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Restored furniture tells the story of three eras of décor trends

An exhibition at CSMVS showcases drawers, lamps and sculpture in colonial, Art Deco and Scandinavian styles, spanning 70 years of India’s history.

mumbai Updated: Dec 08, 2017 20:26 IST
Prakruti Maniar
Prakruti Maniar
Hindustan Times
A chest of drawers in the Art Deco style, popular between the 1940s and 1960s in India.
Exhibition by furniture restorers
  • Where: Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, Fort
  • When: Until Sunday
  • Time: 11 am to 7 pm
  • Entry is free

In the furniture business, new is often better. Imported is often preferable. And smart design means a sketch from Northern Europe.

Chiki Doshi is proof that it’s not true. The restorer of Indian period furniture and one of the directors of Mahendra Doshi, believes a chair, cabinet, table or closet can hold stories from the past and become a baton to pass down to the future. “It is something young people now want to pass on as heirloom in their families,” he says.

The Mahendra Doshi exhibition showcases furniture, artefacts and lights restored from three dominant eras of Indian décor. There are colonial pieces from before Independence, Art Deco works from 1940s and 1960s, and the modern Scandinavian style that picked up in the 1970s.

‘Restored furniture is something young people now want as heirlooms in their families,’ says restorer Chiki Doshi.

“The collection is almost entirely from the stock that my uncle, Mahendra Doshi, collected over four decades,” says Doshi. This includes over 200 examples of furniture and artefacts each, and about 40 types of lamps. There’s a chest of drawers with gold embellishments, heavy bookcases, a dressing unit with a circular mirror and rectangular drawers, Christian altars from the south and dolls from Gujarat.

Restoration work too five months, with each piece taking about three to four weeks. What does it take to bring back something to its original glory? “Polish, sandpaper and lots of hard work,” he says.

Don’t scratch your head over what style suits your home; you can throw in something from each era, “and watch how they merge with each other,” Doshi says. “There is something for everyone here, from small side tables to large screens.” The furniture prices range from Rs 20,000 to Rs 3 lakh, while the artefacts cost anywhere from Rs 1,000 to Rs 40,000.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 20:26 IST