I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such inspiring, creative and talented people.
It has been a pleasure going to work every day.
From a personal perspective, the last couple of years have been emotionally turbulent, however working at Indesign has been a constant. Honestly, at times it was the thing that kept me ‘going’. Whilst other parts of my life were completely chaotic, Indesign was the one thing that remained stable.
You are probably wondering; “why the hell are you leaving then?”
My intuition tells me it is time for me to take the next step onward and upward. Take on a new challenge. Start a new chapter. Push myself. Test my limit. Move beyond my comfort zone.
I will miss the Surry Hills community – Arthur Street Kitchen, Bourke Street Bakery, Gnome, Organix (best banana smoothies).
I will miss being surrounded with beautifully-produced high quality magazines.
I will miss the crazy dance parties on Friday nights (when ‘Brown Sugar’ aka my alter ego emerges…)
But, most of all I will miss the belly-laughs and ridiculous banter with my colleagues, who I now consider to be my friends (hopefully life-long).
Admittedly, I am a little nervous of what lies ahead….Am I good enough for my new role? Will my new colleagues like me? Just the usual questioning with a touch of self-doubt. I guess the important thing is that I am determined and motivated to take on this new role!
I view my life as a train. I make various stops – people jump on and stay on for the ride, other’s disembark when they have taught me certain lessons. I also get off at certain stops, take a walk around and learn new things…I then get back on the train…
I am ready for my next stop.
Indesign has exposed me to so many inspiring designers, architects and creative individuals.
My friends at Indesign have taught me the importance of living a wholesome and meaningful life.
Working at a publishing company has been an amazing experience – one which I will always remember with only fond memories.
To celebrate my love for magazines (especially Habitus, Indesign and DQ)…here is a round up of some innovative ways to display magazines.
Today was a momentous day. I completed my very first ocean swim. My friend, Clauds ‘signed me up’ a week ago. No time for training. No time for pre-race preparation. However, there was time for carb-loading (….like I need an excuse…). There was also time to purchase a long-sleeve rash vest…and yes, I wore it. I can not afford to get another shade darker.
I have always believed that indians lack ‘buoyancy’ (See my post on ‘indian buoyancy’ here). I do wish to disrespect indians, but I do believe we ‘built’ for land activities. But, today I defied all my pre-conceived notions and proved…that we are buoyant.
Admittedly, I did had a minor panic attack. For 300 metres, I literally couldn’t breathe properly. I was gasping. Gurgling. Half crying. In between each gasp, I was cursing and telling myself this was how I was going to die. Sounds dramatic …but given my ‘situation’ it was totally justified.
At one point, getting rescued by an attractive surf lifesaver on a jet-ski seemed like the only sensible decision. The waves made me feel like I was in a washing machine. Every time, I tried to take a breath…another wave punched me in the face.
BUT, I was determined not to be ‘rescued’. As my panic attack started to get worse, I suddenly realised that the ‘struggle’ was all in my mind. I would have to mentally ‘soothe’ myself…if I wanted to finish/survive.
I commenced practicing my yoga breathing and made a quick decision to engage in positive ‘self-chat’; “Come on Nix, these waves are like a metaphor to your life…stop resisting and just move forward”. …”Come on Nix, you have survived been dumped before..this is just a bit of water…just keep going”. My thoughts began to mimic the water….deep and intense.
Admittedly, I swam breaststroke for the majority of the race… but as my confidence grew \ (in the last 200m), I slowly transitioned into doing freestyle. It felt good.
The swim was life-changing. It was simultaneously physically, emotionally and mentally challenging. I have not been presented with such a demanding situation in a long time. It was well overdue. It made me realise how powerful our minds are. It made me realise how are minds and bodies are connected on every dimension. It made me realise that sometimes you just need to breathe and ‘let go’….
Admittedly, I had real trouble getting back to the shore. I got dumped at least three times. My swimming cap came off. I then realised… that my legs could actually touch the sand. Highly awkward. So ….I just used my legs to walk out.
To top off the whole experience, the MC announced my name on the loud speaker…”Congratulations, Nikita Sheth”…(apparently with the new microchip technology displays your name on a screen).
I immediately spotted my friend Clauds. We hugged, fist pumped the air and… I shed a small tear from the emotional trauma, exhaustion and relief that I had actually made it to shore.
