With some 11 years of designing home accessories behind him, Ajay Arya is no newcomer to the world of interiors. So, last year the 31-year-old interior designer unveiled his signature brand, Ochre & Brown, in Calcutta. It includes home accessories, retailed from 85 Lansdowne, and a line of furniture at Kanvas Interior Art on E.M. Bypass.
Armed with a degree in interior designing from B.D. Somani Institute, Mumbai, Arya launched a company called A square designs in Mumbai in 2000. He started with home accessories that were retailed at high-end lifestyle stores, Yantra and Tressorie. Back then, he designed products in a fusion of wood and glass or metal and glass. Says Arya: “While people tend to overlook small details, I believe that accessories make a huge difference to spaces.”
His impressive list of clients include actors Pooja Bedi, Neena Gupta, Deepti Naval, Amrita Singh and Jaya Bachchan. He’s also designed a piece of furniture for actor Anil Kapoor’s house.
In 2000, he also churned out baskets and platters for The Taj, Mumbai and even designed a few sets for the theatre group, Masquerade Productions, run by actor Sandeep Sikand.By 2001 Arya was designing for high-end homes and offices. In end 2003, he shifted base to Calcutta as he felt it was a growing market for home accessories. He went on to design the interiors of the erstwhile lounge bar Shisha and fashion designer Agnimitra Paul’s home. In 2005, he created the interiors and the façade of designer boutique 85 Lansdowne.
He received an overwhelming response and was much in demand for doing up homes. He even designed the interiors of a playschool called Little Scholar and Metropole Hotel.
The future collections of Ochre & Brown, says Arya, will include designs such as intricate jali work, interlaced patterns and floral inlay work.
He also points out that the popularity of Baroque designs is gradually waning. Says Arya: “People are more in favour of subtle detailing as opposed to intricate and opulent designs.”
Arya says: “People are not looking for straight-line furniture any more. They have an eye for detail and look out for finer elements in interiors and the right mix of timeless and modern elements in furniture.”
Arya interprets Indian sensibilities in a contemporary way as he feels the fusion look really works with Indian clients. He also says that wood is an all-time favourite with Indians, as it gives a warm lo5ok to homes.
Arya describes his collection as contemporary and chic. He says: “It’s modern with a twist. I wanted to give a fresh look to homes.” His furniture and home accessories are designed at a workshop in Calcutta.
At 85 Lansdowne, there’s a range of his cushions, bedsheets and quilts. The cushions come in silk, leather and cotton and are sequined, embroidered or studded with Swarovskis. He also likes mixing materials when making them. Says Arya: “I like mixing suede and artificial fur or faux crocodile leather with suede.” Take a pick from cushions with ruffles in metallic shades (Rs 700 onwards).
You will also find attractive home accessories, imported from Europe and Indonesia like colourful Buddha-shaped candles, crystal candle-stands, leather chests and showpieces.
His range of sofa sets, dining tables, centre-tables and lounge chairs at Kanvas Interior Art in Topsia is just as eye-catching. An aubergine Burma teak high-back sofa, studded with Swarovski stands out (price on request).
Then there’s a huge choice of tables in marble, wood and glass that have been detailed with intricate silver leafing or mother-of-pearl work. Centre-tables stencilled and cut by laser machines come in myriad shapes. His most expensive piece is an eight-seater Burmese teak dining table with a larch wood top layer (price on request).
If you are looking for individual pieces of furniture, Arya has a unique line of chairs. Straight-line and minimalist, the chairs are priced above Rs 20,000 apiece.
He customises the colour, size and material of his furniture and is helped by his in-house production team. Arya says: “My purpose is to reinvent traditional Indian designs in a modern way.”