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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stylish & individualistic homes

Homes are an extension of your personality - believe it or not - which is why people do chose the best possible decor, art, furniture for their homes. So, whatever is your poison, the idea is to do it with some kind of restraint and taste.

This can be tricky especially of you have decided on your home should sport the 'kitchsy' look. That's what restaurateur AD Singh and his wife Sabina Singh seem to have chosen for themselves. This couple have a extremely colourful gola-gaadi in their living which doubles up as a table. Well, they also have revamped an autorickshaw - dumped the front half and the wheels to double up as a loveseat!


Sabina Singh told CNBC-TV18, "Kitsch has to be transcended from the gaudy and basic to something made interesting. So, that has always been my endeavour." She's been inspired by the biggest, kitchsy industry of them all - Bollywood. She's got coasters with Hindi film posters imprinted on them. She's got film posters blown up and decorated with sequins, which she purchased from an arist called Baba Anand.

Their home also has a lot of religious art, which AD Singh confesses he's not a big fan of but all the same, he's got his favourites as well. One is an Imitiaz Dharker painting and another is a bust of Tenzing Norgay (the mountaineer who climbed Everest with Edmund Hillary, which was made by his grandfather.

What's more, the kitchsy look is getting expensive as everyone seems to have cottoned onto the trend. Well, Sabina Singh was among the first, so her instincts may just prove to be right and very lucrative as well.

Italian Inspiration
If homes are meant to make style statements, then the Consulate General of Italy in India, Giuseppe Zaccagnino's home certainly does. This man's walls are covered with art and of the really top class variety. He has been collecting art going back 50 years and in just his living room, he has over 300 paintings!

He says, "This (art of collecting) is acquired by feel. You can not mix up all kind of art becuae then it looks like a gallery. So, this (living) room and the corridor has a theme of Italian brigands. Italian brigands were a kind of social phenomenon in Southern Italy in the beginning of the 19th century. What you see in my home is the traditional Italian iconography - they look like romantic heroes who are goodlooking, wear good costumes - but in reality they were much uglier!"

His collection of paintings have found their way into a coffee-table book, which includes some of his earlier acquisitions as well. But he's been able to bring only a part of his collection to India because as a diplomat, he's keeps moving around and is only able to carry a bit of his collection around the world. But he confesses that he's looking for buyers because this hobby of his is turning out to be quite a burden!

He explains more about his paintings and says, "There were lady brigands who were tough and terrible. Then I have a Middle East collection which I developed when I was posted in Morocco."

His dining room is huge and Giuseppe has made the most of it because he's got even more paintings on the wall here as well. The theme here is 'Fortune Teller'. Then he even has a table made in Morocco, from just the root of a tree called tuya. This is where he has placed his collection of Fatima's hands, most of which were made by the Berbers, who are local Moroccon artisans. Some of these Berbers are Jewish (not all are Muslim) and so they incorporate Jewish symbols like the Star of David, in their work.

If that's not all, Giuseppe has a collection of porcelain, 1970s Italian furniture, and silverware, which includes statues of Lord Krishna and Goddess Saraswati (his favourite) which have been painted over with....nail polish! He's not letting us know all of his secrets because he does use nail polish along with some other things and as he puts it, he's becoming sophisticated about it. But yes, it looks great and what a nice idea!

The Consul General is a collector of everything else as well. He's got thousands of CDs (he's a fan of Indian music like sitar music and not necessarily Bollywood!). He's also got over 600 ties and as many suits! Now this is one man, who knows that quantity is fine, if you have an eye for quality.

Written for moneycontrol.com

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