AND admittedly, I haven’t taken my medal off all day. I am going to even wear it in the shower.
It will be a long time before I EVER do anther ocean swim …but for now, I am just happy it is another item ticked off my bucket list.
Waves. They can dump you. They can disorient you. They can challenge your stability, mental strength and resistance.
Waves. They can help you ride to shore. They can assist you. They can propel you forward. They can be full of possibility, hope and elation.
But that is the beauty of waves, you never really know the amount of force they will deliver. Waves are unpredictable in shape and form, yet they all have an undulating quality. They all embody the fundamental forces of energy. They can be soft and peaceful or energetic and forceful. No two are ever the same. They are the ultimate earthly frontier.
It is no wonder that waves have been such a source of inspiration to so many architects around the globe. Look at these beauties…
The wave in Vejle, Denmark – Henning Larsen Architects.
For me, it was defined by a massive amount of discovery.
Self Discovery. Discovery of new places. New people. New interests.
Throughout the year, I was continually pushed outside my comfort zone.
Without getting too cheesy (ewww- the thought of cheese actually makes me feel slightly nauseous…had way too much cheese and wine last night!), here is a list of 27 things I discovered in 2013…
1. The deliciousness of kale chips & coconut water & PILPEL hummous (I did a quick calculation and I have literally eaten a 300g tub per week which roughly equals over 15kg of hummous)
2. The chocolately smoooothhh voice of Frank Ocean. I also got obsessed with ‘Thinking about you’ and have proceeded to discover every ‘cover’ of the song on Youtube.
3. The functionality of the ‘video’ on my phone….from ‘caroke to bedroom dance floor sessions. Hours and hours of entertainment. Here is a sneak preview of ITEM 2 & 3 combined. ENJOY…yes, I am using a hair straightner as a microphone….
5. What it is like to live without a TV for a year.
6. That I am a ghetto gangsta gal…they call me ‘brown suga’ (who am I kidding, I didn’t just discover that this year, I’ve known it since I was a child). A definite highlight this year was seeing Jay-Z & JT concert in NYC and then Queen Bey when she came to Sydney.
12. Sometimes dressing ‘hipster’…isn’t always ‘cool’. AKA the night I looked like the lampshade.
13. The feeling of scoring a soccer goal (took me 5 years but got there)
14. My new hobby – WEAVING. It is my goal in 2014, to improve my weaving….especially now that I got a magnifiying glass for christmas (thanks mum). I am officially a 27 year old stuck in an 80 year old body.
19. How cool it is to collect glass bottles…wierd I know.
Here are somethings I re-discovered….
20. My spiritual side …. through meeting some inspiring people….learnt a lot about the ‘Moon Cycles’. It’s my dream this year to go to the Observatory.
21. Rediscovered the world of dating – speed dating, app dating (yes, tinder), blind dating, bootcamp dating (it was called Fit2date…wish I was joking…would rather erase this from my memory altogether)..I tried it all.
22. New York City – actually this was a rediscovery….but I spontaneously booked a ticket 5 days before leaving. Was one of the most spontaneous things I have done…ever.
23. Certain ‘life’ events, made me re-discover how nice it feels to be surrounded by my family and friends.
24. How much I love spending time by myself – this year I really felt content in my own company…I even went and saw a couple of movies by myself.
25. How lucky I am to have a family home (with 2 beautiful puppies) to go ‘home’ to…
AND FINALLY….my family discovered…SELFIES.
I am excited for what 2014 will hold & what new discoveries I will make…
I have decided 2014 is the year of DIY. My main NY resolution is to embrace the ‘handmade’…I want to make things, rather than buying them. Will be the year of ‘Crafternoons’. Other resolutions include:
1. Wait 1 minute to try and use my brain to remember a fact, rather than automatically ‘googling’ it on my phone.
2. Wear less mui-mui’s (my sisters had an intervention…apparently it just makes me look frumpy, not boho-ethnic-hippy chic that I was aiming for)
3. STOP wearing a high bun so much (yes, this carries on from 2013).
AND ofcourse I will be stick to my mantra of ‘Treat yo’self”
Happy New Year & all the best for the year to come.
