Perpetuating Excellence and Roaring Elegance via Artistic Interiors – Creative Director at Gandhara, Shahili Gomes

As an existing admirer of the ever-changing Design industry, Shahili Gomes, the passionate Creative Director at Gandhara, elaborates her perspective in the field of Interior Designing. 

Mesmerized by the true essence of knowledge and perseverance, Shahili took her first step into the professional arena at Manchester Business School, UK, preparing for her undergraduate education. Then, adding a firm texture to her qualifications, she completed the Summer Program at Stanford Business School in 2009 and spent a year at Copenhagen Business School back in 2011, further enhancing her craft. 

Shahili earned her Masters in Strategic Marketing at the Imperial College London, UK, before commencing work implementing branding strategies at Interbrand and strategic marketing duties at Pentland Brands, London. This was before she decided to take an audacious turn towards her solitude initiative, The Design Collective. As the Co-founder of a multi-brand clothing store, she was able to showcase masterpieces of 70+ designers whilst collaborating with Dian Gomes, her father and the founder of Gandhara. “I now divide my time between Sri Lanka and London, as my businesses are based in Sri Lanka, but life is in Chelsea with my husband, David and my seven-month-old son River,” reveals Shahili with pure content. 

Enthralled by the excitement within the market, Shahili describes it as “a space filled with many talented and creative people, both locally and overseas”. She prefers the industry’s liberated approach and aesthetic lead, creating an infusion between the traditional and the contemporary worlds. “Sri Lanka has a rich heritage and beautiful scenery upon which we designers can call for inspiration” she annotated. Having a firm background in business, she contemplates her interest in interior and fashion designing. “When I joined Gandhara as the Creative Director five years ago, I sought to bring a fresh perspective and to diversify our product offering. We now do a lot more consulting work whereby we help clients redecorate a property or rooms in a property, from floor to ceiling”, she added when elaborating on the exciting part of the industry. 

Exceptional products offered by Gandhara play a massive role in their creativity. Shahili states that these exquisite products cater to vast coverage of demands unlike any store around the island, as she affirmed, “The mix comes in the form of locally designed and manufactured goods along with a curated selection of imported goods. We source globally, and the geographic reach extends from Brazil and South Africa to Indonesia, Thailand, China and the Philippines, as well as the Netherlands”. She explains the unrivalled furniture collection with a wooden range from oak to teak, providing a premier eminence in fabric and leather layered sofas. She further details their exclusive fittings “Our accessories range is carefully curated and includes specialities such as hand-woven Thai silk cushion covers and Dutz hand-made glass vases.”

Further elucidating their interior designing approaches, Gandhara stands tall to be the only store providing complimentary design consultancy for the projects. “Our in-house designer has transformed many homes in the past, and we don’t charge a separate fee on top of the product cost”, she adds, when explaining their artistic choices incorporated with all possible alternatives to create striking results; “creative decisions have always been in service of a respective space”. 

Enlightening their philosophical beliefs, Shahili strongly agrees on how their morals revolve around their clients. “Design is a form of art, and art is always personal”, she explains, claiming their response to their customers’ wide-ranging preferences, whilst adapting to their intriguing requests in designs and manufacturing. Maintaining a collaborative value-adding process while working for their clients, Gandhara has bonded with top-tier interior designers and architects in Sri Lanka to facilitate elegant pieces for relevant projects. “This is quite exciting as it allows us to showcase the versatility of our store”.

Providing insight into the future of interior designing as a profession, Shahili claims her observations on the fluctuating subject. Her attention is focused on the advancements in technology and sustainability, creating a link between virtual reality and in-person chats to address the demands and concerns of their clients. “There is a strong possibility of showing prospective and varied interior design solutions to clients virtually, similar to the transitioning of Facebook to the Metaverse. This could lead to faster and more seamless solutions,” she appended. 

Shahili looks into the new momentum in sustainability, considering raw materials and designs. She believes that a sustainable perspective towards interior solutions and the relevant products can create an eco-friendly and cruelty-free approach towards the industry. Ending her account, Shahili professes, “Design will continue to transcend boundaries, where amalgamating elements from geographically dispersed cultures into a single space will become a norm. The future looks like a haven of design possibilities to me, and it excites me profoundly.”

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