Global Con­nect

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

India Today - - HOME PROFILE -

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

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