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Across time and cultures, the sun has been revered as an omnipresent life force, and its light rays, a messenger of its vitality and power.
This issue’s theme—Sunburst, is inspired by the warmth and life that sun elements infuse into their surroundings, and together with designers Amrita Nambiar and Som Sengupta, we explore its colour expressions.
Founder & Designer, OLIE
Amrita Nambiar is an illustrative designer, trained formally in fine arts, with a specialisation in graphic design. After an initial stint of working with design consultancies in Bangalore, she moved to Pondicherry as a communication designer for lifestyle brand, Hidesign. At Hidesign, she conceptualised and created the brand’s first series of limited edition handpainted bags. Her illustration series, titled “The Deadly Ego” adorn the walls of Hidesign’s flagship store in Pondicherry. Amrita’s time in Pondicherry provided her a glimpse into a lifestyle that was miles away from the bustle of city life. This inspired her illustrations, and the desire to infuse that ethereal, unpredictable beauty and meaning into spaces through her lifestyle accessory brand OLIE.
OLIE was born whilst I was sitting, pencil in hand, by the sea in idyllic Pondicherry. The simple lifestyle, the magic of the mundane, the art of dreaming—everything that you had the time for in Pondicherry—I wanted to transpose that magic into harried city lives. A reminder of the whimsy that is impermanence. Similar to the Sunburst theme, the designs are a celebration of joy and life around us. Every print is the result of an inspired illustration and a slow translation from sketch to product. A short verse accompanies each, and it is for the viewer to interpret them as they may.
The Roots and Wings collection tells the story of the flying fish at the end of its journey—joyful, for it has found the lotus (or nirvana) at the root of the tree called life. The large floor cushion covers carry hibiscus thread tie ups and the table runner shows off beautiful combinations of printed fabric with natural banana fibre.
The Lailie lamp, designed to throw enigmatic shadows, is a new addition to the OLIE range. The body of the lamp is made of a beautiful textured fabric with whimsical prints, the cap is handwoven and made of banana fibre that is twisted by hand.
My Sunburst Colour Inspiration
Sunburst makes me think of all the things that can lift my spirits with just a glance. A pop of bright colour, perhaps a tree of yellow flowers—arresting, bold and infinitely cheerful. How can that image fail to bring a smile to the face?
Every space needs to derive its warmth from a source, and a warm, bright colour can do wonders for the mood of a room. Be it a whole wall in a block of colour or accents and accessories in warm shades of olives, greens, bright oranges, and pinks, and the ever cheery yellow—they can bring a room to life. I am in love with yellows, bright oranges, sap greens, corals, and hot pinks and enjoy mixing them up with neutral colours such as greys, whites, and indigos. Throw in some natural foliage and there is no way you can go wrong with a space.
On a recent trip to Bangkok, I saw a lot of bright oranges on beautiful temples with ceramic inlaid work, teamed with other bright colours such as pink, green, ochre, eggshell white, and blue. It was a gorgeous collection of colours, and they complimented each other beautifully.
For my Sunburst palette, the central colour is a warm blue-green. The light bluegreen is reminiscent of the sky and the sea and has a classic vintage feel. A pop of colour is brought in with the orange—a fresh burst of colour that makes you think of the glorious Flame of the Forest flowers. The coral pink is fresh, flowery and still retains a bit of orange in it. Together with the orange, it reminds me of a beautiful sunset when the sky retains a bit of both colours and is a breathtaking sight with its beautiful amalgamation of colours.
Founder & Designer, Zeppelin Design & Environments
Som Sengupta is a graduate of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He is one of the founding partners of Zeppelin Design, a strategic design consultancy, founded in 2008. Apart from branding, he has been involved in a wide range of spatial design projects catering to the luxury, retail, and hospitality sectors. Som’s multidisciplinary approach has been the bedrock of his design style, combining graphic design expertise with contemporary space design sensibilities, and technical know-how. Modernism, Futurism and science fiction are amongst his primary sources of design inspiration.
We have been commissioned as design consultants on various hospitality projects across the country. Our approach to lighting spaces drives our signature style. Hospitality demands warmth, and therefore attention is given to create zones of activity defined by light. Both natural and artificial lighting need to be planned in tandem to arrive at mood enhancing results. The play of sunlight through the day, and its interaction with colours used on surfaces, are key considerations while designing spaces that are open to sunlight and its influence.
We designed The Hiatus fine dining space at the Clarion Collection–Qutab hotel, in New Delhi. For the outdoor patio, we used a combination of tensile sun-shades, wooden rafter fencing and outdoor plants, to create a soothing sanctuary for the guests in the midst of the city. Indoors, faux-backlit orange onyx was used at the bar, to create drama in a low lit environment. The Beer Cafe located at Cyberhub, Gurgaon presented us with the challenge of working with glass on three sides. We planned the bar right in the centre with the kitchen block, to let the outside seating flow into the indoor spaces. The result was a comforting all day cafe environment that looked cheerful and allowed maximum natural light into the space.
My Sunburst Colour Inspiration
To me, Sunburst means freshness of thought and intent. A sudden infusion of energy to liven the spirit. The innocence of a dream and the comfort of home. Tales of utopia and excitement for the future. It is the scent of confidence and an aura of optimism. It represents youthfulness and positivity. Free from all inhibitions, it establishes a sanctuary for boldness and a decision to be unique. It cues the growth of something fresh and memorable, new but not void of nostalgia. Sunburst represents the happiness from brightness in nature and inspires the freshness of new beginnings.
I find inspiration for my Sunburst palette at many levels. The slanted rays of the sun before sunset, the crackle of a slow burning fire, light and shade on distant cliffs. In our projects, we work with materials to find alternate and unexpected translation into forms and finishes. I am fascinated with the natural finishes of common construction materials like brick, stone, cement plaster, slate, and terracotta. Manmade materials also present an interesting palette of directions—refraction on glass, acrylic, and nylon. Light and lighting is another way to look at this palette. This is a palette of activity and vibrance, and can infuse energy into spaces and environments.
All images courtesy Som Sengupta, except:Leonel Ponce – flickr.com/photos/leonizzy/2773557106 Till Westermayer – flickr.com/photos/tillwe/528477467 Matthias Ripp – flickr.com/photos/56218409@N03/13924202045/ Tom Bech – flickr.com/photos/viatorius/5988647181
Kadalas, a café, in Calicut is minimal, esoteric and a melange of many things.
Free Flow – Junction Bar operates from a brief that wanted to capture the nostalgia of railways within an urban bar.
Meet Phoebe Dahl, who brings fashion and philanthropy together with Faircloth Supply.