classrooms, the standardization and so on. They have approached me again, as there is a new business line in which they are setting up Studymate centers all over the country. And they want me to do pretty much the same exercise again – create a retail identity manual and spruce up and customize the centers. Needless to say, Hindustan Times is a big organization, and what makes me feel good about it all is that I have been able to establish and maintain a good relationship with this big organization. Relationship building is not about doing the business of designing but being able to understand the business of what the client really wants to do and achieve; and like I said, we want to partner our clients in their endeavor to achieve their goals,” she avers.

Elements of Interior Design

Elaborating on the essential elements of interior design, Ms. Sud said, “If you don’t uphold the thought of a strict definition of elements of interior design in your mind, you will look at elements such as color, texture, line, form and so on. There is no harm in being aware of these elements– the so-called ABC of interior design. But creativity assigns is the ability to think out of the box that turns an ordinary designer into a good designer. You got to break into the stereotypes and make your unique signature by your work.”

Stressing on creative applications, she states, “It’s all about creativity, and that’s where a creatively active or enlightened designer scores over somebody who is rather methodical. Creativity has no limits, and designing cannot happen by the book. A lot depends on experience as well. An understanding of the client’s needs has to be acquired. Planning therefore is the key. It is said that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. This aptly applies to interior designing. There has to be a planned approach to a project; and planning involves creativity, which comes from the mind. And the mind is actually ruled by the heart. This is the key to successful designing.”

The Right Product

Lipika Sud Interiors aims to provide value for money in creating a cost-effective interior by suggesting cost reductions through the use of alternate materials and new technology. Explaining terms such as ‘alternate materials’ and ‘new technology’ is her company’s way of achieving cost-effectiveness and cost reduction, on this Ms. Sud said, “Almost every day a new product comes on the market. The market could be for electrical, flooring or ceiling products, or furniture. Most of the customers do not keep track of new arrivals, and so they don’t know what is cost-effective, what is applicable to their project and what is within their budget. As a consultant I keep track of product launches and the pros and cons of newly-launched products in areas related to interior decoration. So, choosing the right product for the client – product that is good for the project – does not pose a challenge to me. I select products based on the client’s requirement and budget. In this way, I create a cost-effective interior for my client.”

Materials Used in Interior Decoration

Commenting on the materials used in interior decoration, Ms. Sud said, “All materials are important to an interior designer. Marble and granite are natural materials, and natural materials are beautiful, charming and evergreen. They are extremely sustainable, maintainable and sometimes very economical. So, keeping all these features of stone in mind, marble and granite are definitely a preferred medium. However, a majority of interior designers, including me, go for what we refer to as ‘mixed use.’ So, if we are doing, let’s say, a residential project, most of the spaces would be done in marble but the countertops would possibly be in granite; and some rooms would have wooden flooring. It’s always a mixed bag; just the percentage varies. And a lot depends on the client’s choice. There are clients who are enamored of carpeted rooms. Those who have lived in Europe have a liking for wooden floors. You see stones tend to become too hot and too cold. A city like Delhi also gets too hot and too cold. This is why many people in Delhi go for wooden materials and alternate materials like carpets and woven/non-woven floor covering.

“But having said that, as a designer, I love using ‘marble and granite’ when it comes to designing dream flooring. Stone is everlasting – and if used judiciously, it creates a beautiful old-world charm with a contemporary feel to it.”

Indian Stone Suppliers

According to Ms. Sud, Indian stone suppliers do not seem to be keen on understanding the needs of today’s customers. She stresses, “What they don’t realize is that the customer’s requirements have changed over the years. In the past, people were interested in just getting their house decorated with marble – preferably white marble. Today’s customers are choosy. Most of them are globetrotters and have stayed at fantasy hotels in different parts of the world. They have seen quite a few luxurious houses and villas. Besides, there are many magazines and television channels that keep them well informed about the latest trends in interior decoration. In brief, the requirement of the Indian customer has risen over the years. Suppliers must therefore be always ready to customize their product according to individual specifications or preference; and to do that easily, they should constantly be in touch with architects and interior designers, for architects and designers play a significant role in shaping their client’s choice of materials.”

Emphasizing on the importance of changing trends in the industry Ms. Sud said, “Architects and designers must keep abreast of the times. They should have a fairly good idea of the technologies that today’s stone manufacturers are using – technologies used for giving stone a certain texture or finish or for cutting it in a particular way. Companies like Somany and H & R Johnson have organized programs for architects and interiors designers whereby they have made product presentations, talked about their new technologies and entertained architects and designers in the bargain. Indian tile manufacturers have definitely been innovating. When the water jet cutting process came to India, companies like Somany took the lead in creating platforms for running training programs that involved architects, tile cutters and other stone companies. They created these platforms because they wanted to interact well with the end user. Stone companies need to do this exercise more often if they want architects, designers and ultimately the end user to have a good knowledge of their products.”

Future Plans

Speaking about her future targets, Ms. Sud wants to keep working hard for the revival of dying arts and crafts of India and continue being part of a movement whose sole aim is to keep the rich cultural heritage of India alive through education and knowledge. She is currently working as a mediator between the government, the business community and other agencies to achieve this objective – something that she would be doing in times to come as well. “Over the years, India has created a lot of good art and craft. Unfortunately, Indian craftsmen are currently not getting enough work. Consider, for instance, Sanjhi. A typical art of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, it is the art of hand cutting designs on paper. Only two families are left to practice this craft. Madhubani art is also dying. It’s a pity that we are unable to create work for these people. We need to educate the younger generation on the true worth of Indian art and craft and empower these artists and craftsmen. I have extensively used their work in corporate offices – art and craft like Bastar, Sanjhi and Madhubani. And I have received a lot of appreciation for it,” said Ms. Sud.

Ms. Sud also wants to continue working on projects on women empowerment in rural and urban areas. Marching ahead with confidence, Ms Lipika Sud ends with the message, “I want to continue designing projects. And I want to do prestigious projects that creates landmark in the interior design industry. I have been awarded several times for my work…and I want to add more feathers to my cap. However, what matters to me the most is satisfaction of my clients. I want the client to keep coming back to me – that’ the award I always look forward to receiving. That’s what success means to me and with all that I learnt and achieved, my creative journey continues.”

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