Call it fate or circumstance, but it is fascinating to see how a chance encounter with the design world has resulted in transforming Rajiv Saini’s life. A computer science graduate, Saini happened to meet noted designer Rajeev Sethi, and this encounter unearthed his own passion for art and design. In subsequent years, he has had the privilege of being trained by Sethi himself, learning the nuances of design first-hand — armed only with his inherent interest in the field. On this rock-solid foundation, he began to build Rajiv Saini + Associates (RSA) from 1995 onwards.
Now a leading interior designer, Saini began his career by working for a select group of people. Each of these works were governed by simple principles. In fact, even today his work is known for its crisp, pure lines and restrained material palette , besides their economical and subtle textural tactility.
“We don’t think so much in terms of obvious patterns,” says the designer who focuses instead on diversity of colours, textures and materials. Most notably, Saini is known for creating spaces that celebrate art in every form. This formula has helped them acquire newer commissions, even globally in countries like Singapore, Dubai, Thailand and the UK, besides winning multiple awards.
Over the years, his expertise has evolved from strictly interiors, and now includes some remarkable, contemporary architectural projects. His upcoming projects are a good indication of where RSA is headed and how it will impact the design scene in the country. There is a corporate staff housing in the making, a project commissioned by an old client. It will be interesting to see Saini’s design philosophy inform this project, a complex housing seven-storeyed buildings along with an office complex, in the small town of Dhampur (three hours from Delhi).
“The other is a holiday home, about 100kms from Mumbai, located in the midst of a forest, overlooking a lake. It’s being built entirely in exposed concrete, with sculptural forms and spaces within,” shares the designer, as he offers a glimpse into RSA’s future.

Looking Back

Devigarh Hotel ( Udaipur), one of RSA’s earliest and most widely recognised projects, not only challenged his team as designers but also taught them some valuable lessons. “It made us constantly innovate and dynamically rethink our approach to the entire project,” says Saini.

Looking forward

RSA has been working on a large-scale residential project in London for over two years. “Blame it [the delays] on London’s planning regulations,” says Saini. “Once complete, it will be filled with big names in international art and furnished with an eclectic mix of design pieces, some vintage and others new,” he adds.

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