Dynamic design duo Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom are partners in Brooklyn-based interior design firm Ishka Designs. Their latest projects run the gamut from a Brooklyn day care center and a TriBeCa penthouse to a vacation and residential project in Jamaica.
Here, they reveal their current design obsessions, go-to places in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, where Clarke lives, and their custom-build powers.
What attracted you to live in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens?
It is a great location—next to Prospect Park, steps from the Q/B and shuttle trains, and just below the Botanical Gardens and Brooklyn Museum. More importantly, there is a rich and diverse Caribbean culture here that is very appealing to me.
What are some of your favorite places in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and why? Prospect Park of course, but the Botanical Gardens is really amazing too. We love checking out the exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum, as well as the First Saturday’s activities. Our go-to eateries are Jus Fishy for seafood, Hot Pot for corn soup and vegetable rotis, Errol’s Bakery for Jamaican patties and fish dinners, Cinnamon Girl for pastries and Blessings Cafe for a coffee and casual dining spot. Drink, on Flatbush Ave, is a beautifully designed wine shop, while the other wine spot, 65 Fen, has a great neighborhood vibe. Lastly, Record City has a great selection of reggae on vinyl.
What are some of your favorite aspects of working in interior design?
The early phases of the process appeal to us both equally—reconstruction (peeling back the structure to see what lies beneath the surface is very exciting), idea and concept formation, space planning and custom design anything.
What kinds of textures, colors and materials are you drawn to when designing?
We are both very tactile, so anything with both a visual and physical texture will always make its way into our projects—honed stone, oxidized metal surfaces and wood in all forms come to mind. Color is truly dependent on the project, but currently we are having a love affair with black and neutrals.
What types of custom builds do you create?
Usually, whatever the project needs that we can’t find. For the daycare, for instance, we created these fun hexagon-shaped seating solutions for the kids and a three-dimensional hanging sculpture for the reception area. On a current residential project, we were able to design a mirror for the foyer, a modular media unit for the living room, and an abstract seating situation for the roof deck. We’ve designed a concrete sink for another commercial project, an upholstered bed and quite a few rugs, just to name a few others.
What were your design inspirations and philosophy for Brooklyn’s Discovery PitStop Day Care?
The client had a slogan for the new daycare: “You are on your way to who you will bee.” This inspired us from the obvious “bee and honeycomb” perspective and the not-so- obvious honeycomb-shaped mirrors that can be found inside large telescopes. The latter followed a thought process of exploration and discovery, which speaks directly to the daycare’s name.
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