Furniture design is an art, just like the one we see on canvas. It needs to be a combination of technique, science and aesthetic. Unfortunately, the Razas and the Hussains of furniture design are yet to be exposed. And are overshadowed by the Italian and German designers we Indians love to use. But guess, what, I’ve got a little secret to share with you all. There are furniture designers and manufacturers right here in our country who can put the Italians to shame with their finish, design and precision. At half the cost, its double the pleasure working with them.
Since we at SMA customise all our furniture and more often than not, our lights too, we are constantly on the lookout for designers and manufacturers who can translate our design vision into reality. I’m totally for the Make in India movement for furniture and here are my top 5 ninjas when it comes to creating furniture.
Alsorg – the exclusive furniture design house
With a separate engineering department that works in parallel to the design department, the bakes that come out of Alsorg’s oven are flawless. Absolutely top-of-the-line, they customise the designs to meet every minute detail, and are equal or probably better than the famous Italian finish. They have been into the manufacturing business since 2008, and their 1,00,000 sq ft plant is located in the heart of Gurgaon.
They have a super ‘can-do’ attitude and if I have something really exclusive to design, I go straight to Alsorg. So far I have been disappointed only minus 1 times.
Fusion Access – customised fine furniture
A trademark of fine furniture, Fusion Access is a fine brand of customised wood furniture. The owner Shilpa Kalanjee Pastala herself attends all designs meetings and the entire process from drawing board to production is smooth and hassle-free. Their workmanship is precise and the best part about working with them is that they keep using new techniques and are open to trying out different things.
They have some fabulous work happening with leafing and its always exciting to come out with something that is a ‘first’ with them.
Zayin- skilled carpentry and imaginative design
With an architect and designer the mastermind behind Zayin, its no doubt that the furniture that comes out of Zayin is a combination of skilled carpentry and imaginative design. They do a fabulous job of fusing traditional design with contemporary silhouettes.
We’ve created some masterpieces while working with them and they are happy to join us in the process of experimentation and exploration of material, finish, texture and fabric. Most importantly they are cost effective.
Splendour- A design hub
Another fabulous destination to get custom made furniture, Splendour spearheaded by design entrepreneur Sharan Parekh is a design hub that operates predominately in the fields of home and lifestyle. Besides furniture they also work on lighting, rugs and textiles, making them a one stop solution for interior design needs. We are currently designing something called as a James Bond table with them, and are extremely excited to see the result. It’s a custom made piece of furniture with hidden drawers and more.
What I like most about Splendour is that their finish and quality of workmanship is excellent. In fact they also showcase their work at the Milan fair.
We worked with them for our Dubai project, and while they are known dominantly for their décor accessories, they have an equally good manufacturing unit in place for high end furniture with an emphasis on bespoke. They are a good place to go if you are looking at someone with a good production capacity, with no compromise on finish and reasonable price. Delhiites love them, and so does this Menon from Mumbai!
And while I make this post, I cannot dare to sign out without giving credit to the smaller furniture manufacturers we work with from small pockets like Dahisar and Bhivandi in Mumbai. Trust me, there are a bunch of these professionally untrained, yet experienced and very very hardworking guys who work from here and they are ruling the hospitality industry, especially the standalone restaurants that want classy stuff without breaking the bank.
We have used these guys for our signature projects like Farzi Café, Koko and POH and are using them even for the hotel we are designing in South Africa. You’d be surprised where a short trip to these small lanes with small furniture shops can take you.
And of course there are talented young designers like Fenny Ganatra who is known for her design of the Bounce Chair. We are fortunate to be living in the country where talent is in abundance and the quality of labour is so high. Lets make the best of it!
About Interior designer Sumessh Menon
Sumeesh Menon is a leading interior designer in the country and founder of Sumessh Menon Associates, a firm that specializes in high end and bespoke residential, commercial and hospitality interiors. Sumessh is recognized as one of the top Hospitality Interior designers in the country, and is probably one of the few interior design firms in India that have such a stylish yet practical approach to design.
He has a very sensuous style of design and his creations are bold yet sleek, and make an artsy style statement. He likes to individually conceive his designs and meticulously crafts the details of each so no two designs look the same.
Be it the some of the trendiest restaurants in Mumbai, record breaking lounges and bars or high end residences, Sumeesh Menon has made his mark across categories, design sensibilities and mastered the art of seducing through design.
Some of his recent well-known projects include restaurants and bars like POH, Koko, Keiba, Masala Bar and Trilogy 2.o.