HomeInterviewsInterview: Flipspaces' Kunal Sharma On Balancing Commercial Interior Design with Tech and Biophilic Design

Interview: Flipspaces’ Kunal Sharma On Balancing Commercial Interior Design with Tech and Biophilic Design

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In an interview with TechGraph, Kunal Sharma, Founder & CEO of Flipspaces spoke about how the company is utilizing innovative technology to transform the interior design industry.

Read the complete interview:

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TechGraph: Flipspaces has revolutionized the interior design industry by incorporating technology into its services. Can you elaborate on the specific technological innovations and solutions that set Flipspaces apart from traditional interior design firms? How have these advancements contributed to the company’s success?

Kunal Sharma: Founded by Me (Kunal Sharma) and Ankur Muchhal in 2015, Flipspaces is an interior design-tech venture based out of 12 cities worldwide having offices in cities including but not limited to Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and New York (USA). It uses its multi-module technology stack to bridge the gaps in the customer experience journey about interior designing, associated product and service supply, and the project execution industry.

While solving tangible issues faced by different stakeholders in the value chain through its proprietary technology suite, Flipspaces is redefining commercial interior design and building industry operations. With over 6+ million sqft. of delivered space across almost all commercial real estate categories, it has become the de facto choice of turnkey design and execution brand for start-ups, coworking, retail, corporates, and F&B players.

At the core of all offerings is their proprietary technology suite named VIZWORLD. This enables businesses with a one-stop integrated solution that brings fragmented pieces of space planning, interior designing and visualization, furniture selection, services, and project management under one roof.

It all begins at the client discussion stage. This is where layouts are created based on the bare-shell floor plate and mapped to the client’s requirements. If a client has not yet found a commercial space and needs to find the right kind of property as per their requirements, the team helps them with the same using VIZTOWN which is a one-stop property discovery platform.

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Post this, during the space planning stage where the technology allows to convert 2D layouts into a basic 3-D walkthrough, clients are also given access to the in-house product supply domain called VIZCART where clients can choose from market-available interior products and finish on the go.

These products and finishes are real-time changeable through market available products during the 3D visualization walkthrough, which is sometimes also known as VIZWALK. Once all the details are finalized and the project is executed, the technology allows clients to use VIZDOM, the execution management platform. This has a range of features that benefit the client, including real-time updates on the project, and remote site viewing among other features. As a result of this revolution, the brand has made tremendous progress in international markets, eyeing a $1 trillion market.

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TechGraph: Interior design is a highly visual and personal field. How does Flipspaces strike a balance between technology and personalized service to meet clients’ individual preferences and needs? How does the company ensure seamless human creativity integration with technological tools?

Kunal Sharma: Using our proprietary tech suite named VIZWORLD, we create realistic renderings of the proposed designs, along with virtual walkthroughs allowing clients to visualize the space before it is built. This helps ensure that the final design is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, our in-house team of experienced designers and architects who have an eye for detail and a passion for creating visually appealing and functional spaces are also involved at every step.

In addition, Flipspace’s Supply Chain is built around a deeply researched and price-discovered catalog of 200 thousand of products and services deliverable across geographies in India and the US. The customer often lacks the time, resources, and knowledge to deal with multiple stakeholders like interior designers, multiple product suppliers, and turnkey contractors.

Flipspaces provides a platform where all of these can be seamlessly discovered and empaneled either separately or as an integrated service. To ensure that office designs are aesthetically pleasing, we focus on designing designs in line with the latest trends and design principles. We incorporate elements such as color, texture, lighting, and furniture to create a visually appealing space. Apart from this we also pay attention to details, such as artwork and plants, to create a warm, welcoming, and inviting space.

TechGraph: Flipspaces has rapidly expanded its market presence and attracted significant attention. Could you discuss the company’s growth strategy and key milestones achieved thus far? How has Flipspaces drawn and retained clients in a competitive industry?

Kunal Sharma: With over 600+ projects being executed with a floor plate of over 6 million sqft, we as a firm also have expertise in handling a vast number of startup clients from various industries and categories. We understand that each startup is unique when it comes to its requirement for office space. This also depends on numerous factors, for example, the kind of seed round they’re currently in and what is the growth plan for the firm as well.

With clients such as BharatPE and Open Money from the Fintech Sector to Vymo from the CRM tech sector, each office created for them is unique. It focuses on factors such as inclusivity and collaboration. For clients such as No Broker which is one of the unicorns in the Poptech Sector, each office designed for them focused on break-out zones and collaborative spaces for cross-functional teams to brainstorm and ideate on new ideas and overall improve productivity and engagement between colleagues.

For a real estate startup, The Address we have created spaces & zones which encourage collaboration and a sense of connectivity with the brand which directly or indirectly enhances workforce productivity and resilience among the team as well.

Overall, with our proprietary technology suite and the experience we have in designing and building offices for startups and future unicorns, it’s safe to say that we are the de facto design and build firm for 7 out of 10 startups in the country that want to design and build their first and subsequent office spaces with us.

