At Home with Ravi Vazirani

Like so many city-dwellers, we’re on a constant mission to redefine the idea of the spaces we inhabit. For those who, like us, try and walk the tightrope between finding time to get off the grid while still being GPS-situated, tips on being artfully (in)conspicuous are always welcome, and life-savers. A lifestyle-curator with a startlingly keen eye for all things natural, architect Ravi Vazirani meets us at the intersection of materials, textures, nature and creative trains of thought on design and colourways. Nicobar will be popping up in some of India’s cities and festivals over the next couple of months (can’t say more, or it’ll ruin the surprise!) and Ravi is the man behind the temporary constructions you’ll see appear. From design and fabrication through to lighting, interiors, and all those essential bits inside, that’ll be Ravi Vazirani for Nicobar through and through. You can expect little peeks as these take shape, but in the meanwhile, Ravi took the Nico Q&A to help us get a handle of his work at his eponymous design studio and talked about artists, museums and homes that make him want to keep doing what he does best.

Installation artist(s) that you admire and/or emulate?
Not an installation artist per se, but an artist I am obsessed with is David Shrigley. He is a visual artist and I truly enjoy his style of work.

A museum that you’d like to redesign?

Mani Bhavan in Mumbai. I think we can do better than what's done. It feels basic and lacks depth.

Designing from scratch versus restoring or redesigning space. Which of the two do you prefer?
Well, definitely redesigning a space because I get to define the design elements, as opposed to restoring a space, where one would tend to typically take forward the current design elements of the space.

Your most cherished piece of furniture?
That's a tough one, because I have been collecting furniture for a while now. Many a times I will buy something even though I may have no idea where I could use it and I'll just store it till I find some space for it. Recently I bought myself a Pierre Jeanneret chair, which is my latest obsession. However, my most cherished piece of furniture is a dining vintage industrial table I found on the streets of Bombay for Rs 500.

One architectural material that in your opinion resonates most with Nicobar?
Nicobar for me resonates a very calm, relaxed slow-living vibe. Architecturally, cement, when used correctly helps you achieve a similar vibe. So, cement it is!
Do you follow a design school of thought?
No, I do not. I am very influenced by my travels. Sometimes I'll use a particular material as an inspiration, sometimes I will seek inspiration from my travels. I do enjoy spaces that are eclectic, and sometimes I invariably end up mixing styles and materials even if I did not intend to.

A house that you’d like to call your own?
Oh, the list would never end. Lunuganga, Geoffrey Bawa's house in Sri Lanka. Closer to home, I definitely would like to live in the "House on Pali Hill", a property designed by Bijoy Jain, whose work I admire.

How do you use colour theory while designing homes?
I live my life in monochromatic colours. My personal style reflects that, my house reflects that and well, my work reflects that. White is calming. Black is dramatic. Grey is soothing and shades of blue inject color when needed. I like spaces that are warm, so natural shades is what I tend to stick to.

Favourite piece (if any) from the Nicobar line?
Most pieces from Nicobar are lovely, so it's hard to choose. The travel collection is beautiful and most items from that are my favourites.

A way to inject a little tropical flavour into city homes?
Plants. Plants. Plants. Large leafed palms. Think Elephant Palms. Birds of paradise. Banana plants. If space is an issue, there's a whole bunch of compact inverted planters that are amazing too.

For Ravi's take on places to visit in Mumbai, go here.