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You'll Love This

Ministry of New

By | Architecture and Interior, Travel | No Comments

“We are located in a Blue building. Opposite Haldiram’s shop” said the voice at the other end of the phone

I am on my way to Fort area in Mumbai, a short distance from the iconic Victoria Terminus Station, to visit this very interesting co-working space called Ministry Of New

“Ministry of New is a design inspired collaborative workspace for independent professionals looking to be a part of an international creative community”. (from MON’s website)
I bumped into the Ministry of New FB page (virtually off course), while researching on some design based topic.
I was intrigued. I wanted to explore this spatial concept.
So last year in Nov 2016, I emailed Marlies and Natascha(Founders) and explained who I was and how I was very keen to meet them and see this beautiful space they have created.
I got a positive response immediately.
On my recent trip to India, I got the opportunity to visit this beautiful and inspiring space.
And here I am standing opposite this truly beautiful period architecture.

As I enter the building, the ground floor is pretty basic. But as I start climbing the stairs- now here is where the magic begins


Wooden stairs- the worn steps tell a story of their own.

I chose not to take the lift. Something spectacular caught my eye. The rustic wooden stairs. I could only imagine the age of these stairs by the well worn steps as they swooped gently upwards. The wood work is so well crafted and still being tested with regular beat of footsteps, that I could kiss the hands of the craftsmen who made these years and years ago.

Curious to see what the underside of these stairs looked like, I climbed right up and what a sight!
The underside is covered with wood panels gently taking the curve along the structure of the building. Very sculptural!
At this point I know I am going to love Ministry of New even more.


On second floor- stepping onto a checkered black and white floor,I walked towards the main door.

There, at the reception…I didn’t know whether to stare at the reception desk which was interestingly enveloped in open books, or to gape at the light filtering through the atrium like space.

Main reception with its eye catching desk.

Sunlight was streaming through the windows and skylights, bathing the space in a happy, warm glow.What a visual delight! I was in heaven! Surrounding the atrium, running along the length of the space were corridors backed by rooms of all shapes and sizes. At one end was a space to hold conferences, workshops, photoshoots etc.


Potted plants hung everywhere, Christmas was just round the corner and the place was decorated with charming Christmas buntings. Tables and chairs were kept around the corridors running along the length of the rooms. You can sit inside your space or outside.


I was greeted by Owais (the voice on the phone-remember!)
We started chatting. I had missed Marlies by a few minutes (oh no!).
He explained a bit about the space and how it caters to people from varying industries.
This is getting better. I was under the impression that Ministry of New was mainly for the design industry. But no. There is no restriction to who can rent these spaces. I saw a musician immersed in his work, a conference by a well known telecom company in full swing. Little Black Book (Mumbai), a blog in India has one space, and opposite end belongs to the designer Pavitra Rajaram Designs. Each room has a name, like an identity of its own.


There are desk spaces to rent or rooms of various sizes. A cafe at one end serves mouth watering dishes throughout the day and has a rather engaging interior with wall painted in subliminal, mood lifting artworks.


Above: Desk spaces for hire in an open, light, well designed space.
Below: Chai/ refreshment area.

         I was informed that the founders have been involved in designing and creating the interior of the space. I could see that most of the original structure of the building had either been restored or kept intact. The interior accessories is mostly in black and white, as if to let the majestic architecture do the talking.        

Above: pleasing decor of the Cafe. Closeup of the wall painting

All along, the space is a well considered amalgamation of old school charm mixed with modern aesthetics.
I believe its rather tricky to marry an old architecture with contemporary/modern interiors and objects, without erasing the past life of the building. But if you get it right- the results are stunning.
Ministry of New has achieved that.       
Tall shuttered doors are painted with pale colors to accentuate their heights. Everything works in sync with each other. It is calm, restful and inspiring. A big change from traditional offices.
There is a casual formality to the space. Who would have thought that in a bustling, crazy busy, colourful city like Mumbai, a subliminal oasis of work space could co-exist.

