This is my way of giving back: Celebrity interior designer Gauri Khan

Hoping to bring dream homes to those with luxurious tastes, designer Gauri Khan partners with Bonito Designs

Published: 31st August 2022 07:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2022 07:57 AM   |  A+A-

Gauri’s take on a high-end dining space—Arth in Pune

Express News Service

Often called the ‘First Lady of Bollywood,’ Gauri Khan (née Chhibber) is known as the wife of actor Shah Rukh Khan, but is so much more than that! A celebrity interior designer in her own right, she was recently named one of India’s most powerful women by a reputed publication. Known for her work with high-profile individuals such as Mukesh Ambani, Roberto Cavalli, and Ralph Lauren, for whom she has designed spaces in the past, Gauri recently collaborated with Bengaluru-based Bonito Designs—a bespoke interior design studio—as a strategic partner and a brand ambassador, with the aim of making designer homes more accessible to discerning consumers across the country.

Born and brought up in Delhi, Gauri began her foray into design when she took up a course in fashion design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi. In 2002, she and her husband, Shah Rukh Khan, established a film production and distribution company, Red Chillies Entertainment, 11 years after they were married.

Gauri Khan

She first expressed interest in interior design, however, as a hobby, while renovating her bungalow, Mannat. In 2010, she ventured into interior designing officially in partnership with Sussanne Khan. In 2014, Gauri launched her first concept store called The Design Cell in Worli, Mumbai; and was invited in 2016 to show her designs at the prestigious Maison et Objet show in Paris. In 2017, she then launched her own design studio, Gauri Khan Designs in Juhu, Mumbai; and has since collaborated with many brands across the globe. 

Collaborating with Bonito Designs will now see Gauri (along with couturier Manish Malhotra) working on designer homes, pitching in with their expertise from the world of home décor. Now operational in Mumbai, Thane, and Bengaluru, Bonito Designs plans to launch in Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi, and Chennai over the next 18 months. We catch up with Gauri for a conversation on the partnership, her take on design, etc… 

What led you to choose this field as your career?
I have always been fascinated with design; I feel it comes naturally to me. My background in graphic design and experimenting with charcoal and oil painting further helped me hone my aesthetic sense. The first time I realised that design would be my calling was when I designed our home Mannat, and everything came into place beautifully. I received positive reviews from my friends and family. It gave me the confidence to get into the world of interior design.

What does design mean personally to you?
I have always been captivated by design. Design is a significant part of my life and I felt like design and design curation came naturally to me while growing up. Design is a means to expression. You can let your imagination run wild when you conceptualise designs. However, when working on a client’s design, their inputs are top priority. Club that with your expertise, and you will have the recipe for something that can easily be called an artwork. 

Why did you choose to be a part of Bonito Designs?
I have always felt that design exudes a spiritual vibe and allows boundless creativity. When talks of the collaboration with Bonito Designs came up, I felt it would be an excellent opportunity to create bespoke homes and experiment by combining my design expertise with Bonito. I like to keep things simple and classy, and I am confident that my association with the brand will redefine the paradigms of elegance in home interiors. Another thing that attracted me was how they customise each home. Their team spends substantial time understanding customer preferences before working on the design.

What is important when you start a project? 
Designing something requires a lot of prior brainstorming and conceptualisation. Before working on any project, I sit down and compile the customer’s requirements—the likes and dislikes, aspirations, and dreams. It helps gain an understanding of what the people living in the home will use the space for and what they would prefer. Visualising this goes a long way in giving ideas—this is what I do before working on any design.


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