Tucked away on bustling Hindustan Park Road in Calcutta, Infinity Lifestyle is a home décor store thats attempting to redefine art. How about a wall light thats encased in a replica of tree bark made of fibre-glass? Or a mirror studded with rotund metallic embellishments? Would you care for a boat-shaped writing table with a foldable desk or pick from therapeutic fountains (mini-fountains, considered auspicious in Feng Shui), wall hangings, decorative showpieces, designer table lamps and more that blend art with utility?
All our products are handmade, says Sushavan Das, the man behind the brand, who works with materials like metals, ceramics, wood, rubber and imported glass to create innovative lines for the store.
A management graduate, Das was an interior decorator before he decided to get into designing home accessories. I roped in a group of artists from the Government College of Art and Craft in Calcutta, trained them and developed a forum of designers who could translate our designs into home décor products, he says. In 2009 he launched Infinity Lifestyle.
Das works with a team of 30 to 40 art students at his workshop in Manicktala. He says that one of the aims of Infinity Lifestyle is to promote Indian crafts and to give an impetus to crafts people and artisans, most of whom come from impoverished backgrounds. Studying in an art college is expensive. I see to it that my artisans receive fair remuneration in lieu of their talent, he says.
Das, 40, and his core team of designers conceptualise the products and innovate them to make them exclusive. We try to design our lines differently to set them apart from the run-of-the-mill products that are abundantly available in the market. We are constantly bringing fresh design ideas to the table, says Das pointing towards a rickshaw-shaped candle-stand in wood and metal. Once the design is ready, the artisans execute it, says Das.
Infinity Lifestyle also works closely with the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) and is focusing on increased exports. Das exports mainly to the European market and recently sent a huge consignment to an Australian firm too. Hes also planning to set up shop in Mumbai. But come March, and he will launch a line of products in his Calcutta store that are based on Vastu.
The breed of art connoisseurs in India is growing rapidly, he says. And theres no dearth of talented artisans in West Bengal, though we need to tap their skill and promote their products, he adds. So, whats the modern consumer like? Very smart, Das smiles, People who live in compact apartments shun archaic and gaudy designs as well as space-consuming furniture. They want things which are sleek, multi-purpose and attractive. He continues: The urban Calcuttan is on the look-out for table-top products and decorative ceiling lights.
From vibrant lampshades to customised wardrobes laminated with collages of your family photographs — youll find it all here. Prices begin at an easy-on-the-pocket Rs 500 and scale Rs 50,000.
Check out the therapeutic fountains, which are priced from Rs 3,500 to Rs 12,000. One such comes with a Vastu-approved conch shell with a Ganesha head. The shell is studded with copper flecks and the base is made of brass, while the fountain is fitted with tiny lights. It comes for a cool Rs 6,500.
The lamps too are interestingly shaped. A war helmet replica comes with little copper human figurines at the base and is tagged at Rs 3,500. A fish-shaped metallic table-lamp and a green metallic wall lamp are eye-catching.
A 5ft-high shadow box — which is an enclosed case with a scene or an object designed inside — has a man playing the saxophone in it. Real objects as a saxophone, a hat and even a bracelet, are used in this piece. Das says that thematic shadow boxes (priced between Rs 2,500 to Rs 35,000) can serve as more than just curios. They can become effective tools to advertise products or services in place of banners, he says.