How Rooshad Shroff found his own voice in design

Rooshad Shroff / October 16, 2017

The renowned architect and designer talks about his family influencing his career

There was never a defining moment that made me want to take up architecture; I grew up with a subconscious initiation into the design world, with exposure to the field everywhere I looked. While design objects and furniture were on constant display in our home, my father also made it point for us to visit art museums while travelling. And with my parents in the same line of work, it was only natural for me to lean towards the profession.

My dad always encouraged us to pursue anything we were interested in – but we were always around art and design. I remember colouring over blueprints in my dad’s office after school, watching elaborate models being built, and finally, accompanying my dad to see all the structures and buildings he had envisioned in the city.
One of the biggest advantages of having him in the field was that when I started my own practice, I could plug into his infrastructure, and have a place I could call my office. And it continues to be an advantage, as all of us (Kayzad, my dad and me) have our offices in the same building. We make it a point to meet for a two-hour lunch every day, regardless of deadlines, to discuss projects, ideas and brainstorm. The benefit of having a family in design is that we do get pretty critical of one another with feedback – sometimes a little too critical! Nevertheless, it helps us understand what everyone is doing and get fresh perspective on our projects as well. Our staff also gets exposure to different kinds of work, as we do borrow each other’s employees during crazy deadlines, allowing us to learn from each other as well.

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And there is so much to learn. Although Kayzad and I both have our offices nearby and we’ve grown up together, our design styles and concentrations vary tremendously. One of the main differences between us is that I am more process driven, while Kayzad is oriented towards material. His style is quite devoid of ornamentation while I work a lot with handmade crafts and art from India. However, our father’s ethics, values and time commitments are now engraved into both of our work DNA. These varied perspectives are often brought up during heated discussions, and it helps us learn a lot. We also end up collaborating quite a bit, and although Kayzad does collaborate with my father more than I do, it is simply because I’m branching out from architecture into varied fields of design, and he’s much more married to the practice of architecture in itself.

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Rooshad Shroff and his team created The Jaipur Modern entirely

My work has now slowly taken a turn towards holistic design. I don’t want to restrict myself to any one field, whether it’s furniture design or architecture. One of my favourite projects that let me experience design as a whole was The Jaipur Modern. The client had given me a freehand with the project, and we did a bit of everything – from the architecture and landscaping to the interiors, logo and packaging! And that’s what I want to do, ultimately.

I want to be immersed in design, every day filled with different challenges and deadlines. That is something I’m looking forward to and I’m glad my family is a constant critical force behind it all.

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