May 13, 2013

An Artful Afternoon in Calcutta

There are many hidden treasures in Calcutta that I constantly discover even after having grown up here.  One of these treasures is the home of Surajit "Bomti" Iyengar, located in one of the old colonial buildings that housed a British departmental store many years ago.
Bomti had come to Maka Maka when we opened, looking for wall plates and other hand-painted items from Portugal.  Our conversations began and continued with a pending offer to have coffee at his place and discuss art.  I finally made it over and with a lovely lunch that accompanied our conversations around art, his apartment with amazing views of the city and the visually stimulating decor, I also got to see his amazing collection of art and decor objects from around the world.  Incidentally, Bomti's home was featured in Elle Decor:

Not only that,  Bomti has access to art from some very talented artists, who otherwise, would not have an audience!  There were pieces that I could just pick up without a second thought! They were so vibrant, unique and would make a statement wherever they were displayed!  With an eye for art and beautiful objects, and being the great conversationalist that he is, Bomti also becomes the perfect guide to take tourists and locals on heritage tours of old Calcutta that culminates into a sumptuous Bengali lunch at his charming apartment.

Once the weather cools down a bit, I plan on being a part of one of these tours and enjoying perusing through canvases and sketches of the artists he brings to light!

Jan 28, 2013

Updating Old Furniture

As our journey continues with Maka Maka, we constantly try to create new things for our patrons to discover.  We were recently featured on a popular local channel in Kolkata (Calcutta) called News Time and one of the topics covered was how to update old furniture to make them a part of our modern lifestyles.

I thought it was great topic to discuss as Kolkata has a lot of the old, not only in it's colonial British architecture, but also in the interiors of many homes.  Chest of drawers, almirahs, travel trunks, chairs, and much more, have been handed down from generation to generation.  I've found that the current owners sometimes find it difficult to integrate these pieces into their modern lifestyles and homes.  These pieces of the old world are usually beautifully crafted and can have some very interesting contemporary features that are timeless.

We suggest you give such pieces a facelift. A bright color paint, maybe, with a slightly distressed look could do wonders for an older looking chest of drawers.  Changing out the old hardware on the drawers for funky new ceramic knobs can be a fun and interesting way of creating a great new look.  This otherwise neglected piece of furniture could then become the conversation piece in your living room!
A travel trunk that carries many memories from many generations can function as a great new coffee table with storage for board games, books, etc.  A fresh coat of paint or an interesting mural painted on it can give it a new life and function.  Same goes for these old Burma teak chairs we had found in a very cluttered old furniture shop in Calcutta. It's great bones and structure appealed to me and a few coats of red lacquer paint and new seats upholstered in Black-Grey Ahimsa Silk, helped create a fabulous new look for these occasional chairs.