Hi and welcome to the creative mind of Brooklyn-based interior design firm, Ishka Designs.
This blog allows you to peek behind the scenes of our design process; see the images, products, and events that inspire and motivate us. We are happily biased towards interior design topics with a sustainable undertone. With our international backgrounds, we definitely embrace a global perspective and influence. We hope you are inspired and sometimes provoked by our postings and we look forward to reading and responding to your comments!

One love, idi


Bold Colour Abounds at Dance Africa

The BAM Dance Africa weekend delivered on an abundance of beauty and bold colour.  As usual, it often felt like less of a street fair and more of a fashion show featuring beautiful people in their finest summer ensembles from every walk of life.  After 3 hours of summer sun, I am browner and happier for having made my way through the larger than before bazaar and the multitude of booths.
I was a tad bit disappointed that there were so few hand-made jewelry and art booths. Despite that, there was definitely an oversupply of crafts, textiles and food.  Speaking of textiles, the colourful baskets above were in ready supply and my imagination is running wild with them...from entertaining possibilities to sculptural wall and ceiling art.  These well priced outdoor rugs from My Little India also added to the colourful spectacle.
Rugs from My Little india
While it was too hot for me to eat anything, I enjoyed downing not one but two flavoured lemonades, mango and blackberry, from Jakada.  Unfortunately the company doesn't sell direct to the consumer but is available at neigbourhood cafe's and restaurants.



The significance of Four Hundred & Twenty Two

Question: Curious minds are asking...what's the significance of 422?

IDI: We recently started a facebook "like" page, originally known as the fan page. We don't like to give ourselves extra work but apparently Facebook has no problem with that :)  They have somehow made the group pages, including our wonderful Ishka Designs group page, less relevant. Now it kinda sorta feels like we are starting from scratch, trying to gain support and love even though we've been well supported and loved by all of our 422 group members from the group page. When we published our fan page we had 422 group members and we are really hoping that we are able to convert them to 422 "like" page members in short order. We're even giving a little bit of incentive to convert from groupies to fans. When our numbers hit 422, one of the 422 fans will win a special prize!

So there you have it. There's no statistical relevance, no relation to the golden section or the fibonacci series, although that would've been cool. Its not complicated. Quite simple in fact...

So, do you like Ishka Designs?



ICFF Favourites Part 3: Flexibility and Furnishings

One of the main trends that we discovered at the recent ICFF in NYC was the flexibility that a lot of the products offered.  Pieces often offered customizable solutions after the client purchases the product. For e.g., the Shuffle end table by Ameico, the bench by Myungseo Kang, and the bassinet/rocker by Koo all transform depending on aesthetic or purpose.  Regardless of whether these pieces are well suited for kids rooms, the concept of modifiable design is very compelling to us.  We even saw a few light fixtures (see Part 1 of this series) that offered the option of future modification by owner.
Photos by NiyaBas.com

Packaging concerns:  Apparently designers and clients alike have started to "talk" about shipping costs, especially when products are shipped assembled.  By reducing packaging we are definitely benefitting the environment with less paper and stuffing, increased product per shipment, and less weight.  We are also adding to the owner’s appreciation by encouraging physical activity and stimulating brain activity J The eDesk by d.e.Sellers and their myriad of folding items, and the SheetSeat by ICFF Studio designer, Ufuk Keskin are forward thinking examples of flexibility and packaging.
Photo source: desfurniture.com

Photo source: efecemkutuk.com

Another wonderful trend is the combination of wood and metal.  As you know wood is especially dear to me, even more so when its recycled. Combining it with natural metal, as opposed to polished, brushed or whatever, really creates an understated edgy expression.  See these gorgeous product pieces by Tod Von Mertens from New Hampshire. Perfect for a couple’s space don’t you think!
Photos source: todvon.com

And metal alone is not a trend but organic shapes made from one singular sheet is a different story.  We absolutely loved the chairs by British designer Deon Ludeman Design from the Uk.  The model versions were a hit (and all sold out) while the orchid seat prototype below was our favorite.  The continuous, sinuous, flexible and springy nature of the Slinky coffee table by BRC Designs was pure fun. I can only see specifying this for a client with a great sense of humor though.
Photos by Niyabas.com
Photo source: deonludeman.co.uk
Photo by NiyaBas.com

Green has become the norm and designers tend to not "throw" the term around anymore as everything we think about has to have some environmental consciousness behind it.  Our thoughts are now green.  But I had to mention these re-purposed/up-cycled leather belts turned tiles by Ting, which made their debut a few years back, but still managed to impress me.  My curiousity is still peaked though regarding this endless supply of used belts?
Photos by NiyaBas.com

The remaining items were just beautiful for beauty’s sake or just plain fun:

1. End tables by Plywood office & 2. Loop Sofa by Arper
Photos by NiyaBas.com
Photo source: nest.com

3. Antler handlebars by BiKing & 4. Media Unit by the Bomb Factory Furniture
Photo by NiyaBas.com

5. The Ledge, Emergency Cocktail Station, and Credenza by Urbancase
Photo source: urbancase.com

6. The pouf and ottoman by Ronel Jordan Textiles sold by Amaridian
Photo by Niyabas.com

All in all we had a great time walking the showroom floor, sourcing both product and inspiration.  Hope you too are equally inspired. Til next time!



