In the Studio with Mihir Sanganee of Designsmith

In the Studio with Mihir Sanganee of Designsmith Meet Mihir, creative director at Designsmith

Tell us about yourself…
I am an architect and designer and I've been nurturing and leading my studio at Designsmith. Having grown up in Dubai and seeing its landscape change, I'm a firm believer in creating and driving my own destiny. Apart from what I do professionally, I love to spend a few hours every week running in the mountains or cuddling with my dogs.

… And the company you work with.
Designsmith for me is my second home, I spend a major part of day at the studio. We are young and vibrant team – trying to establish ourselves in the local scenario with exceptional design solutions. 

Are you in the studio, working from home, or both?
We are back to the studio now and super glad. Meeting clients and having them visit the studio is an integral part to the Designsmith experience. We did have a few days where we had to shift out and only core team members were working from the studio – but it's been variable. Our manufacturing teams have been working through lockdown.

What does your work place look like?
Loft-esque. Our studio is based in Al Quoz, the industrial and manufacturing heart of Dubai. It's a very hands-on space where we get to experience continuously what we design. Brimming with samples and finishes, we are split across two levels.With multiple meeting spaces spread across the floor, there is no one singular experience with any of our clients. It's an ever evolving space.  My team is young and hungry, so we are always looking to learn.

How does your day start?
My day starts early, quite early some might say. I try and start with 25 push ups and some guided meditation. It's a new thing I've been trying to build in to my daily routine. The weather is good – I think running will make its way back into the morning schedule, too.

What are you working on right now?
As we work on projects varying from commercial F&B design to luxury residential projects we've been busy.

Currently we are developing two new food concepts for chains moving to Dubai, as well as luxury mansions in Dubai Hills and Al Barari.

What are the high points and challenges of the day?
Taking quick decisions – resolving queries and moving onto the next challenge. This is something I've learnt along the way – to be able to guide and quickly assess the pain point.

Absolute highs are receiving testimonials from happy clients and end users. This is a constant process for us as we design custom furniture as well and that is quick gratification. Delivering something of high value which people cherish and appreciate. It's also absolutely satisfying to see your work splashed across social media where people take photos. Small joys – but they definitely bring a smile to our face.

How and where do you seek inspiration?
Discussions, sketches, internet research and when all else fails – Pinterest. We follow a lot of architecture and interior blogs, it's amazing to see the details and finishes of jobs executed across the globe. They might not be case specific – but there is a lot of learning there. We obviously scour the social networks and other designers to stay with the times.
I learn a lot from my peer group, a networking platform, BNI, where I actively participate. These business leaders with their insights have helped us change the way we function and operate in our business model.

What's on your desk? What are you listening to?
Lots of stationary, coffee mug, protein shaker and sketching books. Currently listening to The Goal on Audible. There's always some music playing in the studio – the daily DJ takes charge – language is no bar.

Tell us three bookmarks on your browser
Pinterest, ArchDaily and BNI University.

... And three must-follows on design industry social media
@archello @Archdaily, @Dezeen

What do you love about your office space? What would you change?
Dynamic working environment, no cabins and hierarchy – everyone with an idea is welcome to the table to brainstorm and share. We are now extending our studio space further since the team is growing.  

When does your day end?
Between 6pm to 7pm usually, trying to reduce the number of hours, but the last few months have been very busy. So trying to bring a little more routine to this.

What's the last thing you do before you leave the office?
I check with every single person on the team if there is anything they need from me or if there is something I can help them with before I go.
This is a habit I've picked up from my father, he would always check if there was anything he could help with before he would leave.

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