Category Archives: Furniture

My friend – Vrinda Mathur

Vrinda Mathur. Tiny/Petite. Delicate. Fun. Feisty. In a nut shell – Bloody Dynamite! In every way and I mean that in a good way. She is ultra feminine but don’t let that tiny bird like grace fool you – she is tough as nails and is not afraid to tell it like it is. The first thing I noticed about her was her delicate grace. And then she started talking about her work…

I met Vrinda at the Beach House Project in march last month at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. One week together can get a bunch of people quite close quite fast. And that is exactly what happened. She is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. Read on to find out more about her.

What did you study in college?

I studied Lifestyle Accessory Design at National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, India

What made you pick product design?

Growing up, I had the fortune to be involved with crafts and crafts folk in general, owing to my parents furniture manufacturing business. My interest in the arts was nurtured both at home and throughout school which finally manifested in college through a course in lifestyle product design. I always enjoyed working on larger products such as lighting and furniture over smaller home decor products. With time and good fortune, I was able to take my learnings onto a bigger platform through my business.

What made you expand from furniture design to include space design along with architecture?

Studio Wood came into being as a collaborative project between varied design enthusiasts, ranging from an architect, to a spatial expert and myself. As co-founders of the company, we learnt from each other and contributed to different fields, out of our academic qualifications to promote a more conducive process and atmosphere at the studio. As our time at the grew, our services grew as well. 3 years down and we design everything from furniture to homes to offices, restaurants and even food trucks!

What is your company called and why?

Since we started primarily as a furniture design studio, the name is self-explanatory: A studio that works with wood. ☺

Could you share a typical work day with us?

A typical day at work is always bright and happy, I recently built a brand new studio with all things Studio Wood, white brick, bright pastel blues and lots of plants and art all around. Mornings usually start with emails, follow ups and a round up of social media from the day before and could delve into possibly anything; sitting at my desk or site visits, sourcing trips, workshop visits, vendor coordination and so on. If I am at the studio the entire day then I love to spend time doing cleaning chores and tidying each spot from time to time.

What is your design process/thinking/philosophy?

I try to follow a process because I feel that keeps the motivation up at all times and when you work for yourself it’s good to make it strict for yourself at times. Whether it’s a piece of furniture or a new space, I like to put down my thoughts on paper through key words, mind maps, doodles, highlights. Once I think a design clicks, I brainstorm with the team for feedback and suggestions. The design may even travel from me to another member of the team so they can work on it from a completely new approach. Once the designs are finalized we work on the design detailing, 3D modeling and finally execution.

Tell us about the wall you guys are painting outside your office?

Our studio is located in Kishangarh, an urban village near Vasant Kunj which is a fairly posh locality in New Delhi. The village hosts a dynamic population of locals, foreign nationals and individuals from across the country as well due to low rents and connectivity with the rest of the city. On a ravaged road, about 200 meters from the main road that connects to the International Airport, what more? We have a dumping ground right opposite our studio so one can only imagine the view we have. However, this is not how the space was intended to be and as young and restless designers, we thought of bringing a change in the space we spend over 8 hours in a day. In order to do so we started a campaign called “YOUFORUS”

Where the village is the ‘US’ and we are the ‘YOU’. Under this campaign we will be working on a couple of activities in and around the village such as cleanliness drives, educating the population about their surroundings and so on. Our first step was to stir a conversation amongst the locals and from there came the idea of mapping the village down on our studio facade.

After weeks of research, conceptualization and extensive google earth-ing, we charted out all the blocks and buildings, galis, small-time vendors and shops of Kishangarh and started chalking down the map on our wall spanning across 400 Sq.ft area

With lime green building blocks painted in an isometric fashion, streets in a charcoal grey, the project is now nearing completion after 3 long months.

What sets your work apart from another designer?

My work with Studio Wood has been one of a kind on a personal and professional level. I try to approach each new project/product with a fresh thought process in order to keep it more challenging from a vision and work point of view.

Each piece is an amalgamation of inspirations of different times, thoughts, ideas or even people I meet which automatically makes the starting point of my process unique. Adding to that, the product is built block by block on paper through numerous brainstorming sessions with the team, prototyping on the software generating forms, mixing materials and color palettes.

