Accessible design

by SUZANNE MIAO on Jul 27, 2011 in Interiors
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Everyone wants professional interior design work, but not all of us can afford it – that’s where HBA’s new Studio brand bridges the affordability gap.

Less than a year ago, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) launched its division Studio, seeing a gap in the middle-tier market to target consumers who wanted stylish, cutting-edge design but on a limited budget. Drawing on the same design expertise and abilities as HBA, Studio focuses on smaller-scale, lower-budget, faster-turnaround projects for China and India.

With offices currently in New Delhi and Shanghai, Studio focuses on a full range of projects from small to medium-sized hotels, resorts, private residences, show flats, standalone restaurants, nightclubs and office lobbies, purely in their domestic markets.

Perspective caught up with Studio India design director Rahul Shankhwalker to find out the state of play in design terms in the world’s 10th largest economy.

What has the market reception been like to HBA Studio’s launch in India?

Hugely successful. The fact that there is a cost-effect alternative, still HBA, which can deliver world-class designs and service at affordable prices is a huge draw for Indian clients. Studio has also opened up the low fee/quick turnaround projects market for us.

What sort of competition exists in India for design companies like HBA Studio? Is it a crowded marketplace or is HBA Studio forging new ground?

Although Studio is an Indian registered company, it’s not Indian in soul or quality. Hence we see very little competition coming from our Indian counterparts whose fees are still far lower than ours. As a busy economy, India is certainly an attractive market for designers from all over the world and that’s where our competition is.

What would you say HBA Studio offers Indian consumers that its competitors don’t?

Studio is perhaps the only firm that is Indian, has a design office in India, accepts fees in the local currency yet offers world-class design. This puts us a notch ahead of other international design competitors which don’t have offices in India and design remotely, at a high cost, from outside the country.

Read the full story in the August 2011 issue of Perspective magazine!