The Material Palette

Interior designers and architects are experimenting with a host of building materials, from the traditional to the most modern, to offer infinite interior design options

Compiled by Seema Gupta

Jalaram wood veneers showcased

Interior spaces in India have never been so uniquely designed and furnished. Along with the new products in the market, the age-old traditional time-tested and eco-friendly materials continue to find favour. According to Sachin Gupta of Beyond Designs, home decor is the best way to inject your personality into your home and make everything look like a reflection of who you are, so personalize and accentuate your house, apartment or workspace. “The contemporary eye combines objects and materials of the present with objects and materials from the past, not because of fashion but because of one’s own knowledgeable eclecticism - the result of one’s own varied experiences and cultivated taste,” he says.

Ar. Aditi Pai of The Purple Ink Studio opines, “The trend of being organic has infiltrated into every aspect of architecture from spaces to materials. Inclusion of green spaces in the interiors, while being sensitive to the outdoors is set to become a norm. With the advancing technology and ease in access to it, we look forward to seeing more work with better integrating of technology using natural elements with cultural influences making our cities future ready.”

Zynna vintage bloom furnishings

The plain old concrete, for instance, once considered dull and devoid of any aesthetic value, now has a new upgraded, polished version, and is increasingly being applied in modern day interior and exterior designs. Affirms Ruchi Mishra, DGM (Architecture), REPL, “The industrial look in interior design has been around for a while now. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to use concrete, a versatile material. In fact, many designers are now using concrete in unexpected and unusual ways from wall art to clocks and tables to wall claddings. Few would have thought that this mundane material can be transformed into a tactile and decorative surface for interiors, including kitchens. Lighting made from concrete has also made its mark with numerous designers taking advantage of the hard-wearing, utilitarian properties of the material, have created minimalist lighting designs.”

New furniture and Faucet collection
Sanitaryware has evolved to products that enhance hygiene with their anti-bacterial finishes, sensor-based/touchless faucets, and water conservation. In lighting, it is the energy and cost saving LEDs, dimming and other controls. Low-VOC wall paints that are stain resistant, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, reflective glass, large-sized designer tiles, DIY waterproof and heat resistant wallpaper, faux wood tiles, the list of innovative products based on new technologies is endless. In the words of Ar. Sanjay Kothari: “The material palette is overflowing with new fancy materials, making it more and more difficult to be minimalistic as the market forces are temptingly strong. Architecture is all about space and form, and material plays an important role in achieving it.”

Builders and real estate developers look to interior designers and architects for information on consumer demand and market trends for the interior design of their projects. No doubt, product selection is based on factors like size of the project, budget and costs involved, eco-friendly approach of the developer, and the brand image of the project, especially in premium class of buildings. Mihir H Parekh, AVP Nilkamal Ltd, opines, “The construction industry needs to keep pace with the ever-growing need for innovative solutions that are fast and easy, considering the ever-growing time crunch and labour cost. For any solution to be profitable, it must be sustainable, which means that it must be designed such that it is not only re-usable multiple times but is also 100% recyclable, thereby helping users minimize their carbon footprint.”

Manufacturers of building products must take into account consumer preferences, including regional lifestyles, such that they can offer products that meet varying needs. Manufacturers who innovate to offer unique or customized solutions, have an added advantage and a competitive edge, provided their products ensure uniqueness in design, colour or features, technical strength and high quality, and give value for money. Says Alok Aggarwal, MD, Ozone Overseas, “Interior design now is all about creating spaces with more visibility and clarity. Designers are looking for innovative ways and materials to add a new dimension to the interiors in terms of energy-efficiency, utilization and comfort. Organic materials and products enable spaces to look larger yet offer privacy.”

Affirms Jimmy Mistry, “People are looking for uniqueness along with quality and affordability. The consumer’s understanding of interior design, brands, materials and quality is improving day by day. Modern-day consumers are looking to upgrade their lifestyle and are willing to spend more for quality.”
 
