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Rooshad Shroff: Name to know

JAN 5, 2016 | By Aditi Gaitonde
Coming from a family of architects, Rooshad was initiated into the world of design at a young age. He believes a “subconscious engraving” lead him to follow his calling. He went on to receive an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and pursues a Masters in Architecture at Harvard University. He even worked with Zaha Hadid Architects in London and OMA/REX in NYC before returning to Mumbai and setting up his practice in 2011. Since then he has successfully played his hand at several aspects of design from furniture and product development to interiors design. He also conceptualised the visual merchandising and packaging for restaurants like Jaipur Modern and La Folie.
Last year, Rooshad was selected as one of the winners of Godrej Design Lab 2015, a contest in association with ELLE DECOR India for designers of all ages. He won a chance to develop his concept of a stainless steel seater as well as showcased it at India Design ID 2015 in New Delhi.
His multidisciplinary firm is rooted in in-depth investigation. “Furniture and products in a way are testing grounds for our research. It allows us to develop materials, ideas and reinterpret them different ways in our projects,” he elaborates. For instance, his EDIDA 2014 winning Marble Bulbs took almost nine months of R&D which involved “breaking 40 bulbs before we got the first one correct”.
While studying and working abroad, Rooshad was introduced to a lot of high end technology “which was very seductive”. “But it eventually lost its authorship as with a click of a button a product can be 3D printed in China or America,” he explains. When he came back for a break, he travelled across the country and was soon exposed its varied and unique crafts. There was no turning back from there. He went on to introduce a certain craft, backed with intense R&D, in almost every assignment. “We have amazing untapped resources in terms of craftsmen and incredible skills. Also, when people think craft, they relate it to something extremely ethnic and shun away from it,” he adds. All of his efforts are based on reinterpreting Indian craft to create contemporary furniture and products.
Talking about his winning Godrej Design Lab product Chair 01, he tells us that it was the first thing he designed when he returned to India but shelved it as he didn’t find a good enough fabricator. When the contest came around, he dug into his computer to fish out an old concept inspired by origami, which never saw the light of day. “When I sent it for the competition, I was looking at a full stainless steel chair for the desired thinness in metal and strength too… like a piece of paper with mirror finish,” he expounds. While developing it with the folks at Godrej, they found an excellent vendor who helped add value to the piece. “I think having a dialogue with kaarigars and manufacturers in the making process generates so many ideas and further helps the development of the product,” he concludes.
Rooshad is currently working on another investigation of material where he will collaborate with Cocoon Fine Rugs to envision a range of carpets.
Website: www.rooshads.wix.com/rooshadshroff
For more details about Godrej Design Lab, visit www.godrejdesignlab.com