Workroom: Priyanka Shah, founder, Shed

Precision and playfulness play a major role in the wide range of products that come out of Shed, a design workshop set up by an architect and an automotive engineer. “We were fresh out of college and were disillusioned by the kind of work happening in our respective fields, especially in India,” says the architect, Priyanka Shah, who started Shed with her cousin in Surat.

Priyanka Shah

The space where Shed operates out of is interestingly a converted parking lot in the basement of a factory that belongs to Priyanka’s family. For our new column, we speak to her about her brand and the unusual space where her team creates the quirky, ingenious products.

Tell us a bit about your experience when you were setting up Shed.

We wanted a very open space, and luckily, we managed to get that. It is about three thousand square feet which is quite generous for the scale of work we do. We decided not to outsource and make our own things instead. We also wished that whatever we visualize actually materializes right in front of us. We wanted to eliminate the in-between dealing with the manufacturer, waiting for the samples, etc. For that, we started with buying the machines required to realize our ideas. We wanted to invest our energies in learning at our own level and finding our own things.


What were the pre-requisites regarding the space when you were starting out?

A space that allows us to keep maximum production processes in-house was the main pre-requisite for us. There is so much freedom of mobility and flexibility here, and all the processes, like welding for example, can happen here. The space and size of our studio is also fantastic for dry runs before every show. We construct the entire exhibit right here before it is out in the public eye. And that’s an irreplaceable kind of quality. If I were to get such a space in a big city like Bombay, it would be almost impossible for me to experiment and function with the kind of freedom I get here because of the overhead costs like rent.

Our idea was to actually maximize the amount of space that we have. We wanted to use all of it and we didn’t want so many corners. All of our storage is on wheels, so it is a very mobile kind of a space. You can change the layout as and when required. It’s very fluid. That was something we were conscious of since the beginning.

There are a few things that we collected overtime from friends, and we bought a few art pieces. We spend eight hours or more every day in our studio. These help us to break out of our personal zone and get a fresh perspective right when we need it.


Have there been any developments on the way that you never thought of?

The scale and fluidity of the space has also allowed us to do a few design related events. Because there are no physical corners, we can actually create corners using the furniture we have here, and clear out areas to hold small intimate sessions, talks and discussions. For a couple of movie nights, we had spread out mattresses to watch movies through a projector.

Is there something in the studio that inspires your work?

There are a few things that we collected overtime from friends, and we bought a few art pieces. We spend eight hours or more every day in our studio. These help us to break out of our personal zone and get a fresh perspective right when we need it.

Is there something that you miss in your studio space?

Since this is a basement, our biggest issue here is that there isn’t any natural light. You don’t get to know what time it is outside. It is one big thing that I wish for. The natural light and air refreshes you, but we take breaks and go out for walks.

Words by Preksha Sharma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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