Shera Bano Merchant, Creative Director and Interior Architect, Owner, Square 9 Designs has designed numerous projects in her career. The designer shares the varied ways for designing walls and kitchens and the apt use of doors and windows in living and commercial interiors.
Role of interior design for a clutter-free kitchen
The best way to make kitchen clutter-free is to create the three zones under which each item gets a designated storage space above and below the counters, making items in easy reach when that particular activity is being performed, like having the cooking pots and pans or the spice rack at hands distance from the cooking hob etc.
Here, the interior designing becomes of prime importance as the space planning the kitchen into three major zones with its ancillary storages help increase the efficiency of food preparation.
Importance of kitchen ventilation systems and advantages of an open concept kitchen
Artificial Kitchen ventilation in the form of high powered and noiseless chimneys are of utmost importance in today’s kitchens to keep the air healthy, reduce maintenance and prolong the beauty of the well-designed kitchen for a long time.
Open kitchens are becoming the favorite option for nuclear as well as joint families of today’s times as it allows the kitchen which is a major hub of the house to become part of the whole family. And each family member can contribute in the process of creating food, interacting and having fun at the same time. I call it the democratisation of the modern family.
Must have kitchen accessories Hydraulic lift-ups just beside the chimney above the hob for easy reach to the cooking essentials is must. Another one is the tall larder unit to stow away all the raw and pre packaged food stuff in one place, making it convenient and minimise the circulation within the kitchen.
Wall art trends and the use of wallpaper
Wall art can be a good show stopper and/ or the conversation starter of a living room. It has the ability to bring in emotion, colour, drama to the room effectively showcasing the personality of the owner of the space where it is put up. Walls bereft of art makes for a sad and non expressive home.
The latest trend in wallpaper design these days is of customisation according to the theme and matching the decor of the room. It helps to add spunk and flavour which is very unique and helps in stylising and homogenising the area beautifully. Another trend is to apply wallpapers on the ceilings to either heighten or enhance a specific area of the room.
Wallpaper vs Paints
Both paints and wallpapers have their intrinsic strengths and both if applied appropriately and in the right proportions can bring out magical results to enhance the space. There are metallic texture paints which come in subtle to bold shades which when applied right can give wallpaper a run for their money. Similarly wall paper has the advantage of a multi-layered design with added embellishments and variety in material (wood, silk, crystals, natural cork, gold foil etc.) which has a designer spoilt for choices and can only be limited by his/her imagination.
The use of exposed brick walls
Anything close to nature and in its raw form grounds us and stirs in us emotions of security and warmth and the exposed brick wall does exactly the same. It adds an old world charm to any space and allows us to be in our natural elements too. We have gone ahead and used exposed brick work even on ceilings in one of our projects and the outcome was so awesome it was appreciated by all.
Automatic swing doors
Automatic door openings would be the new normal in all the designs of the future in the post Covid-19 scenario not just limited to office or commercial spaces. With hands free ingress and egress for safety purposes automatic doors of all types including swing doors would be mandatory. Automatic swing doors can especially be effective where there is limited space on the side for a sliding door to operate.
Role of glass doors in open office design
Glass being a transparent material becomes the obvious choice when we need to design offices which allow transparency as a core value, where the hierarchies are a blur and in offices which believe in the intrinsic strengths of each of its team players. They lend beautifully to separate as well as merge into the main body of the space giving sound privacy at the same time. These days with the availability of automatic privacy glass, we can offer visual privacy as well at the touch of a button as and when required.
Role of doors and windows in ventilation
The importance of windows and doors bringing in natural light and ventilation to the interiors of a space cannot be stressed more as they are the lifeline of any project. But with increasingly large office floor plates it is becoming a challenge for designers to not rely on artificial ventilation and air conditioning to substitute for natural ventilation. The need to block off the excessive heat and pollution of the outside only adds to the woes of designing a building enjoying maximum natural light and ventilation. The possible solutions as i see it can only be by reducing the floor plate, staggered built edge, introducing greenery in built form itself in the form of green walls and green windows and having sufficient amount of green terraces adjoining the built interiors.
Climatic conditions and the choice of doors and windows
There are many materials for windows and doors to choose from these days like uPVC windows, age-old wooden windows and metal windows like iron and aluminium windows. Each has their strength like the uPVC windows can be used in places near the ocean where temperatures are moderate and where the heavy salt laden air will not harm the material as would have been the case in metal windows. Similarly where the temperatures go beyond 40 degree celsius and non corrosive environments it is advisable to use metal windows. Wooden windows should be a no-no at all costs as they take away a bulk of material, don’t lend well to the climatic changes and also that we do not wish to deplete the natural or planned forests and contribute consciously in saving our environment.
All varieties of hardwoods including Indian Teak, oak, ash, mahogany and walnut can lend itself beautifully to design doors and windows, but should be used very sparingly for the sake of our environment. It can be a good idea to use thick veneers on plywood where the usage of wood cannot be done without.