Shalini Misra is an international multi-award-winning London based interior design and interior architecture studio.
They create high-end interiors for residential, commercial and hospitality properties specialising in luxury residential developments. Luxurious Magazine’s Senior Reporter, Sabi Phagura, caught up with the talented Shalini herself to find out about her passion and drive for all things interior design.
LM: Shalini, we are so pleased to have you join us today. We’re a great fan of your work. Tell us, how did you get involved interior design?
SM: After qualifying in Architecture from the Delhi School of Architecture and Planning (SPA) in India, I studied Urban Planning at the University of Columbia. Then, after a spell of working in New York, I decided to move to London and attended the Bartlett School of Architecture where I studied Virtual Reality in Architecture as a postgraduate student. My move into interior design came about at first when I started designing homes for friends.
After my third project, I understood I needed more resources and recruited a team working out of a studio in my own home. I have grown the business over the last 10 years and now have 16 designers working at Shalini Misra Ltd.
LM: Where does your inspiration come from?
SM: I take most of my inspiration from travelling. For example, I love the Maasai Mara. I am inspired by nature, the contrast and vastness of the area. Watching the beautiful sunset transforming into a medley of blush pink, coral, burnt orange and blood red is mesmerising every night.
My client’s lifestyles come into play a lot. I love to visit exhibitions, design fairs and always like to stay in boutique hotels that take their inspiration from the surrounding culture. I sometimes start with an existing piece of art or antique and evolve the space from there.
LM: Give us a snapshot of what Shalini Misra does on a day-to-day basis?
SM: I start my day with breakfast with the family where I prepare myself for a full day at the office. I catch up on my e-mails on my way there, then meet with my team for the daily briefing and project updates. I like to visit my project sites as much as possible. A typical day may involve a creative brainstorming session for anything from social media, collaborations to new client project concepts.
I enjoy lunch with the team where we take time to socialise and catch up. I prefer to go over the technical drawings and packages with my designers in the afternoon, refining material choices and overseeing the creation of office mood boards. However, each day varies and is often interspersed with gallery visits, private viewings, client meetings or design events.
LM: You’re also involved in property development. How are these two linked?
SM: I love to develop a property, because as an interior designer you spend a lot of time designing for others and collecting a whole bank of ideas that sometimes aren’t right for the client’s homes or are not in line with their vision. Therefore, it’s nice to run wild with these ideas on my own developments and create something very special.
My last development project was an apartment in Mayfair we called ‘SQUAT’. The reason for the name was because I collaborated with Nilufar Gallery in Milan, Gio Marconi and Robilant + Voena Gallery.
All of the pieces within the apartment were squatting there and open to the public for them to visit. We are so used to visiting galleries and seeing artwork on a stark white wall we wanted to make the apartment into a home gallery itself. The aim was for visitors to really understand and see how amazing pieces of furniture and artwork should be placed in a home.
LM: When was Shalini Misra Limited launched?
SM: It was launched back in 1997 – that’s just over 20 years ago. It seems like such a long time ago but we are always striving to do better and be more creative year-on-year. It was such an exciting time for us and we are looking forward to the next two decades!
LM: Tell us a bit about the projects you have been involved in.
SM: There have been so many, but a few of my favourites are an apartment on the 34th floor in a NY skyscraper. The inspiration for the design was floating in the clouds and the design was executed beautifully – you really do feel like you are drifting through heaven. I am very proud of a family home that we renovated in Chelsea.
The project has recently won us interior design project of the year with House & Garden. We took the original layout of 4000 sqft and expanded it to 9000 sqft by adding a basement. The client had a huge collection of artworks which we enjoyed curating and designing spaces around. We used a cohesive mix of finishes and materials, so there is an element of surprise in every corner you look.
LM: What other projects are you working on?
SM: We are working on three projects in London, and I am working on my own home. We have a stunning project in Mayfair which is close to completion. It is one of the seven beautiful apartments in 77 Luxlo. The interior is very luxurious and sensual – we used textured metallic, faux leather and marble with interesting bespoke designs alongside a dark moody pallet to create drama. When you walk around the space, you are provoked to touch everything!
The entrance is very impactful – you are greeted by vibrant art and a geometrically painted ceiling. We have recently completed a project in Dubai called 118 Downtown where we collaborated with the Signature Group, a local developer, to design and execute some of the communal spaces within the building. The 118 Downtown building has been executed wonderfully by the developers. The views are stunning, and the layouts are very well thought through.
LM: We understand you have won some remarkable awards for your work. Do tell us a bit about them.
SM: It’s been a great year for us in terms of accolades. As mentioned earlier, we won House & Garden Project of the year and made their top 100 interior designers list. We have also been shortlisted for other awards this year including Design at-el, The Bar and Restaurant awards, Win Awards, and we also a feature in this year’s Andrew Martin book.
LM: How can someone interested in interior design get involved?
SM: Interior design is not just about picking pretty fabrics and spotting a good piece of furniture online or from the store. For interior design, you need a good business head on creative shoulders. You need to be able to develop a design that meets a client’s brief – within their budget – and see it realised.
LM: And finally, we so want to know about your own home. Do tell us what does your own home look like?
SM: At the moment my home is undergoing full renovations. I want to create a sanctuary for myself and my family that wows! I am working with lots of amazing craftsmen, and am bringing it back to its Victorian glory. I can’t say too much at this point, but watch this space as it will be completed early next year.
LM: Thank you so much for chatting with us Shalini. It’s been a real pleasure. We’re really looking forward to your future creations. All the best.
SM: The pleasure is all mine. Thank you so much.
Shalini Misra – Where and How?
For more information on Shalini Misra, visit www.shalinimisra.com.
Read more interviews conducted by Luxurious Magazine here.