One day. Every Month. Six girls . Eighty Organic potatoes. Ninety minutes. Forty + hungry mouths to feed.
For the last couple of months a group of my gal pals and I have had the pleasure to volunteer for the ‘Inside Out’ Kitchen at Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross. Run by Rob Caslick, the logic underpinning this amazing charity is quite simple – the most nutritious and healthy food should be eaten by those who need it most: the homeless and needy.
We get and hour and a half to create a delicious organic 3-course meal, created with fresh, organic ingredients for some of Sydney’s homeless and needy. I am not going to lie – it is like being on an episode of Masterchef. We sweat. We shout. And yes, sometimes we cry (with happiness & relief ofcourse….). I definite crowd-pleaser were the baked pears with cinnamon & ice-cream!
I can’t even describe the immense satisfaction that comes with serving up a hearty (and healthy) meal to those who genuinely appreciate every bite.
YES…. I know, between Movember, and Jul-ina (Yes, it is a ‘thang’…it is the women equivalent to Movember, but ‘down there’…gross) there are a lot of causes we are asked to donate to…..
HOWEVER, in 2014 the Wayside Chapel are building a rooftop garden above the soup kitchen in Kings Cross. The garden will be maintained by Asylum Seekers- people who have arrived by plane, lodged for refugee status and have to wait 4-5 years without employment. This means five years in limbo without work permits and without meaningful, five years of vulnerability, without family and friend support networks.
BUT, our rooftop garden will grow more than food; it will grow opportunities. Opportunities for refugees to participate in familiar activities and grow traditional foods. Opportunities for meaningful activities during periods of uncertainty. Opportunities to increase self worth.
Gardening is an act of love. It teaches us to ‘connect’ with our surroundings and planet. It teaches us patience. It teaches us that to keep something alive we must take care and nourish. I believe gardening is a form of moving meditation. It requires a quiet mind and intense concentration on the task at hand. Gardening slows you down. It is no wonder that gardening has been hailed as a ‘therapy method’ for people suffering anxiety or mental disorders. Working in a garden soothes ones soul. I personally believe that watching something bloom and grow generates this acute sense ‘life’ and what it has to offer.
I guess in a way gardens are a metaphor for life itself….they need the right proportion and balance of things to amount to something wonderful. Same goes for our lives…we need to maintain a balance and be nourished by the right people, the right foods, the right environments to grow to our full potential and be grateful for each day.
Number One: I found out that my work computer has ‘photobooth’. Not going to lie, it has changed my working day. Productivity may have taken a hit, but it is SO much fun.
Number Two: I was lucky enough to spend 90 minutes with Megan Young (and her partner Matt) – amazing, inspiring photographers. They invited me into their gorgeous Surry Hills apartment which they had transformed into a make-shift photography studio. I was pretty awkward and nervous….actually who am I kidding?!.. after about 20 mins I started to love it! Not going to lie, I did pretend I was on an episode of ‘Australia’s next top model’. This ‘spontaneous’ photoshoot was brought on by the realisation that I literally did not possess one suitable ‘professional’ shot of myself – doing the splits on the dance floor, weaving, tree-surfing…just didn’t ‘cut it’ from a professional perspective…
OK…now for Number Three. This definitely comes in my top 5 embarrassing moments of 2013.
I got caught on a security camera. Doing something VERY weird.
Allow me to set the scene:
I was visiting a commercial screen/awning client in the industrial ‘burbs of the Northshore. The visitors car park was literally a vertical, dark, narrow spiral. NO exaggeration. I inched my yellow car all the way down…without a scratch. I was pretty proud of myself. I got out of the car. NOTE: I was wearing a dress and VERY high clogs. I scanned the car park. Could not locate a life. I has to shuffle in my high heels UP the ‘ramp’. It literally took me 10 mins, but I got there…without breaking an ankle.
The meeting went well.
It was then time to leave.
I now was faced with the challenge of having to walk DOWN the dark, VERTICAL, ramp. For some (stupid) reason, I decided I didn’t want to take off my clogs. I started walking down…I felt shakey…I felt like I was going to fall face first into the cement…I analysed my situation and decided the best possible way to get down was to SIT ON MY BOTTOM and ‘scoot’ all the way down. More accurately it was a cross between a crawl and crab walk. I knew my undies were showing….
