Pinakin Patel, 55, can no longer be called just an architect or an interior designer. Design impresario is more apt. This is his 25th year as a designer, and along with a collection that encompasses furniture and every kind of home accessory, he has also designed a collection of saris. With zari embroidery of traditional Indian motifs on rich hues of chiffon, the saris represent Patel’s signature idiom, which he has been refining over the last decade: an elegant fusion of Indian art and clean Western lines. The silver jubilee collection also includes semi-precious stone tables, metal wall hangings, upholstered chairs, Chinese plates and crockery and some small paintings by him.
Patel says he is trying to create a “rich man’s flea market” with this latest collection by adding a smattering of pedestrian to the precious. Like the metal bathtub in his Mumbai showroom—the tub’s golden exterior, and the silver hue on the inside make it appear precious while its beaten texture gives it a kitschy look.
According to Patel, globalization has made contemporary design predictable and his intention through his eclectic jubilee collection is to revive the 1970s’ boutique culture. “I want to bring back the surprise and delight into shopping. Adbhut bhaava, or the sense of wonderment, needs to be reawakened,” he says.
The fully furnished Hara Villa costs Rs28 lakh. Pinakin Patel
Patel’s affair with design began 30 years ago in his garage when he, along with two carpenters, made a few stylish picture frames to redecorate his room. He enjoyed the process and the outcome so much that he set up a framing solutions shop called Pictures. He then embarked on a five-year journey around the world and across India to understand and experience the aesthetics of design.
Armed with an understanding of both global and local sensibilities, Patel set up his first furniture store in Mumbai called Etcetera. This was 1985. Since then he has metamorphosed into much more than a furniture designer. His evolution, according to him, has been shaped by the needs of his clients. “I first started making picture frames and then people asked for art, then soft furnishings and furniture. When they saw all this arranged in the showroom they asked me to arrange it all in their homes…and I became an interior designer. When we ran out of space in an interior assignment, the client asked me to ‘enlarge’ his house, and I became an architect,” says Patel.
To commemorate the 25-year journey since he first started designing furniture, Patel has designed Hara Villa—a fully furnished wooden villa with a bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom and an outdoor wooden deck and sit-out with shaded pergola. The modular house is the most significant showpiece in Patel’s new collection because it is the amalgamation of the disciplines he has learnt, practised and honed over the years.
Dinner sets cost Rs13,500. Pinakin Patel
This limited-edition villa requires no concrete foundation and costs Rs28 lakh. It comes completely furnished—bed, air conditioning, kitchen equipment, television set, crockery, bed linen, et al. If you own a piece of land, you can transpose the Hara Villa from Patel’s Alibaug showroom to your desired location. Patel has already sold two Hara Villas. He will make another 23 and then revamp the design.
According to designer Sangita Kathiwada of Mélange, Mumbai, Patel’s biggest contribution to contemporary Indian design has been his ability to simplify a design without losing out on functionality. She admits that like other designers, Patel too occasionally ends up creating an impractical piece of furniture. Like the “Acrylic Jhoola” from the jubilee collection. Though visually aesthetic, the jhoola is neither safe nor inviting. Nonetheless, he has been able to create a unique “Pinakinesque” style.
For Patel, maintaining the “Pinakinesque” quality is the greatest challenge. “If I don’t watch out, it’s very easy for me to lose my individuality,” he says. Whenever he finds himself slipping, he goes back to local Indian crafts for renewal. For instance, he has used the jaali (lattice) work to enhance a chest of drawers in the new collection. He is already gearing up to travel all over the country to interact with craftsmen, designers and performing artists from music, dance and cinema for his next collection.
The silver jubilee collection is on display at Pinakin, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai.