Date:28/05/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/pp/2011/05/28/stories/2011052850540300.htm
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Burnishing antique designs for the new

Designers continue to borrow from Kerala's architectural traditions to shape the interiors.



Evoking the past:Sculptures and other antique pieces on display at a showroom in Kozhikode.

Kerala's rich architectural tradition never fades. Beneath the façade of modernity that many houses sport lies the matchless elegance of heritage. The yen for antique interiors is a case in point. Modern interior designers take a cue from tradition to fill the space inside the four walls.

The merit of an antique-style interior is its creativity and inventiveness. Furnishing has no clearly defined rules, and choosing antique designs and utensils depends on individual choice. Some may opt for already-popular styles, but there will be those who add a personal touch.

Designers say giving an antique touch to the interiors will be an easy task if the plan is made at the initial stage of construction. With the availability of exclusive decorative materials, possibilities are aplenty. The latest arrivals are wooden flooring and roofing materials with appealing designs.

Bamboo flooring materials have a huge demand, as they bend to antique design. Hundreds of dealers in Kerala stock bamboo products. Kerala State Bamboo Corporation Ltd. recently ventured into the field to popularise such products. Their speciality is that these are resistant to heat, water, and termite.

To compete with natural varieties, leading tile manufacturers have entered the arena with designs suiting antique interiors. Linson Mathew, manager of a tile company, says it has a separate wing to cater to the requirement of such house builders. "The manufacturers are keen on introducing novel items to attract more buyers and sustain their dominance in the field,” he says.

Makers of furniture and decorative lights too cater to the craze for antique styles. Though costly, these products sell because the love for style overrides price concerns.

Domestic and foreign players are trying to set foot in the trade. A Kottakkal-based furniture-maker has popularised its ‘Classy' variety of antique furniture through sales outlets across Kerala. Dealers point to the demand for furniture designed in Mughal, Victorian, and Egyptian styles too. They have already grabbed the minds of non-resident Keralites.

Vintage-style lighting is obviously a vital part in illuminating antique-style homes. Shower shades, inverted dooms, hanging globes, slant shades, angel lamps, beaded bulbs, stained glass, and diffusers have many admirers. The traditional Kerala-style oil lamps, floral lamps, and hanging lamps are in demand.

Rajesh Kumar, dealer of interior designing articles in Kozhikode, says supplementary fittings have made their entry into the market with gorgeous alterations. Room curtains, clocks, wall fittings, flower pots, sculptures, and even dinner sets now come in stunning designs matching antique concepts, he says.

MITHOSH JOSEPH

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