In our series, Job Perks, creators share little learnings, fun habits and other endearing peculiarities from their daily lives on the job.
Parul Vahanvati founded Pune-based Rayden Design Studio, along with her partner Mooshir Vahanvati. The studio works with a range of materials and techniques to produce well-designed everyday products — from earthenware to table linen. Here, she tells us about maintaining the cocoon that fuels her creativity.
With creative pursuits, most creative people tend to have specific things that they like to surround themselves with. At Rayden, Mooshir and I have an environment that’s incredibly precious to us and that keeps our motivation going. For instance, I like the studio a certain way (clean). I’m quite messy when I work, but at other times, I need things to be tidy. The office has huge tables, and I enjoy that space and that no one else is around. We’re both very fond of music as well. Everything from opera to Indian classical music is fair play — there are phases we go through, but Mooshir is generally the studio’s DJ.
At the same time, a sense of peace and quiet is imperative. We’re not big fans of having too many people stepping into the studio. We like to keep to ourselves, and just the people we work with. It’s this quiet — especially around certain hours of the day like our 4 o’clock tea times — that enables us to concentrate and be creative. I’ve noticed that on days when there are lots of production- or operations-related goings-on, it’s not easy to sit and draw or think of ideas.
What’s particularly special is that this space that’s our studio is only a kilometre away from our home, here in Pune. There’s no real differentiation between my home and my work — and I like it that way. Because we stay so close by, if there’s ever last-minute work that I need to do, even if it’s 9 in the night, I come, work and go back home. It’s also easy because I work with my husband Mooshir, and that’s always been fun. I don’t really know any other way of working, to be honest. With him, there are no ego clashes. Even if we have a fight at the end of the day, it’s no big deal. Besides, at work, we usually agree with each other. Our son, who’s seven now, doesn’t feel a distinction between the home and the studio either. It all overlaps a lot.
I suppose this sort of lifestyle and design process has been influenced by the people we’ve worked with in the past. When I was in New York, for instance, I worked with Israeli designer Ron Gilad. He’s shaped a lot of my thought processes and I adore the guy. He lives and breathes design, quite literally — in New York, he used to live in the studio where he worked. Over the three years I worked with him, it was fascinating to observe his process of thinking and developing an idea. I guess it’s what inspired me to work towards a life like that, to include a sense of design in everything — even in something as little as folding napkins.
It’s this kind of comfortable calm that I think lends the clarity needed for creativity and curiosity. It’s what enables us to come up with new ideas and be ready when inspiration strikes.