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When Mumbai-based architect Rooshad Shroff opened his studio in November 2020, one would have expected of the space the same striking grandeur of his product designs. Yet, the prolific designer and architect went in the opposite direction—the space is subtle elegance at it’s very best. Nestled in one of the most architecturally stunning buildings of Horniman Circle in Mumbai’s heritage quarter, and flanked by two of Shroff’s clients—Hermès and Louboutin—lies the award-winner’s studio.
“It is nice to come full circle and now be located between two clients I have worked with. I was the local architect for Louboutin’s Mumbai store and I have been creating the window displays for Hermes for the last eight years. The location and architecture of the building is as important as what we are showcasing,” says Shroff. “We are on the third floor, overlooking the Horniman Circle garden. We also have a beautiful view of iconic structures like the Asiatic Library, the Taj Hotel dome and the Bombay Stock Exchange building. I didn’t go looking for the view but it certainly is a welcome bonus.” What Rooshad was looking for over the two years he searched for the perfect location, was a place close to the old office (which they still retain) and a space in an old building with high ceilings, plenty of natural light and beautiful arches. This studio certainly ticks all those criteria.
A Multi-functional Space
As one enters the 900 square-foot space, you find yourself in a large and airy volume that functions as a gallery space. “For a long time, I was working on furniture and I never had an outlet where I could showcase the furniture and pieces; I specifically did not want it in any retail format. What I wanted was a space that could function as part studio and part gallery where we can show new collections and collaborations. Some of the main pieces are very tactile in nature and it’s important for clients to be able to see, touch and feel them,” he explains. For events like the recent Mumbai Gallery Weekend, the studio is cleared out and the entire area transforms into an exhibition gallery for that duration.
An Elegant Backdrop
With the exterior architecture being such an inspiration, Rooshad brought in a few features into the space, like an abundance of arched elements. He also chose an elegant and simple palette of soft pale grey walls complemented by marble and light wooden flooring. “The design of the space is an absolutely neutral, clean canvas that retains the flavour of the heritage architecture. Essentially, it’s just a clean, painted backdrop to showcase our pieces—pale grey walls and the use of a lot of arched mirrors to make the space look slightly larger,” says the designer.
Set perpendicular to this gallery chamber is a multi-functional office space that runs along the periphery. This area has been visually broken into three zones with the use of glass partitions—a conference room area that opens up from the main gallery space, an open format studio and work space as well as an office with a large corner window. “The look of the entire studio follows the same language,” he explains. “However, the natural light that floods the space through large windows in the office area is my favourite feature. Just before sunset, we get that soft glow streaming in to even the gallery chamber even though it doesn’t have any windows.”
An Abundance Of Art And Design
With the minimal design forming the perfect canvas, the studio showcases some of Rooshad’s most striking pieces. Artworks and curios lend hints of a residential touch to the space, allowing the visitor to envision these creations in their own homes. “I have also brought in a few artworks from my personal collection that I really enjoy and like having around me. In the conference room I have an embroidered piece by T. Venkanna and in my cabin I have works by Pakistani artist Waqas Khan and French artist Joel Denot,” he says. Significant pieces from Rooshad’s collections like the signature C-Chairs, the Fordite Pringle Table, the Fossil console and the Embroidered Lounger dot the studio and office areas.
What wonderfully commands attention are the Marble Tube Light collections made from hollowed out and hand-carved Makrana marble and a collection of limited-edition marble plates created by inlay artisans in Agra. These were born out of The Gyaan Project, an initiative he started to support education and craft. This collaborative project saw artist, architects and designers like T. Venkanna, Tanya Goel, Atul Dodiya, BV Doshi and Bijoy Jain lend their creative talents to the designs of these beautiful plates that adorn the walls of the gallery. “The building is in itself an architectural beauty,” he says, and the interiors call to a timeless appeal that allows his stunning creations to steal the show.
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