This week’s spotlight is on Aria Group’s Archit Sawhney. The Chicago Project Designer is a licensed architect who has migrated to focus more on interiors in his eight years with Aria. He describes his time at the firm as being “full of growth, never stagnant”. There are four distinct studios at Aria Group, and Sawhney’s focuses on restaurants and entertainment, counting Topgolf and Shake Shack as national clients. Sawhney speaks several times of the importance of listening to clients. “What is their vision, and how can we get them there?” He starts every client relationship by digesting their needs and desires for their new space; setting aside his preferences.
Boutique Design New York
Archit has attended BDNY several times, praising the trade show for its smaller, more curated feel than some of the larger trade shows. Since New York City real estate is at a premium, vendors are forced to only show the newest and best, not their full line. He enjoys that BDNY has a “more creative, less noisy, really curated material palette.” In keeping with the spirit of BDNY, Ceramic Technics plans to highlight a select few products with immersive content that sparks creativity and inspires those to design with passion.
Archit explains that he has noticed a shift in industry trends away from the highly reclaimed, with lots of barn wood and Edison bulbs to a darker, cleaner, urban feel. “Industrial was everything,” he jokes. These days, he is seeing lighter colors making a strong comeback. “Residential and hospitality (design) are merging more clearly,” notes Archit. He observes that previously, hotels were designed to feel more like home, but now homes are designed to look like hotels. Sawhney’s Indian culture, well known for its hospitality, influences every aspect of his design work. He takes inspiration from his travel as well as the exposure to other cultures he has had along the way.
“Problem solving is the heart of design.”
Regarding the virtual workplace of today, Archit sees the glass as half full. In his opinion, designers are narrowing their choices prior to ordering samples, reducing waste. Rather than order 7 options, now he may order 3. He says the current state we are in is causing everyone to be more mindful of their choices, work and personal, asking “Do I really need this?” Another positive he has found in the virtual world is that his colleagues are more trusting of each other than ever before. Sawhney leaves us with a sentiment that feels relevant now more than ever. “Problem solving is the heart of design.” The design industry is agile and creative, and is finding new ways to connect with clients, vendors, and colleagues.