Arti Sondhi Malik

Arti Sondhi Malik

Arti Sondhi Living

 
We create furniture that is modern, multifunctional, low maintenance and durable. Use of waxed Polyester Coatings as a final finish on dining tables, stools, etc, gives them a sleek finish that protects the wood base. Polyester is a 3-component paint that utilizes resin+catalyst +accelerant. It has a high molecular structure which gives the product superior mechanical and chemical resistance. The solid component is as high as +/-90%, which covers pores and veins and makes the surface scratch-resistant with a 100% glossy sheen. Additional benefit is the limited content of Volatile Organic Compound dispersed into the environment. Once catalysed and dry, polyester emits no further VOC, making it harmless to interior air quality.

Art Sondhi Living

Waxed polyester wood coatings are used either as base coats or exceptionally brilliant top coats for wood surfaces after specific sanding, brushing and polishing processes. Because of the high solid content, these products are particularly recommended for closed pore cycles. They are highly recommended for cabinetry in kitchens and bathrooms as the coating is resilient to shrinkage and removing. The high thixotrophy makes them suitable for painting shaped items and even upright structures.
 
Geeta Lunial

Geeta Lunial

Gold Interio

 
Kathi Junction
The Wall Graphics at Kathi Junction in Noida is either through Customised Graphically Designed Wall Papers or Graphics on Raw Wood and Illuminated / Non Illuminated Frames

We enjoy working on Wall Graphics as they create endless possibilities to help enhance any space or environment. With limitless options, custom wall graphics positively augment the look and feel of office spaces, improve marketing and promotions for retail locations, and add a much-needed flair to restaurants. Just like every business is unique, every interior wall graphic is also unique.

Whether we are looking for an intricately detailed design or a minimalistic feel, there are many advantages to using wall graphics: Flat Vinyl Graphics are recommended for most interior walls and décor, especially with a matte finish and removable adhesive.

Illuminated / Non-Illuminated Framing Systems allow us to change the graphics so that one can refresh the space and showcase new promotions or seasonal messaging very easily. Further, one can use custom modular frames that can fit any space requirement.

Kathi Junction

Wall Papers are much more durable now because of the advanced materials and types of paper that they are composed of, and are easy to maintain and keep clean. There are many different patterns, textures and widths to choose from.

If we are going for a polished, futuristic 3D effect then acrylics and metals are ideal choices. To make a real impact, we can use any type of hanging hardware.

Custom wall coverings represent individualism and branding. Having a great design is also an important part of this goal. Whether we want to use them on their own or combine them to produce a multi-layered and eye-catching effect, to refresh the interior look, consider wall graphics to bring in originality.
 
Sabeena Khanna

Ar. Sabeena Khanna

Studio KIA

 
Studio KIA


I love using Exposed Brick. Brick is a building material that has exceptional ‘thermal mass’ properties. Thermal mass is the ability of a heavy, dense material to store heat and then slowly release it. Even in the Brick Residence done by Studio K.I.A, the exposed brick external facade during the summer months keeps the house stay cool during the hottest part of the day. During the winter months, brick walls store the house’s heat and radiate it back to the resident. Brick is sustainable, durable, easy on maintenance, moisture-resistant, and looks better with age!
 
Devyani Gupta

Devyani Gupta

Intrigue Designs

 
Stone and Wood are my two favourites. Approximately 70% ambiance of design is captured by the use of stone. Stone for me has weight and movement, strength and durability. Stone has been used by architects and designers from the very beginning of times. Different stones have colours, depths, and movements and offer endless design thrills to motivate and challenge the designer. The ease of maintenance of stone also makes it a great material.

Wood is an eco-friendly material and consumes the least amount of energy when processed. At the same time, wood stores up carbon and has a very low carbon footprint. It also aids to form a relationship between density and strength.

Intrigue Designs
 
Sapna Khakaria

Sapna Khakaria

ANJ Group

 
Laminates and veneers in interiors create a warm palette for the space. They bring an extremely woody and earthy look, feel and ambience. Finishes and joineries while working with laminates and veneers are critical and need precision. Hence, use of press machines and precision cutting technology is essential to achieve the desired finesse.

