IF YOU can imagine it, then you can design it. That’s been Sussanne Khan’s working philosophy and what got her noticed by one of the world’s premier design firms, YOO. When Khan recreated the look of a vintage library (“using suave velvet and leather furnishings”) at one of their projects in Pune, YOOpune, it got her a call for a meet-up in 2013 and then an offer to join the London-based group as one of their creative directors. “My design sensibility is eclectic, breezy, casual luxury. It’s quite laid-back, but with a very strong blend of the masculine and feminine. They appreciated my vision of how you can create a balance between the two,” begins Khan, who also runs The Charcoal Project, a concept home décor store in Mumbai, and curates the online store, Home Label.
YOO co-founder, John Hitchcock, agrees. “Everything we do is underpinned by good design, which we believe has the power to help you live, love and work better. And Sussanne fits into our pantheon of design seamlessly with her commitment to aesthetics and unique style,” he says.
Currently finalising four unique design styles to be added to the YOO portfolio, Khan explains she will be bringing a lot of “new-age India” into her signature style, which will be geared towards quiet luxury. “I plan to blend different Indian architectural influences and patterns, and modernise it to my sensibility of shabby chic,” she says, adding that trends are moving away from bling to cleaner lines, great materials and richer textures. “Metal is a material I love to use, besides wood and natural fibres. They bring a lot of detail and beautiful colour palettes,” says Khan, who will also be concentrating on innovating patterns for function and not just beauty.
Another main focus for the designer, with an associate degree in interior design from Brooks College, California, is sourcing locally. “We have such great talent in our country—from the best lighting companies to blown glass makers, metal workers and artisans—who are now using technology to widen their sensibilities. I am in the process of finding the ‘cream’, identifying great textures and weaves from different states of India, and then using technology like 3D pyramid imagery and 3D patterns, to use the handicrafts on a much larger platform,” explains Khan, naming AJSK (Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla), Klove (a boutique lighting studio) and Vikram Goyal (“I love his design sensibility with brass furniture”) as some of the companies and designers she’d love to work with.
Surya Praphulla Kumar