Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shahjahan & Mumtaz

            After the success of Akbar, I felt an unstoppable urge to further the Mughal line and I came up with the idea for a coffee table ‘Shahjahan’ and its accompanying side table ‘Mumtaz’. With this very natural creative transition, I wanted to create a centerpiece that was expressive, a piece of furniture with presence and personality. To that end I am happy to say that these pieces are what catches the eye foremost in the room and they also make for good conversations.


Shahjahan is a solid masculine piece counterbalancing the light elegant beautiful Mumtaz. Originally they were a matching center table and end table pair in a country style with sliding cane baskets. My vision for Shahjahan was a repeating carved out pattern with an underlying mirror for the top of the coffee table. I used a garden trellis that I cut to size to fit the top of the table. But I had to compromise on the mirror as having a mirror cut to that size was very expensive. I considered using reflective mirror like spray paint but decided it would look fake up close. Instead I painted the layers in two shades of the same color to highlight the depth in them. I then finished the edges using molding trim to give it a framed look and stained the whole table with a dark walnut stain. Mumtaz was purely a painting project…lots of detailed painting with a steady hand. I did saw the edges of the top in a wavy pattern and the sides of the table as an arch for some added visual interest and also to reinforce the Mughal architecture. Finally I aged Mumtaz with some tinted sealer. Just as a note…both projects began with a thorough sanding and removal of the hardware that was holding the cane baskets.

             I am firm believer in taking what exists and reinventing it. Inspiration is all around us and for this duo I leaned towards the magnificent Mughal heritage and re-imagined it. This is my interpretation of the paintings, the stone work, the rich jewel tones, the detailed carvings, and the elegance that the Mughals were famous for.
To explain the names I give my pieces; not only do I like my creative expressions to have personality, but also a name. Rich cultural heritage reveals so much in hindsight. I took characters from history and made them representative of the art and culture of their times.
Today I heard a comment along the lines of… if you cannot own originals, and in this case original wood work carvings or old stone work pieces, then what’s the point. Until now I had not considered that…I was only doing what makes me happy. So, I thought about it and realized I like to find obscure or throwaway pieces and breathe new design into it. I find there is something organic with energy in these completed pieces. Agreed they are not the original or antique in any way, but I like that it makes history and a long gone era accessible. And instead of replicating design and concepts that are as common as seen in every décor magazine or stock showroom, I turned towards culture, history, and heritage for inspiration.
I have written simple highlights of these projects in this post. If you are interested in learning more about how to do them step by step or would like to know more just out of curiosity, please write to me. As always I appreciate your comments and support.
Be Inspired!

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