While veneers are more expensive and exude richness, laminates are a more economical option to achieve aesthetics on similar lines. Both veneers and laminates are available in various shades, textures, specs and brands, and are more often used on wall panels, doors, reception backdrops, manager cabins, storage rooms, etc.

ANJ Group
 
Cherag and Rooz Mehr Bardoliwala

Ar. Cherag Bardolivala and Ar. Rooz Mehr Bardoliwala

RC Design Studio

 
The past couple of years have seen an extensive use of veneers in interior designing. The variety and individual characteristics of natural wood veneers can never be duplicated in another home design since every piece of veneer has different characteristics and patterns. Their initial use was as mere decorative surfaces in wardrobes, paneling and table tops, which has now widened tremendously to applications in false ceilings, wall claddings etc. In fact, veneers are fast replacing laminates and paints and can now be seen in the lobbies of high-end buildings and luxury homes as they give a sense of elegance, versatility, and visual appeal to the interiors.

RC Design Studio

The product used in this 8500 sqft sprawling duplex apartment is Smoked Oak from Shree Jalaram Timber. The rich dark tones of the veneer enhance the warmth and ambiance of the apartment. The entire space was planned in a way that the neutral tone of the marble and the muted tones of the wallpaper were perfectly enhanced by the rich dark tones of the veneer. In all our projects, the continuity of the space and design is emphasized by using the same species of veneer throughout. The superior range of veneers creates exciting options for us to experiment with.

RC Design Studio
 
Nehit Vij

Nehit Vij

Intrigue Designs

 
I enjoy working with Metal. Metal, for long, has been a standby material for architectural framework, but now it is recognized for its innate beauty as well as its structural integrity, and the results are awe-inspiring. Stark, sleek, and minimalist, Metal fits right in with contemporary designs.

Intrigue Designs
 
Kuntal Vyas Aggarwal

Kuntal Vyas Aggarwal

Resaiki Interiors

 
As a designer, I enjoy the freedom to design a space or a product form. I always appreciate the variety in the fluid form as there is no specific definition to it. Due to this preference and my design style, I love to work with Corian, which is a man-made material. In fact, I discourage extensive use of any natural material, as this is the least I can do to contribute towards conserving nature.

The shades, colors and flexibility of making Corian take any shape or form makes it a favorite. We do have the same freedom with wood these days, but I discourage too much usage of it.

Ivory and grey Corian are my favorite colors, which you will see in most of my furniture pieces such as tables, wall partitions with engraving, wall panels, reception desks, etc.

Resaiki Interiors
 
Minnie Bhatt

Minnie Bhatt

Minnie Bhatt Design

 
The building material I enjoy working with are Seporex blocks. They can be carved, are lightweight and easy to work with. We have used Seporex blocks to create wall panels, with carved geometric patterns. We have created a relief moulded effect with these blocks in our restaurant project Burma Burma in Mumbai, and carved relief patterns in the upcoming Burma Burma project in Delhi. Left in an exposed manner, with broken plaster, the blocks can create a lovely rugged wall effect. We have worked with this at our bar project True Tramm Trunk.

Minnie Bhatt Design
 
Vaishnavipratima

Vaishnavipratima

Vaishnavipratima - The Interior Store

 
I believe that spaces are an extension of one’s personality, and hence, must reflect what the person or organisation truly is. My love for wallpapers is evident in all my projects. Wallpapers instantly add a character to the given space be it residences, corporates, retail or restaurants. With correct usage, they can make a tiny space appear spacious, or make a large room appear cozy. Wallpapers also act as a perfect backdrop when used on headboards, doors, furniture, besides walls.

Vaishnavipratima
Wall-papers have come a long way and there is so much of variety in the market to choose from. We have Indian, imported, natural, customised and 3D varieties. They come in attractive stripes, checks, geometric patterns, different themes, brick patterns, floral and also for kids and teenagers, from high end to medium range to suit all budgets. The high-grade quality has special weather-resistant features that peeling off is simply next to impossible.

