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Transforming Interior Décor | Kashmir’s Designers Craft Their Niche Space

06:34 AM Mar 03, 2023 IST | Nazir Ganaie
transforming interior décor   kashmir’s designers craft their niche space

Amidst bleak employment opportunities, scores of youngsters and designers are transforming interior décor and crafting niche spaces for themselves in the Kashmir region.


“When there are bleak employment opportunities, you have to diversify yourself and lead from the front,” says interior designer, Faizan Nehvi. “I have been doing many jobs and I have learnt and built my own product,” he says, adding “I tend to provide designing solutions at affordable prices.”


He says that one needs societal cooperation to do something unique and create a niche space. “I have been providing designing solutions to people by adding a taste of tradition in interior designing,” says Nehvi, a resident of Srinagar, who was recently elected as Chairman of the Young Entrepreneurs Committee and Executive member of the business body.



“The idea of starting proper interior designing in Kashmir was in my mind. After completing my Schooling at Tyndale Biscoe, I later pursued civil engineering. My calling was something else,” he says. “I started visiting many potential places across India and learnt how people seek help from designers to help them with interior designing. My idea of setting up something like this in Kashmir transformed into reality and he entered into interior designing fully by starting an interior designing studio, FNG group, to provide designing solutions to people.”


He believes that everyone wants their homes to be the best and aptly decorative. However not all get the time to look into every minute detail. “We provide professional services to the stakeholders and help them build their houses and dreams. For us, it is like working on their dream projects.” He says, adding “So far, we have been designing hotels, restaurants, cafes and residences.”


While there is a robust market, there are very few designers and at the same time at few places, traditional designing is being adopted.  “Today the situation and scenario are changing, we need to connect to the industry and explore the market.” Nehvi says, adding “If you have a professional designer available, everything is possible. With the help of the latest techniques like computerized graphic paint and 3D wallpaper designing, we give homes a new and trendy look.”


He says fabric-based wallpapers and paper-mache designs incorporated into wooden panelling are also being preferred in Kashmir currently and to keep traditional and cultural aspects of Kashmir alive, his firm was hiring local artisans so as to make contemporary designs. He while giving credit for this whole work to technicians said that they are the ones who are shaping the ideas of designers into reality and everything is being judged on their work. “As there are very few opportunities, youth must try new things by which they not only will earn livelihood for themselves but create job opportunities for others as well.”

Like Nehvi, Mufti Akeel Ahmad, founder of Indoors Décor and an MBA graduate from IIPM Bangalore, says that while Kashmir is witnessing many changes socially and politically, the people too have undergone a paradigm shift in their approach towards the market.

“Typically, men don’t often talk about interiors. We just love things attached to us but when it comes to how we arrange the spaces we live in we’re usually silent. And it shows. Men’s homes are either left to their partners,” says Mufti Akeel, who has studied MBA and Marketing at IIPM Bangalore, returned from the southern city and started his business in Kashmir. “In Kashmir to go for any big business needs a big heart equally. It is a matter of safety, concerns and apprehensions,” Ahmad says. “It’s a daunting task but we’ve got to get out and start as a beginner to share that will make a huge difference.”

Ahmad says after coming back from Bangalore, he witnessed a lot of businesses getting shut down and also many initiatives facing a slowdown. “For businessmen in Kashmir, one has to undergo a lot of pulls and pressures.”

He says Kashmir’s Downtown has long been a cultural epicentre and as far as the interior designers are concerned, the traditional aspects shouldn’t be ignored. “Designers and social entrepreneurs must chip and fill the city’s art demands and also address the aesthetics of the interior decors of the households,” Ahmad says. “The environments we put ourselves in can have a drastic impact on our mental health. Many of them we can’t predict, but the home is one of the few spaces we have complete control over. During the pandemic, many people opted for more serene and minimalistic designs in order to create a relaxing habitat they could live in round the clock.”

He says post COVID pandemic over the past three years, experts have been witnessing more design experimentation happening in households.

“Though aesthetic choices remain important, there’s a greater need now more than ever to consider how an environment impacts the people who use a space. In 2023, that will translate to an increased value on spaces designed to alleviate stress and promote an overall sense of wellness.” Ahmad says.

He says he has kept a lot of brands for people at his outlet in Baghat Barzulla, which include Décor, DC Furnishing, RR Décor, Rumors, Prestigious Textiles, GM Syntex etc. “Kashmir crewel is something that can be promoted on a big scale and we are doing our bit in that regard,” he says. “Recently we also started importing Home linen & imported curtain cloth & upholstery, window blinds and beddings, besides doing installation process.” He says that 2020 was a defining year for everything, especially our collective relationship with our homes. Shutdowns due to the pandemic left many of us scrambling to create home offices, home-schooling spaces, and gyms, changing the way we use our homes significantly.

“Whether you are moving to a new home, renovating your current one, or for the future, it’s important to choose an aesthetic that’s as current as possible to help boost resale value,” Ahmad says, adding “‘Designing aesthetic choices for mental health and wellness is mission critical.”

These young entrepreneurs urged the government to support budding entrepreneurs and start-ups and be their cornerstones. “Government must provide hassle-free services. They shouldn’t be a hurdle in the way of the success of entrepreneurs by curbing them and their growing social media.”

Pertinently, in recent years, feminine decor styles have dominated the market. However, until recently, many current trends are becoming just a bit tired. But now, the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. Clean, modern looks, inspired by men’s fashion are making a comeback. A sophisticated, gender-neutral skewing look is beginning to emerge.