“Giving is important, in the end that’s what matters”, is the key mantra for Saniya Kantawala, a Mumbai based interior designer’s life. She is also a dancer by passion and a globe trotter.
Her design career started off with a bang. At age 17 she worked with architect Ashiesh Shah, the man who designed well known actor Ranbir Kapoor’s house. At the time she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do but she did however have an eager eye towards design. She worked with Ashiesh for about 2 years while she was studying her bachelor’s in commerce from HR College. After that, she studied interior design, at the same time working with a real estate company as an in-house design consultant for 2 years. Saniya has also studied interiors for façade and light design from Central Saint Martin’s in London and Eli Sava in Barcelona.
Needless to say Saniya is now a multitasker. Straight after graduation she boldly started her own practice Saniya Kantawala Design in 2014. She had a work experience of 4 years in the field and good projects in hand. Saniya Kantawala has designed several restaurants, fashion stores, residential properties and offices in Mumbai. Hers is a multidisciplinary firm. They also won an award for The Best Restaurant Design (2nd place) in Artists and Concrete Asia awards in 2015 for The Treesome Café, Versova.
Saniya is a woman who believes in evolving every single day, hence she is unable to define herself. She believes there is a lot a woman with creativity and passion can bring to this field.
In conversation with Gallopper, Saniya shares her experience of designing a quick service restaurant: Loco Chino at Oshiwara. Loco chino is a Chinese and Mexican cuisine restaurant. This is their 3rd outlet in Mumbai and Saniya has designed and executed all their outlets.
Saniya says that, every outlet is different with its ambience and yet has some common elements that merge in all.There are 6 hand made installations such ad Chinese bells,yin yang, may-an feathers and a few more above every table.
In connection with it are also the country lazer cut hand painted animated characters holding an installation above a particular table.The space has been conceptualised around mexican and chinese characters and the key elements of both these festive countries.By introducing Mexican and Chinese elements in the design of the restaurant, she has been successful in setting the theme right along with a joyful ambience.
Saniya asserts, “Design is a process and every day when I go work I see that process getting executed and built from what’s in my head to reality – which is very satisfying to see, that’s when I realize that I love what I do and in the end all the challenges and obstacles that come in the way are worth it”.