Desai Chia Architecture Desai Chia Architecture

Desai Chia Architecture




Desai Chia Architecture

We sat down with New York-based firm Desai Chia Architecture to discover their holistic approach to design and best decorating advice for fall.

Exterior view of a house designed by Desai Chia Architecture

Exterior view of a house designed by Desai Chia Architecture

FOUNDING PRINCIPALS Desai Chia Architecture

Arjun Desai AIA and Katherine Chia FAIA

Founding Principals

What inspired your passion for interior design?

We have a holistic approach to design: architecture, interiors, landscape design, and product design are intertwined in our design thinking and our process. We consider such a wide range of creative ideas at all scales in our projects, and interior design is melded into that process in a seamless way.

Who are your (design) mentors (if any)?

A lot of inspiration for our work comes from the art world, both in terms of the use of materials, light, form, and experiential conditions that engage people. We also like to travel and experience environments in other cultures to understand what influences form and place-making.

What are the most important decorative elements in your house?

We live in a converted industrial loft, so a lot of the old structural and infrastructure elements form the main framework for the home—sprinkler pipes, concrete columns and beams, etc. We've used our home as a laboratory for exploring materials and fabrication methods. A modular shelving system, a seamless resin kitchen, a recessed bathroom sink, and a wire stool are just a few of the elements that we designed for our own home as prototypes for client projects.

Details of bedroom Details of bedroom Details of bedroom Details of bathroom

Details of a bedroom suite designed by Desai Chia Architecture

“Be open to new ideas, and be willing to edit...elegance and beauty come from contrast and a certain amount of restraint. ”

What are your three most important elements when designing a bedroom/room?

The proportion of the space, the quality of light, and selecting materials that resonate with the client's personality and how they envision using the room.

Why is quality of sleep important to you?

It's so important because I never feel like I get enough of it! So when I do sleep, I really want that experience to be a way to fully decompress, relax, and renew. I really treasure sleep and am so grateful when I get a good night's rest.

From your experience, what is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?

Be open to new ideas, and be willing to edit. It's easy to pile a lot of things into a space, but elegance and beauty come from contrast and a certain amount of restraint. Let natural light play a role when selecting materials and furnishings-- the play of light across a room over the course of the day should create nuanced changes that renew the experience of being in the space.

What upcoming projects are you looking forward to?

We are currently working on four new homes with a terrific group of clients. We are also in the early stages of concept design with an arts institution-- it's very exciting to re-imagine how the arts can fully engage a community.

Why is the Fall a great time to refresh one's home?

Everyone is always so busy during the summer, so fall always seems like a good time to pause, regroup and focus on one's personal environment. The warm fall light also lends itself to viewing spaces with a certain glow that is very inviting.

What is your Style Of Living?

We always think about how people communicate, collaborate, and build relationships & how our designs can strengthen those actions. While our style has a minimal and modern direction to it, we always weave in conceptual themes and metaphors that create a narrative based on our client's lifestyle and background. We really don't have a set Style of Living-- every project is different because each client brings such a diverse set of interests and cultural references to the project, and we feel that allows for a much more engaged and evocative design process.

What are your "Frette Favourites"?

The Rectangular Light Quilt and the Ultimate Sheets. They are so versatile for any modern environment.

Where do you go for design inspiration in New York?

I walk around the city a lot and find inspiration all over New York in the most unexpected places. I always enjoy wandering through the museums-- the Met, MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Rubin Art Museum- and the art galleries.

What is your favourite book, magazine, or site related to design?

There are too many favorites to pick just one!
Frankly, sometimes I get so "imaged" out that I find it's better to switch for a bit and read books that are not design related in order to think about how people engage with environments in a different way.

What is on your nightstand?

Just my glasses-- I try to keep the bedroom very minimal so the focus is only on sleep and nothing else.

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