Modern Serenity

Modern Serenity

Our homes are the most intimate spaces. They are where we unwind, entertain, grow up, find sanctuary, and connect with the people closest to us. To make a house a home, we need just the right ambiance. Bobby Aggarwal of Portside Café, is an entrepreneur, designer and manufacturer who aims to bridge that gap, and bring in materials and methods that are used to make beautiful decor products which are both inspiring and inviting.

Onset and rise

Designing was never on the cards for Bobby, but as we say, life had other plans for him. An economics graduate, born in Delhi, schooled in Bhopal, and having worked in Mumbai; he has had an interesting journey so far. As the exposure to different cities and cultures made a mark in his life, he aspired to adapt those influences into his work philosophy and style. 

“The passion for design, for me started early in life. The exposure started at home and at school. I remember having being exposed to art and design very early on in school itself, where we had some very encouraging and talented teachers. I remember the British Council library in Bhopal had a whole section of magazines and books on art, architecture, and design; which really fascinated me in the pre-computer and internet age,” says Bobby.

Influence and style

The profession of an interior designer implies constant self-improvement and the accumulation of knowledge and skills, namely a constant study of the new trends and styles. Bobby considers it impossible to be completely satisfied with the work he has done because you can always do something better, as there is no limit to improvement.

“My design approach is highly influenced by my mother, who I think has a great sense of aesthetics; and also the modernists of the 20th century. In the field of design I admire the works of — Philippe Starck, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Geoffrey Bawa, Eames and lately Paola Navone,” shares Bobby.

He further adds, “Other influences, though not from the same industry, but are still important in my thought process are my love for the music of U-2, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Kishori Amonkar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Coldplay and classic melodies from old Hindi films.  As creativity has no bounds, I further explore mediums of cinema and theatre, in search of a spark that uplifts my spirit. Then again my global travel exposure also plays a pivotal role in my work, hence I won’t narrow it down to one influence, rather it’s a whole gamut.”

Art and virtuosity

Never underestimate the importance of art and the value that it can bring to an interior space. Art can provide a source of inspiration at the beginning of a project or be selected as a finishing touch at the end of a project. Sometimes even the smallest and most subtle things can mean a lot and introduce a difference into the way you perceive your surroundings, so that’s why art is so important in interior design and how you too can make the most of it.

“I think as a designer I have to bring in all my experiences and practices, which I have imbibed in my years of being in this trade, to the fore. There are hardly any lines which compartmentalise my approach to a particular project that I may be handling. I guess you can call it a holistic and eclectic way of work. I am of the opinion that art and technology should co-exist as their combination often creates harmony. The versatility of laser cutting comes to mind, as also CAD and computer-aided machines today allow you to blend art, crafts and technology beautifully together,” expresses Bobby. 

Progression and evolution

As people get more exposure via social media into how beautiful living spaces can be, they want the same thing for their own homes. However, as the Gen Z steps into the urban life, their requirements for niche labels and one of a kind products and textures are also on the rise. To further explore the realm of design, Bobby set out to explore design curation and interiors by defining the word “intimate”, through his one-of-a-kind exhibition led by several niche, design-led brands who came together to present their unique offerings in a carefully curated space. 

“The decor phase in India can be described in one word — eclectic, evolving each day and getting more  personalised. The future is open-ended and this makes it a much more interesting time that we are living in. By creating interesting interplays between various materials and objects such as leather, concrete, ceramics, wood, candles, wall graphics, floor coverings, lighting, furniture, installations and spaces — all presented in a harmonious setting; we extend an invitation for the modern and learned individual to explore design through all mediums of decor,” concludes Bobby. 

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.