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Tuesday, July 12

From The Portfolio Of

Hitanshu Bhatt!

This is one of those posts. In which I go overboard. Which take me an entire day to put together because I can't decide what to leave out. For everything is so striking. Achingly beautiful. The possibilities are endless. I start feeling like a pseudo artist just by the virtue of playing around with the visual boards. It is work that inspires me. Work that makes me feel good that there are such immensely talented and creative folks around us. Welcome to snapshots from the portfolio of Hitanshu Bhatt.

Hitanshu is an artist based out of Bombay, India. I chanced upon his work on Instagram and saw that he was the creative photographer behind the gorgeous product shoots and mood boards for Gaatha, one of my favorite boutiques. He has done some superb work as a visual designer, a graphic designer and an art director apart from his growing portfolio as a photographer. Hitanshu showcases his work on Behance and on Instagram, and I must warn you - both his accounts are a visual explosion - in a good way! Make sure you have time to spare when you click above links as it would be hard to tear yourself away from the gorgeous images.

In Hitanshu's words:
 Design is an endless passion for me. Whether it's visual art, photography, graphic design or art direction. I love to explore different creative areas on a different platform. Music is a source of my creative energy. I get inspired from everything around me - nature, movies, music, people, impression etc. I am creating a beautiful story, which reflects Indian roots merging in to beautiful abstract form. 

 And more here:
Get in touch with Hitanshu: Email

[Credits | Images: Hitanshu Bhatt, Styling for Gaatha Images: Shivani Dhar, Visual Boards and Story: An Indian Summer]

Thursday, July 7

Find Of The Week

Featured on Ball and Claw Vintage Instagram Feed

You do know that I love Instagram. I keep asking you, again and again, to go and check it out, and see what I have been up to and then leave me little notes and little hearts. Yes, I am quite pushy that way. But apart from the fact that I can obsessively share pics of my cat [among other things] on Instagram, I also love it because I stumble upon some very creative people and inspirational visuals there. Ball and Claw Vintage is one such account and I loved the images shared by the owners, Joey and Mark. The presence of a fluff ball [aka a cat named Bridget] in these images is purely incidental and had approximately .093% bearing on my eagerness to share these images with you. OK, maybe a tad more, but, take a look at my picks from the brilliant bohemian spaces showcased by Joey and Mark on their Instagram feed and you will know why they made me so happy.

A lot of the products featured in these images are sold in Ball and Claw Vintage's online shop.

Look at that face!

I will see you next week here 
And 24/7 on Instagram

Have a great weekend!


Friday, July 1

An Experience Called IKEA

  The bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden. And from the road trip to Älmhult

 In the second week of June, I flew to Sweden, the home of IKEA, to attend IKEA's Democratic Design Days in Älmhult. Along with journalists, influencers, editors & bloggers from different countries, I got an opportunity to experience IKEA as an insider. While the days were packed with sessions, interactions, showcases and visits to various IKEA units, the evenings were spent wining and dining with fellow media folks in the picturesque town of Malmö. In these two days, I fell in love with IKEA, all over again. And this time, not just for its superbly designed products, but also for what IKEA and its people believe in and that what drives them. Getting a really good insight into the heart and brain of IKEA was my biggest takeaway from the event.
Quaint Swedish town of Malmö 

I K E A   ~   P E O P L E   A N D   D E S I G N

A warm welcome at the Ikea campus on Day 1! 

You know it's going to be a good show when you are welcomed in the morning with peppy and energetic live music! As we moved to the beats and mingled, the super efficient IKEA team led us to the very first session for the day. The day started with interesting presentations and engaging discussions with IKEA's CEO Peter Agnefjäll and other key team members and collaborators.

Five elements of Democratic Design: Form, Function, Quality, Sustainability & Price

It was exciting to hear about IKEA's upcoming collaborations with Hays and Tom Dixon. The friendly banter between industry icons, IKEA's Design Head Marcus Engman and UK's Tom Dixon,  set the tone for the many open conversations we had with various people at IKEA. I spent some time with Marcus and we discussed an array of topics - from the design process at IKEA to fun IKEA hacks to India's influence on IKEA, and of course, IKEA's launch in India next year! It was so good to feel the passion for the work they do and to see the belief in the power of good design, not just in my chat with Marcus but in every interaction I had at IKEA. It was also fun to get a sneak peek at the upcoming products and collections, and exchange ideas and design insights with their respective designers.  

L i f e   a t   H o m e   R e p o r t   2 0 1 6

Pretty vignettes in the Ikea campus

One of the highlights of the event was the launch of IKEA's Life at Home Report 2016. The results of this report directly feed into the design thought process for new products. For the third consecutive year, IKEA has interviewed people across cities and countries to understand the evolving needs and dreams of its customers. This year, IKEA has focused on what actually makes a home for people. The findings, are enlightening to say the least! This extensive research and analysis each year is a critical input for trend forecasting and predicting consumer requirements at IKEA.  

Experiential olfactory exhibit derived from findings of the Life at Home Report

S o c i a l   E n t r e p r e n e u r s h i p   A n d   T h e   I K E A   F o u n d a t i o n  

IKEA in India

What good is an organization if it doesn't have a heart? And IKEA is one organization that does have a large heart. IKEA passionately believes in sustainability, conservation and improving life for people and communities. From the many humanitarian projects, the one that really touched my heart was the work being done by IKEA for Refugee rehabilitation. Using intelligent design and its reach across the globe, IKEA has been helping in myriad ways to make life better for refugees in different parts of the world.

