As a junior 3D visualisation artist at the Paragon Group, Ashna Premji found the perfect job where her passion for both architecture and interior design collides. For Premji, nothing is more exciting than seeing a 3D space she creates come to life.

We chatted to her to find out more about her journey as an artist thus far, what some of the challenges are that young people face in her industry, and her thoughts on the significance of Youth Month in 2020.

BizcommunityTell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Ashna Premji: I’m a 26-year-old junior 3D visualisation artist at Paragon Group. I studied Graphic Design and Interior Design in my hometown Sunnyside in Durban. I took a leap of faith two years ago and moved up to the concrete jungle, better known as Johannesburg. I love learning new things, I love exploring and I love seeing concepts and ideas come to life. Having said that, combining my two degrees has allowed me to do just what I love.

BizcommunityWhat drew you to a career in architecture and interior design?

Premji: This career choice started on an interesting journey, first having a liking for architecture and wanting to go down that route, until I saw the 3D aspect and being totally obsessed with seeing the 3D visualisation side of architecture and interior architecture. It was after visiting Chicago that my passion for photography and admiration for the architectural world began. In fact, when I was still in high school, all my art projects were based on architectural photography, having an eye for detail, whether it be the beautiful historical buildings in Europe or the iconic Sandton skyline.

BizcommunityWhat are some your achievements in your field of which you are most proud?

Premji: Seeing my long hours and hard work of creating 3D spaces for clients come to life. For example, Deloitte Waterfall Interiors was the first interiors project that I completed. Working on this project, I have learnt a lot with regards to the visualisation field, thus from this project onwards, I have grown in leaps by learning through trial and error how to make each project more successful in terms of my visualisation techniques.

BizcommunityWhat aspects of your field are you most passionate about?

Premji: This is dependent on the type of project. But nothing gets you more excited than when you get to see the 3D space you have created come to life, especially when new architectural/interior approaches are incorporated in the design. With 3D visualisation there are different ways of presenting your client with their created space. You can either show them a static render, walk-through, VR presentation or a 360 render. When all four techniques are used in combination, the client gets a full render package, which is incredibly engaging and an exciting process to be part of.

BizcommunityWhat are your sources of inspiration and creativity?

Premji: One of my biggest sources of inspiration and creativity comes from my dad. He is a jewellery designer by trade, but he and his business partners moved on to property development in more recent years. Growing up, I watched my dad meticulously design individual pieces of jewellery for his clients and doing detailed photoshoots of the pieces, to later taking me on his journey of the built environment. Sitting in on some of their meetings, as well going on building tours woke my passion to some aspects of my career.

BizcommunityWhat are some of the challenges young people face in your industry? How would you suggest they be overcome?

Premji: One of the challenges young people face in this industry is finding a job after university/college. This poses a huge problem which can be solved, though this leads onto the other challenge, which is having lack of industry knowledge in terms of the different paths or roles they can take. For example, with an architect, they’re not just limited working in an architectural firm, they are able to work in other sectors such as banks, interior architecture and visualisation, to name a few.

BizcommunityThe Covid-19 crisis is likely to have a significant impact on the opportunities available for professional development for young South Africans. Do you have any words of encouragement?

Premji: Yes, Covid-19 has had an immense impact. Globally, the pandemic has impacted every individual either physically, mentally, socially, financially and/or emotionally. I would say the youth should create communication channels to speak on different aspects of interests, e.g., exercise, cooking, gardening, spring cleaning to clear clutter and make space. This will motivate youth to challenge themselves and keep their minds active. Share anxieties and fears of jobs and hardships to stay together and stay strong. In essence, just communicating to know that they are not alone.

BizcommunityWhat to you is the significance of Youth Month in 2020?

Premji: On 16 June – Youth Day, we recognise the role of young students in our country that were at the forefront of our struggle for liberation and a democratic country. I was, fortunate, to never have to be in a position where my basic education was compromised and I could study whatever I wanted freely, and so it’s about honouring and paying tribute to the brave school children who lost their lives for liberation.

BizcommunityYou’ve been voted SA’s president for the day. What is the first thing on your to-do list?

Premji: If I were president for one day, the first thing I would try to change is providing free education from primary to tertiary levels, reason being that knowledge is power, knowledge can save lives, and knowledge stems from being educated.