How about a slice of Lord Krishna's Vrindavan or a touch of the Buckingham Palace in your living room? The decor in high-end Indian homes across metros, especially in the capital, is going back to tradition after years of dabbling in the utility and Spartan chic of contemporary West.
Two exclusive lifestyle retail spaces point to the trend. These are Good Earth in Delhi's Saket area which has adapted traditional designs from medieval India and Elitaire in Faridabad which has been inspired by the royal palaces of Europe.
They are targeting the high-end home market segment of the "aesthetic elite" with a price sweep of Rs.500 to Rs.500,000.
Good Earth, a national lifestyle accessory chain, has put together an exhibition of home accessories by five designers that combined Indian resonance with an international appeal. Titled "India Modern", it is on display at the 18,000-square foot Flagship, Good Earth's maiden store at Saket in the capital.
"In a resurgent India, the rich cultural heritage is getting layered with a contemporary global relevance. This duality has given rise to a new aesthetic that draws from history to create modern perspectives suitable for contemporary living. The highlight this year at the Delhi store is the Vrindavan collection," Anita Lal, creative director of Good Earth, told IANS.
She said the store picks up one collection every year, which is usually an "interpretation of any part of history and culture from India.
"The Vrindavan collection celebrates the harmony between man and nature - the story of Lord Krishna and his days in Vrindavan where he played with his consort Radha."
"We have just taken the symbolic aspects of Vrindavan - like the motifs of the flora and fauna, the peacock, the cows, the lotus and the lamps - minus the gods and goddesses to give the collection an international look," Lal said.
The collection features "kamalinis" or lotus showpieces, lotus stools in brass and beaten silver, ornate candle stands shaped like medieval wall panels from Vrindavan homes, peacock and cowherd wall hangings in brass, fluted flower pots, Mughal minarets and geometrical tables inlaid with mother of pearls, abalone and malachite.
The Vrindavan furniture is complemented by Vrindavan Chenille cushions and the Neeltara cushions in silk and velvet, trimmed with satin 'mashru' weave and embroidery.
Mashru is a traditional silk and cotton weave from Kutch, printed in the Ajrakh technique using natural dyes.
A dining table laid with 'kansa' ware (an alloy of tin and copper) and collections of cutleries like the 'tia pakhi' (parrot) from Bengal, the Rasa or marigold range from central India, the Periyar Indus Rajah from Kerala and Baradari collection from the Mughal era add to the Brajbhumi look.
Designer Vikram Goel, the man behind the Vrindavan collection, said the designs debuted at a Good Earth exhibition in Mumbai in 2008.
"I tried to recreate the motifs of peacocks, cows, lotuses and trees as depicted in the pichwais (traditional Vrindavan paintings and texts) to suit new awareness. I love the diverse techniques of metals," Goel told IANS.
The collection is also a tribute to the dying art of metal crafting and a bid at revival.
"The clutter is going out of home decor and they are becoming more realistic," artist Subodh Gupta told IANS at the opening of the store. "Interiors are going back to roots and I just love the heritage look," he explained.
On the other hand, Faridabad-based Elitaire goes back to medieval Europe. The home decor retail store spread across 2,000 square metres at the Interiorz Mall has recreated replicas of six European palaces for Indian drawings rooms.
"Our collections combine opulence with contemporary convenience. The idea behind recreating the palace themes was to offer buyers something more than luxury - a slice of heritage, which they can preserve," K.V. Rao, chairman of the Dolphin Group, which owns Elitaire, told IANS.
According to him, the high-end retail space is commercially viable because the "recession has not been able to dent the luxury lifestyle segment".
The home themes - featuring complete rooms with period furniture, accessories and lights - include the 16th century Rosenberg Castle, Buckingham Palace, Castle of Prague, Castle of Sans Souci in Prussia, Palace of Wilanow of the Dutch royal family and the Palace of Versailles from the era of Louis XIV.
The accessories drawn from 82 leading design houses from across Europe are a blend of the grand baroque, the romantic French Rococo and the austere neo-classicism of British royalty.