When illustrator Shruti Singhi stood peering into a stranger's Mumbai home last month, she spotted red wallpaper covered in ginormous roses, now paling and peeling, just like anything – or anyone - that’s been around for 45 years. If these roses could talk, we’d sniff out the D’mello family’s history: dalliances, dance, drama and death.
This run-in with Mrs D is the adhesive that holds together Shruti’s long-delayed plan to create illustrated, customised wallpaper rolls. “I’d like for your wall to have a narrative. I’d also like to build and illustrate that for you,” says Shruti, textile designer and illustrator, who works on packaging for brands like Forest Essentials. If you’re a Forest fan, you will recognise immediately the grace of the blooms and her affinity for text book-style botanical illustrations.
Shruti is also working on a Delhi circus print with references to the maut ka kua (well of death) and a future-predicting donkey.
Her first set of papers launched last week and seek inspiration from Bombay’s Bandra neighbourhood (called Think Wallpapers, a collaboration with production designer Meenal Agarwal), which explains the big flower motifs, patterns inspired by church architecture, and rococo references. “I’ve thrown in some animal muses as well – that damn rooster who wanders around Mini Punjab (how he hasn’t turned into your late night chicken roll yet is a wonder), horses from Mehrauli, parrot sightings from apartment windows.” Shruti is also working on a Delhi circus print with references to the maut ka kua (well of death) and a future-predicting donkey.
I Got The Glues
Have your own little references? Shruti is happy to pencil you in. It’s barely been a week since the samples launched, and she’s already working on new innovations, figuring out how to incorporate real gold to line sunflower petals or rays of the sun. She also offers a magnetic paper option, so that pretty cut-outs can be stuck and moved around on wallpaper. “This works especially well in a kid’s room.”
As Shruti continues her quest to make walls better, new patterns emerge, motivated by her travels to Vienna and Budapest, her “obsession” with English textile designer and poet William Morris; indoor murals in Brooklyn; artist collaborations. “The wallpaper is well-priced, will last about four years and we do the application bit as well.”
We thumb through Shruti’s floral wallpaper samples one last time, connecting them to a painting we saw earlier this week at the Kochi Biennale. It’s called Mum’s Roses by artist Desmond Lazaro, starring a vase of plastic flowers his mother dusted everyday. A water-proof kind of cheer? Sounds like the kind of roll Shruti wants to play in your life.
Getting there: To order a roll from anywhere in India, call 09818787174 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, view the Facebook page here, priced at between Rs 200 per square feet to Rs 300 for the magnetic ones.
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