While Italian and South East Asian home décor items may have their allure, several city-based brands and portals are now working with traditional artisans to offer bespoke heritage artefacts, artworks and textiles with a modern touch, for the discerning buyer, as Soma Das finds out
While avant garde furniture and decor has become ubiquitous in many homes, there are patrons who prefer to splurge on Indian heritage décor as well.
Pure silver console and mirror inspired from the Victorian era, at The Big Door in Bandra. Pic/ Sameer Markande
To cater to this demand, several brands offer bespoke heritage items, including tribal artworks, handmade textiles and artefacts inspired by royalty. the guide profiles a few such brands.
Kavita Singh Interiors
The Bandra-based Kavita Singh Interiors offers home décor and artworks. Their range includes customised Pichwai paintings (which feature gold gota borders and loops to enable the painting to be hung), handcrafted crystal chandeliers, brass and bronze objects like palki hands (used to decorate the carriages carrying a bride to her husband’s village) and Mukhalingams (used to cover Shiva Lingams).
Pichwai art and other traditional decor at Kavita Singh Interiors
They also offer old glass paintings depicting Krishna, Vishnu and other Hindu deities as well as wooden brackets (used to hold up the roofs of havelis) mounted on sleeper wood stands and carved with images.
Owner Nandini Singh explains that their products are pan-Indian: “Pichwais and glass paintings come from Rajasthan, whilst the brass items are found in Kerala and Karnataka. Some of our black and white reproduction prints of the photographs by legendary photographer Lala Deen Dayal are sourced from Hyderabad.”
Some of the challenges they face are due to the fragility of the items. Prices start from a few hundred rupees for accessories like candle votives and stainless steel lanterns, going upwards to several thousand for the glass paintings and prints.
At: Kavita Singh Interiors, 36 Turner Road, Bandra (W).
PotliArts is an online venture to promote Indian arts, crafts and weaves. They work with 24 artisans from Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Maharashtra.
(From left) Ma Kali, a Mithila folk artwork; a Gond tribal artwork and Santhal tribal art
Their list of products includes paintings across genres like Kalamkari, Mithila, Orissa/West Bengal Pattachitra, Saora, Santhal and Maharashtrian Chitrakathi as well as textiles ranging from Khadi to Banarasi saris, Alpona saris, intricate Bujodi shawls, Banjara embroideries and Assamese saris.
They also encourage artists to create original Bhitti chitras (wall paintings). Explains founder Ritu Chandwani, “Art from the interiors of India was first created on the walls of homes and temples. While the concept remains the same, the ornamentation and colours are adapted to suit current trends.”
She observes that a heritage product takes longer to make and is more of a challenge: “It needs talented weavers and is more expensive. We incorporate heritage elements by making shawls featuring symbols that date back to the Indus Valley civilisation.
The Dancing Girl artefact (a bronze statue from the Mohenjodaro site) has many representations in the Rabari tribal embroideries and amongst Bhujodi weavers, which we offer. We also encourage artists to use ancient pictographs in a multitude of colours,” adds Chandwani.
Chandwani has herself designed 11th century, handblock printed Maheshwari saris with a tenth generation handblock printer.
Among the luxurious textiles they offer, the highlight includes the intricate Banarasi silk sari, Tussar silk sari handpainted by a Saora artist as well as Mubaggam and Korvai Kanjeevaram saris.
The challenges they face range from travel to commissioning costs. “Most good weavers are also busy. In the monsoon, the work is hampered. Unseasonal rains impact the growth of plants and the dyeing process,”
elaborates Chandwani. To recreate history, they work with textile historians and weavers to ensure the piece you buy is an heirloom.
Log on to: potliarts.com
The Big Door
The Big Door, a 7,500 square feet space in Bandra, is a collector’s delight. Their products invoke a bygone era and include Pichwai paintings from Rajasthan, bronze artefacts from South India, marble jaali panels inspired by the Mughal era, silver furniture inspired by royalty, consoles made by converting balconies of royal courts, as well as Mughal, Nizam and Rajput-inspired jewellery. Each piece is limited edition and customised by ancestral karigars and artisans previously engaged by royal families.
A door inspired by the traditional gates found in havelis. Pic/ Sameer Markande
Vivek Gupta, founder, The Big Door, shares, “There is limited exposure towards Indian heritage art and antiques pertaining to interiors, jewellery and collectibles. When you buy an artefact or a piece of jewellery, you take home an aspect of our Indian heritage — a legacy, in fact.”
They also offer customised doors inspired from the gates of havelis, forts and palaces as well as ceilings inspired from the mirrorwork embellished and hand-painted wooden ceilings found in Mughal durbars. The products are sourced from collectors, manufacturers and dealers based out of Jaipur, Udaipur, Goa and Thiruvananthapuram.
“There is a demand for heritage products as it takes away from the monotonous South East Asian/ Italian merchandise. Heritage Indian artefacts add a historic allure to a space and make for heirloom pieces too,” sums up Gupta. By the end of the month, the store will be introducing heritage menswear and bespoke luxury trunks. The jewellery and artefacts are priced from Rs 5,000 onwards.
At: BR Ambedkar Road, next to Pizza Metro Pizza, Pali Hill, Khar (W).