Friends by Design

Singapore, People –

SARA GRAAV and SAMHITA SRINIVASAN left their home countries in their 20s and ventured to Singapore to study – eventually forging their own futures as design professionals

Samhita and Sara spent 3 years as classmates, and remain good friends

School days in the Interior Design Faculty of Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore – both girls graduated with BA Honours in Interior Design

Taking a break from the gruelling school workload includes fun times like outdoor concerts and hanging out with friends


Starting life as freshman students at Lasalle College of the Arts in a foreign land and in a new school surrounded by strangers, their days soon achieved a settled rhythm.

Classmates Samhita from India and Sara from Norway became good friends – going through the three years of college life with its usual subplots of lectures, projects, boyfriends, roommates, emotional tirades, parties and hangovers.

After graduating with BA Honours in Interior Design the girls found respective jobs as interior designers – Samhita in India, Sara in Singapore. Employers have always agreed that an overseas education or work attachment abroad gives you better marketability because of your independence, communication skills, streetwise creative edge, and resourcefulness.

They had to say sad goodbyes as Sara remained in Singapore while Samhita returned to India. A degree, design education, and new job may be precious – but their friendship remains priceless.

Whether they meet again to start their own design studio some new place in the world, remains to be seen.


A chat with good friends about design, jobs and life:


From Drøbak, Norway

Currently lives and works in Singapore

Advice for her good friend: Just be yourself and follow your heart, Sam. Do not worry about making mistakes. Just use them to become bigger and stronger


1 Why are we seeing so much Nordic design in Singapore residential interiors these days?

Nordic design is very clean and minimal, which makes keeping a space tidy easy at all times, even when life gets hectic. This has its advantage especially in Singapore as apartments are usually relatively small.

2 What Singapore food do you like? What Norwegian food do you miss?

In Singapore chicken rice is my favourite. There are lots of Norwegian foods that I miss like Norwegian cheese and sausages, and especially something called stick meat (photo), which we call pinne kjøtt. It’s delicious


3 What’s the first thing you’ll buy or do with your first pay cheque?

Going out for a special dinner is always nice.

4 If you and Samhita set up your own design studio one day what would you call it?

Samandsara Interiors.



From New Delhi, India

Currently lives and works in Mumbai, India

Advice for her good friend: In a work context, no matter what you’re doing, Sara, always remember that all problems and stress remain temporary. The tough moments will pass! You have always been someone who works really hard, and I know that this quality will really take you far. In life, I would want you to be able to make tough decisions as long as you are happy, and to remember to have faith and good vibes like we always talk about


1 What kind of homes and interior designs are young, savvy locals looking for in India these days? Do they appreciate traditional artisan products that are locally crafted?

Many of the younger generation now appreciate different architectural design elements to personalise the spaces around them. This Transitional style combines traditional local architecture in a modern way with all the luxuries available today. Many people realise the importance of the older traditional artisan products so we see a revival of these in design nowadays.

2 What food do you crave for after a hard day at work? And what food do you miss?

I miss my mother’s homecooked North Indian meals most. With local Mumbai cuisine​, I normally crave some bun maska with chai (buttery buns with roadside tea) after a long day at work


3 What’s the first thing you’ll buy or do with your first pay cheque?

With my first salary I took my entire family out to one of the oldest joints called Nirula’s back in New Delhi. It has been a tradition in our family since my cousins and I were very young to celebrate all our achievements there with simple snacks and great ice cream. So it was a very special moment for me to take everyone back there and treat them to a good meal.

4 If you and Sara start your own design studio one day what would you call it?

We would definitely have to think about that. I think ‘Three Dots’ is a good name for the company, because that’s an inside secret we both know well!


Story by Carol Kraal. Photographs courtesy of Samhita Srinivasan, Sara Graav, Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore; stick meat by visitnorway; bun maska chai by








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