Designer Spotlight: (de)CoDe Architecture

Years ago, when we bought our first house, the thought of using the services of an interior designer never crossed our minds. Young, in our early 20s, perhaps the only thought on my mind was to just move into a house. If the space was functional and livable, it more than served the purpose than deal with an intimidating houseowner.

Who thought about aesthetics, space utilization, study, pooja, or color coordination? One night, I remember sitting on the floor by the door of our 2-bedroom rented home and complaining to my husband the project we had undertaken so early in life. With him traveling, the exhaustion of a full-time job, going around town looking for floor tiles on a scooty, and getting them transported across town caught up with me.

Fast forward to 2014. This week, for the most part, I’ve been sifting through pictures from the portfolios of interior designers. Anything that swept me off my feet? I wouldn’t be honest if I said yes.  But, may be that’s just me because I don’t like garish interiors with too much wood, false ceiling, a lot of accessories and such. But, there was one that stood out distinctly from over hundreds of images. I’m being methodical for a change with this project: going room by room looking at pictures and portfolios of interior designers. Coincidentally, the first picture I clicked for every room belonged to the same person: the Banerji residence designed by deCode architecture.

DeCoDe Architecture is a multi-disciplinary design practice specializing in architecture and interior design consultancy. With over 10 years of professional experience working for various offices in New York City and Bombay, the partners in the practice follow the adage: Keep it simple.

I’ll let you see the pictures and decide if I was biased in my judgement.

decode architecture - interior designer mumbai

Here are snippets of my conversation with Meghna and Prashant, the founders of deCode:

Personally, what drew me to your work even while scanning hundreds of pictures was the clean color palette, not over-the-top, minimal design. I noticed some recurring colors and themes as well: rocking chair, touches of aqua wall color, wood not being the focus point of a room yet there is enough storage. Correct me if I’m wrong. So, what is your design philosophy?

We follow the adage: Keep it simple. Our work  tends to be quiet, subtle and subdued putting the focus on the experience rather than the expense. We tend to design functional spaces that are free of physical and visual clutter. Our belief is that a home should be comfortable and a container for memories, light, space and art.

Ethnic elements - decode architecture

 

decode architecture - interior designer bombay

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Store Feature: Engrave

Nimish of Engrave was persistent in getting me out of this blogging hiatus. When the to-do list grows too long in my head, I make a note of it in a diary (yep, very old-fashioned unlike remember the milk) and take pleasure in seeing things crossed off the list. Then the list and diary are forgotten until the list grows again. For the past three months (blame it on the house project), the diary sits next to my laptop. And, there are things beyond your control that can’t be crossed off in a day or two. This post was not one of them that could not be crossed. So, I was determined today to get into action and bring a big smile on Nimish’s face.

Engrave is an India-based design collective engaged in the pursuit of creating unique lifestyle products with fine craftsmanship. Their products are personalized and designed to last a lifetime. Engrave offers plaques, canvas prints, name plates and a number of other handcrafted products.

The Engraved Plaque was one of the products I could relate to as we got one made with our pictures back in 2005. Canvas prints and the ganesha wall decal are my favorite on the site. If you don’t like a canvas print, then you customize it. I’m going to get the “why so serious?” one.

canvas prints

ganesha wall decal

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Store Tour: Meghaavi

OK. You are on Facebook. Tell me how often do you NOT click on that ad in the sidebar?

Even for someone with a strong resolve, it takes a lot to not get distracted.

Sometimes it’s the colorful styling. Sometimes it’s the teaser. Sometimes, it’s the price. Sometimes, it’s the name of the store that makes us curious (like Jabong was when it initially launched). Sometimes, it is the logo. Very rarely, is it a  need.

Oh there are zillions of stores. For everything under the sun. But, some stand out in the crowd. FB replies sometimes reveal so much about how a store is run and the person behind it: the warmth of the owner comes across in the choice of words, the transparency in sharing the knowledge about a product,  promptness in replying, humor ….

It’s not often that I reach out to someone to write about them. And let’s be honest, not every time that I want to contact a store, I’m able to reach out to them easily.

Meghaavi stood out from the crowd. I loved the logo. Jaya is the face behind Meghaavi, a fine home linen and furnishings store in Bangalore for the discerning buyer. I reached out to her on Thursday, and here we are with a post four days later.

Meghaavi Store

 

bed sheets

 

Here I’m picking on her brains to understand how she conceived the idea and what it takes to run the store.

1. How did you conceive the idea of the store?

Jaya says, “I am from an IT background. After quitting my last job, I was looking to change my career and do something creative. Whenever I looked at home furnishings in stores, I either found them lacking in quality and finish or too expensive. After having lived in the US for many years, I had become used to quality at an affordable price and felt that this segment was missing in the Indian market.”

2. One customer story that has reaffirmed your conviction in starting the store?
Jaya confidently recounts, “ There is not one story but many. And all of them relate to the customizations that have now become a big part of the business. I got four duvet covers made for my neighbour and friend Smitha who told me that the duvet covers available in the market were limited in design and that I should fill that gap. Or the baby basket that I designed for a friend’s sister’s grandchild with something old from the grandmother and a few things new designed by me. Or the table runners recently designed by me for Diwali gifts suggested by my friends Sharmila and Reshmi and bought by them as well.

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