In the dynamic sphere of interior design, certain figures make an indelible mark with their ingenuity and originality. One such individual is Sarah Choudhary, recently honoured as the Emerging Interior Designer of the Year at the LIV Hospitality Design Awards 2022 with her project Hotel Cirque. The accolade is no surprise to those familiar with her visionary approach to design, her work an intriguing blend of creative expression and practical functionality.
Our focus today is Choudhary’s acclaimed project, Hotel Cirque, a boutique hotel deeply inspired by the exuberance of Cirque du Soleil. The project, though rooted in hospitality design, is a vivid celebration of the performing arts and a testament to the transformative power of colour and form. From vibrant palettes to symmetrical layouts and organic furnishings, Hotel Cirque is a living embodiment of Choudhary’s commitment to narrating captivating stories through the medium of design.
In our interview, we delve into Choudhary’s design philosophy, discuss the intricate elements of the Hotel Cirque project, and explore the professional journey that led her to the doors of this spectacular creation. We also touch upon her future plans and aspirations in the wake of her LIV Awards win.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your professional journey? How did design come to have such an important role in your life?
A significant aspect of my identity has been shaped by my upbringing, which was heavily influenced by the world of art and design. My father is an architect, and my mother a fashion designer – and as a result, I spent a considerable amount of time immersed in the world of construction sites and fashion shows. This dual exposure sparked my interest, and I decided to pursue my studies in both. I studied fashion in a foundation school and went on to study architecture in my undergraduate years. As my education progressed, I realized that interior design was the perfect amalgamation of both fields, allowing me to combine my passion for fashion and architecture into a single profession. Hence, I pursued a career in interior design, which seemed like a natural choice.
Is there a philosophy, a vision, or a special process that influences how you approach design? Would you say that you apply it to your life as well?
My design approach revolves around crafting a spatial narrative that draws in the occupants and leads them through a story conveyed by the design. I strive to meticulously curate all aspects of the space, ensuring that every detail works in harmony to convey the overall narrative, while also meeting the practical requirements of the space. This balance between storytelling and human function is a core idea that I strive for in every project.
Why did you choose Cirque du Soleil as an inspiration for the project?
I selected Cirque du Soleil as the inspiration for my project, because of their bold and innovative approach to celebrating the diversity of human expression through their immersive performances. I was particularly drawn to their emphasis on creating unique experiences that are distinct from one another, as it aligned with my vision of a boutique hotel that would offer guests a truly personalized experience. Drawing from Cirque du Soleil’s commitment to creativity and imagination, I infused my project with a sense of adventure and wonder that I believe will resonate deeply with guests and leave a lasting impression.
What did you learn from designing Hotel Cirque, which is currently helping you in your new position?
Cirque du Soleil has such a distinctive identity that I had to push myself outside my comfort zone. To capture the expressive spirit at the heart of Cirque, I explored the use of vibrant hues to create a series of immersive spaces. This experiment in using colour to create a narrative, and the visceral impact that different hues can have on the experience of a space, greatly helped my design process.
What did you find most challenging while working on the project and what did you enjoy the most?
The desire to embrace the colourful eccentricities of the Cirque and experiment with bold forms and colours is what I enjoyed most during the design process. It led me to treat each space with a vibrant palette and celebrate the confluence of colours and forms. However, balancing this vibrancy while designing a cohesive space with a clear narrative pushed me to my creative limits. I had to rework and redesign the spaces multiple times, as I strove to create a balance between the individual elements and the whole design.
Could you share with us which designer you take the most inspiration from and how their work influences your own creative process?
One of the designers I took inspiration from is Sabyasachi Mukherjee. What I find particularly inspiring about Sabyasachi’s work is his use of bold colours and luxurious textiles to create a sense of opulence and grandeur, while his attention to detail and craftsmanship ensures that each piece is of the highest quality. I believe that a good design should engage all the senses, and Sabyasachi’s work is a testament to this belief. Another aspect of Sabyasachi’s work that I admire is his ability to create a sense of timelessness. His designs have a classic elegance that transcends trends, and I strive to create interiors that have the same enduring quality.
What does winning the LIV Award mean to you in terms of validation and recognition of your work in the interior design industry?
Winning the LIV Award has given me a sense of pride in my design skillset and confirmed my commitment to excellence in everything I do. Receiving this prestigious award has given me a tremendous confidence boost, inspiring me to continue pushing the boundaries of interior design and exploring new ideas in my future projects. I am excited to see where this achievement will take me in the future and look forward to continuing to create beautiful, innovative designs that inspire and delight.
In the future, would you like to repurpose the idea behind this project?
As a designer, I am constantly exploring new ideas and approaches, and I believe in adapting my design concepts to the needs of the project. Therefore, depending on the context and the project’s requirements, repurposing the idea behind this project is something that I am open to.
The interior design industry constantly seeks out narratives that challenge the norm and captivate the senses, a criteria that Sarah Choudhary’s work on Hotel Cirque meets impressively. She not only captures the vibrant eccentricities of Cirque du Soleil in her designs but also skillfully balances this intensity with the tranquillity needed for a boutique hotel.
Sarah’s courage to step out of her comfort zone and paint with a broad brush of vibrant colours, while maintaining the cohesiveness and practicality of the design, exhibits her creative prowess and commitment to her craft. Her approach to each space as a storyteller, creating a balance between aesthetics and function, resonates throughout the project. Choudhary’s endeavour to create a dialogue between the spectator and the space, inspired by the immersive performances of Cirque du Soleil, indeed provides a fresh perspective in the realm of interior design.