Loud and stylish
Farhan Furniturewalla and his wife, Laila Khan Furniturewalla, dub their signature brand of home accessories as ‘luxury within reach’. Ironically, a visit to their store of furniture and furnishings might make you dig rather deep into your pockets. But they stand true to their name and their label, Furniturewalla FW that delivers handpicked, plush furniture, stands out in the crowded furniture arena.
The couple trots the globe to forge tie-ups with furniture factories across the world — in the Philippines, Spain, Italy, China, Malaysia and Thailand — where the furniture is crafted according to the Furniturewallas’ design inputs.
“The idea was to bring the concept of our own lifestyle to the store. In a way it’s not another boutique operation, but an extension of our personalities,” says Laila.
The Furniturewallas have been synonymous with home décor in Mumbai since they set up shop in the city in 1999. A year ago, Farhan decided to facelift the label, Furniturewalla, by re-inventing it as Furniturewalla FW. In its new avatar he has aimed to give the label a distinctly edgy look. Earlier this month, the Furniturewallas made a Delhi debut with a lavish 21,000sq ft space, divided over two levels. Plans are in the offing to launch stores in Calcutta, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.
The couple brings a perfect blend of sensibilities to the label. Farhan, as managing director, is carrying over his family’s legacy. “My great grandfather started the family’s tryst with the furniture business,” says Farhan. He worked with his father in his Mumbai-based store, Kondor, before he joined Aaron Mitchell & Co., a Los Angeles-based design firm that caters to celebrities like Steven Spielberg. Besides, he’s been a globetrotter who has travelled extensively in the past 15 years attending furniture fairs across the world.
For her part, Laila brings in glamour to the business apart from her artistic sensibilities. The daughter of the late actor Feroz Khan, is a contemporary artist in her own right, trained in fine art at the Slade School of Art, London, and then in creative and expressive painting at the St. Martin’s School of Art and Design, London. Today, she showcases and retails her canvases at her stores.
By the way, Furniturewalla FW boasts of a client list that is loaded with names of high flying executives, actors and A-listers on the social circuit.
The couple travels the world exploring art and interior shows, galleries and design fairs. “We’re out of the country for almost six months in a year,” says Farhan. “Naturally, we’re attuned to trends that are a rage internationally,” adds Laila.
Throw the concept of minimal lines out of the window. It’s as passé as passé gets, says Farhan. “Instead, let loud luxury make a comeback with elements like metallic sheen and leather featuring in your room. Keep just a few accent pieces so as not to clutter the look,” adds Laila.
The vintage-modern look is très chic internationally in interior decoration. “So if you have objects that come with a sentimental story, keep them intact by giving them a new touch,” notes Laila.
“And when it comes to colour themes, look at earth tones,” says Farhan. Read: browns, tans, greys, greens, oranges, whites, and reds. You can also do the occasional pop of colour.
Their stores offer elements of lifestyles that are typical to the city in which they are located. “For example, in Delhi you would find furniture and home accessories for villas and apartments. In Mumbai, keeping the space crunch in mind, it would be customised only for apartment living,” says Farhan.
While the Delhi store has chic outdoor rattan furniture, it also offers 14 collections of indoor furniture. This includes interesting concepts like the Flight Collection that takes inspiration from the world of travel. So, be prepared to have the humble, trunk look in coffee tables, chests and bar cabinets that come in combinations of glass, leather and steel. There are trunks that come with a vintage or faux animal hair finish. A trunk coffee table will set you back by roughly Rs 30,000.
The Acero Collection comprises lounge chairs in stainless steel with gold plating, the occasional seat done up in faux animal-hide and adjustable coffee tables in various shapes. “Functionality is our USP,” asserts Farhan. The coffee tables range between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000.
Then the Divany Collection puts together a sleek Italian look that is achieved with the use of elements like high gloss, tempered glass and stainless steel. Or check out the Winston Collection that has accessories like stainless steel lanterns with leather belt loops and stainless steel-wheeled coffee tables inspired by carts.
There’s more: bedroom sets (a bed, dresser and two side tables) cost between Rs 1.75 lakh and Rs 4 lakh. The label raises the bar by offering sofa beds that start at Rs 40,000.
And hurry, as the Furniturewallas offer only limited editions.
Photographs by Rupinder Sharma