THERE is a lot more to Gauri Khan than being the wife of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
She is a respected business entrepreneur, film producer, famed celebrity interior designer and a strong symbol of power for devoted working mothers. Her interior design skills have been particularly appreciated for an artistic approach to transforming internal spaces.
Now after blazing a trail with her creativity, knowledge, and eye for detail, the celebrated interior designer will be sharing her immense expertise with an in-depth online workshop with global online education disruptor, The Designer’s Class. She joins an exclusive list of celebrity mentors and industry experts on an exciting new platform dedicated to tackling traditional design education head on, with a six-module online course that enables designers of all levels to forge their own signature approach.
Eastern Eye caught up with Gauri Khan to discuss the globally accessible course and top interior design tips, including for those with smaller spaces and limited budgets. She also revealed what husband Shah Rukh Khan’s interior design skills are like.
What first connected you to interior design?
Design is something that I have always been fascinated with. Growing up, I was greatly inclined towards art and culture. Design and design curation, I felt, came naturally to me. The spaces that we live in are crucial to our all-around development and creating these spaces to be conducive to creativity gave me immense joy.
When did you realise you are really good at it?
Well, you know how the artist’s curse works. An artist can never enjoy their work fully. But I think the first time I realised that I could pull it off commercially was when I put together my ideas while designing our house ‘Mannat’ and all the designs came together to form a beautiful union of landscapes. Hearing positive reviews from friends and family also helped a lot.
Which has been your most memorable interior design project?
I have to say it’s Mannat. It’s so personal and an ever-evolving project for me as I keep redoing corners of the house, including my kids’ rooms, so I have to say it’s Mannat.
What kind of creative approach does interior design demand?
I think the most important part of it is navigating space. I believe that the design should provide ease of movement to the client. Everything should be accessible, handy, and not at all cluttered. Open spaces encourage open minds.
What led you towards setting up your online classes?
Learning is a process that has always intrigued me and helped me stay ahead in this industry. It is no wonder then that I would like to share my experience in the industry with future designers. My collaboration with The Designer’s Class is an ideal and organic evolution of my love for learning. It gives me an opportunity to share my professional experiences with people who love design as much as I do.
Tell us about the classes?
The classes consist of modules that focus on key areas of interior design. The course at The Designer’s Class educates students on the fundamentals of interior design that encompasses learning various elements such as terminology, standards, lighting, and planning an interior space. The fundamentals teach the student to take forward their inspiration into realistic design projects.
Tell us something about what is included?
The module includes courses that detail the process a designer should implement while designing interiors for different spaces such as offices, residents, and retail stores. It also takes on the most crucial elements of interiors like, lighting, and illustrates how it can be created for various spaces to make the best of them. Looking towards the future, the module also educates the students on the use of sustainable practices for interior design.
Who are you hoping connects with the online classes?
Design aspirants and anybody with an interest in interior design can have access to this course. The Designer’s Class and I have ensured that the modules provide the fundamentals as well as an advanced look at interior design and its aspects.
What about classes for everyday people and beginners?
Absolutely! Beginners can also take up this course. We have curated various bundles for this course that address interior design from the fundamental areas to advanced topics. Novice learners can take up the fundamental module that is included in each module, which will assist them in moving on to the other topics.
What top design tip would you give?
A strong foundation is the key to creating a lasting impact through your design. This can happen only when our research and understanding of the expectations from the space is foolproof. Hence, be your client’s confidante. Other than that, I would say that focus on the lighting as it has the power to change the feel of the space completely.
What are common mistakes?
One common mistake I have noticed is that people try to add a lot of styles to the same space. Try to find your own style and stick to that theme. Through this way they will stay in your comfort zone and feel like spending more time over there.
What tip would you give to those who are working on a low budget to create a great interior?
Designing spaces doesn’t have to be expensive. You can keep the space minimal, which also makes it look less cluttered. Invest in key and timeless pieces that serve utility as well as aesthetics. Sourcing from vintage stores is also a great way of finding some unique pieces.
What about those with smaller spaces?
Again, declutter. Use lighter colours and mirrors that make the space look bigger. Get creative with storage and, most importantly, use a signature piece, for example, a couch, wallpaper, or a signature wall, and go all out with it. Let that be the focal point of your design that exerts attention and interest.
What are your husband Shah Rukh Khan’s interior design skills like?
I would say he has a keen eye for interiors. He was extremely passionate while the Red Chillies office revamp was in process. He had a huge say in design, and inputs about colours and possible uses of the ceiling, and flooring. He took a lot of interest in that project and likes to get involved whenever possible. He greenlit all the designs for the project.
What is the secret of being a successful working mother?
Balance. The right balance between your work life and family time is very important. I try to prioritise my time with my kids and also manage my work better. I always like to pre-plan my schedule, which gives the perfect work-life balance.
What inspires you creatively?
I think most of my inspiration comes from my travels. The architectural styles, designs and cultures inspire me a lot. Every time I travel, a small part of my experiences stays within me and comes out as a kaleidoscopic outcome in my designs. Hence, every time I feel I’ve burned out all of my creativity, I try to visit places that can give me artistic inspirations.
Why should we connect with the classes?
The Designer’s Class’ association with Gauri Khan Designs is an organic evolution born out of a shared passion for good design, creative spaces, and the intent to give back to the industry. Together, we are bringing design education that shapes the new age of interior design, inspires and educates the younger generations, and equips them with the skills to succeed.
To learn more about The Designer’s Class and their line-up of celebrity instructors, visit www.thedesignersclass.com