In­dia is un­tapped in­spi­ra­tion

In­dian cul­ture is in­spir­ing new in­te­rior de­signs

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE - By VERN YIP

Lucky is how I feel each time I travel to In­dia. No mat­ter how many times I’ve vis­ited, I see and learn some­thing new.

The world’s largest democ­racy is com­plex, lay­ered and un­ques­tion­ably a non­stop visual feast. For de­sign­ers, in­spi­ra­tion is on ev­ery street, in ev­ery bite and in ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion.

Home to some of the planet’s wealth­i­est and most im­pov­er­ished peo­ple, with won­drous ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­pieces, unimag­in­able slums and over­pop­u­lated cities a short plane ride from rich bio­di­ver­sity, In­dia is an in­ten­sive study in con­trasts.

And the un­mis­tak­able in­flu­ence of that in­te­rior de­sign per­spec­tive is pop­u­larly find­ing its way into homes across our coun­try and all over the world.

If your dream in­te­rior can best be char­ac­ter­ized as min­i­mal­ist – and ex­em­pli­fied by a pat­tern-less pal­ette of warm grays popped by high­lights of white – a full-on In­dia-in­spired in­te­rior may not be for you. That’s not to say that In­dian in­flu­ences can’t weave beau­ti­fully into pre­dom­i­nantly neu­tral homes. They can and of­ten do. But to truly ex­pe­ri­ence the vi­brancy of to­day’s In­dian de­sign trend, you’ll want to be a lit­tle more open to let­ting sat­u­rated color and bold pat­tern seep into your life.

Re­cently, I had the op­por­tu­nity to visit the newly opened Oberoi Sukhvi­las re­sort, sit­u­ated at the foothills of the Hi­malayas in the Siswan for­est range, to wit­ness an ex­pres­sion of full-on In­dian de­sign at its best. Like the coun­try it­self, In­dian de­sign can be char­ac­ter­ized as warm, invit­ing and un­abashedly bold with­out sac­ri­fic­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion or taste. If that sounds like a great re­fresher for your home, here are sev­eral steps to use, in full or in part, to help trans­port your in­te­ri­ors there:

•Gem­stone col­ors: If a color re­calls the finest ex­am­ple of a gem­stone, it al­most cer­tainly works in In­dia. Deep sap­phire blues, rich ruby reds and lush emer­ald greens, sup­ported by a frame­work of darker hues of gold, con­vey the lux­u­ri­ous essence of to­day’s In­dian in­te­rior trend.

This is not a bash­ful pal­ette. In fact, it stands in com­plete con­trast to the re­cent pop­u­lar­ity of pale, soft shades. It’s the an­tithe­sis of the now thor­oughly per­va­sive mil­len­nial pink and spec­trum of pale blues that nearly fade into white.

These are strong, dra­matic and lux­u­ri­ous col­ors. And they per­fectly ac­com­pany cooler fall tem­per­a­tures. Be­cause of their sat­u­ra­tion and depth, these col­ors thrive when show­cased in lu­mi­nous vel­vets and silks.

So­fas, chairs and head­boards up­hol­stered in gem­stone hued vel­vets, in par­tic­u­lar, speak to the cur­rent side of this trend. For longevity and fresh­ness, fo­cus on inte- grat­ing a sin­gu­lar gem­stone hue, in an oth­er­wise neu­tral space, where it can carry the color load. Or, for the bold­est ex­pres­sion of this trend, use them all col­lab­o­ra­tively to make the most dra­matic im­pact.

•Flo­ral and an­i­mal pat

terns: Bold pat­tern on fab­rics, fur­ni­ture, rugs and ac­ces­sories has an im­por­tant and prom­i­nent role in In­dian in­te­rior de­sign. A deep lay­er­ing of pat­terns, within a sin­gle space, can in­fuse it with both soul and story.

Flo­ral pat­terns fea­tur­ing sym­bolic In­dian flow­ers, such as the dahlia, rose, lo­tus, marigold and zin­nia, are among the most pop­u­lar. And skill­fully jux­ta­pos­ing graphic an­i­mal hide pat­terns, as well as pat­terns fea­tur­ing an­i­mals set in scenery, along­side flo­ral ones is em­blem­atic of this In­dian in­te­rior point of view.

