“People from the design profession don’t typically work with the intention of achieving anything. They simply aspire to do something good or improve a current situation. They strive to keep doing something,” says Shrikant Nivasarkar, making light of his many achievements at the very outset.
In 1975, while still in his final semester at NID, Godrej offered him the opportunity to do his final year project at their factory. This was a unique situation, because in those days, NID didn’t have campus interviews; Nivasarkar was probably the
first to get such an opportunity. “I got insights into how the industry works,” he admits.
“I learnt labor management and project management from my stint with the Kamdars. After a while I quit working with them and started my own outfit in Mumbai, though I never had my own workshop. Due to family commitments I had to move back to Pune, and I landed one of my first projects with Kirloskar Cummins Ltd.”
As his practice, and alongside, his reputation grew, Nivasarkar also began to devote more time to allied activities. As member of the ad hoc committee of the Pune Chapter of the Indian Institute of Interior Designers, he helped organize talks by people from different fields.
“In the course of my journey I was offered an out-of-turn leadership of the Pune Chapter. I was also made the President of IIID’s national body. I realized that these associations were another medium of strengthening my profession and a way of learning and educating myself,” says Nivsarkar. The decision to engage more closely with colleagues and associations related to the practice of interior design led to bigger things. In 1997 Claude Berube, President of the International Federation of Interior Architects (IFI), the global apex body of the Interior Design profession, came to India and asked IIID to join IFI.
“Soon after that I got involved in pitching for the International Congress to be held in India,” says Nivsarkar. “IIID successfully organized the Congress and General Assembly of IFI in 2003, and I was very actively involved in the organizing team. In 1999 I was nominated by IIID as its representative on the board of IFI, where I continued my journey till 2009. This also gave me the opportunity to learn the practicing norms in different parts of the world as well as educational norms and
standards. Through interaction with the various country associations, IIID developed a syllabus for a Graduate level Program in Interior Design, as well as a document for practicing norms for the Interior Design profession. I was elected as President of IFI in 2007.”
Presently Nivasarkar is on the Governing Council of NID. “I have always been connected with NID,” he says of his alma mater. “Being a part of this prestigious body comes with a lot of responsibilities and expectations from both the faculty and the students.”
Through his long years as a furniture designer to reckon with, Shrikant Nivasarkar has shaped not only the living and work spaces of legions of satisfied customers, he has also laid out a philosophy for design that future generations would do well to emulate.
Read this story in POOL 74.