The next time you are in Bandra, head to the quirky design space, Upstairs. The place gets its name courtesy its location -- on the first floor of a 150-year-old bungalow.
Inside are several of its founder Lekha Washington’s products including The Pink Sink -- a patented storage-friendly chair that seems flat-surfaced until you sink into it comfortably and The Drop -- a swing-like chair, which can be hung from a fan-hook, uses Sink mechanics and can be custom-built according to your space. Also, on display is a square-shaped chair with plush cushioning called The Squair Chair along with The Dot, a chair resembling a bindi, which can be deceptively hinged on the wall and only becomes a chair once you sit on it. You can also spot some of Washington’s latest sculptures here and The Bent light collection (a work in progress, it is a set of dramatic and flexible lights).
Speaking about her latest venture, Washington says, “Upstairs began with me looking for a studio big enough to create some of the larger installation art pieces and works of design, in my head. Once it was close to ready, I realised that there is a dearth of truly alternative spaces in the city; spaces where a meeting of minds can happen without a specific commercial agenda.”
She describes the gallery-cum-shop as an open studio space where art and design are being explored. “It is neither an antiseptic store with everything neatly in place nor is it a gallery where art is viewed. It is where we will try out new ideas, some work some don’t, and meet like-minded people,” she elaborates.
Aside from a design space, Upstairs will also be hosting events: “We plan to host events: everything from stand-up comedy to classical music. It will be a not-for-profit initiative, held a couple of times a month.”
Washington has been involved with design over several years. She graduated in Lifestyle Product Design at National Institute of Design but completed her Masters in Film Direction.
Juggling acting and design is though not giving her sleepless nights, as she says, “They perfectly complement each other. While art is a solo pursuit, acting is all about giving yourself to a grander vision and working as a team player. Both allow me to creatively express different facets of my personality.”
At Upstairs, Bandra (W).
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