It is one of those days when the temperature has shot up to the level of ‘stay under your AC all day,’ but a conversation with a co-owner-cum-designer is good enough to change my mind and prompt a visit to her design abode.
Once I reach the area mentioned I see myself staring at a Youth’s Girl Hostel opposite Cathedral and John Connon School, which happens to be the school where Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of Pakistan, studied. Call it a dash of passion and history.
A watchman guarding the premises-who must have dismissed me as a roadside Romeo, informed me that my destination was located on the other side of the building. And there it was, Colonial Collections, home to custom-made furniture and more!
Though the name may evoke images of the kind of furniture used during British rule, what you see in the store is different-furniture across different genres from classic to modern to contemporary.
“We started by restoring old colonial furniture and hence the name,” explains Nilofer, who along with her husband Reshad, owns the store. Later the couple realised that they would like to design furniture, and this led to the transformation of Colonial Collections from a furniture restorer to a furniture maker.
Nilofer and Reshad are both involved in designing the furniture available at the store. The duo has a small team of karigars who have been working with them since they started Colonial Collections.
Says Nilofer, “We constantly brainstorm with our karigars to come up with exquisite design ideas that can herald contemporary interiors; over a period of time this design-based knowledge transfer has also been a great learning process for all of us.” Nilofer and Reshad service both individual and corporate clients, and because the volume of work can touch the ceiling the couple set up a 10,000 sq ft manufacturing unit at Sewri in Mumbai.
Chairs, divans, sofas and the like, reflecting different periods, create a feeling of chronological continuity at the store, while the brass antiques which are also around remind us of the distant past. At this point Reshad informs, “We have been collecting these for quite some time. The sheer detailing that has gone into designing each of these miniatures has captivated us because we too follow a similar procedure while designing our furniture pieces.”
The various articles of furniture at Colonial Collections reveal the meticulous attention paid to line, form, detail and comfort. The designers are also very particular about the materials used as well as the finish applied thereon.
So let’s say you order teak wood furniture; you will be informed about the timeline of the delivery and also about the choice of different finishes that can be used to give the product a stylish and classy look. Adds Nilofer, “From linseed oil to lacquers we are quite well-known in the market for the finishes we provide.”
The couple also has stores in Goa and Hyderabad. In Goa the idea is to go beyond furniture design, while the Hyderabad store is run by a franchisee who has been associated with the couple for 10 years.
Colonial Collections has catered to corporate biggies as well as individual clients. As a brand it has established itself as a distinct presence in the mass-produced and machine-driven world of interiors. Besides, through its several international projects, it has proved that ‘Made in India’ furniture can hold its own anywhere across the globe.
Text By Vikas Bhadra
Trafford House, 6, Ghanshyam Talwalkar Marg,
Opp Cathedral High School, Fort, Mumbai – 400 001.
tel: +91-22-2209 0129