Our Jan-Feb issue is here
When I first became editor of this magazine, five and a half years ago, it felt like every conversation I had was about the return to decorative. From Paris to Mumbai, everyone in design was talking about a resurgence in rich layering, heavy embroidery and a kind of contemporary baroque. It was a period in time, one where an entire new archetype of interior designer was born, characterized by riotously colourful, ultra-Instagrammable rooms. Hello, Marie-Anne Oudejans and friends!
Fast forward to 2021 and the conversation could not be more different. Certainly, the idea that we create interiors for the vignette, or for an Instagram post, is dead. Design will have to work harder in this brave new world. It simply isn’t enough for aesthetics alone to bring you pleasure. There needs to be something intrinsic that elevates your mood or calms you down. I’m talking about more than a scented candle.
Big business has been the thought leader in pioneering this holistic new approach. Not long after lockdown began, I spoke with Amit Syngle of Asian Paints about their new germ-killing paints. With the same zeal that his colourists talk new hues, the CEO introduced me to a new language of immunity boosting design. It became a familiar conversation. Somany tiles later launched a line of anti-bacterial ceramic surfaces. And when we approached fabric queen Akanksha Himatsingka to design textiles for our Project Wellbeing of specially commissioned objects (pg 56), she already had an anti-bacterial, un-dyed, organic cotton sheet and towel collection at the R&D stage.
This focus on wellbeing, and the fast production of paints, surfaces and fabrics with real health benefits, is more than clever marketing. This is conscientious corporate responsibility from the top of the Indian design industry.
Our homes will soon reflect the new mood and the landmark house we have on the cover offers a glimpse of what’s to come. A collaboration between Matra Architects, who created the crisp volumes and classic columns, and Ashiesh Shah, who designed the interiors, its setting on the shores of an Udaipur lake is serene in the extreme. The quiet interiors are typical of Ashiesh’s signature brand of desi wabi-sabi and, having been built on the principles of vastu, there is an atmosphere of spirituality. If you read the captions, you will notice that several key pieces of furniture were crafted from precious stone by the Jaipur atelier Frozen Music. Parth Seth, son of Frozen Music’s founder, was one of our first calls when we began putting together this issue. His knowledge of healing crystals and stones is unparalleled. More than even impeccable craftsmanship, it’s the power of the material that adds a new layer to this house.
In many ways, we’re entering a holistic revolution. A world where rooms are conceived as emotional experiences rather than functional spaces. Where a brush with a surface will nurture the skin. Suddenly, we’re all enlightened to the possibilities.
Personally, I’d long been a believer in the power of a beautiful object to balance me out. But will beauty really save the world? Can it heal the pain? There’ll be more to design in 2021.
#Editors #Letter #Brave #India