One may consider home decor elements, especially carpets, to be just another mode to effortlessly transform a room. But to think about it, the rich and illustrative art of carpet making has been more than that. Carpets and rugs can in fact tell many fascinating stories. In continuation with Obeetee's limited-edition collaborative carpets titled Proud To Be Indian, the brand brings in designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil for its fourth edition to illustrate India's history and its incredible craft journey through hand-woven masterpieces.
Representing an amalgamation of tradition and modern grandeur, this collaborative collection is a proud ode to the armed forces. Classic Shantanu and Nikhil design aesthetics dictate the collection - the colours and design patterns are striking and make an impression. The carpet collection can be divided into three themes - Independence, Regimental Regalia and The India-Proud Story that altogether showcase the modern yet cultural triumph.
We caught up with the designer duo to decode this collection.
Being avant-garde couturiers, how different is it to be designing home decor?
Shantanu and Nikhil: "As couturiers, we've been creating contemporary couture silhouettes and we think from a 3D perspective. Our designs are infused with drapes structure, embroideries, details and we keep exploring different elements and design philosophy. But few minutes into the discussion with the Obeetee team and we realised that we have to break the stereotypical notion and bring modernity and nostalgia together in this design process, which is a whole different ball game for us. The 2D perspective has to be far more emotional with the storytelling of not just a carpet but of homecoming - a tribute to our 'Proud to be Indian' series."
How did you come up with the theme and story-telling for this collaboration collection?
Shantanu and Nikhil: "This collection 'Homecoming' is a tribute to our country, showcasing the pre-Independence era, pride, valour, honour, respect to our Armed forces and the proud story of India. The inspiration behind these exquisite carpets represents an amalgamation of Indian decadence and modern grandeur. The exclusive collection, for the first time, highlights the narrative of the collection, defining the homecoming of the Indian prince after spending years across the country and reconciliation with his roots. The new collection pays homage to India and is broken into three themes - Independence, Regimental Regalia, and The India-Proud Story."
For this collaboration, have you experimented with any new material, fabric or threadwork?
Shantanu and Nikhil: "We wanted to create an experience for the people and not just a look-good accessory for the home. Everything is hand knotted. We consciously worked on elements like hand feel, colour contrast and extravagance of the carpets. Signature Shantanu and Nikhil emblems are brought to life by playing with various textures of silk and wool to differentiate and create contrast as well as hand feel. A blend of silk and wool yarn has been used to highlight the patterns with complimenting colours that are muted yet decadent."
The 'Proud to be Indian' collection has already collaborated with many designers already. How did you want this collection to stand out?
Shantanu and Nikhil: "We take pride in being anti-trend, henceforth our designs also follow the same ideology. Every designer has their own unique set of design values, motifs and methods. So while designing this collection, we made sure we stay true to our design virtues and don't get overwhelmed by the previous creations."
Did you face any challenges while designing these beautiful rugs as opposed to making garments?
Shantanu and Nikhil: "We are strong advocates of timelessness and appreciate the power of heirloom. While certain times, clothes are seasonal; carpets are an investment that is passed on through generations. Perhaps, to design the carpets in a way that remains classic through generations were one of our biggest challenges."
From couture to carpets, which would you describe more immersive and interesting to design? Could we expect more home decor offerings in the future?
Shantanu and Nikhil: "For designers to work on an opportunity like this comes seldom, so we made sure we soak every bit and piece of the process. Like mentioned earlier, designing carpets is completely different from designing an outfit. Here we can take different weaves and textures on a flatbed, and just see it evolve. We can't compare couture with carpets, but it is a beautiful process we're grateful to be a part of."
This limited-edition collection is available both at the Obeetee store and online. It is also available at Shantanu & Nikhil store.