Interior designer Farah Agarwal on winning her first award and why you need to incorporate gold into your décor.
T his month began on a happy note for Farah Agarwal. Not only did she get a call saying she had been nominated in the best young designer category of Singapore-based CMO Asia Awards for Excellence in Branding & Marketing (which also saw names like Adhil Shetty, CEO of BankBazaar.com being honoured), but she picked up the award, too. With her interior design company, Chestnut Storeys, completing two years this April, the 31-year-old feels it is a validation of how far they’ve come in such a short span of time. “Many firms often stereotype themselves as contemporary, classical, etc. But we’ve managed to achieve many different styles in our portfolio—from art deco to contemporary and minimalistic to industrial chic. That’s our strength and maybe one of the reasons why we got noticed,” begins the director and chief interior designer.
Busy as she is with designing bungalows in Boat Club Road, penthouses on the ECR, and even a new resto bar set to launch in the city soon, Agarwal is clear about how she wants to grow her company. “My design aesthetic is sleek and polished with a touch of drama. And for me, this translates to customisation.” With a team of over 20 hand-picked carpenters, she works with wood, metal, glass and even mother of pearl, a medium nobody uses in the city. “Recently, I wanted to work with distressed glass. Rather than ordering it, I decided to make it. My team and I, dressed in protective masks and gloves, worked on it for over two weeks before nailing it,” says the mother of two, adding that she is now diversifying into bespoke furniture, too. “I was thinking of getting into it in the latter part of this year, but so many people have approached me for custom-made pieces in the last six months,” she smiles, pointing to a credenza she made recently, with mirror and printed fabric, and another gold-black-white one in wood and metal, as her favourite pieces.
While she is not one to follow trends blindly, the love of metallics in 2016 is right up her alley. Agarwal recommends gold and brass accents as these warm up any space, while mixing it with reflective surfaces will help bounce the light around the room, giving it a fresh, contemporary feel. “Metallic paints have taken a back seat, but distressed metallic wallpapers can give a room a glamorous feel,” shares the multitasker, who, together with her ophthalmologist husband, Ashvin, travels extensively. Going forward, she also wants to bring sustainable aesthetics into her portfolio.
Mixing warm metals like
rose gold with cool ones like silver is particularly hot now. Metal is highly versatile and I love using it with glass.
You can balance it by introducing softer textures like velvet and satin. Our humid climate shouldn’t scare you away from metal. Ensure your pieces have protective matte
and lacquer coats.
— Surya Praphulla Kumar