Drawing the fine line

Published: February 22, 2015 12:15:16 AM

India Design ID returns, sharing the experiences and knowledge of experts and visionaries on how the design industry is taking shape in India

The recently-concluded India Design ID 2015 was all about brands and designers unveiling their latest collections. From Apartment9, BeyondDesign and Godrej Interio to Iqrup + Ritz, Klove, Natuzzi Italia, Swarovski and Turning Tables, from the plush and vintage to the quirky, and from functional art to vanity cabinets, it saw some of the best that the design fraternity, both in India and abroad, had to offer.

More importantly, the show signaled a new era in the design industry, which has, so far, been marked by the lack of quality and disciplined manufacturers. “India has a lot of potential to grow in terms of the design industry, but the massive problem here is that manufacturers have a linear thinking. They don’t want to experiment or expand their horizon,” says British designer Sebastian Wrong. The UK-based design director, who is the co-founder of British brand Established & Sons, e-commerce platform The Wrong Shop and the design house Wrong Hay, was here to participate in the third edition of India Design ID, an exposition on design that was held between February 13 and 15.

Another participant at the expo, Caroline Young, who has been living and working in India for the past 10 years, says a “sense of pride” among the country’s manufacturers prevents them from thinking out of the box away from tried and tested methods and exploring different opportunities. Young, who dons multiple hats such as art director, stylist, besides being a writer, adds: “They just don’t want to budge from what they are producing.”

But all that seems to be changing. Archana Pillai, group publisher & CEO, Ogaan, and organiser of the show, says a lot of retailers and SMEs are now looking quite aggressively at scaling the business and diversifying their product offerings. Also, exporters, who were concentrating on international business, are developing local operations to cater to the growing demand and design-savvy audience. The home decoration segment has grown quite substantially over the past few years and there is good presence of both international brands, as well as local brands prevalent across different categories. So the home owner is spoilt for choice.”

Among the various exhibitors was couturier JJ Valaya, who has taken the next big step for the House of Valaya by foraying into Valaya Home to create interiors and home decor in his signature style. Valaya Home is typically regal, the design ethos that we see in Valaya’s couture creation. Valaya has created bespoke furniture, floorings, walls, tapestries and home accessories. The look is definitely ornate, opulent and luxurious.

The focus is on functionality with a lot of innovation and appeal thrown in. Designer Raseel Gujral’s Casa Pop is one such example. Her creations showcase vibrant, classic-meets-young furniture, accessories, apparel, luggage pieces, shoes and vanity cabinets. The price range goes from the fairly affordable to the admittedly exclusive.

With homes becoming more contemporary in aesthetics, the most personal area of the house has also undergone concomitant changes with respect to design and appeal, and that was in full view at India Design ID 2015. “Bathrooms have become an epitome of fashionable charm and the evolved discerning user handpicks fittings and accessories with a keen sense of style, functionality and sustainability,” says Pau Abello, managing director, Roca, a global leader in the definition of bathroom space and a benchmark reference in the world of design.

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