• Making Room for an Unexpected Year

    Making Room for an Unexpected Year

    Hello from day 100th (or so) of self-isolation!

    We moved into our new abode two weeks before quarantine and have been spending majority of our non-work hours moving, re-arranging and setting up. For someone who enjoys their home as much as we do, we created self-care spaces to support our new routines and with this little list, I hope you can too!

    While most of us are going through the same lockdown, our situations differ vastly; Some live in a house packed with people, while others alone in an apartment, some strive on external energies while others find it within themselves. However, re-thinking your surroundings and carving out a space for your new lifestyle is essential. This may be a corner to read, meditate, be creative or whatever may be on your mind.

    April 2020 – present
    1. Kitchen: While the lockdown lead us to preparing our own meals, somewhere in between the cooking we found it equal parts relaxing, exciting and eventful. We emptied out a shelf which now houses a speaker and phone dock so we can turn up the music, put away our phones and focus on how we are going to satisfy our tummies
    2. Guest Room: We are definitely not expecting any guests visiting us this season, if not this whole year. We pushed the diwan to one corner, freed up more space and added a large canvas rug. This empty space and its ever changing form- from that of a dance floor for my Zumba workouts to the expansive floor space for my 1000 piece puzzle, is all about energy and that really gets us going
    3. Living Room: I don’t need to leave tables empty for quarter plates or glasses- Spring was here and Bougainville grows all year long! All the bottles and glass jars have been put to good use and are filled with hues of greens, pinks and whites. My self-taught lessons on flower arrangements and experiments of ‘how to not-to-kill plants’ are held in this very space
    4. Study: After weeks of playing musical chairs, trying to spot the most comfortable dining chair to plonk myself on, I hit bullseye. The (not-so-beautiful) black ergonomic chairs are a clear winner and one was finally brought home from the studio except, as always, with a Studio Wood twist
    5. Corridors: Big on art and less on blank walls, that’s how I like my home to be. With all frame shops shut and the husband trying his hands on watercolours, it was time to DIY like we did back in school. Rolls of masking tape, [because it won’t chip the paint and is available at all chemists] sheets of art and ‘attempted-art’ were composed on the walls, giving the house some much needed colour.

    I am a firm believer that change is the only constant and this time it has entered our homes. The only thing we can hope for is to carry these habits into the future. It’s time to look inwards, focus on ourselves and balance if what we want is aligned with what we truly need, a house or a home.

    If you’re still struggling how to make your space alive again, call up your friendly neighbourhood designer (which is us) Remember, we’re all in this together, and we’re not going anywhere!

    Written by Navya Aggarwal, with edits from Vrinda Mathur

  • Well, frankly

    Well, frankly

    The idea of blogging has been on my mind for a while now and I’m glad this dream project is finally taking off. Albeit, its a bit daunting really, having built this up so much in my head, I didn’t realise writing for an audience would be so nerve racking. I am putting my point of view out there, but is the world ready for me? Yet what better time than now when our phones have become an extension of our limbs anyway. Our dinner tables, morning toilet routines, kitchen experiments, workout regimes are all guided by our devices, hence, more to stream, read, grasp.

    In this lockdown, I’ve been trying to engage myself with more cerebral content. I’ve finally given up on the Friends reruns and explored the Netflix lexicon which introduced me to ‘Abstract’. For those of you who are familiar with the show, good job! And for those who aren’t, please take some time out from the infinite scrolling and do yourselves a very creatively fuelling favour. 

    Every time I watched a new episode, I sat with my diary of notes and wrote about the designer’s journey, inspiration, highs, lows and quotes that stayed with me. Like when Olafur Eliasson talked of “design as a positive narrative and how it can change thinking into doing” or Neri Oxman spilling the magical formula of “knowing when to say why and in the same breath say why not?” I have used that line myself! pats back.

    Then there is Tinker Hatfield, known for the magic he created with Air Jordan’s for Nike. An architect by degree, a sportsman by passion and a shoe designer by pure chance. His three decade journey is inspiring in so many ways. 

    I also recommend watching the episodes with Cas Holmann, Paula Scher and Christoph Niemann.

    I am not big on podcasts but recently subscribed to Clever’on Spotify and heard about the prolific work of Ayse Birsel (pronounced eye-shay) Turkish born-American designer, Ayse studied Industrial Design in the United States and went on to becoming one of the most sought after creatives in the world today. With companies such as Knoll, Herman Miller, Toto, Nike, Tiffany & Co. and more in her portfolio, her design philosophy and pedagogies were very honest and relatable.

    Ayse: My first attempt at minimal portraits using the pen tool on Adobe Illustrator.

    She started her career in the 1980’s as a young-female-foriegner trying to convince multinational companies on why her designs and ideas will make a difference. She raised pertinent questions; For instance, “Why aren’t there enough female industrial designers when the majority of consumers are women” She also fought for democratisation of design with pure talent that was backed by gumption. The kind of enthusiasm that motivates young designers like myself.

    A perennial challenge I face as a woman entrepreneur in a field majorly governed by my male counterparts, is being subject to the fantastical argument that ‘men are better equipped at labour intensive fields than women’. Traditionally too, crafts such as carpentry or metal-smithing are practised by men whereas women are taught softer skills such as sewing and knitting in most parts of India.

    Maybe someday, our studio will stand as a testament to change and we’ll train and employ women carpenters to work shoulder to shoulder with our team of craftsmen. When in the true sense of the word, we will collaborate with craftspeople.

    Written by Vrinda Mathur
    with edits from Gunjeet Sra, Founder, Sbcltr Magazine