By Husein Haveliwala
Most of us stumble upon images of beautifully decorated homes while scrolling through our social media feeds. We favour some design styles over others, whether contemporary, rustic or minimalist and often bookmark these pictures for design inspirations. It has become important for us to express ourselves through our spaces: our homes, retail zones or workspaces.
This very demand has been capitalised upon by entrepreneurs, each with something new to offer. In the last year alone, we have seen new stores of brands like Beyond Designs, Ellementry, Sanjyt Syngh, CJ Living and Sarita Handa opening across the country. More ideas lead to more products, in turn, leading to more profits. In fact, according to a report titled Furniture Market by Research Nester Pvt. Ltd. in March 2019, the furniture market in India is predicted to reach a whopping $61.09 billion (more than 4 lakh crores) in the next four years.
We have all heard, over the past few years, of the increase in disposable income amongst the middle, upper-middle and affluent classes. This means more travel, which leads to more exposure to the styles and trends in different countries. This, in turn, creates a clientele that has experienced only the best and demands a higher standard of living. “People are becoming more house proud and want a certain look and décor for their space. With extensive travels and exposure to design traditions across the world, they want to make their space unique and aesthetically rich and exciting. They are hungry for new ideas and fresh looks,” says Sachin Gupta, 44, Founder and Principal Designer of the Delhi-based luxury furniture and home accessories brand Beyond Designs. Demand for well-crafted pieces has also gone up in tier-II and tier-III cities. Sanjay Pareek, 55, one of the four founders of Mumbai’s Beyond&More, opened in store in August 2018, says that he has been working with many architects and designers who are doing more business in smaller cities, which still has bigger floor spaces, than in the metros. “One must also remember that the land here is relatively cheaper. Hence, many affluent people are building second homes in these cities. There is a lot of demand for luxury furniture from these projects” adds Pareek.
“It also comes down to the intricate details and constantly changing trends that today’s globe-trotter is perceptive to. He wants to constantly upgrade his space accordingly,” says Suparna Handa, 48, the Managing Director of Sarita Handa, a brand created by her mother Sarita.The art of enticing consumers. Apart from the products, another facet that leads to a global experience is the retail space. Ayush Baid, 23, Founder of the Jaipur-based home décor products brand Ellementry reports that all eight of his current and upcoming stores, across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Goa, maintain a certain consistency in terms of design. “Every season we try to change the look and feel of the store to make it better. We have an in-house team of international designers, who help the brand with constant changes in the look and feel of the stores,” he says. Moreover, CJ Living’s first store five years ago was a full 1,000 sq ft, but after studying the market, the brand decided to open a bigger showroom. The company focuses on retailing larger furniture pieces, and a bigger store allows the brand team to create full-size room spaces for the customers to see exactly how a bathroom or bedroom or modular kitchen will look like. “Our globe-trotting clients desire a good-looking lifestyle store,” says Chiranjiv Singh, 41, a Partner of the brand that retails predominantly Italian, Danish, German, Austrian and American home décor products.
Likewise, designer Sanjyt Syngh, 40, also connects India to the global home décor market. Syngh has spent over a decade living between New York and London, building a network of brands. Operating from a ‘by-appointment-only’ studio in Delhi, his eponymous brand sources international products on a per-project basis, catering to global tastes. On the other hand, the Indian luxury market is also focussing on keeping things local. The allure for indigenous, handmade and artisanal products from India has skyrocketed in recent years, a trend that stems from a sense of identity and personalisation that luxury consumers want today. Everyone wants something they can identify with, and the East-meets-West design trends fit in perfectly. This further strengthens the case for the upsurge of décor stores with catalogues of products that offers the best of both worlds. Ellementry proudly claims to be “shaped with culture, rooted in wisdom and adapted to modern sensibilities”, while Beyond Designs describes its work as “bespoke luxury
that is a fusion of our rich heritage of arts and crafts, hand-making traditions,
and contemporary aesthetics.” To sum it up, we want the best, multifunctional products with an ethnic touch, and the designers are leaving no stone unturned to give us what we
desire. This blueprint for luxury in a new-age India seems to be catching on. No wonder that the innovators and entrepreneurs are wager to bring the best of décor closer home.