Furniture and Interior Design have a strong influence on the mood and look of any room. The exquisite and intricate detailing and beauty of modern furniture design have occupied the corners of several homes. As trends in interior design evolve over time, it has often articulated in the way furniture selected to fill the space. Over the years, SURFACES REPORTER (SR) has worked to showcase the unique, stylish and timeless pieces of furniture designed by the veteran as well as young architects and designers. We keep updating what latest innovations are happening in the furniture design world and what are the trends in furniture. Today, Gobind Kapur, Product Designer & Director, Maison Du Luxe has shared with us how furniture design trends in the context of Indian interior aesthetics have evolved in keeping with changing times.
Also Read: 3 Bathroom Trends for 2021 | Surfaces Reporter
The Influence of Colonizers
In the present age, it is customary to find certain staple pieces of furniture in every household, across various socio-economic conditions. A basic bed, a cupboard, or chairs are found in almost every household, whereas more luxurious pieces like the armoire, bar carts, or a chaise lounge are seen exclusively in select households. However, there was a time when Indians did not use furniture. Houses across urban and rural areas and social classes did have sparse furnishings. There was no place for furniture in Indian households, which often surprised our European and Western counterparts. The Indian taste in furniture has been molded by the colonizers like the Portuguese, Dutch, and the British. When the Portuguese made their first contact with India, they were surprised to see that only mattresses and cushions were used by the common folks however, symbolic items like the throne were used by the kings and the queens of the palaces. So, one can say with absolute certainty that Indian furniture has its unique characteristics influenced by the western world.
“Indo-Portuguese” Style Furniture
As the Portuguese entered India through the southern part in the 15th century, they were surprised to see that Indians did not use furniture. This put a damper on their plans to build residential buildings in South India.
As a quick fix to this problem, the Portuguese brought furniture from their homeland and asked the expert craftsmen of India to replicate it. This style was soon dubbed the “Indo-Portuguese” style which was characterized by large cabinets and intricate carvings. The “Goan Style “was also quite common in the southern part of India which was influenced by the Portuguese and was decorated with geometric or abstract inlays enlarged cabinets.
Mughal Style Furniture
In the 16th century, Mughals arrived in northern India and their trademark was seen in the use of heavy furniture made of dark wood that had inlaid bone or ebony decorations.
Common furniture includes mirrors and writing desks.
Indo-Dutch Furniture Style
The dutch came to India in the 16th century and brought their distinctive styles of making furniture to India. Just like the Indo-Portuguese style, it gave rise to the Indo-Dutch style of furniture in India. This style can be further divided into two subtypes.
The first one had light-colored hardwoods with inlaid bone and incised decorations. On the other hand, the second group had been made with dark-coloured wood like mahogany and ebony that had intricate floral patterns. This floral design was manufactured in Java which was a part of the Dutch eastern administration in India.
The British Impact
Apart from the Portuguese and the Dutch, the Britishers had the greatest impact on Indian furniture. This furniture style was admired by the British officials and the royals of India. Like other European designs, they had high aesthetic value and were often found in sets, with high and straight backs and flat seats. Other famous English styles of furniture included the Chippendale and Sheraton styles. Locally sourced wood and materials were oftentimes used by the manufactures to get the perfect British style of furniture.
As furniture became lighter and more portable, it was found in the houses of common folk. Later on, during the independence movement, Indian furniture got its spin, which had elements that made it more accessible to people other than the dying royalty. Usability and the use of low-cost materials have taken a centre seat, thus making it widely accessible.
Traditional Indian Furniture
Throwing light on the evolution of furniture within our country, especially in western India, states like Gujarat and Rajasthan have colourful paintings on furniture. Traditional designs and motifs are painted in bright colours to attract the customer, making it a staple in these states.
Initially, most furniture was made of expensive woods, due to its high availability, which included hardwoods like teak, rosewood, and acacia. Ivory and leathers were also used, which are now banned in most parts of the world in today’s day and age. In the 21st century, furniture like charpoys and almaris are making a statement comeback, as they are seen as having the perfect blend of quirky and utilitarian.
Modern Indian Furniture
Modern Indian furniture today is manufactured from Himalayan teak, Acacia, mango & rosewood. Recycling from old discarded furniture& traditional Indian residences and palaces in the villages is a common practice. The recovered furniture is refurbished and crafted intricately to convert into brand new entities. Charpais, almaris, jhulas, ornamented master beds, and old fashioned round tables with bloated legs are slowly making a comeback for their rustic old world charm. Indians are efficiently maintaining the traditional way of using simple tools in the manufacturing process. As the furniture is carved from traditional tools it manages to retain its ethnicity. This simple process has made Indian furniture a symbol of longevity and elegance.
As we are entering a digital age, the sale of furniture is also going digital. Popular stores are making their mark on the digital marketplace despite having a brick and mortar store.
Bridging the gap between furniture and architecture by creating a powerful and highly compatible environment, a new design trend is transforming spaces at the intersection of the two. The demand for a device-oriented society and flexibility in spaces have opened more avenues towards an increased versatility of space. Both these things operate at the confluence of two spans of human interaction, carving a cohesive design approach for interior living spaces.
SURFACES REPORTER (SR) always keeps a tab on thelatest and new trendsin architecture, interior design, furniture, tiles, bathroom, etc. Recently, we had also done a webinar along with our allied partners Ply Reporter and Furniture, Design and Technology to present the innovation and possibility in furniture hardware during COVID Era.
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