Furniture India: Design trends and the age of the niche designer
Furniture design is slowly moving towards niche specialty with brand owners and retailers shifting focus to a specific segment of the industry. In this context, the specialty furniture designer will see a marked difference in consumer attitudes as homeowners are more likely to have a greater brand recall when there is an element of uniqueness in design, from the perspective of design and materials used.
The emergence of this niche segment reveals the changing mindset of the homeowner as well. As quality and individualistic expression become more important factors in consumer spending, the financial viability of such niche ventures allows designers to focus on doing what they love, working with materials they find a deep personal connect with, to create products that focus on quality and design sensibilities. It also opens up all kinds of possibilities in the industry as a whole, and encourages a creative mindset. While such creativity has always found takers in the high-end luxury segment, the most promising change is the expansion of this niche enabling it to reach a wider audience that appreciates the value of design.
We have focussed on three designers in this particular feature. Not just from the perspective of their design ingenuity, but also highlighting the manner in which they have used technology and the tools of social media to promote their product range to an audience that extends well beyond retail formats.
Furniture India : The niche designer
Sandeep Sangaru is fast becoming the leading name in bamboo furniture design in India. With a firm grounding received during his years at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Sandeep went on to combine influences from childhood and experience in several other disciplines to promote traditional furniture craft and create designs to suit a contemporary context. Using a material that is a renewable resource and eco-friendly he is also doing his bit to promote sustainable design in India.
Bobby Aggarwal’s love for leather goes all the way back to his days in Mumbai’s Dharavi. After running a successful export house catering to some of the world’s most prestigious home living brand he decided to diversify into domestic retail and created the luxury label Portside Café. His passion for colour makes the Portside collection unique in that it steers away from traditional concepts and reveals a vibrant aspect not too commonly associated with leather furniture.
Sahil and Sarthak run a design firm that has explored virtually every facet of the industry. With several interesting interior design projects to their credit, they ventured into furniture design under the Sahil&Sarthak label. Creating contemporary designs rooted in traditional craft techniques is their forte. The Katran collection uses leftover pieces of cloth (thus inspiring the name for the collection) and traditional craftsmen to create modern furniture that defines their ‘Glocal’ (Global+Local) design ideology.