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Spreading ‘Indian-ness’ in Canada: In conversation with Aly Velji

“The details are not the details, they make the design.”  – Charles Eames

Every single time, we come across a creative person, who is spreading ‘Indian-ness’ across the globe, whilst upholding India’s ‘craft-culture flag’ up high, we get very excited. The ‘Modern India’ collection, launched by the Canada-based interior designer, Aly Velji had us transfixed We had to explore further and share the joy with our readers. This collection is a coming together of traditions, the crafts, the culture of India, and in the contemporary lifestyles of today. The details in the finishing, the richness of the crafts and the techniques make his ‘Modern India’ furniture range what it is. We are delighted to share his brilliance with our readers. So, here goes:

Aly Velji & Mobilia collaboration

Aly launched a new 15-piece furniture collection in collaboration with a Canadian boutique furnishing retailer, Mobilia. The furniture showcases a fuss-free design, with luxurious materials such as coloured marble, rich textured wood, traditional textiles and metal. Aly believes that good design does not have to cost the earth and, we couldn’t agree more.

Aly has been waving his ‘design wand’ in homes and offices for over a decade. Then, a conversation with Mobilia got the ball rolling for the furniture design project.  One thing led to another and a visit to his great grandparents’ ancestral birth place in Rajasthan, convinced Aly that applying modern design sensibilities to traditional Indian materials, crafts and techniques was going to be key to the project, with all pieces being made in India by the local artisans and craftsmen, thus upping the ‘authentic quotient’.  We thought it would be rather nice for our readers to learn Aly’s design rules, so that they could apply the same to their own homes.

Aly’s design mantra

‘Start with a statement piece and add in pieces to supplement. It can be as easy as starting with an area rug or an art piece. Then pull colours and textures from either the statement piece or other pieces to create a unified space. Not everything has to match, and I think that adds to the charm. Even when things don’t match, the look still comes together, as each piece tells its own story.’

Aly’s advise is to always have a common thread linking the items in the room, especially when mixing styles and textures. Focussing on weaving a colour story that connects the dots helps to ensure a good result.

Hiring an Interior Designer?

No one knows and understands your home like you do. Trust your instincts to create your home your way as your home has to reflect the personalities of the people living in it.  Though there may be times, when your home may benefit from the experience and the knowledge of a professional.  Should you need to hire the services of an interior designer, do answer these questions thoroughly before signing on the dotted line:

  1. Does their portfolio speak to you?
  2. Do you get along? Is the designer open to ‘listening’?
  3. How is the designer’s Communication? Can they understand your needs?
  4. Do their past projects and references excite you?

And the biggest piece of advice Aly gives is that once you have done your homework and signed up with a designer, then just put all your trust in the chosen designer and work with them wholeheartedly. Have patience during the process and then enjoy the magnificent end result.

Aly’s ‘Spreading Indian-ness’ furniture project

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Magic happens when Designers across the world choose to work with centuries old crafts & techniques

Alys’s design skills coupled with traditional crafts created absolute masterpieces, which are finding a place in Canadian homes. This is exactly the reason we encourage (read ‘nag’) designers to collaborate with artisans in India. Their knowledge and expertise are at par with the very best and when coupled with the correct design intervention, the opportunities are limitless! So, designers across the globe, please get talking to artisans and designers in India; do your bit to support the traditional crafts.

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aly velji, interior design, home, indian crafts, india, mobilia, furniture

Contact Aly

Indian craft is truly timeless and with the correct design intervention, it is able to successfully find a place in contemporary homes of today.  Masterpieces are created when collaborations happen. Discover the richness of your roots; Be Notjustashopper!


All Pictures: Aly Velji Designs

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