Another interesting facet of supporting people and communities is the partnership IKEA has with Social Entrepreneurs. In India, IKEA is collaborating with Rangsutra and Industree who engage about 1100 women artisans to produce special product collections. Representatives from Rangsutra and Industree, including a woman artisan, were present at the event and it was a pleasure to talk to them and hear their experiences and stories.

The latest collection KRYDDGLAD made by women artisans in India

B e h i n d   T h e   S c e n e s  -  T h e   I k e a   C om m u n i c a t i o n    S t u d i o

Catalogue 2017 in the making!

Oh, the love for IKEA catalogues! I have collected them since donkeys years and I jumped at the chance to visit the impressive studio where the catalogues are produced. Each year, there are many versions of the catalogues that are produced in around 30 languages to be made available in 48 countries! A substantial percentage of the visuals in the catalogue is now created using computer generated imagery. I got to observe some live shoots and interact with the team of photographers, art directors stylists and production managers running the shoots. I came back thoroughly impressed by the effort, creativity and team work that goes in for every single perfect shot that we see on IKEA's website and it's catalogues. 

Bohemian IKEA in 2017? Maybe!

I K E A   M u s e u m

IKEA's very first store, that opened in 1958 in Älmhult, is now a museum! We got a pre-opening tour of the museum and I loved browsing through their collections over the years. Apart from IKEA's history, it's a great place to see the change in home furnishing and decor trends over the years.  

I K E A   i n   I n d i a !

And finally, for my readers in India, the big question on everyone's minds - when and where will IKEA's first store open in India? Well, the first store will open in the second half of 2017 and will be in Hyderabad where IKEA has already acquired a large tract of land required to operate it's store. IKEA has also picked up land near Bombay and is scouting for locations in/near Delhi and Bangalore. I CAN NOT wait for IKEA to come to India! Can you? :)

Watch this space for more updates and events as IKEA unfolds in India!

[Images and Story: An Indian Summer. Except: Image for Social Entrepreneurship - video grab from IKEA]

Wednesday, June 22

No-Mad On My Mind

It's a gorgeous summer day here in Stockholm, and after traveling around Europe last few weeks, I am resting my nomadic feet in a cozy garden cafe. Sitting here, as I check into my home on the world wide web, my little blog, it's but apt that I write about another nomad, a nomad that's my favorite home luxury lifestyle brand! A brand that is quintessentially Indian at heart yet enjoys & celebrates global influence when it comes to design and aesthetics. A brand that was like a breath of fresh air when it launched in 2014 and continues to be unique and refreshingly creative with not only it's collections but also in the way that it communicates with us.

[A beautiful space styled by Couleur Locale using No-Mad's furnishing]

Yes, I am talking about No-Mad, the brand that's 97% Indian and 3% Global. As I look around this lovely Scandinavian city, I can see No-Mad fitting in as seamlessly as I have seen No-Mad beautifying spaces in cities across India. It is this seemingly effortless 'citizen of the world' personality of No-Mad that resonates with me and it's many fans, who eagerly await each new launch. And how fabulously creative all the launches have been! From the time when I first shared No-Mad on An Indian Summer, No-Mad has consistently dazzled us with collections themed around colors or innovative product function or a traditional Indian artisan/craft skill. 

A significant part of this global Indian personality comes from the multi-cultural background and exposure that No-Mad's founders bring to the table. Anuj Kothari and Valerie Barkowski are passionate about good design and quality, and have the knack of elevating everyday use items to the next level by enhancing it's form, function and beauty. The latest range from their Table collection is a testimony to Valerie's incredible design aesthetics and Anuj's innate understanding of the environment and the market. And all this goodness is available, to be delivered to your home, across the world, via No-Mad's lovely online store.

And it's not only us, the design enthusiasts and customers who love No-Mad. Since the time of it's launch, No-Mad has received many accolades from the industry for it's products. The Isayu fabric, muddah stool and the thali trays have been awarded by EDIDA and GoodHomes has recognized No-Mad for it's range of Sahaj ceramics. All of No-Mad products are meticulously crafted by hand thereby encouraging the revival of the some key Indian craft skills and providing employment to artisans and craft workers.

I could go on and on about No-Mad...I did tell you that it is a dear favorite of mine! As I wrap up this post, I do have to talk about just how brilliantly No-Mad communicates with the rest of the world. The visuals shared by No-Mad via Instagram and Facebook are stunning and the stories these images tell make me feel as if I have been part of the creative cycle of a product and feel a warm connection to the brand. An innovative medium used by No-Mad is No-Mad Times that's a delight to hold and read. The great news is that you can request for a copy of the newsletter any time that you want! Just send across an email with your shipping address and No-Mad will be very happy to send one across [right now, to mailing addresses in India only]  

A special note for retailers, design professionals and No-Mad customers in the US and UK 
No-Mad will be participating in upcoming trade fairs and you can get a chance to see the products and interact with the team. Click on the posters below for more details:

[All Images: No-Mad. Creative Story Boarding: An Indian Summer]

The sun is still shining bright here in Stockholm. Talking about No-Mad has reminded me of home and India, and I can not wait to get back this weekend. I am bringing with me stories, pictures and some amazing experiences from my travels and the design event I attended. Will see you next week, sharing it all, alive and kickin' from India!

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