The interior design industry in India is something that I haven’t previously researched in any great depth before.
As our Director of Quality and Business, Helen Keighley, is currently in Mumbai exhibiting at the UBM Index Trade Fair, it seemed like a good opportunity to discover what state the interior design industry is in, who leads the way and what sort of projects are being undertaken.
The BBC notes in a recent video (2014), that “despite the economic slowdown in India over the past couple of years, the country’s middle class has expanded to the extent that an interior design boom has been created”. This suggests confidence in the industry and how disposable income is being utilised in a country not previously known for high-end design. A recent feature in Elle Décor highlights this transition. In ‘Spotlight on India’ (2014) Elle Décor travelled to Mumbai to be immersed in this vibrant metropolis, noting that there is a “frenzy of construction, where chic boutiques and restaurants are slotted amid colonial-era buildings and glass high-rises”; a fascinating combination of the once regal India and how contemporary design can be integrated seamlessly into the landscape.
One of the most recent examples of these glass high-rises, is ‘Grove Towers’, designed by the Danish architectural practice 3XN. 3XN describes the project as being “aesthetically inspired by local foliage, with the towers designed to interweave at their base, much like the roots of the native mangrove trees”. Whilst many consider high-rise glass buildings to be a slight on our landscape, 3XN have designed the façade to incorporate 2500 square meters of vertical garden space; helping reduce local CO2 levels, inhibit direct sunlight and to facilitate natural ventilation.
However, it is not just the physical landscape that is changing in India; the interior design industry has developed to such an extent that Forbes Magazine recently ran an article tracking the top seven interior designers in India to watch out for.
The designers range in style, some with a focus on how to interpret the earthiness and natural beauty of the Indian landscape into an interior, whilst others offer a more “westernised” approach; clean lines and contemporary materials, but being paired with rich, visual detail that respect and reflect Indian culture.
Studio Lotus is a young design company that combines the architectural/interiors, graphics and engineering industries into their approach. As Forbes note, “What we like about this design team is that their signature style is to not have one. Therefore, if you are their client, you could expect the unexpected and the unusual. The only constants are a refreshing perspective and a wholehearted openness to experimentation. Their projects are rich in visual details”. Featured projects are the Zerucco restaurant in New Delhi and Independence Brewing Company in Pune (below)
Another of these top seven designers to note is Aamir Sharma, whose projects are largely based on industrial material palettes of concrete unfinished walls, raw black slate and rusted metal sheets. From commercial to residential, Sharma exudes sensual earthiness that governs his design details.
Interior Design feels to be emerging in India as a new industry and with their wealth of heritage and culture, the industry will be something to keep a close eye on over the next few years.
Aamir Sharma (2014) Project portfolio (1-2) [Online Images]. Available from: http://www.aandh.in/project-detail59.html#prettyPhoto [Accessed 09/10/14].
Archdaily (2014) Groves Towers (1-3) [Online Images]. Available from: http://www.archdaily.com/504986/construction-begins-on-3xn-s-mumbai-grove-towers/ [Accessed 09/10/14].
Lotus Design (2014) Independence Brewing [Online Image]. Available from: http://www.lotuslink.in/ [Accessed 09/10/14].
Lotus Design (2014) Zerruco Restaurant (1-2) [Online Images]. Available from: http://www.lotuslink.in/ [Accessed 09/10/14].
Mehta, Diane. (2014) Elle Décor Goes to Mumbai. [Online] 12th February 2014. Available from http://www.elledecor.com/culture/elle-decor-goes-to-mumbai-43512 [Accessed 09/10/14].
Sebastian, Rupali. (2014) 7 Interior Designers and Architects to Watch Out For. [Online] 22nd April 2014. Available from http://forbesindia.com/article/special/7-interior-designers-and-architects-to-watch-out-for/20442/1 [Accessed 09/10/14].
BBC News. (2014). Interior Design Boom in India [Online Video]. March 30th. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26789965. [Accessed: 9th October 2014]