In an exclusive conversation with Manuu Mansheet, Director of Mansheet Design catches up with NewsX in a special segment, NewsX A-list. He opened up about his journey and life in the creative field. Mansheet is now a renowned interior designer and visual merchandiser.
He always desired to be artistic but initially, he started his journey in academics. “I always wanted to become an artist and a creative person but I didn’t know which field to choose and because of family pressure, mainly which is the typical system, I got into Academics.”
“I did an MBA but my heart was not there because I wanted to do something different and creative, as well as more fulfilling and that took me to this route. I found my calling and started in the profession with visual merchandising and styling and now it’s been over 25 years and I’ve been working in this field.”
Speaking of how he ended up in the designing field while working with reputed companies and building his repertoire, Mansheet said, “I did not know where this kind of education could be pursued but visual merchandising happened to me by chance. From the start, 9 am to 5 pm jobs didn’t suit me and interestingly Taj Khazana- a chain of luxury lifestyle stores offered me the post of doing visual merchandising and window display for them and it really opened up doors.”
The feeling and desire of not studying at a design school always stayed inside Mansheet but there were no such institutes in those times. But working with IKEA really changed directions for him and he designed for them in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a year which gave him a lot of practical training and the confidence. “It helped me a lot to understand visual merchandising and I learnt about lighting and colour and communication which stayed with me forever.”
But stepping into his career wasn’t a cakewalk, Mansheet opened up about the reactions he received from people. “Mostly I am proud of the journey mainly because when I got into this there was a lot of backlash as to what I am doing and why an MBA would be doing this kind of work. It was looked down upon by my family, extended family, neighbours and society in general and I had to win that battle.”
Mansheet talks about one of his biggest milestones and recognised work, Swadesh Bazaar which he designed for Mukesh Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani’s pre-wedding celebration “Initially I wasn’t aware it was for the Ambanis but I got very nervous when realised the world would be watching it up to my neck but the whole team and everybody was very encouraging. It was a huge project for me and I don’t think I slept for 72 hours and was working non-stop. But in the end, it came out very well and very much received and appreciated by the family and people all around.” Adding to one of his achievements post the wedding, Mansheet featured in Huffingpost- a renowned International publication and they shot a feature movie on him recognizing his work.
Sharing about his thoughts on the personal project of building a house and the ideas behind its aesthetic and organic nature which is very close to his heart, Mansheet says, “I grew up in a very big colonial bungalow which wasn’t ours and we had to vacate it during my teenage years and that thought lingered for long and I wanted to do an old-world charm project which would be very easy to maintain and initially I didn’t imagine it will turn out like this.”
“The house was supposed to be a simple one for me and my parents but it became a sort of Museum and it’s been one of the most celebrated houses in the city and featured in many magazines but I am very grateful and content especially during such times that it is a safe haven for me and my family.”
The designer also happens to be a visual lecturer in many reputed design and management institutes honing young, creative minds with his expertise for over 20 years now. “During the early 90s when I was looking for creative career options I didn’t find any institute to go and learn but I want to give back to society and really look forward to Mondays which is reserved only for teaching and interaction with those young, passionate people.”
Talking of the pandemic and future and what it means to him, the designer feels it made him realise anything can happen anytime. “Besides adding value to myself, I also want to contribute to society and focus on my clients and future projects and help everybody complete their dream home.”