I, for one, am blown away by this space.
I wouldn’t blame them, if people hardly go home to their families.
I found it difficult to leave the space. If not for another meeting, I would have been found lounging in this elegant space.
Must visit for anyone going to Mumbai.



In the begining

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Perhaps my mindset belongs to the generation bygone, which believed in preserving their priced possession bought through hard earned money and passing it down to the next generation. Or perhaps just that I believe in surrounding myself with timeless design goodness which does not conform to any particular era. Whichever way, I am always hunting for objects and Designers who have the ability to transform any material into such fluid and elegant objects, that it brings a sigh of pleasure from its onlookers.
I believe that design should be for generations to come and can look right in any space, time or years to come, while performing its function well.

London Map-closeup Closeup of Map quilt- Ekta Kaul London (www.ektakaul.com)

I began studying designers who are doing some truly path breaking work, pretty much by pushing themselves and the material, techniques and skills they employ in their creations. Whether it was using some traditional craft engaged to create an object so exceptional that you are entranced or whether a totally modern material, either way the aesthetics or design language is timeless, original and true to the material. At times designers have unapologetically used flaws of making techniques into a feature which remains true to the concept.
Imbyou is a culmination of that idea. My journey has only just begun, and already I have interacted with some most amazing and talented Designers/Makers across the world. Not just Designers, I have met and still meeting some truly inspiring people who are becoming a part of this exciting project in crucial ways.


wallscape lifestyle imageWallscape bookshelf by Sangaru (www.sangaru.com)

“You’ll love this” as a blog will bring stories behind these designers, their background, and their journey so far. We will also feature interiors, culture, travel, even food (yeah why not?) which are unique and bring a breath of fresh air from the repetitive fatigue the world faces today.

Icon lamp 800x800Icon Lamp by EKDesign (www.katharinaeisonkeock.com)


Cork-a designer delight

By | Architecture and Interior, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

In my line of work, I am constantly looking for innovative and original designs and objects for interior, homeware, furniture and lifestyle. Sometimes, its the process which captures my attention and other times, its the material. Either way, the world of design is going through some very exciting times and designers and craft makers are not shying away from exploring unconventional material in challenging ways.

On a recent trip to Portugal, I got the opportunity to visit a cork factory, all thanks to my new found love for products made from cork.

“Its takes more then 30 years for Cork to grow and we take just a day to convert it into a wine stopper”, said our guide. We sat in rapt attention, absorbing this piece of information.That little piece of cork stopper made redundant once the wine bottle is open, suddenly grew in stature.

 Cortiça chaise longue by Daniel Michalik

It all began whilst setting up Imbyou. I met Jenny, the brilliant designer of  Mind the Cork . She has a sensitive and a considered approach towards her designs using cork. Her beautiful products are a delight in themselves. This is when I started to consciously observe, that across the world, designers and craft makers are embracing cork in interiors, lifestyle accessories, furniture and even fashion!

EWA Cork pot by Mind The Cork
I must confess, before that,my interest in cork was borderline zero, if anything (I know, how could I!!). In daily life, I had reduced it to wine bottle stoppers and an occasional mat or coaster.1 Par Salt and Pepper Shaker by Corkway
Cork  bowls by Bambu

My whole perception changed of this otherwise not so known material in the lifestyle and interior realm of reality.

Roll lamp by Sebastien Cordoleani
Cork Lamp by Two Designers
Corkigami chair by Carlos Ortega

Hope you enjoy this pictorial presentation of some of the objects I found truly inspiring from around the world.

Till the next blog, have a good time.


For the Love of design.

By | Architecture and Interior | No Comments

As a job profile of finding designers whose work stands the test of time, I get swept away to the far flung corners of the globe (mostly thanks to the internet). It blows my mind to see such fabulous work taking place in all shapes and sizes that I feel I have only just started.

For some time now, the subject of bringing “newness” in production, material and concept in design for home and living has been hovering around the edge of my thoughts .
With this blog (and others in series hopefully), I want to initiate a dialogue with like minded people out there.
While in this feature I have focused on objects and architecture, I am keen to explore food, culture and lifestyle.

