The Designer’s Morning Routine; Neuma, Stambh

From working out of an unconventional yet dynamic cocoon to starting his mornings with a set routine, one thing appears certain: Ashiesh Shah finds contentment in balance. The design maverick, known for celebrating the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi in his work and even otherwise, gets chatty with us about everything that brings him alive.

How do you start your mornings? Take us through your routine.

Ashiesh Shah: I start my day with a glass of water and a bowl full of fruits and nuts, followed by exercise. Although it’s tough, I avoid my phone and listen to music or podcasts to stay focused and energised.

Go-to grooming products

AS: My go-to is usually a moisturiser. I lean towards homemade remedies over using commercial grooming products.

Grooming essentials you swear by + a recent find you’d recommend?

AS: One grooming essential I have handy is a trimmer. I like Aesop products and my recent find is an oral care brand called Salt.  

 Day and night fragrances

AS: Day: My personal favourite is Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum.

How do you like your coffee? 

AS: Black and hot.  

What does breakfast look like?

AS: Soaked nuts, fruits, and infused tea.

An instant mood-lifter

AS: Music.

What’s your workout like? 

AS: My workout routine varies, but I aim to incorporate cardio at least 2-3 times a week. I also enjoy barre classes, yoga and sound healing meditation.

Different news portals you check out in the morning

AS: I primarily follow design portals like Nowness and also avidly follow CNN, Bloomberg, and FT Weekend.

Which are the new-age décor brands from India and across the globe to bookmark right now?

AS: I’m particularly drawn to galleries for their comprehensive approach. I admire the curation at design galleries like FUMI, Carpenter’s Workshop and The Invisible Collection. In addition, I’ve been keeping an eye on some Indian brands that are doing fantastic work: Heirloom Naga, Vastrakala, Neytt and Glass Forest.

Three of your favourite pieces / collectibles that make up your home? 

AS: The collectibles that make up my home are: a limited edition set of six Tadao Ando bowls, Shanti Bindu by S.H. Raza and Le Corbusier stool.

A décor/ fashion brand you’d like to collaborate with? 

AS: Issey Miyake.

Take us through your design process behind Stambh.

AS: I began with sculptural object design, drawing inspiration from concepts like the hiraṇyagarbha, axis mundi, and patterns. Transitioning into three-dimensional expressions, I prioritised purity and minimalism in both lines and objects, which became central to my artistic language and practice.

What’s a regular day like in your life?

AS: I’m not one for strict routines; I prefer a dynamic day. My mornings follow a set routine, but beyond that, I like to keep things flexible. I don’t stick to a desk; instead, I work at a communal table in an open office with a democratic atmosphere. After work, I typically spend quality time with family and friends or enjoy some OTT content while having an early dinner. My weekends, however, bring a change of pace and activities.

What’s on your playlist? 

AS: I’m quite selective about my music choices. I enjoy discovering interesting tracks on Spotify, focusing on music that helps me stay calm. I prefer slow jazz or its new-age variations.

What are you currently reading?

AS: Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman by Alan Rickman.

Three things we’ll always find on your nightstand

AS: Moisturiser, a bottle of water and my reading glasses.

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