Metro Muses: Shantanu Garg
In his book Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino wrote, ‘With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears…..’ Whether they provide sensory stimulation or are spaces you go to, to soak in art and culture or even where you can give rein to your creative energies, there are some cities that stay with you long after you leave. These interior designers certainly found this to be true. They talk about that one place that has drawn them in with a set of memories and sentiments that make it impossible to forget and difficult to not return to.
Shantanu Garg Designs
If you meet Shantanu Garg, don’t run down Dubai or tell him that you think it’s not the friendliest of places for a non-local. He will do all he can to rid you of this notion. “It’s a myth that Dubai is partial to locals. There are lots of foreigners and expats and the local authorities provide ample security and provisions,” he insists.
Garg’s on-going love affair with this metropolis started after he visited the city with his mother, who is also his mentor. He recalls the feeling of wonder he had felt when their client took them to a 100-foot-high structure overlooking the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina and Palm Islands. He is now in the process of designing what is scheduled to be the world’s largest penthouse and a private beach residence. And the city provides ample inspiration to do just this. “My work takes me all over the world — to Milan, Paris, London — but Dubai is like nothing I’ve seen before. I love everything about it — the pace, the spirit, all of it. What makes it different is that there’s still so much development happening across all fields — design, infrastructure and even culturally and socially.
His favourite thing about the city is how it doesn’t make him feel like a tourist. “I love just walking or jogging along the Dubai Marina, which has such a refreshing environment.” This reflects in his work too. “From cultural to design shows to the heritage vibe, it has all served to keep me in work mode here,” he says. ‘If the city was a person, how would he describe it?’ I ask. “Well-connected and approacable,” he says without missing a beat. But it must have some flaws, I insist. “The extremely hot climate! That’s the only thing that can act as a limitation here,” he laughs.