Vaishnavipratima
 
Abhigyan Neogi

Ar. Abhigyan Neogi

Chromed Design Studio

 
I believe that using recycled/ upcycled materials is the way to go forward. With rising global environmental issues and increased awareness, sustainability is gaining momentum in design. Making use of these materials in an innovative yet visually engaging pattern increases consumer attraction and lengthens the lifespan of the material after the consumer develops a connection to it. Apart from being environment-friendly, these materials are non-expensive creative solutions. Our projects like Social Offline make sure to incorporate these ideologies in full swing.

Chromed Design Studio
 
Sarbani Ghosh

Sarbani Ghosh

As an architect practicing for the past 21 years, I have seen many building materials and trends in Indian and overseas markets. Some materials are evergreen and stand the test of time; some are transient – they emerge as fads and get completely wiped out from the market after a while.

These are a few of my favourite things...

Exposed concrete is low maintenance and low cost. It is universally appealing and enhances the built form. Exposed brick is another evergreen material. Masterpieces of architecture in exposed brickwork exist in India. Nowadays, exposed brick is often juxtaposed with green walls to create sustainable structures. My favorite is the brick jali.

Sarbani Ghosh

Filler slabs are awe-inspiring. The concrete in the slabs is substituted with unbelievable filler materials like recycled glass bottles, earthen pots, mud-bricks, etc. This creates interesting ceiling patterns, which don’t need to be hidden by expensive false ceilings.

China Mosaic tiles are back in trend with the original method of laying broken tiles by local workers being replaced by factory-made chip tile panels that are easier to execute.

Sarbani Ghosh

Wood is a multipurpose material and provides a rich look. Semi-open spaces are often defined by a wooden pergola to provide shade and visually join the structures in a cluster formation. Wood in staircases and sloping roofs is abundantly used in India. It is also used in swimming pool or verandah decks.

Sarbani Ghosh
Veneers are being treated by fuming or smoking, or even knitting of the natural paper, to create interesting elevations of doors, partitions and cupboards.

Plaster of Paris is a versatile material. In addition to false ceilings, POP readymade panels form very interesting backdrops or fillers.

Semi-precious stones used as highlights or backdrop panels with illumination continue to be sure shot hits since the past two decades. Agate, Onyx and Mother of Pearl are often used in interiors, on tables, door handles, washbasin counters, etc. Floor and wall inlay work in precious and semi-precious stones has been used since the Mughal era and is still popular.

Wallpapers are popular as the application is instant and odourless. My favourite is the glass beads and Mother of Pearl finish wallpapers which add bling to sober interior spaces.

Leather has varied applications. In addition to upholstery, it is used in wall paneling and cupboard cladding. Studio Art is one such specialized brand dealing with innovative leather paneling ideas.

Glass is a widely used material in various forms. Sicis glass mosaic tiles of Italy create amazing floor and wall cladding themes. Back painted glass modesty panels are popular in office interiors. Deep acid etched glass panels are used in high-end residences and hotels as their design possibilities are limitless.

My creative intellect is challenged every time a new material is introduced in the market as I like to use a different material time and again and experiment with it in different ways.

Sarbani Ghosh
 
Neeta Kumar

Neeta Kumar

Inhabit

 
Reclaimed teak wood flooring is eco-friendly and sustainable. It’s been a conscious effort to procure reclaimed teak from various parts of the country and use for flooring and furniture etc. Reclaimed wood represents beauty along with durability. It is 100% seasoned teak with absolutely no expansion or contraction.

Inhabit

This luxury Jewellery store called L Bajrang Pershad Jewellers in Hyderabad, has been furnished in collaboration with Interior Designers Aamir & Hameeda. The furniture designs were created in sync with the architectural concept and colors. The furniture is of reclaimed teak wood and its styling is modern neo classic with charcoal grey blue polish. Leather is used for seating keeping in mind the durability and functionality of a jewellery store. The 4-seater sofa and single seaters of cane add a touch of distinction, while the brass lotus coffee table lends the store a luxurious look. The console tables are a contrast of teakwood and marble top. The focal point of the store is the 12-feet jewellery showcase with velvet detailing to offset the glittering jewellery.

