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The India Design ID held in New Delhi in February threw light on some unusual home decor trends by Indian and international experts. A small yet skilfully crafted range of wool-accented furniture created by In Living, a niche manufacturer based out of Noida, particularly stood out.

Interestingly enough, In Living in its previous avatar was known as In Trading, which was mentored by Mike Knowles, one of the country’s foremost design experts. Under his stewardship in the late 1990s, the company designed and manufactured nearly 90% of the solid wood furniture for British stores John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. Later in 2005-06, it became one of India’s leading mail-order furniture companies.

But it was only when Ashish Gupta acquired the company in 2012 that he decided to change its focus towards creating consciously engineered furniture. Almost four years in the making, the new range of furniture comprising beds, cabinets, stools and home decor showcases an intelligent interplay of diverse materials, primarily blending wool with wood. First pioneered by famous Italian product designer Patricia Urquiola, who created a series of woollen furniture, the concept is laborious as it is novel.

Given that Gupta’s family background lies in handwoven woollen carpets, experimenting with wool came naturally to him. “I wanted to use my knowledge of the material to create furniture that combines wool and wood artistically," he said. The result: products that are designed by an in-house expert with meticulous precision.

Take the Verbina bed for instance. While the wood is engineered using cutting-edge German machinery, the wool-accents were chosen from different parts of the world. The bed is brought to life using wool that is elegantly woven into the frame of mango wood, which has been seasoned and kiln-dried to ensure longevity. “We had been making beds with upholstered headboards for a while so we wanted to explore how we could work with wool innovatively and break away from the usual monotonous patterns," says Gupta.

Designer Kompal Verma, a textile graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, brought Gupta’s ideas to fruition. The in-house team of designers, headed by Verma, created a series of square and triangular multicoloured tonal woollen panels using cutting-edge technology and the artistry inherent in India’s culture. “We explored over 25 to 30 weaves before we settled on this cable-knit pattern that was created by hand," she says.

Gupta says he uses wool from New Zealand, Greece and West Germany. “We didn’t want to dye the wool so we worked with colours that came naturally from each country. Eventually, a mix and match translated into one cohesive piece with a strong visual appeal yet a soft, cosy touch," he adds.

The textures created by the knitted wool have the same visceral quality as a well-loved sweater, and the combination of a neutral palette creates a sense of warmth and comfort. In addition to the bed, In Living also makes cabinets that incorporate an intricately woven woollen panel. Given the harsh weather conditions in India, the company also provides maintenance services at 30% extra charge in the event of damage to the piece.

Besides wool, Gupta’s team has worked on blending textiles as a part of an upcycling furniture project. In the case of the Alberta stool, the metal frame that supports it is woven with waste denim that is shredded into thin strips and woven with cotton ‘chindi’, while the Victoria stool has a base woven with naturally dyed hand-crocheted cotton. Precious and precise, these pieces add definition to the space of a committed urbanist.

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