Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The "Aaraa By Avantika" Studio Tour !

Splashes of happy color, intoxicating fragrance of the Rajnigandha, soulful music, delightful art adorning the walls and a gorgeous lady pouring over her worktable and creating breathtaking jewelry……You’re likely to encounter all of the above on entering jewelry and lifestyle accessories designer “Avantika Kumar Agrawal’s” quaint studio!
Based in Pune (India), the studio is the creative and business headquarters’ for her label “Aaraa by Avantika”. An Alumni of the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad), Avantika established the label ‘Aaraa’ (an Arabic word being synonymous with “adornment and embellishment”). Reinterpreting traditional designs for the urban woman, brand Aaraa draws heavily from nature and Avantika’s strong desi roots. 
A roundup of some of my favorites from her various collections : 
However, with today’s post I wish to shine the spotlight on another facet of Avantika. She’s as adept at creating a beautiful workspace as she is at crafting stunning designs for her jewelry line. Avantika’s approach to designing her workspace has been a keen understanding of what she needs in order to get her work done efficiently. While for some of us it is the creative chaos of a messy worktable that does the trick, for Avantika it is a well-organized and functional artistic space that preserves her creative flow. As you can tell, the space is a beautiful collage of textures, colors and all things that Avantika truly cherishes......
TECD: Hello and welcome to TECD! We are truly delighted to have you here with us and unveil your wonderful studio on TECD. Let us start by asking you how different is Avantika the person from Avantika the designer ?

Avantika : “Well, Avantika the jewelery designer is not much different than Avantika the person. My work is a reflection of what I am. I am a person driven by creativity and inspirations. Design is my way of living. Reading, music, traveling, photography and painting are few of the things that have a great influence on me, which at the same time are one of the most fulfilling experiences for me. Collecting pieces of Indian handicraft and art while traveling just adds to my list of doing blissful things. So this is me in a nutshell!”

TECD: Tell us more about your inspirations and your design style ?
Avantika : “My roots, my culture and my country are by far one of the biggest inspirations for me. My sense of style has evolved over the period of time when I got to work closely with the Indian craftsmen and kaarigars at the grassroot level. While pursuing my post graduation at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (NID) I got an opportunity to work hands on with the craftsmen from all over the country right from the leather to the jewelry, glass and textile industry (to name a few). This experience got me closer to our Indian history and culture from where most of our age-old crafts and craft techniques have originated. My design style is thus an extension of this learning, which is derived from my Indian roots with contemporary nuances. You can see that the style of jewelry and studio setup echoing the similar thought.”
Deliciously colored cushions line the couch and create a comfortable ambiance for the clients to take their time and decide on which one of the magnificient Aaraa creations they want to take home with them! 
Absolutely adore, how Avantika has created a point of visual interest for every corner!
TECD: As a designer, how vital was it to your creative process  to have a distinct work zone? How long did the entire process take for you to set up your studio?
Avantika : “As a designer I always had it in the back of my mind to develop and set up a space that I could call my own, which would speak volumes about the kind of work that I do and at the same time would be the place where I find my solace. Realizing this dream into reality took about quite some time and years. I always knew how the studio would look so I have been collecting artifacts, vintage pieces, various pieces of craft and art since many years. Most of the things that you spot in the studio pictures have been bought from all over the country during my travels. 
After leasing out the space for the studio it took me about 2-3 months to get the place running as it was in shambles and required quite an effort to bring new life to this space.
As learning and creating is an endless process for me, there will always be something more to design and experiment with the decor of the studio. So I would say that the design process of setting up my studio was not just a project but has been and still is a very intuitive journey that I cherish the most.”
TECD: Inspiration is most certainly a very visual aspect for me. Is this something that you relate to and if so what are your must haves in the studio to keep your creative juices flowing?
Avantika: “Personally I need to be in a place that is highly motivating and elevating to churn out creativity. Hence having a workplace that is filled with inspiration is of utmost importance to me and one of my top expectations form a space that I would chose to work in. Colors and creative visuals are a form of great impetus to me. One will find a lot of artwork in my studio space. While taking a break or thinking in silence, I do not like staring at empty walls. Thus one would find a mélange of beautiful pieces of art adorned on the wall and around the studio. Music is something that helps me loosen up, let go off my inhibitions and makes me think abstractly while designing. I love all kinds of music and never restrict myself to a particular genre, as one never knows when a chord strikes and one comes up with innovative ideas!
Melodious music, cup of lemon and honey green tea are my accompaniments while I work and one of the few things that I cannot do without :) :)” 
TECD: What is your favorite corner of the studio?
Avantika: “My worktable is the space where I drown myself in deep thoughts and my own world of imagination. Each and everything placed on the worktable is my favorite, right from the bunch of my color pencils, the peacock feathers to the strings of beads and gemstones. I can spend hours together working here and many a times remind myself that I have to get back home :) The soft board above the table carries small doodles and baubles that I have created and collected over the period of time. It also carries the moodboards for my upcoming signature line of adornments that is inspired by lotus. Lotus is one of them most inspiring elements for me. You will find it incorporated in the Aaraa by Avantika logo as well as other artworks and decor of the studio.”
TECD: I spot Dithi Mukherjee's artwork and a few others on the walls of the studio….You said you take delight in painting, are the other artworks on display a result of such painting exploits?
Avantika: “Yes you are absolutely right, Sruthi! I have been following Dithi Mukherjee's work for a while now and had been longing to own few of her creations. I just didn't know when and how this would happen. It was only after I happened to finalize on my studio space that got me into the jet-set-go mode to order her beautiful and enchanting creations. I am in absolute love with her artistic sensibilities and if given a chance could probably end up owning each and every artwork of her's. I love her use of colors and thoughtful detailing but what moves me the most is the deep thinking behind each one of them."
Dithi's artwork has been inventively combined with other brass artifacts to create a one-of-a-kind wall display!
"The other pieces of artwork that you see are from yours truly! :D
Apart from creating jewelry, painting and working with mixed media excites me a lot. You will also find some of the artworks that are created using leather and handmade felt. Calligraphy is another form of art that I am passionate about. The 'Aum' artwork is one of the creations that came into being while exploring the Devanagari script in calligraphic form. As 'Aum' is one of the most powerful mantra and symbol of absolute, I chose it as the subject for exploration through calligraphy. "
A closer look at the "Aum" artwork that graces the wall above the couch.
"Apart from this I also like trying my hand on digital art. Studying the history of jewelry was very insightful and made me understand how deeply it connects to our language, clothing, cultural and religious symbols. I thus created digital artworks symbolizing this, using a fusion of various visual references.”

