Architecture Firm Name: Fadd Studio
Firm Location: Bangalore, India
Founding Year: 2012
Farah Ahmed has had an interesting exploratory journey before stumbling upon Interior Design. While Farah is creative, she is also very Type-A. She likes Excel almost as much as she likes Photoshop. Like most artsy people, she didn’t always know what she wanted to do with her life, but she did know that whatever it was, it had to keep her intrigued, challenged and busy.
During her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University, Farah studied Photography and Political Science and then moved to New York where she worked in advertising at Ogilvy and Mather focusing on key client relationships. With her right brain craving more stimulation and her desire to break the shackles of the corporate world to explore her independent creative side, she delved into fine art photography. She produced, showcased and sold fine art photography as an artist based out of India. Still not fully satiated, and in her desire to add tangible and practical aspects to her creativity, she began working at renowned architecture and interior firm of Khosla Associates. After a year and half, Farah knew she had struck the balance she sought between numbers and colours, and of leveraging her creative skills to help clients achieve their vision.
Farah moved to Milan and received a Masters Degree in Interior Design from Istitutio Marangoni and returned to India in 2011 to start her Interior Design firm.
And on her return to India, Farah looking to start her own studio and Dhaval looking to explore new opportunities on his own, they started FADD Studio in 2012. Her career in advertising made her acutely aware of business, branding and strategy; photography trained her eye to work with darkness and light, which is extremely essential for interior design. FADD studio is her equilibrium between business and creativity.
Farah loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and will do anything that gives her a rush like sky-diving, bungee jumping, scuba diving; locally she enjoys watching movies in theatres and trying out new restaurants. In her free time, which is usually before going to bed, she watches TV shows like Billions, Suits, Grey’s Anatomy and Games of Thrones or pours over design blogs. Farah’s is a busy mum of an 11-month old Leah and a 3.5 year old Luca!
Dhaval Shellugar was born to design and he always knew it. At a very young age, while Dhaval helped his father in his automobile business, he would come across several posters and calendars of innovative vehicle design that fascinated and inspired him. He would often find himself lost in the sleekness of their exteriors and awed by the intricacies of how many little parts make a whole. He recollects this as his first introduction into the design field; and attributes this early exposure significantly to his increasing fondness and gravitation toward the creative arts while growing up.
In school, he naturally dabbled with arts and crafts. After high school, during the course of his academic career – still intrigued by details – he frequently visited his uncle’s architectural practice. Here he would often spend hours looking at architectural and interior drawings – their geometry, theirs colours and every little element resonated with him. With the instinct for creativity, newfound passion for drawings, and a conviction to be a creative visionary, he decided to pursue interior design in his studies and applied to the Rachna Sansad School of Design in Bombay.
After Dhaval graduated from the Rachana Sansad School of Design in Mumbai in 2006, Mika Designs quickly recruited him. Here, he gained a strong foundation in the practical facets of the interior design field. He quickly learnt to apply theory to practice and developed a keen eye for details while working on high end residential and other boutique projects.
After Mika Designs, he moved to Khosla Associates in Bangalore where he was a Senior Design Lead for almost four years. Here his exposure ranged from various global and local trends to fine tuning what he had already learned about the importance of the basic principles of design. He was able to hone his skills to their fullest. It was at Khosla Associates that Dhaval met Farah Ahmed. They worked on the same team for almost eighteen months and found their working style complementary. Over the four years at Khosla Associates, Dhaval headed diverse and award winning projects – taking them from concept to execution. This invaluable experience gave him the inspiration, drive and confidence to eventually set off his own.
FADD Studio was founded in 2012 in Bangalore by Farah Ahmed, who studied at Istitutio Marangoni in Milan and Dhaval Shellugar who studied at Rachana Sasand’s Academy of Architecture in Bombay. Both met while working at Khosla Associates under Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand. The firm’s projects range from residences to offices and retail spaces to hospitality. Currently, the studio is designing a clubhouse of an exclusive gated community; luxury villas in the outskirts of Bangalore and a holiday home in the heart of Bangalore.
The world of design is in a constant state of flux; exploring and evolving into and out of new ideas, concept, trends and fads. It is also about revisiting older trends that were set decades ago and reinterpreting them in a fresh and contemporary way. So is the philosophy of FADD Studio. While FADD is an acronym for Farah and Dhaval Design, it is also a play on the word ‘fad’. It is easy to stagnate into a style that becomes a firm’s identity. And they believe that having a singular style defies the purpose of design, which is to push beyond what one knows, achieve something novel and unique in every project, and be constantly propelled out of the comfort zone into a world where one not only embrace new concepts and techniques but also create fads of their own. With this stubborn sensibility and desire to be original, they aspire not to create a style unique to us but to give you a design identity that is exclusive to you and your space whether it is a home, restaurant or store.