Fun, fierce, fabulous. Saba Kapoor, founder and creative director, Nivasa Contemporary, is young in years but certainly a force to reckon with in the world of contemporary furniture. A dynamic trailblazer, searing through the clutter of Chinese remakes and global spinoffs in the furniture mart in India, Saba is firmly positioning Nivasa Contemporary as a luxury brand that carries aspirational value for the savvy Indian.
“I feel furniture design is an integral part of my DNA,” she confesses. “No matter which new restaurant, home, hotel or city in the world I visit, I have always closely observed and absorbed its interior and architectural elements to widen my knowledge and understanding of design.” Studying at Parsons School of Design and living in New York built on this by familiarising her with cutting-edge technology, unique materials and different points of views and perspectives towards design.
“My background and knowledge in the field of manufacturing and design also helped me realise that contemporary furniture could be taken to another level through fine detailing, amalgamation of materials and radical experimentation with colours. My years at Parsons equipped me to turn my design ideation into actual products when I returned to India.”
Domestic turf, of course, was the fiefdom of her father, Rohit Kapoor, a self-taught professional who built the now 25-year-old brand Nivasa from scratch, setting up concept stores in Meherchand Market and Sultanpur, in Delhi.For Saba, her father always nurtured her creative abilities, encouraging her to pour her soul and passion into her designs. “Early on in my career itself, he taught me that for people to work in harmony they must share the same goals. He always says that although school may be over, one never stops learning.” The comfort level in their equation on the work front is evident in the fact that Saba returned to India to steer the company with her father.
Her early days, working with furniture major BoConcept in New York, prepped her for the big responsibility. “I have always been very focused on both design and manufacturing of furniture. When I joined BoConcept, I was open to all ideas in the workplace and this helped me change my approach to learning. It offered me a wealth of experience and advice on achieving smooth retail operation and customer management, making my time here a definitive master class in retail,” she confesses.
Back to Nivasa Contemporary, the soul of the company lies in knitting spaces to individual aesthetics for a harmonious outcome. “When we work with a customer we begin from the basics, setting out the design process and weighing the choices, analysing spaces, and working out what to do to improve the ergonomics of a home,” she shares. It is a deep process that involves identifying the personal needs and style quotient of the person to working out a comprehensive design solution matrix. Call it luxury lined with elegance and simplicity. Nivasa Contemporary ushers in materials like brass, marble and wood in combination and individually to create unique furniture and decor accessories.
Then there are details of quilting patterns in chairs, a coffee table with a black glass top, brass accents on sofa legs, eye-popping chandeliers and more. Her favourite pick? “The woodpecker series. From the bed to the coffee tables to the rocking chair, each piece has immense detail yet it seems simple and pleasing to the eye, especially the woodpecker bed because it is the most painstaking to produce and adds that ‘wow’ factor that we seek to achieve with every product,” she says with a smile.
It is Saba’s vision now to work with more Indian artisans and take their creativity and skill sets to an international level. “It is time for us to learn from our roots and be leaders in the field of design,” she enthuses. “The Indian customers today are well-travelled, follow trends on social media and want their spaces to resonate with their personality. It is an interactive process, and I am loving it as this experience is all about evolution and experimentation.”