Q&A with Bombay Atelier

A table with agarbattis for legs, another shaped like a chai gilas, a stool with a winnowing fan for a seat -  Bombay Atelier's designs are clearly rooted in India but with a minimal and contemporary twist. We catch up with designer Farzin Adenwalla to shoot some of her newer furniture and have a chat.  



How did you start designing products? What was the first thing you made?

I always liked the idea of making things on my own, seeing them come to life. I didn't have a job at the time and found myself seeing what could be produced here. The first thing I made was a prototype of a deckchair along with a friend. It never really reached a conclusion and kind of tapered of.  After some time, I really wanted to figure out how to make certain mechanisms of the object work, so I spent time in the metal workshops and learnt how to custom make metal components. Finally the Bombay Deck was created and functioned the way it was intended.  

How would you describe your furniture to a stranger in your own words. 

Our products and everything we aim to do is about taking a concept, a material, a process, and reinterpreting it to create something innovative, which doesn't try to fit into what 'Indian' design needs to be. 






Like me, you grew up in New Zealand, yet your designs are very much rooted in the country’s culture, motifs and heritage ? How does India influence your work?

India influences me in terms of the ideas and inspiration I get on a day-to-day basis. However growing up in NZ has allowed me to also view things from another perspective, one with a focus on clean lines, materiality, form and proportion.


Describe a typical work day in the life of Farzin Adenwalla. 

A day is never routine. Usually it takes me awhile to get into the day, and most of it is spent following up on things, visiting the workshop, meeting the clients. Sometimes it's very chilled and that's when I start to think about how I can take this further. I also research new materials and processes in engineering and technology, as I would like to push Bombay Atelier into being more than just a product design studio, but also a studio that can collaborate with other companies that can benefit from design thinking. 





I take it your newest piece is crow-inspired. Can you tell me more about it. 

I like looking at things that other people may not find so beautiful in the city. The crow is one of them. They're the bird that's always looming around and no one pays attention to, or brushes away. But they're beautiful, they have an elegance in their structure and shades of black that morph with the sun. So I wanted to capture that concept in this chair.  

Cane, teak, powder coated metal feature heavily in your work. What is the material you most enjoy working with?

I like to work with metal, there's a lot you can do with it. Each metal has different properties so you can really explore it in all forms. 

What is your favourite piece?

It was the winnow stool, but for 2016, it's the crow.


Photography by LOVER studio for Bombay Atelier.