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people 2013-09-05

Design must be practical, functional and stylish, not over the top

An Interview with Manuu Mansheet, Designer and Visual Merchandiser.

By Deputy Features Editor
Design must be practical, functional and stylish, not over the top

In an exclusive interview with Franchise India, Manuu Mansheet talks about the design, the art aspect before starting a new project.

I did my schooling from Modern School (Barakhamba Road) and then completed my graduation from Sri Venkateswara College (South Campus). I also did an MBA from Fore School of Management (Delhi).

It was art that attracted me towards itself. From the very childhood I was very artistically inclined and always yearned for a creative and unique career and destiny played the right role. I started designing, styling, and decorating at a very young age. I am a self taught person & got an opportunity to go abroad (Netherlands) and get trained at an IKEA pilot store, and subsequently work at 2 stores of IKEA in UAE.

When starting a new project I hear my inner voice, is it a project that I like or love to do once I am clear about that I act myself busy and geography, location, style, budget are the factors that I consider.

There have been many milestones and many interesting projects where I learnt a lot, added a lot and created a large body of very satisfying and commercial work like Tatas,Godrej, Bharti Walmart, Alsorg etc. But my first commercial design project was displaying art for an exhibition at Taj Palace hotel. This was also my stepping stone to future.

My day could take me to site visits, meetings, shopping for props/accessories etc. Mondays are generally reserved for teaching. Evenings go for art openings, theatre, etc. My mother is a major influence in my life. I have learnt a lot by just watching her in my growing up years.

When we are talking of creating an experience or environment for a service, a store and a restaurant, it has to appeal to our 5 senses. It is the senses which experience the food, the ambience, the design, the art and many more things at a place or in a restaurant.

It’s just a gift- to be able to visualise a solution or idea and then be able to think out of the box and do things. For a new graduate I would say think out of the box, break some rules and take risks, rewards will follow you.  

In my opinion a restaurant goes through a lot more usage/wear and tear than a normal household/office, etc. hence good quality material and finishes stand a longer lasting chance.

I am in the process of doing up some heritage buildings, restoration work excites me and I am also doing some projects for the Govt. I renovated an old cafeteria once and it was a bit challenging to change the user’s mindsets and satisfy the staff. Nobody was keen to change old methods but ultimately it became one of the most buzzing lucrative businesses.

It always works to be practical and functional. The design should be stylish but not OTT (over the top).I hate vulgar money display and gaudy tastes. Being careful and sensible with budgets is very welcome but being stingy and cheap.

The biggest decision is on Look. Most clients are very reluctant to experiment. A promoter may sometimes want to compromise and pack more number of patrons where as I; a designer may want space for easier movement or features/props etc.

A restaurant should focus on five things, art, linen, flowers, candle and a wow menu card. A restaurant should always select a designer on his past experience, projects done and the passion for the art and design. I design restaurants according to the experience and what do particular restaurants want for his customers to feel, what is the type of cuisine to be served, who will be the target audience the restaurant is targeting.

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