We are constantly bombarded by innovation and trends in modern technology made for human experience like the next big mobile phone, or television or user experience on social media (lets not forget games!)

But wait a minute, I am talking about the “low tech-human- sometimes handmade- a lot of the time machine made-physical- product design” kind of innovation.
Innovation in products for interiors, home, furniture and so on so forth (you get my drift by now).

Manuela 1 @ innovation blog


Maneula 2

Design- Botia Nest food containers, Designers- Manuela Yamada & Natalia Chaves
Material- Manioc flour and coconut fibre
Link — ( http://designedtohelp.tumblr.com/post/68355095880/botiá-nests-for-food-by-manuela-yamada-and)

So I started a research knowing not where it might lead me? I just kept an open mind. Some designer/makers are using natural materials, while others are working on using materials which are either by-products or discarded altogether. Then there are some who use industrial techniques to design mind boggling products one would have not thought of indulging in, ever  and yet others who focus on creating finesse through their hands.

This blog will be more visual then narrative. I have hand picked a collection of works and designers whom I felt connected to the line of thought immediately. I am pretty sure there are many many designers/makers and creators out there I have yet to explore. But hey, this is just the beginning.
So here it is.

              Jigisha Patel 2Jigisha Patel felt 1

Jigisha Patel-
Product- felt rugs made from pure merino wool. Each rug is handmade by layering tufts of Merino wool felt and the design is created gradually, painstakingly. Talk about handmade perfection.
image link- http://jigishapatel.blogspot.co.uk

Michelle BaggermanMichelle Baggerman

Michelle Baggerman: To think one can make yarn out of reused plastic bags into most elegant and delicate fabric. I am smitten and will surely further explore this designer and her work.
Precious waste-innovative textile made from used plastic bags which are spun into yards.
link- http://www.bureaubaggerman.nl/precious-waste.html

Hilla Shamia 2  HIlla Shamia 1

Design process- Wood casting
Designer-Hilla Shamia
Product- Exceptional furniture made from wood and cast aluminium.                                                                                                            http://link- http://www.hillashamia.com/?/projects/wood/

Sangaru 2

Sandeep Sangaru- truss me collection- use of Bamboo’s high tensile strength to create an attractive, strong and lightweight system which can be repeated to create furniture.
http://link- www.sangaru.com


Benjamin Hubert

Design- Float
Designer- Benjamin Hubert
Product- lamps made from agglomerate cork blocks constructed from the waste product from wine stopper manufacture and the production of the lamps themselves.
Image link-http://layerdesign.com/projects/float/

Agni Jata  Agni Jata 2jpg

Agni Jatha- a clay house built in Auroville (South India) as one of its kind in the world by Ray Meeker
Watch the film on Agni Jata here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeG32VwCwnE

Since I was a young student of Sculpture, I was quiet fascinated by the concept of this Clay house, aptly called Agni Jata. A house built completely of clay and then fired from within, like a wood fire kiln. The structure was used like a hollow kiln, which was loaded with unfired objects and then wood was used to fire the inside of the structure. Till date I envy all those who were a part of this fascinating project!

Dharavi museum

Physical space- Design Museum Dharavi
A social enterprise breaking the norms of society and its perception.
link- http://www.designmuseumdharavi.org/Design_Museum_Dharavi/Dharavi.html

And lastly (atleast for this blog), I recently came across this rather innovative ongoing project in Dharavi (Mumbai, India). The whole concept is to get local makers and craftsmen involved in creating something special. This project is bringing a whole new focus on Dharavi as a design destination, break its stereotype of being just a slum.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Enjoy the post.

Note- images are courtesy of internet. Links to each of the designer is provided in their description.



Patwon Ki Haveli

By | Architecture and Interior, Travel | 2 Comments


As our vehicle crossed the borders of Gujarat and went deeper into Rajasthan, the landscape changed to unobstructed views resplendent with sand dunes and tiny thorny shrubs and bushes. Some how the pale winter sun made everything shimmer and it hardly felt like we were in the desert district of Rajasthan: Jaiselmer. Ethereal experience.

