Mundane becomes magicalVrinda Mathur, 27, Sahej Bhatia, 27 and Navya Aggarwal 27, Co-founders Studio Wood, Delhi, www.studiowood.co.in Back in 2014, a group of college graduates and design enthusiasts came together to do something unique. Under the banner of Studio Wood, they created furniture that explored the limits of form and,Mundane becomes magicalVrinda Mathur, 27, Sahej Bhatia, 27 and Navya Aggarwal 27, Co-founders Studio Wood, Delhi, www.studiowood.co.in Back in 2014, a group of college graduates and design enthusiasts came together to do something unique. Under the banner of Studio Wood, they created furniture that explored the limits of form and function; it became an instant hit. They then decided to take it up a notch by designing spaces for “the young at heart”. Their USP, lies in their mixed bag of skill sets and design styles. Vrinda Mathur and Navya Aggarwal are design graduates from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi, while Sahej Bhatia is an architect currently pursuing his masters in design at Harvard University. They have successfully completed over 40 projects in the last two-and-a-half years. AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS: The trio was awarded India’s Best Young Design Studio in 2016 by the IBDSA (India’s Best Design Awards) and has won an award for furniture design in Decowood’s Design Divas. Their latest achievement is their selection and participation at Salone Satellite, a pavilion for designers under 35 years at the Salone del Mobile, Milan.WHAT’S NEXT? “We are launching a new range of flat-pack tables. This year will also see a range of projects from residential, offices to retail stores designed with a different aesthetic sense than what one usually sees,” says Mathur.By Ridhi KaleBreathing new lifeAnica Kochhar, 35, Architect and founder Phenotype Architectural Design Studio, Delhi, www.phenotype.in Anica Kochhar was 11 when she realised her love for architecture- with the lines and drawings that make a structure complete and composite-and decided to pursue the subject seriously. Armed with a bachelors degree from the Pratt Institute, New York, she started working with architecture firm Morphogenesis when she returned to India. She went on to do her masters in urbanism at the Architectural Association, London, and decided to launch Phenotype Architecture Design Studio soon after. With a portfolio of projects ranging from residential architecture, pre-fabricated construction to retail and restaurants in Delhi, as an architecture firm they take thrie design cues from the site’s constraints and client’s brief. “This allows us to play, push, experiment and also shed a skin with every space, exploring new territory and new aesthetics,” says Kochhar. RECONGNITION A regular at design exhibitions, Kochhar’s works stand out for her novel approach. LOOKING AHEAD With Borderline Studio, Kochhar plans to keep creating everyday objects with a playful spin. She is also working on retail and residential projects.advertisementBy Shelly AnandColour and craftSona Reddy, 34, Founder Sona Reddy Studio and Room Therapy, Hyderabad, www.roomtherapyhome.com Photo: Krishnendu HalderAfter working for over four years in architecture and construction in the US, Sona Reddy returned home to Hyderabad only to find herself hunting for the right furniture and accessories for her projects here. As a result, in 2013, she started designing her own furniture and accessories and established a studio at home under the label Room Therapy. When the interest in her work started anew she launched Sona Reddy Studio in 2014. Reddy has since designed several homes and new-age spaces such as the Japanese restaurant, Haiku that is unconventionally Asian or a cafe called Kaficko with its inviting subdued charm.CURRENT OBSESSION: “We have just finished a gastro-lounge and it is minimal and clean with elements of surprise here and there,” says Reddy of her recent venture in uptown Jubilee Hills. UP NEXT Besides her projects at the studio, Reddy is currently working on designing a new line of furniture for Room Therapy, refurbishing antiques to give them a new contemporary spin. By Mona RamawatBeauty in simplicitySaif Faisal, 32 Founder and designer Saif Faisal Design Workshop, Bangalore, www.saif-faisal.com How did a car designer end up making fancy home decor? Saif Faisal attributes the birth of Saif Faisal Design Workshop in 2014 to “the distinct displeasure I got from the local design scene”. He felt that the best way forward was to develop his own studio that gave him the freedom to work and explore different disciplines. Faisal has trained as an architect at Bangalore’s RV College of Architecture before opening his eponymous multidisciplinary design studio. He works across architecture, product design, furniture, lighting, craft, interiors, brand identity, design development, creative direction, motorcycle design, automotive racing and jewellery design. WINNING STREAK: He was nominated for Beopen Future London in 2012, won the I Design Award in 