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By From leather carpets to recycled paper blinds, novelty reigns supreme at Meenakshi Almal's store Kazage, says Sujata Jha
  • Published 4.07.09
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PROFILE

It’s a store that’s rooting for all things natural. Kazage, the brainchild of 28-year-old Meenakshi Almal, is a furnishing studio that’s eco-friendly to boot. A sizeable portion of the rugs, blinds or even the tablemats here will probably be made from natural fibres. And in case you want to look at an entirely new concept, how about outfitting your home with recycled paper carpets and blinds?

Almal says: “Paper carpets and blinds are a new concept for Calcutta, but it’s a trend that’s fast catching up. Since they’re scotch-guarded, they’re water-resistant and durable.”

(From top) A colourful
children’s carpet; the range of leather carpets includes buff leather carpets

Manufacturing carpets in various styles and materials is all in a day’s work for Almal. Her father, Anand Gupta, has been in the carpets business for a long time.

Kazage’s range of carpets and blinds are manufactured at Almal’s father’s Lucknow factories, though some blinds are imported from the US. He takes care of all the production. They also export products to the US, UK, Japan, Australia, South Africa and Germany.

Almal entered the business with a gut-feel for products designed with natural materials and with no prior training. Born and brought up in Lucknow, she moved to Bangalore in 1999 to pursue her BBA. She relocated to Calcutta in 2004 after she married businessman Atul Almal.

The idea of a store in Calcutta came to her two years ago and in April this year she threw open the doors of Kazage. Almal says: “Calcutta is a great place to start with as people are open to new trends.’’

Kazage will be adding a line of carpets and blinds targeting children’s rooms. In collaboration with Garima Aggarwal, owner of a children’s furnishing store in Chennai called Peek-a-boo Patterns, Almal will be putting together a range of children’s products towards the end of July. She’s planning to take Kazage to Lucknow, Gurgaon and Mumbai by the year end.

Trends

Hair-on and buff leather carpets

Almal says that people are becoming very eco-friendly when building their homes. There’s also a tendency to modernise homes with products that don’t clutter the rooms. “People are filling their homes with products which look good and are easy on maintenance,” she says.

She says that customised products are the way to go. “Today clients are conscious about little details which wasn’t the case earlier. This is far better than picking up home products at random and force-fitting them in one’s homes.” So Almal gives her customers the freedom of choosing the materials, colours and sizes and customises carpets and blinds for them.

PROducts

Polka-dotted chenille carpets and pure hair-on leather carpets

Almal caters primarily to a high-end clientele with her carpets and blinds costing between Rs 300 and Rs 1,750 per sq ft.

A Kazage speciality is its range of leather carpets. Worth a check are the hair-on leather (leather without the animal hair being removed) carpets with geometric patterns on them (Rs 1,000 per sq ft) and black chenille carpets with colourful polka dots made of hair-on leather (Rs 425 per sq ft).

A collection of round cotton table-mats, which are also reversible

You can’t miss the braided rug in cotton (Rs 350 per sq ft). Almal says: “We use three different cotton fabrics and braid them together.” And then there are cotton ‘tube’ rugs which are reversible and have rounded edges (Rs 200-Rs 275 per sq ft). You can also choose from an array of reversible cotton tablemats and pure cotton children’s carpets in rainbow hues with cute designs of snowmen, rabbits and toy trains on them (Rs 120-Rs 150 per sq ft).

Rectangular braided table-mats in bright shades

Almal has introduced an interesting line of synthetic carpets in bright shades too. You can opt for ‘outdurables’, which are stain-resistant synthetic rugs (Rs 200 per sq ft). There are also rugs and blinds made with jute, paper, sisal (a natural fibre like jute) and straw, that come in earthy tones. The paper carpets cost Rs 225 per sq ft and paper blinds cost between Rs 300 and Rs 425 per sq ft.

Look out for Kazage’s range of imported blinds in shiny maroon with floral prints or the synthetic blinds (Rs 650 per sq ft). The blinds — Venetian, vertical or roller blinds, come in shades of coffee, beige, aqua, lemon and sky blue.