So this blog post is about a recent visit to Rajasthan, a land so associated with colour, warmth, tourism and food that it was odd to see this quiet peaceful but pale stretch of land with hardly any traces of civilisation around. Unlike what you must be thinking, this post is not about the well known Jaiselmer fort. Oh no no . Its about a not so secret gem of a building : Patwon ki Haveli

20151225_140334(0)                                                                                                One of the five Patwon ki haveli

Haveli is a hindi word for mansions. Now, I must confess, before my travel to Jaiselmer, I had never heard of this place.

A brief history: legend has it that the patwas were immensely successful after leaving Jaiselmer (on the advise of a priest) and their business spanned across banking & finance, silver, brocade and opium trade.


Eventually, patwas rose to such heights that they were called upon to finance the state deficit. This brought the clan back to their old habitat. The then head of the family, Ghuman Chand Patwa, decided to gift each of his five sons a separate and elaborate mansion, ignoring the advice of the priest. Thus came up the five grandiose havelis facing the Jailsamer Fort. (source: http://patwahaveli.com)

20151225_123922                                                                             View of the busy street from one of the haveli windows

Unlike a typical mansion in India, Patwon ki haveli is devoid of any gardens (for obvious reasons!!) or rich iron gates with massive pillars. It stands looming large, slap bang in the middle of a busy busy street, quietly waiting for the onslaught of awestruck tourists and art and craft lovers like yours truly.The facade seems to have faded through years of erosion, but once you cross the gate, its difficult to close your mouth hanging open in total wonderment of the intricately carved exterior.

                                        20151225_134329   20151225_124616
                                              Intricately carved stone exterior. Floral Geometry achieved through supreme craftsmanship!

Believe me when I say, I have yet to see the likes of it. The gold hues of the stone used in constructing the building adds to the opulent elegance of the architecture.

20151225_134250                                                             The quintessential picture which has to be taken in traditional finery

It is fascinating to observe that the interior, while still being opulent, is fairly staid, to balance the exterior. Furniture, fixtures and even cooking vessels and tableware (aha now we are talking!) are painstakingly preserved to give us a glimpse of the Patwa family’s lifestyle   You get sucked into the their daily lives and are transported to times gone by.

                                 IMG_4702    IMG_4704                                                                              a child’s tricycle stored neatly in an alcove & dainty  sewing machine


IMG_4709                                                                                 wooden jewellery boxes with metal embellishment

So feast your eyes on this visual delight from Patwon ki haveli and make sure the next time you decide to travel to Jaiselmer, do give this beauty a shout.

20151225_123701                                                                        Never miss a photo op while selling colourful puppets.

Enjoy and don’t forget to share any snippets you may have about Patwon ki haveli.

Photography: Chinmay Bhardwaj, Vallari Harshwal

The Retyrement Plan.

By | One to watch | One Comment

“Madam mast dikhta hai” (madam it looks fantastic!) says the weaver , who actually migrated to Mumbai to earn a living for his family, doing something totally unconnected to his true skills- that of weaving!

What an amazing thing this world wide web is. As we trawled through one exciting site after another, we came across this really catchy and considered design and development studio on a social media platform which works with discarded waste materials.

The Retyrement Plan product image


So from Toronto we travel to the bustling city of Mumbai, where a  textile designer Anu Vieira Tandon runs the concept studio- The Retyrement Plan.

We have been following this studio’s progress for some time and finally got an opportunity to speak to Anu one fine British summer day.

Anu has had an established career as a Textile Designer for more years than she can remember. While speaking to us over the phone this is what she said:

-I am a designer by profession and 4 years ago, I had one of those “What have I done with my life? moments. Also “˜What do I want to do with my life?” followed. Surprisingly, the answer was not that difficult. I decided to make a difference.

Not knowing that this effort of hers will grow into something truly spectacular, she elaborates that she wanted to make a small difference with few of the urban craftsmen that she had often been in touch with during her several years as a designer.