What are some of the hurdles you face as a young business?

As young entrepreneurs in the creative industry I have faced lots of challenges, big and small. Everything about owning a business and running one was completely alien to me. As we started we faced challenges regarding contracts, project execution, timelines and fees of course. I learnt on the job and found solutions to most of the aforementioned problems. Now, three years down the line, I think I have matured as a business owner and am slowly learning the tricks of the trade. Most important lesson is to know when to say yes and also when to say no!

What is the next step you see for your business? Expansion plans?

Oh! I have big dreams for 2017, I am working towards taking our furniture business online and seeing it in more homes across India and may be even across the globe. The idea is to keep dreaming, keep doing and enjoy the little successes and failures on the way.

Fav drink/ movie/book/go to place?

I love my elaichi tea by day and rum and coke by night 😉
Movie – I love watching all movies, filled with love, romance and lots of cheese. Don’t ask me names please!
Book – One book I enjoyed reading was the ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ by Hussain Zaidi and also short stories by ‘Sadat Hassan Manto’ which I am currently reading.

Vrinda Mathur

vrinda@studiowood.co.in
www.instagram.com/adnirv
www.instagram.com/studio.wood
www.facebook.com/Studiowood
www.studiowood.co.in

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The ArtByAarohi online shop is now open!!

This has been a long time coming. But as they say – Better late than never…

www.artbyaarohi.com/shop

(Note: Almost everything on this online store is one-of-a-kind or limited edition. We are offering free shipping within India on all products except some large furniture items)

I want to say thank you. Thank you so much for all the love and affection that you have shown me. I am also thrilled to say that on the night of 18-19 November 2014, my blog completes six years! What better time to start an e-store.

This e-store will showcase my work across styles, genres, even across time. I can’t promise that what you see here once, you will find again. That is because everything is either one-of-a-kind or limited edition. It is hand crafted with a lot of love and attention to detail.

This e-store/shop is a little bit like me – mercurial and moody. But of a generally happy nature. I hope to share my many moods and inspirations in the coming months and years. It will be a bit like coming home to my place – I can guarantee a warm hug and a cup of chai, but I can’t promise that the house will look the way it did the last time you were here. I tend to move things around 🙂

So expect the unexpected but with all my love, every time.

There will be the usual fair with a little unexpected twist thrown in from time to time. Oh! and just to make it more fun and get your creative juices flowing, I also added a new section on style boards. The many ways in which you can incorporate an ArtByAarohi/Poonchh product into your wardrobe or home.

I hope you enjoy your experience with me. Happy Shopping!!

 

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The Curated Magazine – September 2014

My work and I feature on the cover and within the pages of the September 2014 issue of ‘The Curated Magazine’.

And I am thrilled. For two reasons – one because this is the first time that a person has been featured on the cover of this magazine and two because Priya Iyer, released a sneak peek of the cover a few weeks in advance so that she could talk about the launch of my furniture show last month.

Thank you Priya Iyer. I am indeed humbled at your introduction of my work…

ArtByAarohi-TheCuratedMagazine-bigcover

 

Screenshots from the magazine (click to see a larger version): Please note these are just for reference. To read the article without straining your eyes 🙂  – go here.


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Update: 15Dec 2015 – I also had the joy of having a free wheeling discussion with Priya last month. We sort of discuss the method to my madness… you can listen to that here. But be warned it is 23 mins in it’s entirety. So grab a cup of chai and get comfortable.

 

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Now at – The Purple Turtle Store – 23rd August 2014

I am delighted to share with you all that my line of up-cycled and painted furniture will now be available at The Purple Turtle store here in Indira Nagar, Bangalore, India.

TPT- Invite-ArtByAarohi-aug23-chairs

So why am I reworking old pieces –

‘My work is about connections. And the idea of using something already existing and infusing it with fresh perspective to enhance pre existing memories on a given piece is really what dreams are made of for me. With each of these pieces that I rework I am looking to add a newer more contemporary dimension to an old weather beaten piece. A box, a chair, a trunk. Something that has history in its very grain, the nuts and bolts, the handles that maybe broke because of the strain of carrying a lifetime of someone’s personal belongings.
I don’t particularly like the term vintage to describe what I work with – covered in layers of history seems truer. It may have to do with the fact that I hold a Masters degree in History.

