CHENNAI: Smartphones, Apple watch and FitBit may have started telling us time differently, but the humble wall clock is still as functional and stylish. Be it in your living room, kitchen, bedroom or office space, besides its timekeeping duty, this timepiece offers a practical piece of artwork to every kind of wall. Don’t believe us? A quick Google search or maybe some Pinterest page views informs us that wall clocks are moving away from the traditional barometers to don every kind of look for every kind of mood — from vintage and formal to whimsy and distressed. Shakifa Nazeer understands this well. A scroll down her Instagram page @shakifa_lhorloge gives us a glimpse into her craft.
In September last year, Shakifa, who loves to create art from waste, had her Eureka moment when she noticed some unused tiles lying outside her father’s office at a construction site. “All I could think of at that moment was to design and create wall clock dials. I’ve not known anyone in Chennai who does this, so I thought this would be an ideal project to begin with,” says Shakifa. Soon, she began sourcing abandoned tiles and glass panels from construction sites in the suburbs of the city.
The first few clocks were minimalistic in design with bold highlights, and custom-made for friends and family. Shakifa sourced the clock mechanism from Amazon and other e-commerce portals. After months of practice, perseverance and, of course, design detailing, she sold her first clock — a square tile clock with blue and green hues — in December 2019. Inspired by the encouragement she received, her venture — L’horloge — was born. “I started with one or two orders a month.
Only a niche set of customers interested in clocks liked my designs. Unlike most decor stores, which have mass-produced designs, I take pride in the bespoke ideas I offer,” she says. Shakifa prefers that her customers choose their own design for their clock, or from her collection of designs on Instagram. She also has a few clients who let her surprise them. “Sometimes I get orders that allow me to experiment. I let my love for painting take over and the designs just keep flowing.
There is a different thrill in free-handing a design,” she says. Two months and a thousand followers later, as orders started pouring in, Shakifa was eager to experiment with different materials to offer variety. “Although I had to spend a little more on the materials required (around `250-`300), it was worth it because the final products were really good. I worked with different- shaped dials and used materials like plaster of Paris, mirrored sequences and cardboard. I also started working with transparent paints on the glass panels. Slowly, I could see my skill sets expand too,” she says.
It takes Shakifa between three days to a week to finish one clock design. Unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 -induced lockdown has fired the wheels of L’horloge. “It looks like people have become more interested in home decor. Many of my customers are designing workspaces within their house and so have bought clocks,” she shares. With orders lined up until next month, she is accepting two to four orders a week — only in Chennai. While Dunzo is her preferred choice of delivery, some clients opt for Swiggy executives to pick their order up. The orders are well-packed to avoid damages during transportation. Customers can also directly pick up their orders from her. Orders must be placed a week before the expected delivery date. For details, follow @shakifa_ lhorloge on instagram or call 9791127899.