Designed to shine

Hotel heiress Samyukta Nair is pinning Indian hospitality on the global map and this is not where she stops.

Hotel heiress Samyukta Nair is pinning Indian hospitality on the global map and this is not where she stops.

Calling her a multi-tasker would be a cliché, but that’s what would best define her. Entrepreneur Samyukta Nair started Michelin-starred restaurant, Jamavar and Bombay Bustle in London. She also has a luxury sleepwear brand, Dandelion and a home decor studio Clove to her credential. We begin from the beginning.

When did you decide to step into hospitality?

After the pre-opening of the Leela hotel in Udaipur in 2009, where I worked as an apprentice to my mother Madhu Nair, I enrolled into École Hôtelière de Lausanne for an Executive MBA degree. It formally marked my entry to the hospitality industry.

How did your hotelier parents react to your decision? 

My parents never raised me with an iron hand and the freedom of choice has been central to my upbringing. The support came from the conversations and they allowed me to think out loud within the parenthesis of their listening. Other than that, I have had to get on the saddle and ride myself.

What’s the concept behind Jamavar and Bombay Bustle?

Celebration of cuisine is fundamental to my family and I wanted our restaurants to be representative of India’s culinary prowess. Hence, in an attempt to marry flavours from the north and south of India, Jamavar was started. Bombay Bustle focuses largely on a regional fare and features many of my personal favourites.

What are your views about design? 

In my opinion, design is not simply about the aesthetic but should also be looked upon as a purveyor of culture.

In terms of interior, what role do colours play?

I love colours but like everything else I prefer to use it in moderation. For me, colours are always project specific, an extension of the space and the concept. Clove was built to be a muted backdrop that allows it showcase it’s offering as compared to Bombay Bustle that draws on the strong art deco presence in the city.

In sleepwear, what do you think is more important and why: The silhouette, fabric or the design?

With sleepwear, I wanted to create a brand that merged function, delicacy and refinement. I chose to work with cotton, which is indigenous and so that women could sleep without feeling swathed by synthetic fabrics. It was started keeping with the awareness that family members would be around at the breakfast table, so no, a skimpy negligee was not going to make the cut either. Given that all of our prints belong to the Dandelion story board and are exclusive, I would think all three, silhouette, fabric and design are essentials to think of when making sleepwear. 

Do you think India is ready to splurge on sleepwear?

How you sleep is how you recover and one tends to spend a large amount of time in what they sleep in. I would recommend investing in something that’s dedicated to this activity.

Tell us about Clove Studio.

Imagined as a home, Clove offers products ranging from fashion, design and Indian craft. The offering is an ode to everyday luxury and our attempt is to make the ordinary come alive. There are products that are inherently Indian but also feature a selection of collectables brought back from my travels.

Clove was envisaged to be an apartment, a welcoming space akin to one’s home within the comfort of which people could casually linger and browse without the added pressure of having to make a purchase. The aim was to complement the inherent beauty of the shell with minimalist décor that highlighted the merchandise within a calming and decluttered space.