It was love at first sight for me when I saw Saloni’s stunning portfolio. Using a sublime combination of Indian textiles, antique furniture and hand picked curios, she has transformed spaces into exceptionally well designed, cozy rooms. Saloni’s innate sense of aesthetics and the ability to make the most out of less, struck the right design cord with me. And as Saloni, the textile designer par excellence and I chatted, she walked me through her entrepreneurial and design journey:
I started Design Isle as a burning desire to grow and explore new areas in the field of design such as interiors and textiles … and a definitive need to move beyond the mundane.
I resigned from a highly paying permanent job as a Design Head- Textiles of a sourcing company and became a design consultant. Having worked for home decor retailers and importers abroad, gave me a lot of experience as a home designer.
When I did a full scale interior decoration project for a property in Gokarna, owned by a British family, we hit it on right away as if we were collaborating for years. I had never ever dressed up interior spaces prior to this, but my experience through immense travelling all over the world, visual merchandising, trends and sourcing provided me with sufficient skills to execute the task, and most importantly, the family’s faith in me. One-of-a-kind furniture was hand-picked, custom textiles were made (I studied textile design in NIFT, New Delhi and have won an award for it), decorative knick-knacks were brought together and curated slowly, room by room. The family had also collected a lot of antiques over a period of time and so much of it was rotting in a cellar that had to be cleaned up and mended. To be honest, it was like treasure hunting through a museum of objects, and to be able to pick things and make sense of them in rooms was something I had never thought I could do.
Every room was curated in a way that one could feast their eyes at every turn. The stimulation must not just be limited to outdoor views and surroundings, but also indoors.
We were so immersed in the design process, I also ended up doing staff uniforms & bath and body products too. Bath and body care products are special to me as I didn’t know a thing about them until I found this amazing lab to experiment with real essential oils and gave the property the idea to have their own distinctive ‘key fragrance’.
I still live by the philosophy of bringing cultures together, making products and looks that are timeless and authentic. That’s what Design Isle is all about. For example, we are working in the craft sector at grass-root level to create products that are made using centuries old techniques. These products are valid even in today’s time. Only we as designers need to make sense of them and put them in the right spot so they get the appreciation they deserve. As designers we intervene at many points, but we must respect the craft, the artisan working on it.
On the other hand, we also look into recycling products, working on methods to reduce land-fill. For example we created a range of rugs made out of recycled plastic water bottles woven on hand looms… they sit well in both indoor and outdoor spaces, are low maintenance, easily washable, and feel soft and non shiny.
Part of our earnings also goes into tree plantation activity and we are creating our very own Design Isle forest. We plant trees every month for all our clients and want to make it a lifestyle, not just some activity to show on paper.
At present we’re working on a restaurant project, private house, smaller outdoor spaces and resort. We also continue to do a lot of textile design consultancy with various companies.
Thank you, Saloni for sharing your journey with us! More power to you and Design Isle!