Five emerging indie brands to watch out for

As leading architects and design experts take their pick, the consensus seems to be on labels that have developed their style of storytelling and a unique vocabulary of minimalism and precision

Evoking a memory: IKKIS

“A marriage of Indian handicrafts with a modern aesthetic, IKKIS 21 embodies evolution. At the heart of it, there is a positive association with memory. We find a semblance in our design thought."

—Ashiesh Shah, founder, Ashiesh Shah Architecture + Design

About IKKIS: Founded by Gunjan Gupta, the brand launched earlier this year at Maison et Objet, Paris, with contemporary interpretations of 21 classic Indian forms—the lota and chai glass find new life and meaning as jars and champagne flutes.

Sustainable luxury: Oorjaa

“Oorjaa is a custom lighting brand. I like their use of sustainable and natural raw material. The designs are simple and aesthetic."


—Amitha Madan, principal architect, Treelight Design

About Oorjaa: The idea behind the brand is to create “spaces that glow from within". The roots of the design studio lie in Bengaluru’s first handmade paper studio, established by paper artist-designer Jenny Pinto. Today, in collaboration with design studio The Purple Turtles, a team of designers convert sustainable fibres and waste into lamps for retail and commissioned projects.


Creating meaningful experiences: StoryStudio

“This is a very young studio started in Bengaluru by Shikha Gupta and Kristel Sequeira. They create unique brand narratives for a lot of start-ups as well. The first question we ask clients is about the kind of story they want to tell. This studio specializes in interpreting those stories into the space."

—Ankur Choksi, co-founder, Studio Lotus

About StoryStudio: The firm collaborates on a cohesive design narrative with designers, contractors and craftsmen, allowing each to add their touch to the overall story.

High on style and functionality: Dorothee

“Dorothee, among other things, is also into fancy and artistic lights. They innovate, manufacture and install light installations to suit the aspirations of both the designer and the client. The colour, design and quality of their work is excellent."

—Suhani Lal Sanghra, principal architect, SPARC Design

About Dorothee: The brand believes in combining innovation with aesthetics, and in creating designs that speak to people with diverse sensibilities.

The spirit of vintage clothing: ITOH

“Without a doubt, it has to be ITOH. The brand’s sensibilities are part-Japanese and part-Nordic: clean simple lines, painstakingly detailed, achingly understated, no fuss."

—Swapan Seth, founder, Luxortium and ThisContent, a content and conversation management firm

About ITOH: Founded by Delhi-based designer Amit Babbar, this menswear brand has brought together the precision of Japanese garment construction and a contemporary minimalist approach.

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