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Storytelling: a new avatar

Storytelling shapes the way we see the world. The form can evolve as a calypso across a varied canvas of food, jewellery, interior décor,travel…

Storytelling shapes the way we see the world. The form can evolve as a calypso across a varied canvas of food, jewellery, interior décor, travel…

Storytelling shapes the way we see the world. The form can evolve as
a calypso across a varied canvas of food, jewellery, interior décor,
travel… The genius nature of storytelling through design aims to stun
and as it finds flow with your soul, it nourishes the elemental connect
with emotions, nature, and textures you discover along the corridors
of life.

A virtual treatise in plush design grammar is fashion designer
Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s 26,000 sq ft store near the iconic Horniman
Circle in South Bombay in a neoclassical building. With over 100
chandeliers, 275 carpets, 3000 books and 150 works of art created by
the Sabyasachi Art Foundation, it is probably one of the richest
contemporary exponents of design in the country. Tanjore and
Pichwai art, Mughal miniatures, lithographs dot the walls liberally
with wooden angels and Indian goddesses ruling the space in opulent
forms. Persian Qajar paintings set the tone inside the lavish dressing
rooms, bird shaped faucets by New York’s famous P.E. Guerin grace
the bathrooms, with pottery belonging to the Tang dynasty evocative
of Sabya’s fine taste in regalia. The 12-feet-high Satsuma pot duo dips
into your visual atlas when you enter the store. “My heart was in my
mouth till the two pots arrived unscathed. It was not the acquisition
price but their historic value,” says Sabyasachi.

The design complexion of the space exudes his signature luxe touch with
chronicles of his earliest forays into design mounted on the walls,
sharing the special story of the steady evolution of the brand.
“Jewellery is intricately woven into our lives, our special moments, as
an expression of our unique style and personality,” says jewellery
designer Falguni Zaveri Mehta, famed for her bespoke contemporaryjadau renditions in textured gold, uncut diamonds, and Basra pearls.
“As jadau jewellery is unique to India, the base techniques we master
are Indian, but my primary focus is to re-orient the traditional into the
modern. For instance, an antique nose ring turns into an elegant
neckpiece,” she explains, having designed the antique jadau brooch
that Shahrukh Khan wore at the launch of the Nita Mukesh Ambani
Cultural Centre recently. Ravissant brought in spectacular designs,
shaping stories from the African savannah in bold, 3 D faunal forms,
celebrating the flair and flamboyance of the continent in the An
African Odyssey collection. “The inspiration came from a deep
appreciation and fascination for the African wilderness and its
inhabitants. As a designer, I was drawn to the vibrant hues of the
animals, birds, and lush green forests that call this place home, as well
as the raw energy and power of the natural world,” says Ravi Chawla,
founder, Ravissant. “The intricate patterns and textures of the African
landscape served as a canvas for my creative expression, resulting in
creations celebrating the beauty and diversity of the continent.” The
gleaming gazelles and lions perch boldly on splendid sterling
silverware in the collection that brings in combination of the metal
with resin and coloured glass

The sheer beauty of elevated storytelling through design creates many
pinch-me moments at restaurants Ekaa, and Tresind Mumbai. Plating
emerges as an enviable expression of art. “I believe people use all
their senses when it comes to food. The first one is smell and the
second one is visual. Clean and composed plating works for me,” says
Niyati Rao, Head Chef and Partner, Ekaa. Her love for painting, and
her small hands (by her own admission!) hold her in great stead. “I
am always looking for new angles and ways to make the dish look the
way I see it in my mind. It is a very exciting process. I believe in
going very organic, raw, and not prettying the dish up too much using
colours and strokes. My focus is on the presentation when I serve up
the creation,” she says. Sheesham serving boards carry cheesy
mushroom bellied chicken wings, and the gleaming crispy arbi arrives with its entourage of fair-skinned, rice tortillas, pickled raw
papaya, freshly plucked microgreens and green tomato rojo arranged
artfully. Just like the pork belly comes complete with delicately
spiced gavarfali, fermented cabbage slivers and a slim brioche
trio. “Sometimes elements of the dishes are served separately as a
collective unit in a dish at Ekaa as we believe every ingredient is
special. That is how we want to serve it so that there is a well-
deserved focus on each element, as all of them come together
collectively as a team to compose the flavours in the dish,” says
Niyati. “We work very hard on the technical and textural aspect which
differs the elements in colour, flavour, temperature and the role each
one plays.”

Shilpi Madan for The Leela

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