Luxury Homes - Redefining Space

Recall those fabulous houses you usually peek into in glossy magazines? Make that house your home

By: Karishma Suri

Posted on: October 25, 2012

Recall those fabulous houses you usually peek into in glossy magazines? Make that house your home.

Plush interiors, the sweet smell of luxury, multitude of appreciation and self satisfaction, and it’s all about your house. With more houses becoming ‘luxury friendly’ these days, it is not surprising to see home luxury brands making waves in India. And while the dining and drawing rooms have been the pride of our grandmothers till recently, the entire house is now coming under the radar of fashionable people, who want to make each corner sparkle. There is always a pesky neighbour anyways who’ll check everything with slit eyes. So watch in glee as brands like Fisher & Paykel, Devon&Devon and Savoir Beds, catering to those other often-neglected rooms, weave their way through the psyche of the Indian consumer and simplify life with a touch of luxury.

India is a key market for any and all luxury brands across the globe. But Fisher & Paykel isn’t as keen on the sales quotient that comes with expansion, but the evolution of the customer. “We see the average man wanting to transform his life – at work, home, et al. With already busy schedules, there is a demand for smart technology to simplify mundane tasks at hand. The kitchen design trends in India reflect the fact that modern kitchen interiors are becoming multi-functional. People now prefer kitchen designs that blend harmoniously into any home architecture and complement any interiors style. They now cook food, listen to music, watch TV, work on iPads, eat, entertain and socialize with their guests in kitchens, hence the concept of the Social Kitchen,” said Mr Craig Reid, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Fisher & Paykel Appliances Limited.

It is a fact that while mature markets battle economic turmoil, the Indian luxury market - with its unrivalled growth opportunities - appears as attractive as ever. In 2012, the Indian retail market is estimated to be one of the top five retail markets in the world by economic value. “However, what is of key importance in India are not just the rising income levels, but a shift in attitude of Indian consumers who are optimistic, self-confident and aspirational. Indian luxury consumers are increasingly conscious about the image they wish to project to the outside world and are quite demanding in what they expect from a brand like Devon&Devon for which they are paying such a premium,” said Ms Teresa Tanini, Head of Marketing and Communication for Devon&Devon.

Home, Sweet Home
Gone are the days when Indians would rather spend on materialistic goods that could be flaunted to the world. A fusion of comfort and style is what matters today, especially in the house because that is where most of the time is spent, whether relaxing or entertaining.

Not only the house, but it is time to notice the role of the bathroom, and boy, is it changing rapidly! Spacious rooms, closeted toilets, double bowl lavatories, whirlpool tubs, and large walk-in showers have found their way into our homes. No longer just a functional room, the bath now forms a kind of inner-sanctum where people can literally dip in luxury. “The bath is becoming our private sanctuary - a place to get away from it all. It has become subject to fashion and is fast becoming the focal point in anyone’s house,” said Ms Tanini.

Undoubtedly, the kitchen is the heart of the home, what will all the multi-purpose tasks it performs. Thus, this space has to be functional, comfortable as well as one with positive vibes. “We are seeing lot of changes happening in India with the concept of Island Kitchen being considered. Functionality and ergonomics are two most important things to be kept in mind while designing kitchens and our modular appliances fit in well to make clutter-free, easy to operate kitchens,” said Mr Reed.

There are many people, globally, who have the luxury of not having to choose as they can afford both the ultimate in less visible “home comfort” and the more visible, logo clad items such as handbags. “Many brands who are doing well in today’s financial climate are brands where the luxury is not so much the logo and ‘in your face’ element but rather an emphasis on more discreet luxury, where quality and finish are the most important elements. Hermes is a brand that comes to mind when talking about this, and so is Savoir Beds,” said Mr Roger Ericson, Creative Director, Savoir.

The Indian taste
Being present all over the globe, it is exciting to see how brands have altered their offerings to suit the Indian taste and please Indian consumers. Take Savoir for example. As most of the Savoir beds are bespoke, made to the exact specifications of the client, the options are really endless. Enter Indian designer Rohit Bal in the equation. “At this point, working with Rohit Bal, we are likely to get some great inspiration to design with the Indian market in mind and, at the same time I am sure that the future Savoir clients in India will be quite happy to tell us exactly what they want as far as style/design goes,” said Mr Ericson.

One of the key elements of Devon&Devon’s success is their strong brand identity, allowing them to not give in to popular marketing strategies to adapt its unmistakable, unique and timeless style, to various reference markets. Leaving their design intact, they only make functional changes to suit the market. “Last few years we have been undertaking ethnographic studies to understand the Indian consumer…and have modified our products to suit the Indian conditions. We believe design is universal and appreciated globally and we have products which can be customised…in order to suit conditions like power surge, hardness of water, etc,” said Mr Reid.

Humor me
If you have got notes to spare and like to impress your senses, brands have got quite a few options for you. The Savoir No. 1 bed is the Savoir product with the highest price tag at around £55,000 for the standard set up. “Since design options are really without a limit, so is the price tag for this product. You dream it, we build it. It does have a future in a place like India. There is a wide appreciation of true luxury in India which goes back a very long time and today’s consumer is really no different. The finest of what life has to offer will always have an audience!” said Mr Ericson.

“Our most expensive product is the President Bathtub, an impressive mono-block piece of understated elegance and a fascinating tactile surface texture made of White Tec, designed and produced exclusively for Devon&Devon to deliver high-tech performance and compliance with the highest quality and environmental standards. Our most popular-icon item is the Admiral bathtub, a stylish object of design that blends with both contemporary and classic environments. We are confident that for both of them there will be a future in India,” shared Ms Tanini.

Of collaborations and more
Along with its first collaboration with Rohit Bal for the project ‘In Bed with Savoir’, Savoir Beds is collaborating with some of the most brilliant minds in the 21st century fashion to dream up unique Savoir Beds and each creation will be auctioned to raise funds and awareness for the designers’ chosen charities. Talk about sprucing up your homes and being charitable at the same time! An outstanding combination I’d say.

“Though getting the opportunity to work with any person who is outstanding in her/his field is in many ways advantageous, I prefer to look at the collaboration with Rohit, and four additional designers, as something that will be good for the charities we involve with the project, as well as the In Bed with Savoir ‘community’ as a whole. I also sincerely hope that we will bring the designers something by offering a new type of ‘canvas’, a new challenge for them to use their vision in a way they have not been able to before, as well as to work with Savoir, a brand that has a heritage, so much history of style, glamour and luxury,” said Mr Ericson.

Devon&Devon features in the homes of illustrious personas belonging to the international political scene, top-class designers and celebrities while also furnishing the bathrooms of hotels such as the Four Season Hotel in Florence and Istanbul, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Taipei, and more recently the Hilton Hotel in London and the Grand Hotel Europa Palace in Capri. Obviously, the brand is more than good enough to find a place in your relaxation island too! Beds should be the focal point of a home’s décor. No point in messing up your day due to lack of good sleep, right? And foodies, who consider cooking an art, will not undermine the importance of a kitchen which not only makes tasks easier, but also inspires to innovate.

The definition of home décor is expanding now. And home brands are slowly intertwining India on their silken fingers. But we can’t hear anyone complaining! Only contented sighs from all quarters of the house…

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