Architectural Digest India

September - October 2021

Meet the AD100 for 2021—the most important names in architecture and design in India, where no other list is held in higher esteem. Entering its 4th year, the 100 individuals and firms will be revealed on AD’s digital platforms. This is our biggest style issue yet—with one of the country’s most stylish celebrities on the cover. AD steps into Sonam Kapoor’s London home. Our Salone del Mobile preview lets you in on what to expect from the new avatar of the furniture and design fair, which runs from 5–10 September 2021.

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2 min
home bittersweet home

Every time someone opens the doors of their home to us, I’ve begun to realize, it’s a bit terrifying for them—an emotional leap of faith. During the making of this issue, I’ve felt keenly aware of this internal struggle people go through when they have to publish their bedrooms and verandas and kitchens. Loulou, the delightful Isla Maria Van Damme, called and said, “It’s my first and my most favourite project.” Maithili Ahluwalia’s home. On the phone, I could hear the rain in the back, as she called from Chennai to say, “I’m flying down for the shoot,” with a tremble in her voice. “It’s very dear to my heart,” she repeated. Mansi Poddar held her breath at the slightest suggestion that we leave the terrace out of the feature. I was…

4 min

COSMO BROCKWAY WRITER Brockway is the co-author of ‘Glorious Hotels of India’. In this issue, he heads to Sonam Kapoor Ahuja’s home in London (pg 160): “Sonam is a passionate aesthete, in her own words, and the chance to see her multifaceted talents for design in her Notting Hill home was an inspiring moment.” SOONI TARAPOREVALA PHOTOGRAPHER Taraporevala is a photographer, award-winning screenwriter and film-maker. She has written films like ‘Salaam Bombay!’ and ‘Mississippi Masala’, and also wrote and directed ‘Little Zizou’ and ‘Yeh Ballet’. In this issue, she shares a portrait of textile artist Nelly Sethna shot in 1984, in her home in Mumbai (pg 118). SIMON UPTON PHOTOGRAPHER A celebrated photographer with a decades-long career, Upton travels to Notting Hill to shoot Sonam Kapoor Ahuja in her home and creative studio (pg 160). “Sonam is both…

3 min
the pursuit of beauty

For Bijoy Jain, every design begins with a material. Whether he’s working on a space or an object, Jain’s process begins with his inimitable grasp of traditional craft techniques and his gentle play on materials, moulding them into forms that reflect their fragility and strength. This is a facet of his sensibility that he brings to his latest collaboration with Hermès—a two-piece collection, comprising an armchair and a table—unveiled at the Milan Furniture Fair, which took off on 5 September. For Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, artistic directors of Hermès Home Universe, the collaboration seemed like an ideal fit. “The fact that he works very closely with the people involved in the making of an object is one of the reasons we wanted to work with him,” says Perelman. “When…

1 min
theory of evolution

The No. 5 has been an indelible icon for over a century. Since its creation in 1921 by couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and perfumer Ernest Beaux, it’s been one of the most coveted products from the brand—so much so, that its “abstract” aldehyde formula has been Chanel’s best-kept secret till date. However, its meteoric rise to success is owed to several other factors too, one of which is the bottle. When designing the original bottle, Chanel wanted something simple and transparent to showcase the perfume in its limpid beauty. The austere laboratory bottle pushed against the conventions of the time with its vial-like, clinical structure, made of sharp lines and angular facets. While the more ostentatious perfume bottles of the 1920s drew inspiration from nature, Chanel looked to whiskey flasks for…

1 min
modern heirlooms

How do you tell the world a story of India’s incredible crafts, its people, and its history? For Obeetee—the 100-year-old company specializing in handmade rugs—the answer lay in an heirloom-worthy collection crafted in collaboration with couturiers Shantanu & Nikhil. The Obeetee story began in 1920, in Mirzapur, the heart of India’s carpet district. Enamoured by the craft, three British gentlemen—F.H. Oakley, F.H. Bowden and J.A.L Taylor—decided to work with the region’s best artisans. Since then, Obeetee has perfected its techniques and workmanship, producing the finest rugs in the country, and showcasing its rich heritage to the world. As part of this vision, it has recently unveiled the fourth edition of the ‘Proud to be Indian’ series, in collaboration with couturiers Shantanu & Nikhil. Handcrafted in the Bhadohi district of Mirzapur, the…

2 min
have you met suchi?

For Suchi Reddy, form follows feeling. The Indian-origin architect and founder of New York–based firm Reddymade is a practitioner of neuroaesthetics, a discipline that considers the neurological and psychological impact of design. The firm designed Google’s first physical store, which opened in New York this June, that explored how colours, textures and movement could create an immersive experience for visitors. Reddy also worked with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to design a 2,000-square-foot hexagonal extension for a residence in Salt Point, New York; the creative collaboration evolved from the duo’s shared love of poetry. In November, she will be unveiling a stunning two-storey AI sculpture, commissioned and co-created by Amazon Web Services (AWS), for the Smithsonian’s ‘FUTURES’ exhibition. Titled me + you, the installation invites audiences to speak “a word for their…