Laila and Farhan Furniturewalla's reinvented remodeled store, furniturewalla, FW is a one-stop shop for dressing up homes in style and character. By SHELLY ANAND
Elegant design incorporates top- notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form,” goes a saying by American philosopher David Lewis. How very apt. For, design is all about technique and is always about synthesis— of market needs, technology needs and business needs.
No one can understand this better than Laila and Farhan Furniturewalla, the couple who share a passion for art and interiors, and whose names are synonymous with Mumbai- based furniture, lighting, art and accessories store, Furniturewalla. The décor stopover, which came into existence in 1999 as a 15,000 sq ft store in Andheri, originally “showcased a wide range of furniture and accessories” and came into being simply to “fill in the need for stores that contained home stuff combining good design and quality with value for money.”
“My family has been in the furniture business for over 100 years from the time my great grandfather started off. Being at the centre of all activity, it was natural for me to start working with my father’s store, Kondor, in Mumbai 22 years ago, learning, studying and imbibing things from scratch,” says
Farhan. The rest, as they say, is history. An ace entrepreneur, one who inherited the family’s affinity for aesthetics, Farhan made it a point to increase his knowledge of furniture and design by spending hours at his factories, learning how furniture was customised and manufactured, besides drawing inspiration and increasing his knowledge about the trade by attending international fairs and exhibitions.
In a way, Farhan’s innumerable travel jaunts and deep understanding of the subject coupled with Laila’s knowledge— she is an artist by training and her works are displayed in the store itself— gave Furniturewalla a competitive edge. It therefore didn’t come as a surprise that the high- end label that hardsells its contemporary design and stylish product portfolio underwent a complete makeover a few months ago.
Reinvented and remodeled in its new avatar as Furniturewalla FW, spread across 9,000 sq ft of space in Worli, the brand without doubt is a treat for homeowners. Farhan says, “The main reason behind
revamping the store was to equip it to meet the new market competition and challenges. We want Furniturewalla to move from being just another stopover into a boutique store offering furniture, art, lighting and accessories.”
The hard work put in by the couple, who were assisted by an in- house team of designers to give the outlet a new look and appeal, is there for everyone to see and appreciate. The impeccably laid out and well- lit store, with sufficient walk- in areas and open sections replete with furniture and artifacts, offers handpicked pieces from across the world. From collections sourced from South America, Thailand, China, Europe and Malaysia to artifacts from Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and North America, the label is literally a one- stop shop for connoisseurs.
Decorative pots in arresting black with designs in gold leaf are great accessories for the living space as well as baroque leisure chairs with metallic detailing, upholstered in velvet. A stunning table lamp with a chandelier motif takes care of your lighting needs and a minimalist glass top dining table with a steel base is perfect for a modern dining area. A nest of tables in black glass with a white floral pattern and an occasional chair in champagne silver leaf complete the ensemble.
If furniture and accessories form the base of a house, art is the heart and soul of it. “Without art, any space is blank. And a piece of art speaks a thousand words and without it, there is a void,” says Laila. A look at some of her creations is enough to drive home the meaning behind her words. Her recent works represent a series where she has moved from oil to acrylic with a predominant use of gold leaf and gold pigment. Who says lifestyle stores are antiseptic and without character? Here’s one which will make you stay forever.
Art, furniture and artifacts come together to give the store a complete look
A contemporary floor table lamp in chandelier motif