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Interior designer & alumni Amrita Khanna talks to Insight School

We love hearing our student’s stories – their life and journey before studying with us and some of their successes after graduating. This month we spoke with Amrita Khanna, founder of interior design company Zip Code 888 and graduate of the Certificate in Interior Design Level 1 (Residential) course. The talented interior designer and mother of 3 shares her story with us. 

What is your background? What were you doing before coming to Insight School of Interior Design?

I grew up constantly surrounded by art as my mother is a fine artist herself as well as a patron of fine arts and she introduced me to the works of many great artists. I decided to pursue art in the form of textile design which I studied for 3 years with a major in the art of fabric weaving and then went on to work in the fashion industry with some notable garment buying houses that supplied design ideas and created garments for the likes of Karen Millen, Eddie Bauer, Monsoon and NEXT to name a few. Three gorgeous kids tore me away from work and I took a break to be a full time mom until Insight School happened to me!
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In my opinion the school equipped me very well to deal with pressures, time lines and demands of the world of interiors
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What did you study at Insight School and what key skills did you learn?

I chose to study the Certificate in Interior Design Level 1 (Residential) course at Insight School. In my opinion the school equipped me very well to deal with pressures, time lines and demands of the world of interiors. Just a few of the most important takeaways that have really helped me in my projects are that a good designer needs to be a psychologist to understand the needs of the client, you need to be able to create for the client a space that they envision but by using your aesthetic and not execute your own version of what is good design. Another immensely valuable skill I learnt is that when you follow the steps and stages of the creative process that the school teaches you the design you create is very unique and evolved.

Concept board for Tai Tam apartment

Living room furniture board for Tai Tam apartment

Where are you working now?

After graduating from Insight School i knew I wanted to immerse myself in interior design and this led me to starting my own company “Zip Code 888”. I didn’t want the company to come across as intimidating but rather as fun catchy and approachable, with a nod to chinese tradition where the number 8 is believed to be lucky and auspicious. My company logo is a stylized version of the cherner chair, symbolizing beauty with functionality and classic style which echoes the mission statement of Zipcode 888, to create beautiful functional classic spaces within any budget.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in starting your new career as an interior designer?

I’d say one of the biggest challenges has been to try and do something different with each project and another is to get to the point in your relationship with the client where they trust your judgement and are willing to go out of their comfort zone.

What is the big interior design project you are working on right now/or just completed?

I have finished styling and decorating an apartment which got featured in the SCMP and Todays living Magazine last year. After this I completed a styling/ upgrade of a living room and balcony. These are both featured on my website zipcode888.com. And I am now starting work on other projects.

How do you stay current in the interior design industry? What newsletters/blogs/social media tools do you read each week?

To stay current I subscribe to Design Anthology and Home Journal Magazines, follow a lot of my favorite designers on Instagram, and our art history course at Insight School got me very keenly interested in decorative arts and I invest in a collectible book each month on different topics related to the history of furniture.

Can you give any advice to students looking to start a new career in the Interior Design industry?

I would say you’ve already taken the right first step by formally educating yourself in design at Insight School. There will be hurdles to overcome but you have the foundation, it’s up to you to keep the momentum going and keep learning. I have realized that my design is constantly evolving, influenced by things that inspire and amaze!

Amrita studied the Certificate in Interior Design - Level I (Residential) at Insight School.