We’d caught up with fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee earlier this year for a peek into his well-known antique rug collection. At the time, he was in the middle of designing an exclusive wall coverings collection for Nilaya. When asked about the experience thus far, he’d said, “Given a chance, I think I would have been a far better designer of spaces than of clothing. With spaces the canvas is so much larger and people are more experimental with what they put on their walls than what they put on their skin. With that thought I decided to undertake the project with Nilaya. I wanted to do something that was Indian, that fulfilled the cravings of a commoner to be able to afford luxury and that also spoke about India’s incredible past and history.” Now available at stores, the Sabyasachi Collection for Nilaya is a vibrant marriage of colour, texture and pattern that’s inspired by inspired by Colonial India, trade textiles, the country’s popular arts, artefacts and destinations spanning from Hyderabad to Lucknow and Patiala to Kolkata. Here he gives us an insight into his inspirations and personal style.
What are the key elements that make up the Sabyasachi aesthetic?
A very strong love for culture. Clean sophisticated lines embellished with clutter. The smell of time. Mood of nostalgia and the tactile richness of textures.
All of your interior designs have a dramatic period touch to them. What are the influences behind this aesthetic?
As a person, I enjoy dualities. You can never revel in simplicity unless complexity is a constant companion. With that as a base note, everything that I do – from travel and culinary experiences to my romance with nostalgia and the nameless, faceless people I meet at obscure coffee shops across the world – contributes to my interior design sense.
Do you have a favourite space within your home or studio? What about it appeals to you most?
My rooftop garden because I have put a lot of love into it. It is surrounded with corny artefacts, things from the past and a lot of greenery that I have lovingly grown myself.
When it comes to travel, which is the one destination that has inspired you most?
I would say Kerala, because it teaches you simplicity.
Your love for your hometown, Kolkata, is evident in your design sensibilities. With regards to interiors and architecture, are there any special inspirations from the city?
If you go to a real Bengali home, you will realise that it is very similar to a French home or a Parsi home. In short, we are hoarders; rather than stashing things away, we put them on display for the world to see as it represents a life well lived, a sense of self and an acknowledgement of family and social history. A true Calcuttan home, especially the living room, is like a Magpie’s nest. You gather and show off. Rather than architecture it is that particular quirk that excites me about the city and shows in my designs.
Do you have a secret market/store to shop for home decor products?
It’s the antique shops in Kochi.