Ele­phant and horse fig­ures, of­ten adorned with col­or­ful blan­kets and head­pieces, are a fre­quent fa­vorite. In more tran­si­tional in­te­ri­ors, graphic deer spots, leop­ard spots and tiger stripes ref­er­ence In­dia’s rich his­tory with these crea­tures.

Re­mem­ber, when lay­er­ing a com­bi­na­tion of flo­ral and an­i­mal pat­terns in your own home, en­sure that a broad spec­trum of scales is em­ployed. Plac­ing small, medium, large and ex­tra-large scaled pat­terns ad­ja­cent to one an­other al­lows for easy co­hab­i­ta­tion.

•Tent chic: In­dian tent in­te­ri­ors – re­plete with ma­hogany floors, canopy beds, claw-foot tubs and miles of fabric – have be­come a no­table high­light of the coun­try’s award-win­ning hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. They ref­er­ence de­sign cues from an ear­lier time when the priv­i­leged trav­eled across In­dia in un­be­liev­able style, and their ro­mance, soft­ness and tinge of nos­tal­gia can quickly re­lax, re­ju­ve­nate and re­vi­tal­ize the weary.

Though “glamp­ing” (of­fi­cially added to the Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary in 2016), oth­er­wise known as glam­orous camp­ing, has seen a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in in­ter­est among Amer­i­cans, as­pects of these el­e­gant and ad­ven­tur­ous tent in­te­ri­ors are re­ally be­gin­ning to per­me­ate and in­flu­ence our lives. As more of us seek to de­com­press through home de­signs with a va­ca­tion mind set at the core, bor­row­ing de­sign el­e­ments from lux­ury tents has gained real rel­e­vance.

Though not ev­ery­one can have, nor nec­es­sar­ily wants, a lit­eral tented ceil­ing in their home, lin­ing walls and ceil- ings with fabric can cre­ate the same co­coon­ing ef­fect and is great for ab­sorb­ing sound. Cer­tainly be­ing en­sconced in­side the fabric pan­els of a canopy bed can inject a needed dose of ro­mance into a tired bed­room.

And you don’t have to re­side in the moun­tains or in a ru­ral set­ting to take part in this trend. Even ur­ban­ite apart­ment dwellers and sub­ur­ban­ites in ranch-style homes can embrace el­e­ments of In­dian “tent” de­sign to help turn down the stress while up­ping the re­lax­ation fac­tor.

The phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments that cul­tures show­case of­ten speak vol­umes about who they are. Some­times even more so than their words.

In­dia’s cul­ture is mul­ti­fac­eted, dynamic, el­e­gant, in­cred­i­bly vi­brant and full of won­drous com­plex­i­ties and con­trasts. It can cer­tainly never be tagged as bor­ing or ac­cused of be­ing clin­i­cal.

In so many ways, this also per­fectly char­ac­ter­izes to­day’s In­dian in­te­rior de­sign. As In­dia’s in­creas­ing eco­nomic in­flu­ence con­tin­ues to be felt all over the globe, her de­sign point of view will, too.

So, whether it’s an en­tire ren­o­va­tion or a sub­tle shift in ac­cents, em­brac­ing the col­ors, pat­terns and ad­ven­tur­ous spirit of this pow­er­house na­tion will lend a rel­e­vant di­men­sion, com­plex­ity and en­dur­ing beauty to any home. Yip is a TLC/HGTV in­te­rior de­signer and host and au­thor of the book “Vern Yip’s De­sign Wise: Your Smart Guide to a Beau­ti­ful Home.” Orig­i­nally from McLean, Va., Yip is based in At­lanta and New York.

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Vern Yip

Above, canopy beds and rooms en­sconced with fabric are a big fall trend in­spired by lux­ury tents in In­dia in­clud­ing this one at the Oberoi Sukhvi­las in New Chandi­garh, In­dia. The lay­er­ing of pat­terns, in­clud­ing an­i­mal prints and flo­rals, is also on the rise. At left, the in­flu­ence of In­dia mostly trans­lates to com­plex, multi-hued en­vi­ron­ments rich with pat­tern. For those who want a more neu­tral and con­tem­po­rary ap­proach, show­case sin­gu­lar In­dian de­sign el­e­ments such as the tar­geted use of ruby red in art­work and a throw pil­low shown here at the Oberoi Mum­bai.

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