2015, Godrej Design Lab in 2015, EDIDA (Elle Deco International Design Awards) in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Lexus Design Award in 2018, A Design Award in 2018, and just won the Perspective Asia’s 40 Under 40 in Hong Kong 2018.advertisementIN THE PIPELINE: “I’m designing a commercial Aquaponics farm which will supply the ingredients to a restaurant with a special menu. I am also working on some conceptual projects dealing with culture and sociology, it has to do with emotional intelligence,” he says. Besides this he is working on a Cafe-Racer e-motorcycle concept, creating art design pieces, and making limited edition designs using Bidri craft.By Ridhi KaleThe right contextSachin Bandukwala, 40 and Melissa Smith, 34 Founding Principal architect and partner, Banduksmithstudio, Ahmedabad, www.banduksmithstudio.in If you are looking for a fresh approach to architecture and design that also looks into the impact it makes on the environment and its surroundings, head straight to banduksmithstudio in Ahmedabad. Established in 2011 by Sachin Bandukwala and Melissa Smith the studio ‘works with the processes of construction, and materials available, to create a design that fits perfectly in each particular location and the surroundings in which it is placed’. “Our work engages processes of making through built projects that explore the boundaries of material and craft in the context of contemporary Indian construction. Projects come at any scale, and the practice shifts from furniture and object design, to interiors, renovations, additions, and residential, institutional and commercial architecture,” says Bandukwala.SUCCESS STORY: The studio won second place in the Indo Swiss Dynamic Shades Competition in 2015; was named India’s Hot 100 Commercial Designers in 2014 and won the Archhello Emerging Generation in 2013 and IA&B Practice of Consequence in 2012. FAST FORWARD Their upcoming projects include a library for children in Gandhinagar, lake regeneration in Ahmedabad and a home called the Floating Metal House in Ahmedabad.By Ridhi KaleTradition with a twistRanjan Bordoloi, 28 Founder and designer, Studio Bordoloi, Guwahati email@example.com Back in 2015, Assam-based Ranjan Bordoloi was busy putting the finishing touches to his graduation collection at the Department of Design, IIT Guwahati. One of his designs, the Pitoloi Chair, caught the attention of judges (from Elle Decor India and The Park Hotels) and he won The Park Elle Decor Student Award 2015. The result, he was given a chance to exhibit the chair at India Design ID 2015 in Delhi. Here Giulio Cappellini, the Art Director of Milan-based furniture giant Cappellini spotted it and offered to showcase it at Cappellini Next in Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2015. The global attention pushed him to start Studio Bordoloi the same year. “Since its inception, we have been collaborating with the artisans practicing a dying craft of brass utensil making in Assam,” says Bordoloi. WINNER’S CIRCLE: From Red Dot Design Award 2017 in Singapore to the EDIDA 2018 in India, the studio has won several awards. In 2016 Bordoloi was one of eight young designers to be selected by Godrej Interio, where he developed a chair called Kaathfula in collaboration with their engineers.MUCH AWAITED: Currently the studio is working on a project in collaboration with NIFT Bangalore called USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) sponsored by Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India. “We are exploring possibilities of using age old crafts such as rosewood inlay of Mysore and toy making craft of Channapatna,” explains Bordoloi. He is also planning a solo exhibition in Mumbai for his self-produced works.advertisementBy Ridhi KaleA flair for dramaKunaal Kyhaan Seolekar, 30, Founder and creative director, Studiohaus and Koy, Pune www.studiohaus.in and www.koy.store Photo: Danesh JassawalaAn architect dons many hats-from dabbling in interior design to turning art consultant and sometimes even doubling up as the contractor. But Kunaal Kyhaan Seolekar, who studied architectural design at the Parsons School of Design, doesn’t just don many hats he juggles them with flair. Seolekar started studioHAUS in 2012. “I believe that design tells a story, hence each work of ours holds a strong design concept that evokes emotions through its materials, textures and patterns. We specialise in private residences, which expanded into concept stores, exclusive resorts and villas,” he says. In 2017, he launched KOY, an interior design concept store. Seolekar is recognised not just for his designs but also as an actor and model. He made his acting debut in Fireflies (2013), and then as Aarif in Fitoor (2016). Design, however, remains his first love. WILL TO WIN Seolekar won the Young Talent of the year Award at EDIDA in 2017 and Best Residential Interior of 2017 for parkHAUS, Pune presented by Trends Excellence Awards. Photo: Danesh JassawalaFORTHCOMING PROJECTS: “We are busy with a future-ready hospitality project