Five women with different backgrounds have one thing in common; their love for design
“We create an enchanting retail experience”
Walk into a Good Earth store and be ready to be surrounded by design inspired by tradition, presented in contemporary language. Anita Lal opened her first store in Mumbai in 1996. Since then, not only has she changed the Indian mindset, but has also educated people about their heritage.
Good Earth, in the next five years
Good Earth is a jewel-like organisation, so it’s not going to be large and impersonal. A focus on quality and sustainability always takes precedence. Going forward we’ll continue to create enchanting retail experiences.
What’s a typical day like?
Once I’m up and ready, I check emails, catch up on my go-to design feeds and inspiration galleries. I am in the office between noon and 5 pm. Here I spend time brainstorming with the creative team on design and products followed by meetings with design partners, thinking, designing, and mentoring. I have no life apart from work, except my grandkids. When they come, I pack up for the day.
What inspires you?
Nature, history and travel. Our Good Earth family of master artisans, designers and craftsmen never fail to inspire me. The event that most influenced me was the experience of viewing The Padshanama at the National Museum in January of 1997. One of the greatest works of art, the exhibition of 44 miniatures from the Royal Library, Windsor, gave an account of the life of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The depth of colours and lines in the paintings left a deep and lasting influence.
Design trends for 2017
Oriental influences are gaining popularity. Our Shambala annual design collection celebrates this. For textiles, Jaipur’s handblock prints on luxurious fabrics of soft muslin and cotton pique will forever remain favourites. The colour palette for the season is largely based on the Pantone colour of the year ‘Greenery’ and its interpretations.
“An architect is a visionary and socially responsible figure.”
Anupama Kundoo started her practice in 1990 and her buildings (tailored to the climate and the culture) marry materials with forms. Thinking outside the box is her forte.
Choosing sustainable architecture
When I graduated in 1989 this term was not yet coined. I grew up in Bombay watching imbalances in urban developments. At the Sir JJ College of Architecture we learnt about the role of the architect as a visionary and socially responsible figure. When I moved to Auroville, I encountered a society that aspired for a high quality of life with less environmental impact. My practice grew there among others who were experimenting with alternative technologies, and I had the right environment to develop myself.
I like Wall House (near Auroville) because it creates an ambience of well being, and a sense of peace and beauty and strikes a good balance between the inside and outside. I also like Creativity, Urban Eco-Community Prototype; SAWCHU which is an open public gathering space; Kranti’s Residence in Pune; Library of Lost Books in Barcelona and my latest project of Full Fill Homes (lego-style low-cost homes concept). Finally, both my installations at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012, 2016).
Who inspires you?
My formative years were influenced by Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames and modernist architects. Charles Correa had an impact on my mind. Meeting Laurie Baker and others, who addressed the concerns of the underprivileged had a deep impact. I followed the work of engineers who produced spectacular architecture with their structural innovations, like Pier Luigi Nervi, Frei Otto and Buckminister Fuller who encouraged the idea of ‘thinking with the hands’.
“Design is all comprehensive”
Rajshree Pathy is the founder of India Design Forum (IDF). She curated and administered CHAKRAVIEW at London’s inaugural Design Biennale in 2016, which was India’s first official entry to a creative branding event of this scale.
How did CHAKRAVIEW happen?
The installation CHAKRAVIEW was originally conceptualised for the inaugural London Design Biennale, themed ‘Utopia by Design’. The biennale featured installations by architects, designers, scientists, writers and artists from over 30 countries, who each presented their definitions of how ‘the world reimagines the world’; it served as the optimum platform for India Design Forum (IDF) to present brand India as a progressive and innovative global economy expressed through its cultural heritage. The work presents a unique blend of the social, political and religious climates that will always characterise the country and scenographer Sumant Jayakrishnan, artist Hanif Koreishi and film maker Avinash Kumar of BLOT were brought in to create it.
What is design?
Most confuse design with luxury and art. Design is about combining function with aesthetics. It is about innovation. It is the comfort of the chair you sit on, the ease of operation built into your phone, the technology of the car you drive. The general perception is a very narrow definition’, understanding that it impacts everything we do, how it beings harmony in our living and working environment all begins with introducing creative thinking from basic education levels. It is all compehensive.