Inhabit
 
Mukesh Bhatia

Ar. Mukesh Bhatia

SSB Architects

 
While thinking of retail interiors, undoubtedly glass is our first choice. The retail sector and other commercial spaces are getting a huge makeover with use of contemporary materials such as glass. When it comes to iridescent interior design materials, glass tops the list, and remains one of the most widely used materials, along with mirrors, glass ceilings and display cabinets. Glass helps in showcasing the merchandise to their optimum best as it brings in more light, texture, aesthetics and color into spaces.

SSB Architects

A variety of glass is available in different colors, designs and patterns, and with properties such as fire resistance and noise control. Glass is a classy material that makes interiors more stylish and contemporary, and can be used in signage, lobbies, staircase, display areas and showroom counter tops.

SSB Architects
 

Ar. Parul Zaveri Abhikram

I believe that ‘architectural style’ should be a response to the various climatic zones in context of India, to be designed according to clients’ personalities and project needs. Each place has a plethora of creative solutions, that have evolved using local resources and techniques, which constitute the part of our architectural knowledge. It is necessary to achieve a balance between continuity and desirable change, without fossilizing the past, and without making the change incongruent with... Read More ...

Ar. Reza Kabul ARK Reza Kabul Architects

I believe in liberating spaces, not enclosing them. Every space needs to have a good optimum, be it a small sized apartment or large commercial offices. Every good designer analyses the plans from the client perspective, regarding practicality, functionality, and accessibility, before executing it. I don’t believe in confining spaces between four walls, on the contrary, I believe in open spaces, both for the interiors and exteriors.It takes exemplary quality to reach elusive heights. The... Read More ...

Ar. Lalichan Zacharias Atelier

My approach to design is simple and open. I start my design with two guiding factors: the requirements and the site. I would like to see the building grow from the site naturally while fulfilling the requirements. I try to keep it extremely simple and responding to the climate. Integration of nature in the built form is always given importance.  Round Chapel Kalamassery Ar. Geoffrey Bawa’s works have always inspired me. Another aspect which influence my design is the sociological aspect of it.... Read More ...

Ar. Sourabh Gupta Archohm

I believe that the language and vocabulary of architecture is not a question about style. Every building is built for a specific purpose, in a particular setting, for a set of audience, and it is therefore intentional that we don’t impose any pre-defined visual form onto a project, rather let things emerge as the project evolves. There is a deliberate attempt to not make specific choices in our design directions.As a philosophy, we try to work on projects that allow an element of... Read More ...

Ar. Jay Shah Access Architects

Architectural style is characterized by the feature that makes a building structure notable and visibly identifiable. Every architect has a specific style and I would call mine “form follows function” as was the thought of Architect Louis Sullivan. However, my style of architecture is not confined to one kind since every client is different, every project is unique, every plot is diverse, and every functionality brief is exclusive. So, any one style of architecture doesn’t work as the design... Read More ...

Ar. Dinesh Verma Ace Group Architects

My style is versatile. In today’s context, where pace and universal availability of materials supported by technology is the base, it is but imperative to develop designs that are adaptable and go with the times. Around 30 years back, when I started my design practice, local and natural materials were in use, Granite was not less than 75mm thick, walls were minimum 112mm and wood was available in plenty. We did a lot of work in natural brick, stone and wood. Even today, the Mysore Haat... Read More ...

Ar. Alfaz Miller & Aahana Miller ABM Architects

The designs by our firm have not changed the skyline of cities, but our smaller architectural projects of commercial buildings and bungalows have made a significant design impact, producing architecture that is site specific, sensible and timeless.We believe in architecture that is simple and controlled and lacks stylised decoration. With large exposure to interior design, the buildings we design are practical with emphasis on function rather than just form. The designs are constructive, with... Read More ...

