Elegance of fusing art in interiors


Is it the choice of décor, alignment of elements in the space, lighting, colours used or a piece of art that expresses style and grace? Nandhini Sundar finds out

Is it the choice of décor, alignment of elements in the space, lighting, colours used or a piece of art that expresses style and grace? Nandhini Sundar finds out

Whatever be the décor opted, each space comes with its own unique energy and character that leaves a strong impression on the user as well as a visitor. At times the energy is so intense, and the question arises, what creates this unique energy or unique character to leave that impact. Is it the choice of décor, the alignment of elements in the space, the lighting, the colours used or is it a piece of art that arrests and captivates the attention, leaving a deep imprint?.

A contemporary space comes with its clean, straight lines, the artistic elements too following this design principle in their form. Contrary to this, traditional spaces reveal a strong play of art, their presence and import intricate, elaborate and complicated in form. The art infused into the space points to a high level of expertise, the training passed down generations, with a majority of the art forms proving to be astounding pieces of skilled work.

Given their complicated art form, contemporary spaces tend to obviate traditional arts and crafts, considering them to be out of sync amidst the smooth straight lined décor. Yet, a significant piece of traditional artwork, however small compared to the rest of the artworks in the space, can prove to be transformative, altering the energy and character of the interior.

Ushering in harmony

Harmony is essential in a space to emit positive energy and this directly connects to the harmonious use of art and other elements in the interiors. Indian heritage has the quality of bringing in harmony into a space, states Bharathy Harish, Director, Madhurya Creations. According to her, whatever be the art form brought into an interior, Indian heritage being so vast and diverse, it ties in seamlessly, artistically into the space, irrespective of the décor opted, serving as the highlight. “It is not about the choice of the piece but how it is adapted into the space, the mood created around it that proves to be uplifting and harmonious.”

Adapting it right

It is customary to view a heritage piece as a misfit in a contemporary space. “The diverse Indian art forms with their global appeal can be fused into any space, either in its original form as a highlight or adapted to the theme of the interior. Unfortunately the art form, be it a Tanjore painting, Pichwai, Madhubani, is perceived only in its original form without realising that the same can be deftly fused as a design highlight into a furniture, wall, the floor”, contends Bharathy.

For instance, the beautiful peacocks, the lotus or a Tanjore painting can be incorporated into a door, the dining or coffee table, a pillar, Bharathy further elaborates. “The appropriate design intervention is what matters here and adapting Indian heritage pieces into any décor is feasible if a conscious decision is made to incorporate it.” This applies to our extravagant wood carvings, stone and metal sculptures too which require years of training and come with astounding intricate detailing, Bharathy adds.

Weaving into the furnishings

The gorgeous weaves that India is famous for has traditionally been confined to individual attire. Yet, contemporary spaces have witnessed fine adaptation of these in the form of door panels, as table top, as highlight upholstery. “Fusing in an elaborate weave in the furnishings or as part of wall panelling, doors, dining table can totally alter the language of a minimalist space, lending it the tone of rich heritage”, points out Bharathy. Likewise, an upholstered sofa with traditional Indian weaves displaying for instance the Ikat work, can serve as a signature piece in a living space, Bharathy adds.


Heritage art forms use varied motifs that have a deeper symbolism though on the surface this is not evident. These symbols have an impact on the mind and psyche through the harmonious energies that their presence emits, contends Bharathy. “There is a Yaali in the entrance of every temple, yet the deeper meaning of this symbol is missed. The Yaali denotes harmony, depicting the fusion of two strong energies of an elephant and lion. The Yaali has survived more than 5,000 years in Indian heritage, extending to carvings, weaves, as they also silently impact the mind, the psyche.”

Blending into contemporary spaces

According to Interior Designer Mahesh Chadaga of Spacelift, there is no limit to the ways heritage art forms can be fused into a contemporary space. “Be it the colourful Athangudi tiles for flooring, the stunningly intricate carved Chettinad door frames, the metal art of Moradabad, the exquisite silk carpets of Kashmir, the exotic weaves of Kanchi, Banaras, the Kalamkari work, Bidri ware from Karnataka, the captivating Jharokhas of Rajasthan, Madhubani paintings of Orissa, the ornate paintings of Tanjore… any of these can be brought into a contemporary space as a highlight. Their presence is rich in colour and texture that even when used as an accent piece, the ambience alters instantaneously”, he states.

Concurs Architect Leena Kumar of Kumar Consultants, “the awareness about Indian art forms is now high, with most wanting to bring them into a space as an accent piece to identify and connect with our heritage. Adds Chadaga, “these art forms are all legacies passed down since generations and they need to be preserved and sustained. Infusing them into contemporary spaces is a fine way of reviving and preserving them.”

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