With another Asian Paints collaboration, the designer extends to home furnishings that explore print on print and old-world motifs
Hundreds of couriers travelled between Tarapur (Maharashtra) and Kolkata last year, carrying upholstery and drapery samples from Asian Paints’ manufacturing units to designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s home. “Working through a pandemic — with the lockdowns and ensuing lack of physicality — was a challenge,” shares Amit Syngle, Managing Director and CEO of Asian Paints.
We are talking about India’s number one paint company venturing into home furnishings and their most recent collaboration with the master couturier. This is the first time Sabyasachi has explored interiors beyond wallpapers. “Sabya was very particular,” says Syngle, hinting that the partnership was a challenging one. “He wanted to see the factory, the machines, so we conducted digital walk-throughs. And of course, samples of everything were sent across. We literally converted his home into a factory. He showed me his living room once, saying ‘It’s now only filled with your furnishings.’”
Strength in numbers
- Collabs are nothing new for Asian Paints. Some of the most memorable are the ones with St+art India Foundation — “democratising art by bringing it into public spaces” — and Where the Heart Is, a video series that took one into the homes of celebrities. “Today, the way micro-segmentation is emerging, every customer is looking at the work that a brand is doing. So what we try to do is broad-based work that will invigorate all segments, from Gen Z and millennials to a more mature audience,” says Syngle.
- There are also takeaways. “What we did with street art inspired us to think about what else we can do in the space. For example, we are training a lot of women painters. Some of the finishes and textures they create are really outstanding.”
The result is five collections, themed Thar, Makhmal, Soofa, Hazaribagh and Chowk, that veer away from safe solids to play with print on print and a vibrant colour palette of ochre yellows, royal blues, crimsons and dusty pinks. The luxury, says Syngle, comes through not only in the materials — “the Sabyasachi for Nilaya line uses only the best fabrics, from pure linens and silks to mulmuls and velvets” — but also in the designs that “reflect our shared cultural heritage”. Think motifs inspired by old-world Calcutta, painted fabrics from the Coromandel coast, heritage embroideries, and miniature paintings from Murshidabad. The line also includes three Nilaya x Sabyasachi wallpapers (the earlier two collabs were big successes).
Asian Paints has been looking beyond walls for some time now. Learnings from their annual ‘State of Indian Homes’ surveys have been invaluable in forecasting what people want (such as a more earthy palette, and a return to minimalist hues of raw silk and ivory), and saw the brand launching furniture and lights in 2020. “People’s relationships with their homes are changing. Connectedness is becoming stronger — they tend to socialise more at home — as is its multifunctionality; the same space converting into an office, a gym, an entertainment centre. We are putting these learnings into our products,” says Syngle.
- In the luxury segment, Asian Paints has also launched The Pure Concept for Nilaya and Pure-Royale, in collaboration with The Pure Concept, the Mumbai-based home furnishings brand co-founded by Chanya Kaur and Dalbir Singh. Expect a variety of styles from maximalist prints to minimalist geometry.
In the Sabyasachi line this finds expression in the versatility of the furnishings. The upholstery can become a lampshade, table linen or even a wall hanging. “This collab is a game changer because it has transformed the décor sensibilities within the Asian Paints world. Normally collections are solids, as people play it safe. They struggle to visualise print on print. We want to work with visualisation strongly now [their 3D paint visualisation app is a step in this direction] and the Sabya line works into this,” he concludes.
Sabyasachi for Nilaya fabrics cost between ₹4,000 and ₹9,000 per metre. The wallpapers are between ₹400 and ₹500. Available across Beautiful Homes boutiques.