ICFF Favourites Part 2: Outdoor Styling

Its not necessary for outdoor furnishings to look like they belong in nature, but we cannot ignore the organic designs by Kenneth Cobonpue. The yoda chair caught our attention first with its tall reed like back, curvaceous seat, and ability to blend quite easily and elegantly into any landscape. It also has a very regal feel don’t you think? Our favorite piece from their collection, however, is the gorgeous croissant sofa and its equally sexy lounge chairs, made for indoors and outdoors.  And not to be outdone, we find the yin & yang collection equally compelling.
 photos source: kennethcobonpue.com

Having experienced the warmth, glow and UNWANTED smoke from the cast iron chiminea in a certain backyard, we happily welcome Cocoon’s fireplaces that use ethanol (go environment!) and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Love both the black and stainless steel versions and really feeling the option of legs or suspended. No smoke…yes!
photo source: cocoonfires.com

Amaridian probably deserves its own blog post given the size of its booth at the show! But I'll just focus on this outdoor chair that grabbed our immediate attention. Delicate but yet so strong don't you think? The wide array of contemporary furnishings and accessories were mouthwatering and the store deserves a visit when next you are in NYC. Defintely check out the rest of the company's products, all manufactured in Africa, focusing on pushing the design thinking but staying true to ancestral forms!
photo by NiyaBas.com

An aside, we are working to get a client's backyard together for some serious entertaining this summer.  Not sure if the above beauties will make it in, but we are excited by the prospects.

Look out for Part 3 in this series where we'll focus on furniture.


ICFF Favourites Part 1: Light & Sound

Flexible, Sculptural and Energy efficient Lights
photo by NiyaBas.com
         photo source: racheloneill.com

Loving this dramatic fixture by Rachel Oneill from Ireland.  The real kicker for me is that it’s made of Velcro. What’s even more compelling is that because its made of Velcro one can actually modify its shape when tired of the current state. Flexible, sculptural and gorgeous. Love this!
photos by NiyaBas.com

And I don’t know what I love more about these fixtures by Grey Pants? The fact that they are made from repurposed corrugated boxes? Or that the prices are unbelievably affordable? Looking forward to specifying these lovelies. Quick note, loved the signage at the booth.
 photo source: www.mioculture.com

Speaking of eco-conscious lighting, the Bendant Lamp by Mio is ingeniously made of a singular sheet of metal and flat packed to reduce shipping costs and weight.  Again, flexibility reigns, as you get to decide just how you want the piece to look once its unpacked.
photo source: scottdanieldesign.com

Light as sculpture? If you say yes, then you will appreciate these interesting textural lamps by Scott Daniel.

Audio (Non) Visual

These two ideas for speaker systems are really cool! The invisible loudspeaker by Amina is the interior designer’s answer to electronics. These babies are built into the wall with no indication on the outside as to their existence except for the perfect sound it produces.  Would put up a picture but there’s nothing to see! Check it out here
photo source: fromthesourceny.blogspot.com

Not everyone wants to cut into the walls unfortunately. So why not insert your powerful mini speakers into a beautiful naturally sculpted chunk of wood? Thanks to From the Source right here in Brooklyn, we can do just that.


What? The Caribbean at ICFF!

I am supposed to be waiting for all the pics to download, the brochures to get sorted and the feet to de-swell. But one of our last encounters today at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC made me so happy, proud and hopeful, that I just couldn't wait to share. Introducing the New Caribbean Design - a collective of talented artisans from the Caribbean working together to facilitate export, production and sustainable skills. A lot of the processes that go into these products include ancient techniques handed down over the generations and preserved and perfected by craftsmen over time. 

Needless to say, I was truly elated to find that Jamaica had a couple of pieces on display including these gorgeous maroon baskets designed by Ivelyn Harris, sole proprietor of Nanny of the Maroons Traditional Crafts, and made from coconut palms.  Another stand out piece were these gorgeous open weave chairs from Guyana made of liana cane. 

image source: http://www.designboom.com
image source: http://www.northsouthproject.com

With all the insanity happening in my country Jamaica, I was so encouraged to see that collaboration, foresight, and talent sill permeates between our fellow Caribbean nations at the design level and not just sports and music.  In my humble opinion, there is serious talent at the industrial level just waiting to be discovered there and I can only hope that collectives such as these continue to arise and develop to allow design to reach the next level.

That's it for now.  Back to the pile of brochures and images to find the other pieces that I can't stop thinking about.

anishka for idi