Based in London, the architect and interior designer Shalini Misra set up her own practice in 1996. She and her team transform residential properties worldwide, with recent projects including a Grade II listed London house, a sumptuous New Delhi villa and an apartment in New York’s landmark Bloomberg Tower with astonishing views across Central Park. In each of these very different locations, she has created very individual homes full of texture, character and interest.
WHAT WAS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND YOUR CAREER IN INTERIORS?
As a trained architect, I found that interiors can create such strong impact that I was led to explore interior design in much more detail. I enjoy playing with volumes of spaces and creating large open plan interiors which can be made small with partitions, mood lighting, colour and textures. Nowadays, my driving force is repeat clientele; that’s what keeps me working hard!
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
I find inspiration in everything! Life in general feeds my design in so many ways - travel, people, nature, books, vintage markets, craftsmanship, artisans, culture, history. I also really enjoy Pinterest, reading magazines and attending exhibitions. Anything can spark my interest and it builds a story in my mind for a project. So much to see and learn!
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGN?
Frank Lloyd Wright, the American architect in the 50’s - he blends landscape architecture and interiors seamlessly. Everything was custom-designed which blended beautifully, from wall panelling, fireplaces and decorative lighting to floor finishes, furniture etc. Very inspiring.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST CHALLENGING/REWARDING PROJECT?
So many rewarding moments! Although my first interiors project for an overseas client of mine springs to mind. When they saw their completed home, they had tears of joy in their eyes … and this, for me, was definitely one of my most rewarding moments. It also underlined for me that designing interiors is a responsibility. With any project too, there are always some interesting challenges to overcome. Some of our clients’ homes, especially in the UK, are listed buildings so it’s important to work around the existing architectural features. It’s a fun challenge to create a contemporary home whilst respecting the inherent history and beauty of a property. I really enjoy it!
WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED WHEN IT CAME TO INTERIOR DESIGN?
That an interior should be inviting for whatever mood you are trying to create. I would add to this that it should be functional, intriguing, and a happy space to be in. It should also work over a period of time so, as with fashion, one shouldn’t blindly follow trends.
Based in London, Shalini Misra undertakes interior design and architectural commissions worldwide. T: 020 7266 6181