Friday, May 18, 2018

Distinguished Taste (Home Tour)

Prakalyam Gallery, the Singapore based antiques and furniture store is truly your gateway to the past. Prakalyam translating to mean "ancient times" in Hindi and "beautiful things" in Sanskrit has a concentrated collection of the most unique pieces of furniture and artifacts sourced from all over India. Veshali Visvanaath, founder and curator of Prakalyam, strongly believes in maintaining the old world charm of her curated pieces with minimum restoration. A spontaneous decision led Veshali to embark on this fascinating journey. With no formal education in either architecture or interior design, little did she know that her innate talent would lead to the opening of her own antique store and interior design business. It all started when she decided to renovate her own home and ordered a huge consignment of decor and furniture pieces to decorate her home. The surplus of exquisite furniture pieces from her home renovation project steered Veshali in the direction of Prakalyam as well as her interior design firm, "After the gallery started in 2013 , people loved the aesthetic approach and requested me to help do their space when they came looking for furniture. It all started that way and today I am happy to be have been a part of many such dream homes."
Sharing one such turnkey project from Veshali's portfolio is the stunning Singapore home of Reena and Rahul Ahuja (a lovely young couple with a great taste of fine things). The project involved a complete tear down and build up of this 2200 sqft apartment and interior designing. It took Veshali more than 9 months from the first drawing to delivering it. 

A traditional south Indian style swing (popularly known as the oonjal) anchors the transition space from the living to the dining. Reena and Rahul had snagged this a couple of years ago from Prakalyam. It now fits in like a glove into the design plan thus injecting old world charm. The swing is suspended by antique chains that are now a rarity. A combination of cushions in solid hues give the rosewood and satinwood plank of the swing a soft edge. As a perfect backdrop to the whole setting, a reproduction of the legendary painting "Lady with the Swan" by Raja Ravi Varma takes center stage (Another master piece from Prakalyam).
The thoughtfulness to balance and symmetry gives this living room its refined charm. Lots of seating options, unexpected pops of color to break the monotony and selective decor accessories dictates the sophisticated design approach.

The colossal Dashavtaram painting behind the couch was sourced from Prakalyam. Done in the ubbal (3D) style of Tanjore, this is a new piece that has been given a vintage finish. Paintings of this scale take almost 9 months from start to finish. I personally think it is the art in this design plan that gives the room its Indian-ness.
Among the few previous possessions to pass muster in the new design plan is the client's silverware collection. Veshali has effortlessly made it a part of the coffee table display, coaxing any new guest to start a conversation around it. 

A tailored mix of patterned and solid fabrics were chosen to reupholster the clients existing couches and arm chairs.Throw pillows in shades of flattering pink tones and mango yellow bring warmth and zest to the interior landscape.
A vintage Malabar massage table is converted into a coffee table. The details on the leg, like the inverted pillar capital make it unique thus adding to the design element. Woven cane plantation style chairs were sourced from a store in Singapore. Veshali stresses on the fact that at no point are her clients compelled to own pieces from her gallery. She includes them only if the design calls for her curated pieces from her very own gallery if not more often than not, pieces are sourced from other brands and stores to suit the personality and needs of her clients.
The most challenging aspect of this project was sticking to the timeline and meeting the clients' specification of not wanting the  house to look overly Indian. Veshali decided to mix in some contemporary pieces of art and clean line furniture to bring the contemporary vibes to the space. She says, "I personally felt that the dining wall could break the monotony and hence we went with installing the original pieces of the renowned artist 'Sohan Qadri'. I absolutely love the play of colors and the tantric effects which he is so well known for. Both are his pieces and I helped them source these."
At the far end is another beautiful almost antique Tanjore that of Maratha King Shivaji and his minister. The details on the painting is mind blowing and Veshali confirms that it is close to 90 years old!
As you can tell by now, Veshali earnestly enjoys being the interpreter of her client's vision. In her own words, "I love the 'sharing of stories' and dreams of my clients while doing up their homes. The excitement and sparkle in their eyes when the design detail is exactly what they had in mind is overwhelming. Creating a space which is loved by the homeowners and for them to remember me everyday with a smile is truly what I work towards."

My Singapore readers, should you wish to visit Prakalyam, please make sure to book your appointment right here or call (+65) 9008 3979. And for those of you not in Singapore, Veshali is willing give online consulting a shot. Do write to Veshali at with your design dilemmas. 

Veshali thank you so much for choosing TECD to be your debut platform to share your amazing portfolio. We wish you the very best in your creative endeavor! Before I sign off, I'd like to share with my readers that Veshali and I will be collaborating soon to share another gem from her portfolio, so  make sure you stay connected.

(Photo Credits & Image Copyright: Veshali Visvanaath for Prakalyam Gallery; : The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial use without the prior written permission of Veshali Visvanaath & TECD.)