Memory and story are important to me. They connect.

The lines and colour on a re worked piece may appear disjointed in terms of theme sometimes but they are a true reflection of the idea or thought I may have had at the time I reworked a piece. Like everyone else I am not uni dimensional and with the information over load of all kinds of media being available 24/7, I find myself delving into nostalgia in an effort to stayed rooted. It is not done for market sensibilities but to reflect my thought. I believe that there is that one soul somewhere who will connect to the piece and it will find a home. One where it is lovingly looked after.

You can read about the story behind some of the pieces here, here and here.

Some of these pieces will also be available at the ongoing Art Bengaluru exhibition on at UB City here in Bangalore from the 21st of August to the 30th.

There will additionally be some of my earlier work of painted kettles and the like. The reason I am not leading with this next image is because it would give you all the wrong impression about what I have been working on. It has been a while since I painted on kettles (other than custom pieces that is). BUT this invite is so cute with its play on  ‘Chai with Aarohi‘ and the chai kettle and gilaas that I thought I would share it anyway 🙂

TPT- Invite-ArtByAarohi-aug23-kettle

(Though the people at the store were not too happy with me when I asked them to rework the invite. But they were very sweet about it and redid it anyway!)

So come on over – I would love to meet you all…
The address is –
The Purple Turtle store,
128, 1st Main,
Domlur 2nd Stage,
Indiranagar, Bengaluru -560008,
Karnataka, India.
Phone numbers- +9141528039

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A table for Anna..

Anna wrote to me a few weeks ago asking if I saw potential to work on a few things she had in the house. Essentially a make-over for something old – they were a table, a small box cupboard and an old jewelery box. She came over for a chat and we settled on the table. The decision on what to paint got taken as soon as she saw the Lotus Trunk I had in my place. She wanted something similar but with a blue background. And she wanted the entire surface painted – including the legs.
Well here it is 🙂

Though for some reason the blues did not photograph well – they are a lot richer and intense on the actual piece.

ArtByAarohi_AnnaTable_1

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I collect kettles. The kettle in the pictures was a gift from a dear friend. She carried it all the way from Abu Dhabi 🙂

 

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The Sunday Standard Magazine – Mar 2014

This article was published a while back in March 2014 in ‘The Sunday Standard Magazine‘ but between school exams and year ending madness, I forgot to post it. Actually, I never got around to reading it. Now with school holidays, I have some time to breathe…
Thank you Pallavi Rebbapragada for the wonderful write up. I am certainly in very august and accomplished company when my work makes it to the cover story on product designers with these designers!

What a way to start the day 🙂

SundayStandard-Mar2014_1   SundayStandard-Mar2014_2

To read more, please click the images.

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The BIG Box

My work is about building on memories, not losing them. And this wooden trunk is loaded with memories. It belonged to my brother who was a pilot in the Indian Air Force. He has recently retired. My father too is an ex-Indian Air Force pilot. My grandfather is ex-army. My brother’s father-in-law too was in the army. As you can imagine we have all traveled a lot. And our possessions were always carted around in trunks – wooden and metal. When someone retired, the trunks would be passed on to other friends still serving so that they could be used for storage and packing yet another set of belongings during postings.

On retiring my brother had about forty trunks of various sizes that he was passing on to colleagues still serving. I snagged a few 🙂

suzaniTrunk2

I wanted to give them a new lease of life. But I wanted to build on the memories, not obviate them entirely. The observer may notice subtle remains which bear testimony to the trunk’s past life. This one in my mind works as a coffee/center table or a trunk for storage at the foot of a double bed.

The size of this trunk demanded a bold pattern. Hence the wrapped around Suzani. Though I did leave the number 17 peeking out. It was the 17th box in my brothers list.

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For more information you can write to me on aarohi@artbyaarohi.com

 

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