Democratizing Interior Design
Democratizing Interior Design
Design café was founded in 2011 by award-winning architects and designers Gita Ramanan and Shezaan Bhojani. In conversation with Realty Plus, Bhojani elaborated on the novel concept of automated design process, launched in April 2016.
What is the current scenario of home design & execution in India?
Home design and execution is reaching a certain level of maturity, with more and more home owners understanding the importance of a well-designed home, seeing how it impacts their everyday life. Good design can actually give you more space to live and enjoy it every day. Now people understand the benefits of going to a professional.To professionalize the unorganized interior sector, I think the only way is to invest in technology & training. The labour needs to be trained to operate in a professional manner and technology will help to monitor the entire lifecycle of the interior process.
What was the basic idea behind Design Café?
Design café was started with the view of democratizing good interior design, i.e. catering to home owners who could never afford to hire a top class designer by reaching out to them through the online medium and offering them the premium services of an award winning design team at no additional cost.
The simple nine steps online process allows homeowner to find a design, seek consultation, select the elements and put it all together in under 60 days. Designs are shown in 3D and once approved, the entire home is installed in 59 days, it can be tracked online and comes with a five year warranty.This way, Design Café has successfully helped add the sensibilities of design to over 51 homes in Bangalore.
What are the major challenges in the interior design sector?
There are huge challenges in this market, from the execution standpoint, getting skilled labour is a pain point and then training them is something that requires a huge commitment from a company.Also people are still swayed by carpenters who give them a low budget initially to grab a project and then either escalate the costs as the project progresses or use substandard materials.
How technology has impacted the interior design profession?
Technology is allowing us to systematize certain processes, which means we can offer better quality of service to large number of people across the country. People can now track their project from their phone or see their kitchen come alive in 3D within few minutes. So, overall, technology is helping to bridge the quality and project lifecycle gap.
Today, people have very little free time, they do not want to spend their precious time waiting for 3-7 days to see design options or get an estimate. With our intelligent designer, they can see how 20 different designs will look in their exact kitchen with a 3D drawing and get an estimate in 60 minutes.
What are the services offered and what is the scale of projects undertaken?
We offer our solution for homes across the spectrum, from 2-bhk flats to larger villas. The company provides complete turnkey solutions for home interiors at the click of a button. It has invested in customized software that powers design and build for each home in a systematic manner, never done in India till now. This ensures that each home is installed error free and on time without the hassle of visiting stores or carpenters. We also offer after sales service through the lifetime of the product.
What is the process of design & execution?
- It’s a simple five step process from bare walls to the finished home:
- Meet the designers who will suggest designs that suits your home and budget.
- Once the designs are confirmed, we show the complete home in 3D in our first ever design experience lounge where the client can touch and feel each part of the design.
- After the go ahead, the team starts production of design elements at the factory.
- The team installs every part of the home – from the furniture to the false ceiling.
- A 51 step quality check procedure ensures everything is perfect. You can track every stage of your project from your mobile phone through our website.
What are the future expansion plans?
Since its inception, the team of 45 expert professionals have successfully completed over 500 projects across the country ranging from 1000sqft to 1.4 million sqft in size, varying from individual homes, small apartments, large offices, restaurants, schools and hotels.
We plan to open three more experience centres across Bangalore over the next year and then expand to other metros like Mumbai and Delhi. The aim is to be a billion dollar business over the next five years, the industry is a 20 billion dollar industry and we are poised to change it.