Alex Davis isn’t exactly Robert Langdon, but he does have a similar uncanny knack for decoding the dormant meaning in symbols that can be found on streets, in palaces and forts, even in people’s homes. “As a society, we express a million emotions in motifs and signage. And, as designers, we have the opportunity to interpret and document them,” says the Delhi-based product designer whose works are woven around the fabric of ‘India Modern’. The mechanical engineering graduate who also holds degrees in product design from NID, Ahmedabad and Domus Academy, Milan, is trained in creating products of both utility and design.
He has now launched his second store in Sultanpur Chowk on Delhi’s MG Road that serves as an address for various decor brands. In about 3,000 sq ft of carpet area, is what Davis calls his ‘design garage’. Here, he heads a team of four visualisers, along with whom he brainstorms to create luxury furniture. His previous collection ‘Once Upon a Time’ was a collection of installations consisting of paisley motives, friezes & scrolls, lattices, medallions and cartouches derived from the pietra dura, murals and plaster works of walls and ceilings of forts and palaces. There were abundant references to Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. “The new furniture collection has such references too, for instance, we have carved out Rajasthani arches under centre tables and rack shelves,” says the designer who feels furniture is a subtle and clever way of playing around with powerful motifs. The Chester line has leather trimmed poufs and beds, the Uber line stresses on colourfully painted furniture, the Eli is inspired by elliptical or mechanical ruggedness and the Woody shows off the brand’s expertise of wooden textures and finishes. The store offers off-the-shelf products along with taking on turn-key bespoke projects to refurbish apartments. From the lacquer and finish of the metal and the cladding options, to the tint and gloss of the veneers, and the choice of mixed metals in the lamps, the clients can engage with his creative team and get their decor accessories designed to suit their taste.
The ‘Living’ line comprises seating systems including sofas, arm chairs, divans, daybeds, poufs, centre tables, side tables, consoles, bars, study, TV /AC units, shelving systems, room dividers, screens and wall pieces. The ‘Dining’ line comprises dining tables, chairs, benches, side boards, bars, showcases and trolleys. The ‘Night’ repertoire consists of beds and bed side units, TV units, wardrobe systems, storage units, drawers and study.
The collections have been been crafted out of seasoned solid European woods with veneers like Macasar Ebony, Walnut Burls and Sukupira. These are then enhanced with high-gloss Italian and metal lacquer finishes as well as natural open-pore wood grain finishes.
The other materials the Indi store plays around with are satin, hand-beaten stainless steel, brass and copper. There are also inlay works in mother-of-pearl, bone, semi precious stones and customised gold and silver foiling. Some of his stunners are the Chester SS Arm Chair with mirror polish that is a sharp and shiny departure from the usual feathery line of furniture.
Sometime back, when the controversial sexist remark ‘dented-painted’ was doing the rounds, Davis got the idea of constructing a rustic steel installation of signs like ‘OK’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Blow Horn’ to express the colour and character of trucks on Indian highways. Here’s hoping his furniture leaves people with similar lessons in quirk.