I made it. without a bruise. I smiled at myself. Thinking how lucky i was that there was no one around to witness this highly awkward display of movement….Or was there????Upon driving out of the carpark, I heard people clapping and cheering. I looked out of my window and there were my clients laughing. Hard. I had been caught on the security camera….
They yelled out…..”Hahaha, did you have a bit of trouble getting down the ramp Nikita? ……”Nikita, why didn’t you use the lift?”…
MORTIFIED. I (genetically) can’t go red…but if I could, I would have been the shade of a beetroot.
I can NEVER face those clients again.
So…. in following this week’s life ‘theme’ of camera’s, I thought I would share a round up of some inspiring photography studios. Photography needs to consider so many factors and variables – light, space, composition, not to mention the massive amount of equipment. Photo studios need to be functional. Ample space and room length is a essential for long focal lengths and set up of umbrella’s. High ceilings can also be necessary to allow for manipulation of the height of equipment etc. However, studios must also be comfortable and allow people to feel at ease. Any feelings of ‘awkwardness’ are sure to be caught on camera. Storage is also another factor that must be taken into consideration..
Music is home to me. It makes me feel happy, safe and content.
It is my instant time machine. It takes me back to my awkward teenage years – getting dressed for a ‘gathering’ or driving in the car with my first ‘boyfriend’. It connects me to my friends –the countless times we sung at the top of our lungs to Mariah Carey or pretending we were in ‘da hood’ listening to ‘Gangstas Paradise’ (ok…I still do that sometimes …)
I was in a choir for 13 years…a high soprano. Since I can remember, singing makes me happy. (NB:- I think my voice ‘broke’ at age of 18…and I am now tone deaf).
I can occupy myself for hours ‘producing’ film clips in my bedroom. Dancing makes me happy. Sometimes I use my hair straighter as a microphone. Sometimes I dress up as Beyonce (Don’t judge, I bet you do it to…). I thought I would have ‘grown out’ of this by now. I wonder if I will still be doing this at 73 years old…
Music & design have lots in common especially in terms of creativity. Both design and music seek to create a certain connection with the end-user. They are a catalyst to unlocking emotional responses and just like good design, music also has to be catchy, original and innovative.
I will update this list sporadically, but here are some tunes which I am currently loving…
For reasons, (that I am not going to get into)…I have embarked on a Dude Detox / Man Ban/ Men Zen.
It is day 22…
Anyways, the purpose of this whole ‘exercise’ is to spend time focusing on being the best person I can possibly be (i know it sounds a little cheesy…) but I believe that we can sometimes get so wrapped up in our daily routine that we often forget to ‘slow down’ and spend a bit of time looking inward and alone.
I am using this time to really do things I enjoy and not worry about what the future may or may not hold. In just 22 days I have visited an art events (Sydney Contemporary & Art Up Late 10th Anniversary), visited a museum, spent a whole afternoon in a bookstore café by myself just reading/writing/drinking coffee, gone on a bushwalk with my parents, attended a nude drawing class, swam countless laps (whilst getting 4 shades darker), attended numerous yoga classes, watched a foreign film, went to a hipster ‘soup party’, made 4 new friends and have re-connected with old friends…
However, I believe the best part that has arisen from this whole ‘dude detox’ is my discovery of the Achillies Running Group. It is a fantastic group which I am now proudly a member of!
Every Sunday morning (at 8am…a killer!) I now go running with visually-impaired individuals around The Domain & Centennial Park. Ok, so I am not going to lie….it has been a MASSIVE personal challenge. I was born with the ‘directional’ segment of my brain missing. I honestly can’t tell my left from my right. It is not a joke. wish it was. I even repeated Year 1. The only way I can tell is from a small freckle on my left hand. This does not always work. At 3am after a big night out…. this ‘freckle’ becomes a little hazy (I apologise to ALL the Sydney taxi drivers who have driven around in circles….).
I really do need to improve my directional abilities as I nearly ran my visually-impaired friend into a tree last week. Luckily she had an amazing sense of humour…..I on the other hand was mortified.. (I am now spontaneously ‘pop-quizzing’ myself every day; ‘Point left….Quick, turn right..”. I Do it waiting for my morning coffee. I do when driving my car. Practise makes perfect…right?!
