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The art of furniture

Apart from furniture for Steven Spielberg and the Big B, Farhan Furniturewalla has designs for the upper middle class segment



Farhan inside Furniturewalla — Photos: K Ramesh Babu

ERGONOMICS AND economics go together with Farhan Furniturewalla. His recently opened outlet in Banjara Hills (R#12, Laxmi Cyber Centre) is a testimony to that.

What appears as an aesthetically-designed, modern Alibaba's treasure trove, the 12,000-sq.ft space transports one to a different plain altogether in a space of minutes. Dotted with handpicked furniture from every habitable continent, Furniturewalla (the brand is the same as the surname) is a surprising contradiction to beliefs, that because Big B and other Bollywood `biggies' shop here, ordinary mortals can just wow and retreat hurriedly.

"On the other hand, it is the upper middle class that gives me more business," says Farhan - the force behind the country's first furniture-corporate. "Whether a sofa costs a few hundreds or thousands, comfort precedes look and style. And my furniture strikes a balance between comfort, practicality and cost. Luxury need not always come with a price tag when carefully chosen," is what he believes in.



Futuristic designs for dining sets

Cool, classy, contemporary, Oriental and Occidental, - the shop is a curious mélange of imported dining sets in glass, elegant sofas in leather and fabric, and a diverse sprinkling of accessories for good living, like centre tables, coffee tables, table lamps and CD racks - all in inconceivable silhouettes and shapes.

"The furniture in a home must not look as if it is bought, but collected," says Pooja Bedi's ex-husband, who is regarded as an authority on furniture in India.

His expertise stems from his lineage all right (150 years of a family tradition), but Farhan confesses he learnt his preliminary lessons on perfection while designing Steven Spielberg's master bedroom in his stately L.A. mansion.

"The master filmmaker's penchant for precision was so overwhelming that he would carve bath-tubs out of one-piece marble stones so that there would be no joints. Even an imperceptible crack while grazing was enough reason for rejection, and orders for fresh ones," Furniturewalla recalls his earlier days with Aaron Mitchell & Co., in the Nineties.

Quite natural, that Farhan's furniture-omnibus showcased in his chain-outlets is specially selected from the finest shops in South-East Asia, Far East, North America and Europe. A stickler for quality, he is also very particular about the choice of wood. Burma teak, Mahogany and Walnut wood are the preferred favourites.



Where comfort balances the cost

A self-taught man, fundamentally, Farhan used to copy designs from catalogues of furniture manufacturing units abroad, for his family-owned furniture store - Kondor, in Bandra. "Not that they were very close to the originals but somewhat parallel," he recalls. Having gained sufficient experience from his association with leading furniture designers, Farhan set off on his journey to set up the country's first furniture-corporate.

With four stores already in a span of four years and an excellent track-record for having conceptualised and supplied furniture at the J.W. Marriott group and HLL, to name a few, looks like Furniturewalla is not far away from his fulfilment.

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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