with 80 one-bedroom suites, a minimal concept store for a multi-brand boutique and private residences with modern contemporary finishes and furniture,” he says.By Ridhi KaleLarger than lifeShone Saju, 35, and Dinesh Shanmugam, 35, Co-founders, Living Edge Architects & Designers (LEAD), Bangalore, www.lead.co.in “Clean lines, clutter free aesthetics and creative integration of exterior and interior spaces are integral to all our designs,” says Shone Saju, co-founder of Living Edge Architects & Designers (LEAD), a Bangalore-based architecture firm. Started in 2010, the prayer hall with a built up area of 25,000 sq ft at Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore, was their first project. “Our design philosophy is to create innovative places and identity. We are committed to enhance people’s lives through better architecture and design,” adds Saju. The design studio today specialises in luxury homes, interiors and hospitality ventures. THE SHOWCASE The duo makes it a point to particiapte in key exhibitions in India. HANDS FULL Currently they are working on several projects such as private residences, cafes and a recreational centre. By Shelly AnandChanging the gameRohan Chhabra and Kriti Chaudhary, Co-founders, Re-Culture, Delhi, www.re-culture.com With a desire to transform the semantics of everyday objects, Rohan Chhabra and Kriti Chaudhary started Re-culture in 2014. Chhabra has a background in industrial and fashion design, while Chaudhary is a ceramicist and product designer. Interestingly this Delhi-based design collaborative came into being when the duo, who had their own independent practices, found a common ground for their interdisciplinary ideas. “As a team we believe in ideas that are generated through the design process and culture at large. In our products we aim to achieve a combination of enlightenment and enchantment by re-culturing the language of everyday things,” says Chaudhary. So, they project personalities onto inanimate objects giving them a sense of playfulness and ambiguity. NO PRIZES FOR GUESSING: Their first project Dear o’ Deer was a finalist in the ‘Unique Youngstar’ competition by German Design Council and was chosen to be exhibited at Spoga Gafa in Cologne in 2014.THE NEXT MOVE: They are currently working on a menswear line of apparel and accessories for a collection called Project AID, which stands for Animals in Danger. Illegal poaching and human population pressure are threatening the survival of many animal and plant species and their design will highlight this.By Ridhi KaleGeometry of good designAanchal Goel, 28 and Sugandh Kumar, 30, Partners, Objectry, Delhi, www.objectry.com Photo: Rajwant RawatDelhi-based studio, Objectry is more than just a play of form and materials- its geometry meets functionality meets minimalism that is rooted in a deep understanding of traditional art and crafts. The brainchild of Aanchal Goel and Sugandh Kumar, the duo started Objectry in 2015 after a stint with an export house where they worked with metal and went their separate ways (Goel experimented with pottery and Kumar opted for woodwork). “Objectry is an attempt to make products of basic utility interesting. We achieve this by exploring various Indian handicrafts and giving them a crisp and modern aesthetic,” says Goel. In the three years since they started they have successfully created products, furniture and interiors of a few retail stores and a design studio. “We have also managed to work with a few handicrafts including woodwork, black pottery, terracotta pottery and metal work,” says Kumar. Photo: Rajwant RawatTO THEIR CREDIT: Objectry has been nominated by EDIDA in 2017 and also participated in the London Design Fair in 2016.UPCOMING PROJECTS: “Our most exciting upcoming project is a chic residence in Gurgaon. It’s a relatively new area for us and we are extremely excited about it,” says Goel. This doesn’t mean they will leave product design. They will continue to showcase the interplay of clay, metal and stone to make lights, furniture and accessories.By Ridhi KaleA spin doctorIshrat Sahgal, 29, founder and interior Warchitect Mishcat CO and Ishrat Sahgal Studio, Delhi, www.mishcatco.com Photo: Rajwant RawatHer products are easily the most instagramed designs on this side of the globe. Why? She has that rarest or rare qualities: good taste. The designer in question is Ishrat Sahgal, who founded Mishcat Co in 2013 that creates a yarn from saree scrap and spins them into beautiful eye-catching carpets inspired by everything from nature’s bounty to the way sun’s rays create a shadow on the iconic Connaught Place in Delhi. “Mishcat was born with the aim of finding the sweet spot between traditional Indian craft, globally conscious interior design and sustainability. The idea was to be a one-stop shop design house that brought some of the fun and playfulness back into the carpet selection process,” says Sahgal. But that’s not the only thing the Rhode Island School of Design graduate does. Since she is an interior architect by profession