Spending time with the members of Achillies, has made me realise how our culture is so visually dependent. We rely on our vision so heavily, that sometimes we ‘forget’ we have 4 other wonderful senses.
Each Sunday I am paired with a different visually-impaired friend. Each with their own story and experiences. It has honestly opened up my world. I am almost a little envious – they experience the world so differently…in a way people with full-sight will never understand. I just feel so lucky to be a part of this group so atleast I can get a glimpse into a world without sight.
Just this morning one of the members told me; “Nikita, it is so great being blind – my electric bill will always be lower than yours and every time I go on a date the girl is a 10/10”.
Who needs man-dates when I can have multiple (amazing) blind dates each Sunday morning?
My job working at an Architecture & Design publishing firm is centred around the visual. What is the colour scheme of the space? Are all the pieces of furniture compositionally-balanced? Is the lighting to harsh? It seems that we neglect our other senses in favour of sight.
We should also be asking; How did the space filter sounds? What did the texture of the finishes on the wall feel like? Did the openness of the space make you feel a certain way?
However, spaces have so much to offer our other senses. Weshould really be making a conscious effort to invite all our senses to experience a space to endeavour to have a ‘holistic’ experience.
Since volunteering at Achillies, I have definitely become more conscious of sound. I know this is a little strange, but the other day I even tried to have a shower with my eyes closed. It was a huge struggle….I ended up getting shampoo in my eyes and then burning myself with the hot water. But after I relaxed a little I began to experience the shower like I never ad before. I focused on the sound of the water to gauge it’s pressure. I focused on the feel of the water. I also focused on the sound of my beautiful voice singing “Can’t Hurry Love” (Jokes! Ok, maybe not joking…something has to get me through dude detox!). It was a real eye-opening experience (excuse, the pun!). You should give it a try….
Architectural acoustics contribute significantly to the enjoyment and function of a space. For example a hospital or university lecture theatre require sound to be absorbed, whilst a concert hall needs to be designed to accentuate the characteristics of the music or actors voices. In the workplace, unwanted noise can interfere with privacy, concentration and productivity. Acoustic panelling is an important feature of many building spaces. Acoustic Panels help control or eliminate sound waves from bouncing off hard surfaces. See below for a round up of some aesthetically pleasing and well-designed acoustic panels.
For the last 3 days I have been getting absolutely SID faced.
No it is not a spelling error – SID is the abbreviation for the Sydney’s number one design event “Sydney Indesign” (This event is created/run by Indesign Group – the company I work for).
Although….admittedly, every night last week I was also getting quite sh*t faced too. Don’t judge…we had reason to celebrate!
It has taken over a year to organise this event. Like when organising most big events, there is a certain void when it is comes to an end (although I think my liver and voice box are celebrating it is over).
– 6 different precincts around Sydney open up their showrooms. Buses take participants around to all the different showrooms.
– The Galleria (see below)
Whilst the event has been going for over 10 years. This year we decided that it was time to evolve. Drawing inspiration from Milan Fair, we introduced the “Galleria” – a gorgeous industrial warehouse at Australian Technology Park.
We aimed to step away from the whole ‘tradeshow’ concept and use this 3000 sqm to encourage to create an experiential space. We encouraged suppliers to encourage people to engage with their brands rather than their products. We encouraged creativity and collaboration. We wanted attendees to walk away feeling inspired, rather than with a catalogue.
It was an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase to the industry what they are all about – their personality, culture and energy – and gives our audience of architects, interiors designers and creatives the opportunity to discover new design, build their industry knowledge and develop meaningful relationships. It’s about educating, networking, socialising and exchanging ideas.
The result…..was truly unique. A complete visual feast. Your eyes couldn’t help but darting around the space – up to the ceiling down to the ground.
I met lots of inspiring people. I saw lots of truly innovative products. I couldn’t take the smile off my face (EXCEPT when I stacked it down the skateboard ramp (with a wine in hand) created by Mafi, a flooring company – SO embarrassing and I have a nice bruise on my elbow as a memento).
I feel so lucky to have been a part of Sydney Indesign. It was 100% a team effort and I admittedly am a little shocked that we managed to pull it off!).