Sustainable building materials will be used in architecture. Lightweight structures will be used for product and industrial applications. Colours will be more from nature than bold.
“A colour plan is as important as a business plan”
Passionate about colour and design, Latika Khosla, a trend forecaster, always thinks ten steps ahead.
Becoming a colour consultant
My final thesis at NID was about understanding colour associations for home application. I reached out to craft mentors like HakkuBhai Shah, to Manu Desai, an advertising professional, and Charles Correa, architect and town planner. Later, my path led me to connect with professional colour organisations like the Color Marketing Group USA and the AIC, the scientific association for colour. For the longest time I’ve been associated with the Scandinavian Color institute, a universal system for colour design. I now conduct colour courses and undertake projects.
Initially the idea of colour design and its impact on industry was not known. Another challenge is that colour impacts every stage of product conception. A colour plan needs to be followed as assiduously as a business plan.
Five colour trends for interiors
Tropical greenhouse, you can recreate a tropical forest with natural textured fabrics. Be boheme represents a kaleidoscope of patterns and colours in sunset hues. Deep
dive is a hybrid mix of exotic plant and sea forms. Grey and yellow is a cerebral palette with bold graphics and strong contrasts. Moody monochrome is neutral but sensual.
Designers to watch out for
Safomasi for narrative textile prints, Rubberband for multicolored books, Jenny Pinto for lights, Scholten & Baijings for ceramics, Christiane Muller Van Toll for textiles and Next Architects.
With so much international recognition for her designs, one forgets that Brinda Somaya started Somaya & Kalappa Consultants (SNK) in 1978 in a garden shed in Mumbai.
My parents believed in driving through the country and we would go to many small places and towns. One of my earliest recollections was going to Nalanda, the ancient University in Bihar and I remember very clearly the impact that had on me. My sister, who is three years older than I am, was the first who went into architecture school. I used to watch what she did, what she worked on. There was never any doubt in my mind from the age of 13 that I wanted to be an architect. After my matriculation, I won the American Office Scholarship. After I returned to India, I joined JJ College of Architecture and went onto complete my masters from Smith College in Boston, USA.
Who inspired you?
Unfortunately the late 60s, early 70s, was not the greatest time to be studying architecture. Architecture was taught in a very rigid manner and there were words like ‘space’, ‘spirit’ and ‘context’ that did not even come into our practice. In other ways, it also inspired us to do a lot of things on our own. At Smith College, I studied sociology, anthropology, photography, history, and it formed the basis for what led to the ethos of the practice that I have today in Somaya and Kalappa Consultants. Architecture is a technical profession. It is not just ideas, magic and sparks; it is translation of all these elements into reality. It is a lengthy and difficult job.
Challenges you faced
My early years of practice were rather isolated as I had not worked in any large prestigious firm nor had I worked with inspiring architects whom I could look up to as mentors. Perhaps this isolation in a way gave me the strength to follow my dream and what I believed in. Maybe if I had followed the more conventional route I would have convinced myself that it would be impossible for a sari-clad young woman working in the world of the 70s to set up her own practice.
“Architecture is a technical profession, it is not just ideas, magic and sparks.”
Willow Naqashi trinket box and bowl
ANITA LAL Creative Director, Good Earth, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore www.goodearth.in
Wall House in Auroville by Anupama Kundoo
ANUPAMA KUNDOO Architect, Anupama Kundoo Architects, Auroville and Spain anupamakundoo.com
CHAKRAVIEW installation at Bikaner House during the Serendipity Arts Festival
RAJSHREE PATHY Art connoisseur, design aficionado and founder, India Design Forum, Comibatore and Delhi indiadesignforum.com
Grey and yellow theme from the Freedom Tree collection (top); the deep dive theme is a mix of plant and sea forms (above)
LATIKA KHOSLA Colour Consultant, Founder and Design Director, Freedom Tree, Mumbai www.freedomtree.in
Somaya & Kalappa did the restoration and retrofitting of Tata Consultancy Services headquarters in Mumbai
BRINDA SOMAYA Architect and Urban Conservationist Somaya & Kalappa Consultants (SNK), Mumbai www.snkindia.com