Dr Jitin Chadha, Director, Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD)

A first-generation entrepreneur, Dr Jitin Chadha is the Founder Director of Indian Institute of Art and Design and Indian School of Business and Finance. Dr Chadha was awarded his Doctorate in Finance in 2011, in a grand ceremony chaired by the HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal and Prof. Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University.

 

The interior design business in India is estimated to be between $20 – $30 Billion, as per the industry report “Indian Interior Design Markets | 2020 – 2027” published Mordor Intelligence. Its growth is attributed to the growing real estate market, rising income levels, urbanization, the influence of social media, work from home requirements and lifestyle changes. The rapid acceleration of technology (Augmented Reality, Virtual Tours, Artificial Intelligence) has allowed the construction and design of spaces to be tech-friendly and adaptable to meet multiple needs.

For Interior Architecture and Design graduates today, the work opportunities are immense. You can access any company that creates spaces for people to live in, shop, work and be entertained. These include architectural, construction and interior design firms, events management companies, design consultancies, retailers, hospitality and recreational spaces, theatre, TV or film and digital content creators. Beyond the familiar are alternate careers like interior styling and visual merchandising, heritage and conservation architecture, exhibition design, set design, experience design, furniture design, product design and scenography. Such diversity encourages the need to decide early in your career if you prefer to be a generalist or specialist.

Be in demand 

Find your niche, that specialized segment of the market or area of work that interests you deeply, and you see yourself wanting to build a career. Clarity of thought and a plan of action are a priority to build professional competency and unique skill sets that will set you apart.

There are multiple ways to assess your niche, gain experience and proactively build a strong portfolio and network of contacts before deciding on permanent employment or starting your own venture. Entering competitions, attending exhibitions, undertaking stimulating personal projects, hobbies and side hustles provide valuable learning experiences. Social Media helps to follow trends and gain knowledge about various innovation and best practices from across the globe.

Relevant work experience showcases to employers your capabilities in a professional environment and creative portfolios showcase the range of your abilities. Don’t exclusively focus on what the company can do for you. Instead, showcase how you can support them. That’ll help them to assess how well you can fit into their work culture and why they should invest in you.

  • Companies that will offer you the opportunity and encourage your growth are multidisciplinary design firms and medium-sized start-ups.
  • Small start-ups do seek fresh graduates who show unique design sensibilities.
  • Internships are a great way to gain entry into well-established firms.
  • Don’t shy away from entry-level or freelance jobs. They help to gain an insight into the context in which a company operates.
  • Travelling helps to garner a wide range of experience working with different types and sizes of firms, niche marketplaces and offline and online spaces.
  • Team up with app developers to ideate and create sector-specific apps (Homestyler) and/or become an influencer and thought leader using YouTube and Instagram (InteriorMaata).

Over the years, the competitive design landscape has evolved with many award-winning studios and start-ups with a pan-India presence dominating the market. Numerous online start-ups have emerged that work as a fulcrum between designers, vendors and consumers.

Disrupt to customise your entrepreneurial path to success

Apart from being inspiring, startups will expose you to challenging tasks, the latest tools and technologies. Project management experience will teach you professionalism, communication, time management, and coordination between stakeholders. It’ll also provide the necessary operational skills to manage an office and team, create a brand and execute financial responsibilities.

To excel and align yourself as a strong team player, you will need to exercise an entrepreneurial mindset and problem-solving capabilities. This can help to gain prominence as a valuable team member, or it’ll encourage you to venture on your own. The entrepreneurial struggle will then feel less challenging and might help you to choose your co-founder(s)!

The Design Charrette team were friends for years and occasionally teamed up to collaborate in competitions, conferences and assignments. These interactions helped to identify their skillsets and bond as a team. They each craved creative freedom. This dream kept them focussed as they gained experience working in different organisations and cities. When the realisation dawned that it was ‘now or never,’ they simultaneously resigned to start TDC. They faced numerous hurdles but persistence and faith in their ideas and each other’s abilities kept them going.

Today creativity, sustainability, personalisation, adaptability and technological innovation form the new responsible design guideline. So, to find success you must exhibit clarity of thought, collaborative team effort and complementary skills to integrate yourself into the industry.

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