Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Raji RM & Associates

Please welcome Raji Radhakrishnan, the very talented founding and principal interior designer at Raji RM & Associates.  Please enjoy our conversation as you learn more about this incredibly artistic designer.

1)      Raji welcome to The Arts by Karena. I have been interested in your design work for quite some time. Thank you so much for participating in this feature. I understand you had a very interesting childhood. Would you tell us a bit about your youth and how it started shaping your future?

Hi Karena! the pleasure is all mine and thank you. I indeed had a childhood filled with wonderful memories. I started learning and performing classical dance from the age of seven and by the time I was eleven years old, I did my first performance tour around Europe, Canada and America for several months at a stretch. I did this tour for a second time when I was 13 and they were both exhilarating trips and perhaps one of the most profound experiences in my life that has also had a huge impact in my design life. Between the performances I especially loved touring castles, palaces, gardens and museums and the memory of these places and my love for these great cities continues till date. In a way, I think my design aesthetics have been shaped both by my training in dance as well as the exposure from these early travels. I think it's also why I can relate to many different cultures, people and design styles. I'll tell you this, even back then, when a reporter asked which one of the cities I visited I liked the most I did say Paris!

2009 Charity Works Green House

2) One of the things that attracted me immediately to your designed rooms is your use of fabulous works of art. How integral is fine art to the design process for you and your clients?

Art is always very important. Sometimes clients have their own collection of art works and sometimes I help clients start a collection. Regardless, for me art is a very integral part of designing a room. It doesn't have to be expensive or even large pieces of art. It could be paintings or sculptures or even found objects that are artfully displayed and used. In the hands and eyes of a designer, even the smallest works can have a terrific impact in a room if you know how to strategically use them. 

Most importantly, I never treat art like an accessory or a decorative element  in a room. I treat them as a launch pad for creatively expressing the inhabitant's personality in a space. That means, an art work that the client may not even have can inspire something totally unique and different in a room's design. This happens when I make a connection with that piece, the clients and the space. In other words, the rippling effects of art in design goes well beyond the confines of a room. It's the feeling it inspires and the ideas that are spun off from it that matters the most. 
Master Bedroom featuring a mural of The Louvre

3)     Who are some of your favorite artists and sculptors?

Dear lord, that's a tough question. I like so many of them and their works are so different yet somehow there is a commonality in the integrity of their works. Richard Serra, Anish Kapoor, Roy Lichtenstein, Eduardo Chillida, Yves Klein, Gerhard Richter, Al Held, Gunther Uecker, the sculptor Alexander Noll, the French poitiers, Robert and Jean Cloutier, Pol Chambost, et al.
2012 Kips Bay Showhouse
4)     Your use of large scale murals is also a mark of a Raji designed room. Tell us how that came about and are readers able to purchase these grand murals through you?

Murals are an important part of many of my projects although not always. But, the strong interest in my murals from the public and especially other designers and architects prompted me to launch a line of murals and they are now available through my firm online at rajirm.com/murals . We are very excited since many designers have already ordered several of my murals.

I started creating and using these murals in my own projects and show houses since 2006 one at a time. It was and still is a very organic process and selecting the right mural at the right scale for a space is always key. I actually wrote a blog post recently that tells the story about how the murals started for me and here is the link to it -http://www.rajirm.com/blog/2014/6/12/the-background-story-behind-raji-rm-murals 
Living Room featuring The Leopold II Mural

5)     How would you describe your design aesthetic?

People tell me that my design aesthetic is very different. I think that's a good thing. And it's different because I don't confirm to any particular design style as it changes with each project - the client's, their tastes and preferences, the architectural style of their home, etc. 

On the other hand, my personal design aesthetic, that is what you see in my own home or in show houses is definitely one of a worldly perspective. If you look deeply, my rooms tend to be very complex and rich with a multitude of references - both historic and contemporary. It's never just plain pretty. I suppose it's also a reflection of a deeper, more meaningful and an open attitude towards life and design and everything that affects it. 
Raji also uses smaller, intriguing works of art to make a space unique

6)     Are you working on any special projects at this time that you can reveal?

We have a few lovely projects underway in DC and in New York. One of them is a very special project I've been working on for a few years now in Bethesda, MD. The clients are building this home for their entire family especially their grand children to enjoy during their visits and a lot of thought is going into every decision we make. It's very heartening to see how this family interacts and the love and respect they have for each other. My hope is to create a home they will all love for generations to come.

A New York City Design Project

7)     Who are your mentors or designers (past or present) whose works you deeply admire? 

I adore Sir John Soane's work. His work definitely inspires the classicist in me. I also love Le Corbusier but not just because of his pioneering work in modern architecture but because his work prevailed though many other mediums including furniture and tapestry design, paintings, sculptures, etc., making him a very well-rounded and hands-on designer and architect. He was the consummate artist of his generation who literally wasn't afraid to take a paint brush to canvas. That's important to me and is also how I like to work.
Dramatic Dining Room with a mix of styles and periods
8)     What are some of your favorite pastimes and passions when you are not working?

Of late, I've become a movie buff! It started as a way to wind down from a long day's work but my husband has a serious interest in movies and would often discuss the background of film making and the director's work and it's kind of rubbed off on me. So now I don't just watch movies but often catch the cinematic details that went into the production which is all fascinating to me.

We both do love to read, although we don't get to as much as my father-in-law did or my father still does.  So, with what ever little time that's left between work and family, curling up with a great book or magazine is always a joy.
An Enchanting Entry
9)     Raji what would you say to the beginning designer or artist, words of wisdom from your own experiences?

It's easy to get carried away with today's social media, press, etc. While all of this is very relevant and important, please take the the time to really hone your craft. First and foremost you have to get knee deep in the art of design. Learn and develop your design sensibility and your eye for great design. Study from the source directly whenever possible. In the first few years of my own design career, I didn't give much thought to the media and was too busy focusing and developing my craft. When I was confident enough and to help kick start my business, I designed my own home sent it to a few magazines and luckily it was published. Thereafter, press attention and mentions were only incidental. I still focus on my work and continue to learn and hone my craft while also keeping an eye on all things business. Ultimately though, it's your work that counts. That's what it all boils down to and that's your legacy.

Thank you again Raji for such an enlightening interview! 
Readers you can reach Raji at her site Raji RM Interior Designer and also enjoy her blog tasse de the'  and the many interesting postings.

Always thank you to my friends and followers who support The Arts!

Please do  leave a comment, they make my day!

The Arts by Karena

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Phyllis Trevor Higgerson, Henhurst Interiors said...

I love this look, Karena; contemporary works in period rooms. She has great style and carries it off perfectly. Thank you for the introduction.

Elizabeth Day said...

Karena, I so enjoyed reading this interview and realize I have not been devoting the time required with my painting to see the progress I so desire. Thanks for sharing.

Debra Phillips said...

wonderful interview karena! i must be living under a rock as i was not aware of raji and can see why you would be enamored by her aesthetic.
crazy for the murals

ps; yes, i did purchase the urn lamps. let me know if you would like a better image

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

Fabulous interview, Karena! What beautiful rooms. Those big murals are divine!! I love her vision and style - Cheers!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning Karena! Listen, you said you wanted to participate in the link party that just started. Are you still in?Please let me know because I think if people come and don't find a related post, they may not return. Please let me know! Anita

Denise said...

Thank You for Your visit.I'm glad to hear You also dream of Ireland.An interesting interview and She seems a lovely lady.Denise

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Thank you for visiting and leaving such a sweet note for Bebe.

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