What do you do when you are an internationally acclaimed architect in Mumbai? You build yourself a bachelor pad worth approximately Rs 4.5 crore and then go home to stay with your parents, Ashiesh Shah would say with a chuckle.
Thirty-three year-old Shah spent two months studying dentistry before he realised that rubber surgical gloves couldn’t contain his creativity. “I needed a language for my art, so I chose architecture. Nobody in my family was working in that sector, so I got a chance to carve my own way forward,” says the Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture graduate.
Working in New York and Mumbai, Shah’s portfolio runs through a long list of big names and even more spacious houses for Nisa Godrej, Baba and Amit Kalyani, Sandeep Raheja, Ranbir Kapoor and Nari Dalamal.
The shiniest star on his shoulder however comes with the 15,000 square feet art and heritage store at Masjid Bunder — Le Mill. Work began with cleaning and resurrecting the space, which originally functioned as a rice mill.
“Mumbai’s first concept store, Le Mill, gave me the freedom to build with no systematic guidelines. The store exudes a post-industrial feel; an architectural project that uses the idea of incidental architecture,” explains Shah.
Shah has fun with the idea of breaking stereotypes and playing with form and function, his Peddar Road house being the epitome of his thoughts. He says, “How many times have you fallen asleep on the couch? I have a bed in my living room because spaces should be multi-functional in value. As designers, when we create a space, we walk out of the house, but when a person lives in it, the design is activated.”