Highlights; Special Sydney Indesign inspired Gelato Messina (by Designer Rugs), Indigenous dancing (by Tapetti Rugs), Educational Discussion Series (My favourite was; ‘Adaptive Reuse – Is the Old New New?’ involving Tim Ross), Beer Pong (at Blu Dot), a delicious lunch (by Coco Republic & Smeg)….and SO much more…
Countless hours of embarrassment (yes, I once ripped the entire back of my shorts whilst jumping over the fence to retrive the ball…and yes, I have run the wrong way…many times)
BUT I DID IT!!!!
YES….last weekend i SCORED my FIRST FOOTBALL GOAL.
It wasn’t exactly the scissor kick that i had imagined it would be. But who cares? It went in..
My celebration was also not how I imagined. Instead of pulling my jersey over my head and doing the ‘aeroplane’ move….I CRIED. Yes, tears uncontrollably welled up. I was just overcome with pure joy. I honestly, have not felt that type of happiness in SO long.
I had finally done it. The intense happiness lasted for at least 48 hours. In the supermarket, I walked down the aisle smiling to myself (slightly creepy…i know). In the shower, I fist pumped the air. In the car, I pumped up Ricky Martin’s ‘Living la vida loca” and sung my heart out. I also…admittedly…watched the ‘Bend it Like’ Beckham film clip on youtube…on repeat.
I remember it so clearly, my grandmother (we called her Nani and she lived with us in the last two years of her life) would arise at 6am every morning and complete her yoga practice – breathing exercises, graceful fluid movements and deep ‘oohhhmmmmsss’. My immaturity always seemed to get the better of me, watching my nani in the strange poses and blowing her nostrils so aggressively….i couldn’t help giggling. Wondering, why an earth she went through all these motions every morning. I never understood why she practiced yoga….
I do now.
After my Nani’s passing, in an effort to keep her memory alive and deal with my grief, I decided to enrol myself in a beginner’s yoga course.
This was 10 years ago and I have never looked back. Yoga is a fundamental part of my life. I secretly love the Indian historic roots tied to the practice yoga – it really resonates and deepens my connection to my own indian cultural heritage. It makes me proud.
My yoga practice has helped me, get through many trying times – the passing of loved ones, stressful exams, relationship break-ups and general uncertainty about jobs etc.
It sounds so cringe-worthy, but yoga is a medicine for my soul. it forces me to turn inward and silence my (usually crazy) mind. The yoga philosophy has taught me the importance of compassion, mindfulness and patience.
After trying many types – bikram, iygengar, asana…I now practice power yoga. I love the playfulness and dynamism that it offers. I also love how every time I practice yoga, it is a different experience – depending on the instructor, my mood, my day and…..my lunch (yoga after a bowl of pasta is not ideal).
Last week, I had a very, very fun yoga class. I attended it with my friend Franni. After a busy day in the office, we both were suffering from a touch of cabin fever and were in a bit of a crazy mood. The class was packed. We had no option, but to situate ourselves at the VERY front of the room, literally on top of the instructor.
The instructor was hilarious. A 30-something year old man. Tanned. Muscular. Long mousey blonde hair, tied back in a pony tail. And….tight, tight, tight bike pants.
I felt like I was 16 again. As he demonstrated rolling back and forth, due to my positioning, his ‘package’ was literally in my face. Drips of his sweat flinging across my face – SO GROSS. I had to bite my cheeks as I couldn’t stop laughing. He embraced his inner gangsta by saying ‘Get into ‘downward dawgy dawg’ and then proceeded to tell a random story about an Indian guru….whilst staring directly at me. Maybe you had to be there….
I honestly had to hold back my laughter. I pretended to drink my water…but nearly spat it out as I tried to suppress my giggles.
It was a class I will never forget.
Yoga studios have many design elements which must be leveraged properly, in order to create a a space that is conducive to yoga practice. Lighting (ie. no flurolescent lighting), studio mirrors, flooring (ie. wooden flooring to ensure sweat can be wiped up easily…), space in general must be wide and expansive enough for a class to be able to practice a range of movements, colour scheme (ie. neutral and calming) and external noise (ie. can’t be situated near a busy street or bar) and ofcourse scent plays a big part (ie. incense aids relaxation)….
Check out these beautiful yoga studios – just looking at them, makes you feel so calm…