I don’t agree with minimalism in design. I believe that design should be extravagant in the sense of detail and materials” –Kolkata-based designer Ankita Baid says it like it is. No wonder she counts architects like Zaha Hadid and product designers/artists like Anish Kapoor, Tom Price and Philippe Starck as her favourites. “I have a personal fondness for strong forms, and these icons boast of the same.”
Being inspired by them has helped the 28-year-old designer discover her own aim and motive behind creating spaces, apart from helping her develop an individual character to her design. However, she is also quick to mention that, since she finds the Indian design scene more aesthetic oriented (sacrificing functionality in the process), she would like to bring about a change in this arena.
After working for a hospitality design company, Baid established Ark and Arts in 2010 in order to broaden her scope in designing spaces that display “the same hierarchy of luxury and ambience.” More than mere luxury, she loves exploring possibilities in materials and detailing, an interest she developed keenly while acquiring her diploma in Interior Design (furniture major). “In college, I polished my design execution skills by practically constructing furniture in wood, metal, fibreglass, including creative materials such as cardboard, paper, recycled products, etc,” she recalls. “This gave me an upper hand in understanding the varied use of materials and their construction limitations.”
Both luxury and richness in materials make the Imperial jewellery showroom in Kolkata stand out as Baid’s most cherished work so far. Designed with a ‘contemporary transitional’ concept, the 14ft-high, 8,000sq-ft space narrates a story of elegance by employing the skill of local wood sculptors, metal smiths and artists. “The furniture is minimal, and focus is given to empty spaces by doing detailing on walls and spaces,” points out Baid. “The promotion and opening ceremony of the showroom was so grand, that it got me a lot of publicity and lined up many more jewellery showroom projects.”
The young designer’s portfolio, without a doubt, verifies her belief that design must create an everlasting impression. And her firm name isn’t just a play of words, she considers art as intrinsic to her spaces. “I don’t think I can imagine any space without any artwork used in them,” she maintains. For someone who is clearly driven and loves her work, Baid’s views on work-life balance make sense, “Passionate designers dedicate most of their time to their work. Balance comes automatically through happiness gained from work success.”