A new design age dawns in Delhi

Among the rows of beautiful textiles and furniture at the IHGF Delhi Autumn Fair showcasing traditional Indian craftsmanship, visitors were treated to a glimpse of the country’s future in the design pavilion.  

Started just three months ago, Delhi-based Studio SQ1 was one local brand showing visitors what modern Indian design looks like. The homewares brand was founded by furniture designer Melvin Josy and three friends, a ceramic artist, interior designer and a pilot.

“[The pilot] manages the company,” says Josy. “He also sources textiles from all around India.”

For the studio’s launch the friends created a collection called Dawn, based on the palette of the sun rising and falling every day over India’s fields, which is conveyed through pops of orange in the products. It also has a more metaphorical meaning.

“It was a new beginning for us,” says Josy. “We decided to create a few products—a few lighting fixtures, chairs and ceramic teapots—all inspired by the dawn.”

This concept really comes through in Studio SQ1’s chairs, which feature circular orange backs with a textured green or smooth beige seat, echoing the Indian landscape.

The products are designed by SQ1 using materials mainly sourced from Delhi and its surrounds. “We work with artisans, not big export houses, so we support them,” says Josy. “We get the products made by different vendors and local vendors also come to our studio and work with us. Everything is sourced locally—that’s the idea.”

Studio SQ1 came to be featured at the IHGF fair after being named as a finalist in at the India Lifestyle Awards. Josy was then contacted by the fair organiser, the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), to exhibit.

As the brand is still so new, Josy said he didn’t know what to expect from the fair, but was pleased at the number of buyers showing interest in the products.

“EPCH liked the idea of having a designer pavilion so they invited us to set up here… Initially we didn’t have a plan but after coming here I think it is a good opportunity—it’s good exposure for us.

“A lot of buyers really liked the products so maybe we will consider exporting our products in the future.”

By Ruth Cooper