Luxury brands in India: The international player
With major international brands and niche designers from other parts of the world making their presence felt in India, interior design in India has witnessed a major change in recent years. Awareness of global design trends has fuelled market viability.
Homeowners are more willing to splurge on luxury brands and that base of people has grown manifold in recent years. I would say that the changing Indian mindset in terms of design has created a viable opportunity for the influx of international brands, rather than the other way around. The internet has given people a lot more access to what is happening all over the world. People are travelling more often, many professionals live and work in several countries over a period of time, which gives them a deeper insight into several aspects, one of them being interior design and home living in other parts of the world.
Homeowners know a lot more about products and design than they did five years ago. With rising disposable income people want access to the best the world has to offer and the allure of luxury brands isn’t something that is unique to India. It is just something relatively new from the perspective of being accessible. Many Indian homeowners could afford these brands even ten years ago, but getting an Armani bathroom in a Delsey isn’t an option really. It is not so much affordability but the mindset that has changed considerably. What may have been seen as an extravagance ten years ago is now viewed as a lifestyle choice, and indulgence is no longer equated with being ostentatious.
Technology is also playing an important role in building and designing homes. When you compare it with other parts of the world, technology and concepts like a ‘Smart Home’ have not really made that much of an impact in residential design. We are still catching up. In sharp contrast, commercial design has witnessed a rapid scaling up. For homeowners, the integration with design is limited and largely dependent on the expertise of the architect/interior designer and to some extent the resources available. Wherever technology has made an impact it has largely been driven by international brands that have jumpstarted the desire to change and brought in products and solutions to deliver that change. In luxury interiors, the most notable examples are in kitchens, bathrooms and hardware, and to some extent, in lighting and surfacing materials. Technology has been integrated more in terms of appliances and entertainment gadgetry. For technology to enter the bones of architecture in a home design project you need to hire the right kind of architect.