Arm chair@ retyrment plan 800x800Cat scratch pad or foot stool @Retyrment Plan 800x800

Her keen sense of observation led her to notice that there was a lot of industrial waste in a place like Mumbai: “As it is not economically viable to reuse this waste, it ends up in landfills. Production waste like paper, fabric, plastic, used tyres and a lot of other perfectly good material (in my eyes) ends up adding to the ever increasing garbage problem and subsequently to the increasing environmental issues.”

Anu saw an opportunity to turn this waste into something beautiful and functional. This would serve the purpose of using up waste while contributing to the preservation of environment in her own way.

She started looking around for byproducts made from waste material and her search led to the most exciting product: this beautiful rope made out of textile and tailoring waste, that are handmade in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Given that the rope is fashioned from diverse waste each strand is a rainbow of colours. Anu wanted to give it the same respect and refinement as she would any expensive raw material.

Weaver busy weaving a Retyrment Plan stool 800x800

She didn’t have to travel very far to look for skilled cane weavers for her designs. She found a group of weavers from far flung places like Assam, Bihar, Karnataka within her work vicinity.

“Using materials such as cane, bamboo and old tyres intricately woven over with waste rope, and a high level of design input, we came out with our first The Retyrement plan product, the first of a line of well designed and detailed contemporary furniture for the urban market” explains Anu.

Retyrment plan footstool 800x800

The emphasis is on producing beautifully designed and woven pieces of furniture, without compromise, and finding markets that value them, and are willing to integrate these Upcycled furniture in their environment. A weaver can take 2-3 days for a pouffe and 4-6 days to weave a chair.

Glass mounted tyre table

The furniture is both outdoor & indoor use and includes pouffes, cane chairs, planters, mirrors, cat scratch pads etc, all using recycled materials and traditional weaving skills, married to modern design. Every piece is distinct, giving buyers a sense of unique ownership.

Applauds to the team of The Retyrement Plan and Anu Veira Tandon for this initiative.

Anu@The Retyrement Plan

Imbyou wishes The Retyrement Plan a lot of success. A studio practice with a  design ethos for a better future is not for the faint hearted. Salute!







For more details click here The Retyrement Plan

Say Mi-yelk!

By | Architecture and Interior | 3 Comments

“You’ll love this” blog is not just about designers, it is also about people, projects, culture, architecture and everything else in between which inspires and reflects Imbyou’s beliefs and design thinking. Yes yes, about food too (the essence of life!)
In my quest for pure and timeless designs, universe handed me Mjolk on a plate. Now if there was to be a reflection of Imbyou’s design philosophy (to a large extent I would say), you will find it in Mjolk.

Full view of Mjolk 800x800


 Say Mi-yelk is how the website describes it. I had to browse the entire website after that. End to end!
A store based in  Toronto, the gallery makes its home in a white Victorian building with a modern interior by local architect firm Studio Junction. Mjölk is both a gallery which exhibits work by both arists and artisans from Scandianvia and Japan, and also a lifestyle store.

The delicious products 800x800

Mjölk (Swedish for milk), was started in 2009 by husband and wife team John and Juli Baker
In their words: “ we look to our everyday life to find inspiration for the products we carry. Our smaller products can be used without thought, or quietly admired. In our eyes just the simple satisfaction of functionality and durability, is all you need for a successful product, but when you can derive beauty from the uttermost simplistic tools, then you have something special”.

Juli and John 800x800

I couldn’t agree more.

They have beautifully summed up their design ethos: Mjölk  is pure, honest, and essential
Their design philosophy is so deeply rooted in their psyche that it reflects in their daily lives too.Here is a store which showcases the most sublime products, which revolves around usablity without conforming to time or trend. You will be getting more of Mjolk at “You’ll love this” regularly.
Take a look for yourselves and share your thoughts.

Inside the Mojlk store

For more details on Mjolk follow this link:  store.mjolk.ca

All images: Mjolk (Juli and John)