Ar. Ahmed Shaikh Ahmed & Associates

Architecture is an ever-evolving process and depending on the lifestyle, material availability, weather conditions, and geographical location, we can apply various types of styles. In Mumbai, for instance, we can see contemporary architecture along with classical typology.I believe that there is no single style to work on as we try to give multiple options depending on the clients’ requirements. Our style includes contemporary, classical, art deco, and minimalistic, which we can identify by... Read More ...

Ar. Shobhan Kothari & Ar. Anand Menon ADND & KdnD Studio

We constantly strive for simplicity of form and design. Our architectural style is a minimalistic interplay of lines, planes and volumes. We believe that beauty lies in the ability of a design to be explained through a few lines. We constantly explore the power of lines and their ability to shape space. We work intuitively to create spaces that are episodal and spatially engaging. The core aspects of scale and proportion in design are constantly debated upon to arrive at spaces that balance... Read More ...

Ar. Arpan Johari AW Design

We believe that an architect’s signature style should serve more than just being a set of features to identify ‘the architect’. At AW Design, climatic and site response are the essential guides to evolution of our building’s aesthetic language. In case of interiors, it is the purpose, services and available internal volume around which proportions, openings, systems are designed.Given that most of our work is in the hotter regions of the country, we have developed an unsaid affinity towards... Read More ...

Ar. Monish Siripurapu ANT Studio

The nature around us consists of divergent facets that can be aptly fabricated to alter the paradigm of Architecture and Design. Not only is it inspiring in terms of its organic forms but is also helpful in imparting us with a natural know-how of functionality. So, when Ant Studio came into being, I was convinced that we had to create designs that not only celebrated nature but blurred the lines between the built and the un-built. As a result, ‘Biomimicry’ emerged as a style that I wanted to... Read More ...

Ar. (Dr.) Harish Tripathi & ID. Jyoti D Tripathi Architect Harish Tripathi & Associates

Over the years, we have positioned our efforts around the belief that the best objects of nature are simple, not complicated. Consequently, we try to create buildings with simple forms and facades. This is often achieved, in our case, through the case of sunken windows wherein the building is double skinned and neat. This way, unwanted protrusions get negated and the double layer of the façade provides a better response to climatic extremities.We have always been fascinated by the virtues of... Read More ...

Ar. Babu Cherian Babu Cherian Architects

I believe good architecture is one wherein functionality and aesthetics form a harmonious conglomeration in a way that successfully follows the context of the land and its traditions while exuberating its rich culture. With an unceasing love for Kerala and a thirst for reviving the past, I believe my architecture is in essence a contribution to the future through a tribute to the past. While my professional portfolio consists of a mixture of architectural styles, a majority of my projects are... Read More ...

Prof. (Ar) Charanjit Shah Creative Group

For an architect, the primary function is to create usable spaces for the masses; only with a true understanding of humanity can he or she create the kind of human settlement which is required for a common man.Since the inception of my career in 1970, I have believed that a built form should not be treated as a dead mass of brick and concrete, but as a living organism, allowing it to breathe with nature. Only when one respects the site conditions and existing natural resources, one can build... Read More ...

Ar. Iqbal Chaney Chaney Architects

Architectural design is an expression of an individual’s understanding and comprehension of the client’s need and demand, translating it into design and thereby establishing an individualistic style. This style, over the years, gets imprinted so strongly into the personality of the individual and the team that it gets hard to distinguish the two. The individualistic designs evolve into a statement and are marked as a style. The style of many great architects in the modern era has become the... Read More ...

Ar. Dikshu C. Kukreja C.P. Kukreja Architects

We believe that design is a process and not the end product. It is a journey of discovery, innovation, evolution and eventually, creation. With each project, we aim to “read” and “respond” to the built and un-built contexts of the urban scape. The most important exercise in the design process is to read the silent gestures of forms and spaces, to converse with the natural environment and then translate those gestures into architectural ensembles. We refer to it as “Responsive Architecture” – a... Read More ...
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