Dubai, UAE January, 2022 – Indu Varanasi, a founder of Dubai- based interior design practice IR Design, is among the first interior architects and design leaders to be awarded a prestigious UAE Golden Visa in the creative sector.
Born and raised in India, Indu Varanasi came to Dubai in 1994 as a young architect with big dreams to create both functional and inspiring spaces within buildings in order to captivate the attentions of both users and onlookers.
In 2004 Indu ventured out on her own and founded IR Design and has been a creative force behind the studio’s most significant projects in UAE, which include the Time Square Mall, Etihad Mall, Amity University Dubai, Novo Cinemas and DEWA Auditorium, as well as multiple design projects in China, India, Oman, Tanzania and Sudan.
"I feel honoured that the Emirates government has recognised the importance of interior architecture among other creative industries," says Indu Varanasi after receiving the Golden Visa status. “On a personal note, this recognition is dedicated to both my younger self who dared to venture out on her own 18 years ago and to all the designers and business leaders who are shaping the creative landscape of this country each day.”
As an architect by qualification and "a creator at heart", as she puts it, IR Design’s founder is a true problem-solver with a great understanding and experience of fusing aesthetic design and functionality.
Besides her near two-decade contribution to the UAE's design landscape, Indu has also been recognised for her continuous support of women in creative industries.
Celebrating the "Year of Tolerance" back in 2018, Indu curated “HERstory” a cross-cultural exhibition celebrating 10 women and their inspiring stories and deeds. This collaborative project with Anna Barbara, professor at Politecnico di Milano, was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Culture, and in partnership with the Women's Museum in Dubai and Dr Rafia Obaid Ghubash.
To this day, Indu continues to support women who are working in architecture and design. Her latest “Re-join” initiative calls for women architects and designers who have left the industry to come and collaborate on projects on more flexible terms without needing to explain a gap in their employment history.
“A lot of highly educated, experienced and knowledgeable women have had to change course and let their careers take a backseat at some point in their lives. As a mother of two, I’m aware that some women bounce back faster than others. However, the opportunities are limited for those who need longer to come back on course," she says.
IR Design plans to nurture responsible collaborations with women architects, interior designers, business development managers, and visualisers with a minimum of five years of experience, who want to re-join the industry and get back into the field.
The Golden Visa scheme was launched in 2019 to attract and retain talent from all over the world and establish the UAE as an ideal destination to live and work in. Investors, entrepreneurs, special talents and researchers in various fields of science and knowledge along with bright students and graduates are eligible to receive the visa for five or 10 years, which is renewed automatically.