Space it out

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  • Published 29.06.11

Glamour girl Ishita Arun (model, former VJ and participant in Imagine’s reality show Desi Girl) has a new-found passion. t2 chats with Ila Arun’s pretty daughter on “space designing”…

What about space designing attracted you?

Creativity is something that I have inherited. My mother Ila expresses her creativity through music. Over the years, I have soaked that all in.... I majored in art but I used to love cartooning. I remember doing an Anil Kapoor caricature in school and Calvin and Hobbes too (laughs). I don’t know how it all happened. I am not a great still life painter because anything in symmetry does not interest me at all. But when it comes to mixing and matching, I’m really good. I believe a little bit of asymmetry lends a beautiful quality to things. Thoda sa daag hona zaroori hai!

Have you undergone any formal training?

I haven’t got a formal education (in space designing). When I got married, I had my own private pad to mess around with. Over the past six years, I have been doing up my house and I did not realise that I was space designing. I mean it is your home. You really don’t space design your home, right? It is only recently that people have been coming over to my house and liking what I do.

I educated myself about all the intrinsic stuff that goes into design — the furniture layout, how to do an AutoCAD. Nobody can teach you design. It is a personal expression of creativity. What role did your husband (a musician) Dhruv Ghanekar play?

I have to give him the credit. Dhruv kept asking me to design the house. I thought maybe because I am the wife.... But it wasn’t about me being his wife. He kind of spotted that I had an eye for things and really encouraged me to go out there and do it. And here I am!

Do Dhruv and you have a favourite corner at home?

For him, it is his den/studio that I have designed. It is right in the middle of the house — a little haven with all his gadgets. It is lined with rich tapestry, posters of musicians and guitars and has a wall-to-wall library. As for me, my favourite corner is the bedroom. It is in pristine white and brick. It is a place where I can be myself and think. White brings a sense of calm.

Tell us about your company...

My space design company is called D se dijhaeen. It is really in its embryonic stage; I started about a month back. My endeavour is to collaborate with like-minded people and not to get caught up with the dos and don’ts of design. The mantra of my company is to revamp, reuse, refurbish, discover and create.

What kind of design solutions do you offer?

I really believe that old can be gold. So, in one of my client’s houses, I have used his old dining table and made it look completely new and funky. In my house, I have used heirloom saris belonging to my great grandmother and made two nine-by-four feet panels. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a house look fab. It is about how liveable and homely you make your home. Keep it simple and honest. Don’t copy trends.

You are doing up dancer Terence Lewis’s house…

We share a marriage of creativity (laughs). We are both mad! What I am doing with his house is completely new, yet it has an old feel to it. We have made a completely crazy bathroom. Yet it has a touch of royalty — the commode is designed like a throne! We are using old commodes and chairs and even motorbikes to make a centre-table. It is good fun!

What is your idea of a dream space?

It has to be the house that I am living in. Considering the (lack of) space that Mumbai has, I think it is done up quite fantastically. For me, a dream house means a place that is a haven instead of a home. The moment I step inside, I should feel that I have come home. There should be something that is visibly me.

Do you have a house fetish?

ike to hoard upholstery. I like to keep the home extremely clean and I can be cleaning for days on end (laughs). I can be a little neurotic! Even if there is chaos, it has to be choreographed chaos.

Are you doing anything for your mom, Ila?

Yes, I am. I am slated to do her new house. She has a very strong and colourful personality, and it is going to be a challenge to bring that out in the right proportions. She has very good taste herself and she is a fantastic mother. Even if I were doing plumbing right now, she would have some tips to offer! She comes up with ingenious ways of using things. I am slated to do my husband’s room too and I have an exhibition coming up in September.