AIZA ‘Quintessential Bengal’ By Ipsita Johri – Kolkata Themed Furniture

Last Friday, I attended an unusual show, the launch exhibition of a range of concept furniture. AIZA is the brainchild of Ipsita Johri and the collection titled ‘Quintessential Bengal’ references well-known iconography from Kolkata. These range from depictions of local landmarks to tribal art motifs to simply representations of commonly seen sights of the city.

We start with the hat-tip to Kolkata’s love of food and drink. Firstly, a bar modelled to look like a tram:

This is followed by a mahogany chest of drawers patterned with betel leaf inlay:

Food is serious business and the pursuit of leisure, equally so. High cuisine must be accompanied by high style furniture. A dining table & chair set all at a height.

Speaking of shelves & drawers, a double-rack to add a little beauty to the corner of the room:

What’s Kolkata without the siestas, the langour and comfort to sit and talk about world politics, literature and Rabindra sangeet? Think park benches, busstop benches and the taxi seats:

And here’s a bookshelf inspired by the architecture of the Kolkata High Court. The chair next to it has a shelf under the seat for a book or two.

Personally, I was enchanted by much of what I saw. It was my first ever furniture exhibition after all, my only other association with furniture displays being the crammed-with-everything-wood look of shops…tables wedged into sofa corners, chairs crammed between divans, that kind of thing. AZIA’s exhibition was actually a pleasure to walk around in. But I also realize that it was an event meant to showcase each piece or set in its best possible light. And most of that was done by giving the pieces plenty of space around, so the attention would be drawn to it, even if it was just a small side-table. That isn’t going to be the case when you bring it home and realize it needs to fit into everything else. The collection is heavy and solid, fitting well into an era of high ceilings, several rooms and furniture that’s meant to be beautiful, not only functional. Mumbai doesn’t fit that description in any way. In other places, I don’t know how many people could afford to own the interiors as well as the entire gamut of fixings & furnishings that could showcase one of these pieces.

One thought is to plan the interior of a room in such a way that one of the AZIA collection’s pieces would be the central focus. I can see that easily happening with the tram bar, the high court bookshelf or even the Howrah bridge shelf. It’s a little harder to envision the benches, dining table set and sundry other shelves in that manner. Still, I may be limited by my matchbox-flat-Mumbaiker sensibilities. It certainly would be lovely to live in a home that could accomodate the furniture I saw there.

The AZIA collection currently has seating, tables and storage and retails online. Visit AZIA’s website and Facebook Page. This preview came to me courtesy The Social Media Catalyst.

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