A lady after my own heart, flowers are an integral part of Avantika's decor style. This is what she had to say about the fragrant beauties that keep her company in the studio - “To work with an imaginative thought process, it is important to stimulate the senses positively and flower blossoms do just that for me. Having flowers of different hues and fragrances not only charges up the ambiance but also helps me conserve my balance of being sparked to conceptualize newer ideas without having to stress myself out. It's a feeling of exhilarating calm, as I like to call it.”

TECD:  Avantika, Thank you for taking the time to give us a tour of your wonderful studio! I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best in your creative endeavor. 
Avantika : "It is a great pleasure to be featured on a platform such as this and showcase what I have to offer as well as open up so closely about the process that drove me to bring to life the Aaraa by Avantika studio. I would also like to add that while setting up the Aaraa by Avantika studio, The East Coast Desi Blog was one of my sources for inspiration. One will be able to relate to it once they see the studio photos. I happened to stumbled upon it recently and one look and a read later I was completely hooked on to what Sruthi has to offer. Her keen sense and eye for detailing as well as photography is one of the things that I love the most!" 

Thank you Avantika for your very generous compliments and am truly happy to have played a catalyst in the design process of your wonderful studio! If you are inspired to create a look similar to Avantika's Studio, we have a shopping guide in place for you :
(I)Soft furnishing:
-Buddha cushion and the Red-Pink cushions have been bought from the lifestyle store Address Home, Pune
- The purple and neon pink floral ones were ordered online from the brand Indiacircus.
- Others purchased from Indianroots.com and the furniture store @Home, Pune.
@Home (Pune), Home Centre (Pune), Sanskriti Furniture and Lifestyle Store (Pune), Pepperfry,  iTokri
-Dastkar Fair, New Delhi, held annually for 15 days during the month of January
- Different craft exhibitions and the local markets of: Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bidar, Pushkar, Allahabad, Varanasi, Agra, New Delhi, Kolkata, Pune etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting this post together and hope that you too enjoyed the tour:) To connect with Aaraa by Avantika and keep abreast with their latest collections and updates, click here. Leaving you with these images of Avantika's newest lust-worthy collection  "Maurya"!
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Image Copyright/Credit : Avantika Kumar Agrawal (The images may not be reproduced without the written permission of the owner).


  1. Thank you so much The East Coast Desi for the post! It's an amazing feeling to be featured on the blog which is one of our most favorite and amazingly inspiring. Thank you once again!

  2. gorgeous..gorgeous. absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing Shruti.

  3. OMG!!! This is soo gorgeous!! Avantika is a fabulous designer with a fantastic taste! I am hooked to her designs on her facebook page, won't be able to sleep peacefully until I buy some of her pieces. How very beautiful!! Thank you Shruti for sharing.


  4. What a gorgeous post, Shruti! And what an amazing artist, love your work Avantika!!

  5. Great post ! I look forward to exploring Avantila's pieces and finding a way to buy it and get it shipped here in the US.


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