The U & Us Studio by Godrej at Bangalore
I said grey.
She (my interior designer) agreed to grey.
We are talking about wall color here.
When I walked into the new home, I was shocked. The wall was painted …..
……..pink.
The U & Us Design Studio in Bangalore
“What happened to grey?” I asked. And she proudly pointed to the navy sofa.  Oh well, you get it. We have all lived to tell such horror stories of miscommunication when doing up a new home.
There is an old adage my mom kept repeating through this nightmare project of furnishing our new home, “build a house and organize a marriage, and you’ve seen it all in life.” How true!
I was invited to the launch of the first U & Us Design Studio at Koramangala in Bangalore yesterday. U & Us, a Godrej venture, is an interior design studio with a difference.

WHAT IS U & Us:

U & Us Design studio Bangalore

U & Us Design studio, Bangalore

As many of you may be aware, Godrej already has an interior design solution called Godrej Interio. So why another one?

U & Us is an interior design studio where homeowners can get their spaces designed and implemented by expert designers with the help of interactive technology. This is a turnkey solution, which in short, means they design and execute everything from movable furniture and false ceiling to lighting, wardrobes, and furnishings. You pack your bags and move in when the house is ready. As simple as that.

U & Us is nothing like I have seen before. The technology is the game changer here as  U & Us uses VR (virtual reality) to help homeowners get a feel of their future home as it is being designed. 

Once the house is designed, with the help of a VR headset, you sit in a simulated environment of your future home. So you know if everything is exactly as you visualized in your head: the wall colors, the furniture placement, the height and depth of the wardrobes, the shutter finishes in the kitchen, if there is enough leg space to move around, how far is the sink from your hob etc etc. 
 
There is no room for assumptions.  It also gives you the creative freedom to experiment with colors and finishes. Will white art look good on a pink wall or a beige artifact? What curtain colors will go with your white sofa and wall color?  
In the end, what you see is what you get.

SO, HOW DOES IT WORK:

6 step design process at the U & Us design studio

You will have to schedule an appointment to go through the design process.  It’s a six-step process where a designer will sit with you at these interactive kiosks and understand the size of your family, spatial requirements, decorating preferences, color choices, and any unique tastes. These are then translated into a final design after a few iterations. Finally, you get to visualize your home in 3D.

A designer and I planned a sample living and dining room for a Godrej Air apartment. Here, you can see the empty space metamorphose into one with furniture.

Living room planning at U & Us

Living room planning at U & Us

Living room planning at U & Us

These hexagonal blocks are interesting pieces to the design puzzle. Each face of the block represents a design and finish for a surface such as wood, wall, furnishing etc. If you have always dreamed of a bold home with yellow wardrobe and a red couch, this is a playground for you to see if it will work without spending thousands on the real home.

 

Color visualizer

color visualizer

 

HOW IS U & Us DIFFERENT FROM OTHER INTERIOR DESIGN STUDIOS:

the U & Us Design Studio in Bangalore

Color visualizer at the U & Us Studio in Bangalore

Well, the brand Godrej comes into play and their associations with several players across the value chain. This is a better option than the unorganized carpenter model because everything is manufactured at their factory and installed at your place in a matter of few days.

There are no mid-project cost escalations, and dust and mess at site. But, for me, the deal maker is this: not having to deal with carpenters, following up on deadlines, and instead let the U & Us project managers handle that for me.

WHAT DID I LIKE ABOUT U & Us:

THE VR EXPERIENCE: Once I donned the VR headset, it felt like I was standing in my future bedroom and looking around; commenting to the designer if I liked the color combinations, if the internal partitions in the wardrobe were convenient to use, if I wanted more space, what colors I liked and what I did not like, if the position of the bed was right in the bedroom, and if there was too much space.

This was so much easier to visualize and feel the space. Conventionally, interior designers design in SketchUp or Autocad and give a 2D rendering of their diagrams. You can never tell how it will turn out. It’s always a surprise till the end when you walk into the new house.

Remember that pink wall?

And that surprise can either put a smile or frown on your face.

TRANSPARENCY: I was keen on knowing about the materials used because that was a point of contention with my first designer when we were doing up our home. She used particle board when the contract promised ply. Since I hadn’t seen a particle board before, I had no idea it was being used. When I did realize, it was too late.

The designer at U & Us educated me on the different materials, which one to use for what, and if acrylic finishes work well for Marine ply, and if not why.

kitchen model at the U & Us studio in Bangalore

WHERE IS U & Us:

U & Us Design studio Bangalore

U & Us Studio at Bangalore

 

U & Us has completed over 500 projects across Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad. They launched in Bangalore today. The flagship store on 100 ft road, Koramangala has been designed thoughtfully. From raw materials to finished products are on display taking one through the lifecycle of a product.  The store has real life setups of living room, bedroom, and kitchen. The store is equipped with two interactive design panels.

On a closing note, the only thought running through my head, “why wasn’t an organized solution such as this present three years ago?” I have worked with all three of them while doing up this house: an independent interior designer, a corporate one for kitchen, and a carpenter. And I can vouch the corporate one works best from pricing and timelines. So, if you are in the process, I’d recommend drop in and take a look with an open mind.

 

This post is in association with Godrej.

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