#ELLEVoices: Rooshad Shroff On How He Is #ImaginingTheWorldToBe

Whether it’s crafting spaces and products for his impressive clientele, collaborating with designers for The Gyaan Project, or working on his own office space, multidisciplinary designer Rooshad Shroff’s impact on the design community is undeniable. We caught up with him to know more about the way the crisis has shaped the design community, and what the future holds.

Rooshad Shroff
Photograph: Manasi Sawant

ELLE: How has the pandemic impacted you? What have been your introspections, self-revelations and discoveries?

Rooshad Shroff: In the beginning, this break was a welcome moment of pause. We had the luxury of time and it gave me a chance to work on things I enjoy. Designing furniture has always been a passion of mine, so we made that into a reality. This period also allowed me to be more playful; I designed a few board games. Even more than self-reflection, I would say, it was just about working on things I’m passionate about.

ELLE: What would you say has the crisis shown us as a community?

RS: I think it brought the true side of people to the fore – both the good and bad. While the migrant crisis brought out the worst side, there was also a lot of positivity in the sense that people came together and displayed kindness. I think it also showed us how lucky we are to be in our positions.

ELLE: How do you see the Indian design community evolving to accommodate the new demands of its consumers?

RS: Spending so much time in their homes, people are now being more mindful of the spaces they choose to make their own. I also think the new consumer demands are about buying local. But as people struggle to keep their businesses a oat, I think everyone has their own way of dealing with these situations. There is no hard and fast rule for this evolution.

ELLE: How do you see the pandemic and the whole new digital wave changing things? Do see the process and approach towards design changing? Are multi dimensional designers, such as you, going to adopt different or newer methods?

RS: My process has two parts—ideation, and working with clients. While the latter definitely became easier since communication became efficient, ideation has been a difficult process. The new digital wave is quite important, but design is a tangible process—you need to feel the material, else its beauty is taken away. For me personally, things haven’t changed drastically. We returned to work in November 2020, and it’s been exhilarating. The one new process we’ve adapted, specifically in a new construction is providing housing for our labour, and making sure that strict hygiene and social-distancing practices are in place. It’s expensive, yes, but we’re looking out for our team. After all, you’re only as strong as your team.

ELLE: How are you #ImaginingTheWorldToBe post COVID-19?

RS: More compassionate. Cleaner. Kinder. I hope this period of self-reflection helps people align their priorities. I hope that the more positive side of people that has emerged will translate into the new normal. When we came up with The Gyaan Project, we were working through the lockdown, uplifting craftsmen from Agra, and building a girls’ school. And I hope that people imbibe similar practices in their lives.

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