AFTER DESIGNING a Bond car and thousands of other designer car for the style conscious, ace automobile designer Dilip Chhabria is now ready for a play in the lucrative designer furniture market.
Trained at the Art Center College of Design, California, Chhabria is now revving up to give the Italians, known for high-end furniture, a run for their money. A high-end Italian sofa set costs anything between Rs 10 and 25 lakh.
Confirming his designer plans, Chhabria told HT: “In designer cars, we have proved that we are second to none. We will prove the same in furniture. If we have the ability and expertise to provide quality products at comparatively lower prices, customers will not go in for imported stuff.”
He said he would announce his new venture at the Index International Furniture Fair 2007 that scheduled to start on October 18 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon.
“I have booked space at this exhibition next to the Italian counters and i will showcase my creations. If my clients can spend Rs 50 lakh for designing a car, they can spend an equal amount in furniture,” Chhabria said, adding he had already set up a factory in Pune.
Under the shadow of a booming real estate sector, India’s furniture market has grown to $8 billion, rising by 20 per cent per annum. Organised players, Chhabria and global furniture majors are all eyeing this sector with renewed vigor. Italian companies, almost 50 of them, will showcase their designs at the Index fair in Mumbai and will be accompanied by another 40 companies from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil and Germany.
The growing need for high quality lifestyle and posh corporate environments has fueled a rush of overseas furniture makers. “Italian furniture are in high demand in the residential segment, while Malaysia continues to dominate the high-end corporate office space. Ninety per cent of all imported furniture still come from China as a growing number of Indians prefer cheap products,” said Liyakat Ali Khan, president Universal Expositions Group, which organises India’s premier furniture fair.