Thursday 23 November, 2017

Young People in Business: Laura Narayansingh designs with purpose

Last year, as many mourned the demolition of the historic Greyfriars Church in Port-of-Spain, one young woman offered a glimpse of hope for the preservation of our architectural heritage.

Laura Narayansingh posted a photo of herself on the steps of 65 Gallus Street with the caption: “It’s my hope that Trinidadians can continue to create without destroying. What a dream it would be to one day see Port-of-Spain value its own architectural identity.”

The facelift or renewal, as Narayansingh calls it, was done just after her graduation from the University of Miami where she studied architecture.

Though she now works full time as an architect with Acla Works, Narayansingh enjoys taking on these small projects as it fulfils her personal desire to preserve a design that catered specifically to our lives in the Caribbean.

“The value of the design is immeasurable,” the 25-year-old said, noting that windows in the attic kept the houses naturally cool, the fretworks allowed light filtration and the houses elevated off the ground and made with light materials allowed an amazing amount of light to float through the structures.

“A lot of it was by design, it didn’t just happen,” she said.

Narayansingh’s love for architecture is obvious and her passion for giving old buildings new life shines through.

She recently restored another house on Bengal Street in St James and noted that it is much cheaper to restore than rebuild.

Narayansingh recognises that most Trinbagonians are ignorant about the topic and some may just see old buildings as eyesores to be removed.

“I often wonder how Trinidadians have cultivated this adversity to anything of ours that is old..we will gladly fly to Greece to observe the Acropolis, but most of us haven't even visited the Temple by the Sea.  Why is it that our history means so little to us? Why are we so unaffected by our historic architecture that we willingly allow these gems deteriorate into eyesores + urban nuisances? Does this mentality begin to define our culture?” she wrote on her blog Design 24.07.

It is through her website, lauranarayansingh.com, where her blog is housed, that she tries to educate people on the topic.

Funnily, it is not the architecture that drove traffic to her site initially but rather her Monday Wear designs.

“Through my Monday Wear designs I found the website and blog were getting attention,” she said.

Narayansingh is perhaps one of the most in-demand Monday Wear designers in the country.

She started her foray into the Monday Wear trend in 2015 for mas band Fantasy despite a heavy work schedule and no profits.

“It’s not profitable for me but I had so much fun doing it,” she said.

In 2016, she decided to produce a Monday Wear line to build a name for herself.

Describing herself as a perfectionist, Narayansingh took her designs a step further in 2017, advertising her line on her website.

“I woke up next morning to hundreds of emails,” she said with a laugh.

How she pulled it off while designing her wedding dress and planning her wedding held two weeks before Carnival is anyone’s guess but Narayansingh’s designs scored.

Called MW17, the line was designed to accentuate a woman’s beauty. Images of the line shows costumes with adequate coverage but with design elements that make the pieces sexy.

“My aesthetic is dedicated to proportions and form. I look at what is your best feature and how that could be accentuated,” she said.

This is where her design skills intersect with her skills as an architect.

“With architecture proportion is everything. I did a lot of studies on the Golden Ratio,” she said.

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio that, when used in design it fosters organic and natural looking compositions that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. 

Narayansingh’s work caught the eye of someone at the Paris Fashion week who, she said, contacted her to show at the event.

She declined, stating that while it is “hugely flattering” it is not what she wants.

Still, she is focused on Carnival 2018 for which, she said, she definitely has something in store.

“Being in this field is like designing bridal wear for 1000 brides,” she said of her Monday Wear experience.

Tracing her love for art and design, Narayansingh said her mother was a huge influence, allowing her as a child to create a lot of madness in the house.

She recalls winning a competition in NALIS for best costume design for her Barbie doll.

Asked the influence architecture has had in her Monday Wear business, Narayansingh said the connection is personal.

“Architecture has shown me the business sense and rigour to get things done a certain way,” she said.

Keep up with Laura on her website: www.lauranarayansingh.com.

 

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