Dramatic, luxurious and whimsical are just a few of the words we would use to describe the furniture collections from the siblings that founded Indian luxury design company Scarlet Splendour. Combine their pieces with an avant-garde interior designer like Sanjyt Syngh, and you’re sure to have a space that transcends norms and borders.
Prior to Scarlet Splendour’s founding in 2014, Suman was a successful interior designer and Ashish had been the head of an engineering business for twenty years.
Homefront chatted with Ashish, Suman and Sanjyt to discuss the source of their inspiration, and their newest project together.
Q) What makes the three of you want to go on this new venture together?
A) We have all always been passionate about art and design and the lasting influence it has on our culture which led to the start of Scarlet Splendour. Our view was to integrate our maximalist sensibilities and become, possibly, the first design editors in India.
Q) How would you describe working as a sibling duo and what are your individual strengths?
A) There is implicit trust and harmony between us. Ashish has a strong business background and a deep interest in design, Suman was an interior designer before she became an entrepreneur. Together, we are deeply rooted in our Indian culture and appreciation for global flavours. Together we wanted to create an Indian luxury global brand with a focus on contemporary design and the rich craft of our country by collaborating with leading international designers who recognised the potential of Indian materials and handicraft as a powerful tool in the design world.
Q) Where do you call home? Do you have a favourite city for inspiration?
A) Ashish and Suman: We are based out of Kolkata, but we are avid travellers and our exposure to global art and culture has a great influence on our work. We’re inspired by local artisans but also by Spanish architecture and Salvador Dali who changed the course of art as we know it. Gaudi’s transcendent designs and concepts motivate us to create sculptural yet functional designs.
Sanjyt: Mentally I am a global citizen but physically I am stationed in New Delhi but I travel a lot. Different experiences and exposure lead to new inspiration. Every city has something unique to offer. I probably have the largest collection of paper napkins from bars all over the world with notes written on them. I can people-watch for hours.
Q) Your mother was the one who encouraged you to study art and artisanry. How did she help in cultivating your appreciation for beautiful things?
A) Mother gave us special arts and crafts lessons at home, took us to visit museums and local art/design events and encouraged us to participate in art competitions held for children in the city.
Q) You say that “extraordinary should be everyday,” what do you mean by that?
A) New creative thoughts and action makes any day extraordinary. We strive to do that and take a lot of pride in mentoring budding talented designers and hire artisans who come from the far corners of the country without much training or exposure to the world.
It is our privilege to be able to provide the best means and measures for artisans from the far corners of the country without much training or exposure to help them flourish and thrive.
Q) And now, the two of you have teamed up with and done amazing work with Sanjyt. Can you tell us about that?
A) Sanjyt’s maximalist nature resonates completely with our brand completely. His distinct style when married with our products creates beautiful and eclectic interior spaces.
Q) Los Angeles and New Delhi are cities with distinct atmospheres. How did they cross over and blend in creating the LA + ND Villa?
A) The owners, a rather fabulous young couple with young kids, wanted to create a residence with a narrative to resonate both Los Angeles in New Delhi, hence the name “LA-LA-LAND”. They were requesting a space with a very international vibe.
An escape from the busy streets of New Delhi, the residence is set on of 48,000 square feet of land in Delhi’s Urban Sprawl. There’s 15,000 square feet of built-up area with a focus on relish the outdoors -a matchless commodity in the city.
With a very crisp brief laid out in tandem with Sanjyt, the building was divided in two distinct zones namely personal and private. While the first floor is purely private with the family bedrooms, the ground floor is a mix of formal and common areas. With each space having access to the outdoors be it the lawn or the balconies, the interior of this villa combines a sensibility for detail and materiality with a modern sense of space and light.
With an innate connection aesthetically and fashionably, the project exudes its own young personality bringing together a culmination of varied design languages connected by a common thread of modern glamour.
Q) Sanjyt mentions that a lot of design is storytelling. Please tell us the villa’s story?
A) Design is only truly design when it comes from the heart. Design should enhance your space. It should talk to you; it should work for you. Everything has a story to tell, be it a cushion, a chair, an ensemble or even a tattoo. It is these stories that reflect your style. I like designing every corner, every detail, which is what we have done in this project, in fact every project I undertake. I feel there should be an element of surprise/conversation starter in every line of sight.
Q) Do you have any advice for those trying to design a space with maximalist design?
A) There is one basic rule of design, “Don’t be scared!” I say Maximalism is a reaction against Minimalism. Wikipedia describes Maximalism in the arts as an aesthetic of excess. The philosophy can be summarized as “more is more”, contrasting with the minimalist motto “less is more.”
Maximalist design fills nearly every inch of space if not all. Barely any space is left uncovered. There is an explosion of colours, textures, patterns, and styles. Although it may seem cluttered upon first glance, because it is an eclectic combination of mismatched décor. But when done thoughtfully and with a lot of attention to detail, it can not only turn out harmonious but also a visual treat.
Curation is what separates Maximalism from chaos. Symmetry brings a sense of balance, while the colours and graphics connect the dots. Maximalism is here to stay and refuses to be ignored.
Q) Are there any designers you hope to work with in the future that you haven’t yet?
A) Apart from our interaction and collaboration with our wonderful designers, we have had the pleasure of meeting design thought leaders like Marcel Wanders, and the Campana Brothers. We really hope to collaborate with them soon.
Q) Lessons learned?
A) Ashish and Suman: A brand must keep a scope for customization. With changing lifestyles and living spaces, our customers’ taste and preferences are also varying. So, for us, extending opportunities for customization has really added value.
Sanjyt: Being a creative-preneur, you end up filling many roles hence it is important to connect with everyone around you. Everything is constantly evolving. We learn from everyone around us, be it our contractors, team members, vendors or even the 24-year-old interns.
Everyone comes with their own set of positives. We believe in giving credit to everyone who deserves and that is what it takes to build a team. It is these people in and around us and as they say, “It takes an army.”
Q) Funny stories of working together and things that have happened along the way?
A) Haha! That’s a tough one to answer. Fun is only when you are on the drawing board.