NEW FURNITURE COLLECTION
Designer Velji inspired by his roots
As Calgary-based interior designer Aly Velji can attest, there is nothing quite as satisfying as getting to the opening performance of a much-anticipated artistic endeavour.
Velji recently launched a new furniture collection, one that was two years in the making. The cocreated collection — Velji partnered with Canadian boutique furnishing retailer, Mobilia — hit the design stage mid-September at the Vancouver Interior Design Show.
“It’s been so exciting, and already we have gotten such great feedback,” says Velji.
Inspired by the exotic mystery and sumptuous esthetic of India, the 15-piece collection, aptly coined Modern India, encapsulates much of Velji’s design sensibility. He’s kept the embellishments simple, with streamlined mid-century bravado inspiring the lines, while luxurious materials take it to the next level.
The sleek patina of bronze pairs with unique marbles, and texture and pattern find expression in each piece with keen juxtapositions of textiles, woods, natural stones and metals.
Some of the pieces are delicate, while others are rich and multilayered, but all of them are elegant.
The collection’s genesis began in 2017, on a chilly, slushy Toronto day in early January, over lunch at the downtown celebrity haunt, Momofuko, where Velji and Johannes Kau, president of the 66-year-old family run business Mobilia, began tossing around ideas, beginning the conversation.
Within weeks, sketches had been etched for the initial five pieces of the collection and Velji and Kau were on a flight destined for Jaipur, India, a city within the province of Velji’s ancestral home (his great grandparents were born here).
The goal was to manufacture all of the items in India, using local craftsman and artisans.
And certainly there is nothing like a stroll through the bazaars and marketplaces of India, with the sights, sounds, colours and hustle and bustle to up the inspiration ante.
“When we got there I came across all of these beautiful exotic marbles — emerald greens, burnt oranges — with so much character and depth, really bringing in that Indian culture and heritage,” recalls Velji.
Similarly Velji took note of ancient weaving techniques incorporating pendant shapes and delicate symmetry.
“We were so inspired that the collection grew from five pieces to 15,” says Velji.
With Sanskrit names like Suki (beloved), Surya (sun), and Satya (pure), each piece resonates with the ethos of the exotic.
Like their names, these pieces are unique; each one is an original.
“Someone could get just one piece from the collection and it would be a standout in their home,” says Velji.
The designs are also easy on the pocketbook.
“I think good design should be for everyone. So price point was really important to me. I wanted to create a collection that was attainable,” says Velji.
Although there isn’t a brick and mortar Mobilia storefront in Western Canada — all eight stores are clustered in Ontario and Quebec — the Modern India collection can be purchased online at mobilia.ca.
Calgary-based interior designer Aly Velji designed a new line of furniture for Mobilia.
The pieces in the elegant Modern India collection have simple embellishments and are easy on the pocketbook.