On the back of our tech-driven vision, Flipspaces tech-platform suite has now catered to over 6+ million sqft of commercial spaces globally for renowned companies across corporates, start-ups, MNCs, retail brands, and SMEs such as BSH, NoBroker, Open Financial, Times Group, Aditya Birla, InstaOffice, BharatPe, Nivea, Oppo, P&G, Reebok, Royal Enfield, Razorpay, Bounce and PlaySimpleGames in India and the US. We target categories across commercial-like offices, retail, hospitality, education, and healthcare institutions among others, and provide a one-stop, tech-enabled solution to our clients for design and build.

TechGraph: Sustainability and environmental consciousness are important considerations in today’s world. How does Flipspaces incorporate sustainable practices and materials into its design processes?

Kunal Sharma: One of the most significant design trends we are seeing is a shift toward biophilic design. While this trend isn’t new and there has been a lot of talk about this design trend in the past couple of years, it’s still a go-to design trend for most commercial office spaces and is recommended by interior designers during client design briefs. Biophilic design incorporates natural elements and materials, such as plants, natural lighting, and organic textures, to create a more calming and inviting atmosphere for the workforce.

This trend has gained popularity in recent years as research shows that incorporating nature into the workplace can improve employee well-being and productivity. Biophilic design is used in commercial spaces, from offices to retail stores and restaurants. For example, a retail store may incorporate living walls or hanging plants to create a more welcoming and natural atmosphere. An office may use natural materials, such as wood or stone, to create a sense of warmth and connection to nature.

Another design trend we are seeing is the integration of sustainable features into commercial spaces. This includes using eco-friendly materials, such as reclaimed wood and recycled plastics, as well as incorporating energy-efficient LEED-certified lighting and HVAC systems. As businesses become more conscious of their environmental impact, offsetting their carbon footprint, sustainable design elements are becoming a crucial consideration in commercial space design.

This also leads to firms wanting to incorporate ESG-compliant office design briefs. In addition to sustainable materials, businesses incorporate renewable energy sources into their commercial spaces. For example, solar panels may be installed on the roof of a building to provide energy for lighting and other electrical systems. This reduces the environmental impact of the building but also reduces energy costs over time.

TechGraph: The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped many industries, including interior design. How has Flipspaces adapted to the changing landscape during these challenging times? Have there been any notable shifts in customer preferences or demands, and how has the company responded to them?

Kunal Sharma: Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives, businesses have adapted to flexible work cultures. This has made us realize the need to rethink the way offices work and how their layouts make sense in the new normal.

With the maximum of one’s waking hours spent in workspaces; be it offices, retail outlets, health or educational institutions etc, it has rightfully become an employee’s second home. Needless to say, today’s offices are no longer cabins and cubicles with piles of paper files adorning every corner; instead, they are meant to be spaces that exude culture, comfort, and a sense of belonging.

Employees now want to feel safe and secure about the premises they’re working at. However, they also want to feel that they’re in a more collaborative, open environment that fosters productivity and culture. In this regard, a startup or SME, or any business for that matter has to solve the challenge of creating a differentiated identity for two key stakeholders – the clients it hopes to attract and the talent pool it looks to hire. Having a differentiated space that is in sync with a brand’s ethos and vision is a key factor in breaking through the clutter in both these highly competitive functions.

TechGraph: Collaboration and partnerships often play a crucial role in startup success. Could you shed light on Flipspace’s collaborations with architects, designers, and other industry professionals? How do these collaborations contribute to the company’s overall innovation and service offerings?

Kunal Sharma: We are a diverse team with over 100+ design experts onboard and 300+ years of combined leadership experience. With 12 offices across India and the US, we are looking to tap into local talent and build a growth-focused team rich in pedigree and entrepreneurial spirit.

We also use our multi-module technology stack to bridge the gaps in the customer experience journey about interior designing, associated product and service supply, and the project execution industry.

While solving tangible issues faced by different stakeholders in the value chain through its proprietary technology suite, we’re redefining commercial interior design and building industry operations. With over 6+ million sqft. of delivered space across almost all commercial real estate categories, our firm has become the de facto choice of turnkey design and execution brand for start-ups, coworking, retail, corporates, and F&B players.

TechGraph: The interior design market is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for clients’ attention. What strategies does Flipspace employ to differentiate itself and maintain a competitive edge? How does the company stay ahead of trends and ensure its offerings remain relevant to changing consumer preferences?

Kunal Sharma: Technology is life. We firmly believe in the power of technology to streamline processes thus creating efficiency & control over the bottom line. Additionally, technology also creates a differentiated and elevated client experience thus helping increase the top line.

With our proprietary tech suite within Flipspaces called VIZWORLD, we are looking to develop one integrated product that ensures efficiency and customer delight at each step of this process. Interior design and build is fairly complex and requires deep domain expertise which can enable SAAS products for verticals. This is where Flipspaces’ design and build pedigree creates substantial leverage.

TechGraph: Looking ahead, what are the company’s plans for expansion and diversification? Are there any new technologies or services on the horizon that you can share with us?

Kunal Sharma: “Profitable Growth and Progressive Moat” has been Flipspaces’ mantra all along. Small and Mid Sized mandates for Design, Product Supply, and Project Management are broken, underserviced, and lack seamless customer experiences globally. With a cutting-edge tech suite, Flipspaces hopes to become the world’s go-to platform for small and medium-sized projects. In doing so, we are literally making the world a more beautiful place to live in.

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Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder & Group Editor of TechGraph.
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