Meet architects Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar, who love to come up with out-of-the-box ideas

Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar are the people behind the Farah And Dhaval Design (FADD) Studio on St. Mark’s Road, which started in 2012. So, what’s new about them?

For starters, they like working with offbeat and natural material such as burnt rust cement or bricks. “Cement, when it is waxed, looks so gorgeous that you will be surprised that it is cement,” explains Dhaval.

He adds that he always had a passion for architecture. “My father was into automobile accessories. The products at his store always intrigued me and I would find myself creating something new with the material he had. Then, I decided that I had to study architecture at Rachana Sasand’s Academy of Architecture in Bombay, after which I worked with Sandeep Khosla.”

Farah, on the other hand, was an artist. She says she always had leanings towards design. She studied in the U.S. and the turning point came when “I was gifted a camera which drove me into photography. Strangely it was never about people, but more about landscape and forms and textures. I was so inspired by nature that I found myself always creating an abstract composition.”

The young architect started exhibiting her works and lived as an artist before she interned with Sandeep Khosla, where she met Dhaval and the duo decided to start FADD.

She went on to study at Istitutio Marangoni in Milan. “I feel interior designing is a different manifestation of the same kind of creativity that I used in my art work. The only difference is in architecture, the physical space becomes my canvas,” explains Farah.

Coming to their work they say that Indians are fascinated with new designs. And with the world becoming smaller, resources are always “at our disposal”.

Dhaval says one should also always keep a tab on global trends. “That way you will be in sync with the latest in the market. No, we do not have a signature style for that will just put us and our thinking in a box. It is more like playing with form and function and yet keeping it minimal.”

They talk about the challenges they face in their profession. According to Farah it is “changing people’s set notions about designs. They think if something is expensive then it is classy. That is not always true.”

Dhaval says for him the challenge was designing the florist shop, Flower Box in Indiranagar. “We wanted to create a special look for the flowers, which are so colourful by nature. So we had to create an intensive design that would not kill the beauty of the flowers. We studied Zen and Ikebana and other flower arrangements to come up with something unique for this store.” The duo used shades of white and grey and found that the “flowers simply pop out from the shaded backgrounds”. A Kerala houseboat designed for a business man in Goa is also close to their heart.

For more on the architects, log on to or call 22223661.

This column features those who choose to veer off the beaten track.