she runs a boutique practice called Ishrat Sahgal Studio. Recently completed interior projects include the official headquarters for Caparo London in Delhi, Cafe Kothi at the lovely 28 Kothi in Jaipur and a rooftop cocktail bar called Upstairs Club, which is a part of the ITC chain in Chandigarh. Photo: Rajwant RawatPRAISE WORTHY: Sahgal made it to the Forbes Asia 30 under 30 list and her rugs can be seen in some of the best dressed homes.NEW HORIZONS: At the moment she is working on opening a new design studio in London.By Ridhi KaleIn graphic detailNischal Abhaykumar, 36, and Jesal Pathak, 34, Co-founders, M9 Design Studio, Bangalore, www.mnine.in Creative expression is as tricky as it is capable of uplifting any space. Bangalore-based architectural firm M9 Design Studio specialises in the latter. Founded in 2009 by architect Nischal Abhaykumar, in 2014 Jesal Pathak joined him as the creative lead. Abhaykumar has a Master of Art and Architecture Design from Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC) in Frankfurt, Germany, while Pathak has a Master of Design from Domus Academy in Milan. “We strive to impact people through spaces. No matter what project we’re designing, we always aim to make a difference in the city’s landscape,” says Abhaykumar. They have a varied portfolio ranging from residential, recreational and commercial to hospitality and institution.WINNER’S CIRCLE: The studio has won several awards. These include Emerging Architect of the Year (under 35) at the NDTV Design and Architecture Awards in 2017; Gold winner, Architecture Public Building, Architecture Ideas 3.0 by FOAID (Festival of Architecture & Interior Designing) in 2017; and Young Designers Award for M9 Workspace at the 361 Degree Design Conference in 2017. Photo: Lantern CameraCOMING UP:”Currently we are working on two institution projects located in cities with extreme climate conditions- one, extremely dry and hot and the other, very humid,” says Pathak. They are also working on a sports arena, a library competition and a couple of hospitality projects.By Ridhi Kale
Major Rohingya refugee camp populations in Bangladesh. AFPA plan to start repatriating Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar is premature and the refugees are “terrified” about leaving Bangladesh where they sought refuge, dozens of aid agencies working in the region said Friday.More than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state after a heavyhanded army crackdown in August last year that survivors say involved mass rape and extrajudicial killings.UN officials say the country’s military leaders should be investigated for genocide but Myanmar has rebuffed the calls, arguing it was only defending itself against Rohingya militants who attacked police posts.Both Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement in November last year to allow Rohingya to return but many fear going back without guarantees of citizenship, freedom of movement and safety.However the governments confirmed in recent weeks that they were pushing ahead with the first large-scale repatriation set for mid-November, prompting an outcry from activists who say conditions on the ground in Rakhine are not adequate to take the refugees back.Rohingya Camp”They are terrified about what will happen to them if they are returned to Myanmar now, and distressed by the lack of information they have received,” the group of 42 aid agencies and civil society groups said in a statement that referred to the push as “dangerous.””They fled to Bangladesh to seek safety and they are very grateful to the Government of Bangladesh for giving them a safe haven.”Oxfam, World Vision and Save the Children were among the groups working in Myanmar and Bangladesh that signed the statement.They said refugees fear living in enclosed settlements like the one in central Rakhine state, where more than 120,000 Rohingya have been confined to camps for six years since intercommunal violence erupted in the region in 2012.Myint Khaing, the Maungdaw township administrator in northern Rakhine, told AFP that November 15 is the estimated repatriation start date and that the plan is to receive more than 2,200 people in total at a rate of 150 per day.But he seemed unsure if it would go ahead.”We can confirm only on the 15th whether the people from our given list are coming or not,” he said.Northern Rakhine has been largely sealed off since the crackdown except for tightly organised government trips for media and senior visiting diplomats.The UN has been granted access to the area to assess conditions on the ground but the approvals have been slow and the amount of territory accessible has been limited.Authorities in Bangladesh worry that Rohingya may once again risk travelling to other parts of Southeast Asia by boat, a route previously popular with those seeking economic opportunities outside the grim camps.This week Bangladesh’s coast guard rescued 33 Rohingyas and detained six alleged human traffickers from a fishing trawler headed for Malaysia in the Bay of Bengal.