Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani Founders of MuseLAB On Everything Design
Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani Founders of MuseLAB have a Focused Systematic Approach of Design Development. For them Muse is also a source of inspiration, THAT inspiration comes from the client, the project briefs; is what the M.Arch Graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design founders of MuseLAB strongly believe in. Both have a singular focus and passion for great design in the interiors which reflects in their work, projects done so far. Under their leadership MuseLAB offers end-to-end, bespoke and unique approach towards design. The specialty of their design is both intuitive and traditional method of analysis to identify the tangible and the intangible and create something which is exemplary, unique crafted with integrity, care, skill and attention to detail. The emerging patterns or results help them tell your story. Weaving a special Story with FortuneStreets they take us through their ‘Design Full’ journey.
How did you come up with this unique name MuseLAB? What does it mean?
Friendship, a common love for food, humour and everything design along with a life-changing trip to Mexico is essentially what led to the birth of this collaboration between Jasem Pirani and Huzefa Rangwala. In 2012, the firm MuseLAB was formed. Why MuseLAB? There lies a duality in the meaning of the word muse. To muse means to ponder, to reflect on, to deliberate – on everything design. A muse is also a source of inspiration, and for us, the inspiration comes from the client and from the project brief. Whereas the word LAB is, of course, derived from laboratory; we wanted our practice to based on the principles of research-based design and development.
Which was your first project, where and how was the experience doing it?
Our first project was in 2012, it was a 3 bedroom apartment in suburban Mumbai for a young couple with two daughters. We still feel extremely blessed to have had them as clients who believed in us from the first day itself. The process was enriching as we worked on all aspects of the design, and even collaborated with the client to customised fabrics for the curtains and the upholstery. It was also a challenge for us partners, as we were trying to understand each others design sensibilities and likes/ dislikes.
Post that how many projects has your firm done, which is the closest to your heart and why?
Our project bank thus far consists of primarily residential interiors. We have completed around 30 odd projects in this category. We have also worked on large scale corporate offices, flagship stores for Varun Bahl, retail stores for Chemistry and India Circus, restaurants and clinics as well. In terms of architecture, we are currently working on a mall in Jamshedpur, some villas up north in Punjab, a masterplan for low-cost housing in Dehradun and a master plan for an eco-resort in Pune. The townhouse is Patiala is currently a project that we are really obsessing upon. It is a 4,000 sq ft home with 17 terraces and 29 vaults. It is one of the most challenging projects as the contracting team speaks in the local dialect and our client has done a brilliant job in managing the project and helping us realise the intent with complete trust in our design.
Tell us about your most challenging project, where? Would like to know more on the same?
The resort project at Khadakvasla was one of the most challenging projects for our young practice. It was a 40-acre plot in which 15 acres were to be developed. The site is the only property in the Panshet dam region where development was permitted. Our aim was to ensure that there was the construction intervention had to be minimal with no cutting filling of the existing terrains. Every tree, big or small, was documented on site. For an entire year, we studied the site in terms of how it evolved during each season, in terms of water levels, existing streams, and new streams and the flora-fauna too. The head house, restaurants, yoga pavilions, spa and the villas were all designed in birch ply, with a kadappa flooring and recycled corrugated sheets.
You have been into this field for a couple of years now. Who was your inspiration behind taking up this profession?
Huzefa – Great design is always about how we use objects. My art teacher from grade school, in retrospect, influenced me to a great extent, in how a pen and a paintbrush performed the same task but were designed to be held differently. And being surrounded by a photographer for a father and a fashion designer for a mother subconsciously reinforced my interests towards everything design.
Jasem — Yes! I am a KFI (Krishnamurti Foundation of India) product. The curriculum at KFI boarding schools is grounded in the belief that a school is a place where one learns about the totality, the wholeness of life. Here beside academic excellence, great emphasis was given to self-development and discovery. This approach at Sahyadri School and Valley School where I attended from 7th grade to 10th grade and then 11th to 12th grade have influenced me greatly. These schools had great art and culture programs — when in school I spent a lot of my time in the art village — drawing, painting and exploring various art forms.
When you take up a project, which things do, you consider before initiating.
It is very important for us to align with the design brief. The scale of the project does not really matter to us. What matters to us is whether the project pushes our creative limits and gives us an opportunity to explore new avenues in the realms of construction techniques, materiality, and design.
What are the plans for your firm and tell us more about your new projects?
2018 thus far has been a very exciting year for us at MuseLAB and we have been blessed with challenging projects that boast of diversity in terms of program, budgets, site conditions and geography too. Outside of Bombay, we are currently working on a 7000 sft luxury residential project in Pune, a 60,000 sqft mall in Jamshedpur, an 8000 sqft Villa in Ludhiana and a 4,000sqft townhouse in Patiala. In Bombay, we are working on a flagship store for a Delhi-based fashion designer, an experience center for a furnishing studio and some interesting high-end luxury residential projects.
Your unique design approach and philosophy
At MuseLAB, every challenge is treated as an opportunity which is given careful thought and consideration. The project brief is our guiding principle – it is our source of motivation and inspiration. We use both intuitive and traditional methods of analysis to identify the tangible and the intangible. The emerging patterns or results help us tell your story. By a systematic process of conceptualization, schematic design and design development, our aim is to provide pure and focused experiential design to the user. We are an end-to-end design studio, offering a bespoke and leading-edge approach to design with a precise focus on unique and highly customized environments, interiors and furniture. Each space and or product embodies integrity and is created with the same care, skill and attention to detail.
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