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


New York International Gift Fair Part 1

Spent half the day at the NYIGF at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC yesterday, barely getting through 20% of the show. A daunting task to say the least to cover the many buildings filled with an extra-ordinary number of manufacturers all jostling for attention, primarily from buyers.  The energy was great though and the spirits high.  Not even a small fire that broke out Saturday night claiming two booths and inventory could dampen spirits.
evidence of fire on a neighbouring booth
the booth re-building
Alas, by the time I left the exhibit, there was little evidence of said fire as the booths were almost 100% re-built.  I will return on either Tuesday or Wednesday to gather more info and say hi to folks I know that are showing.  In the meantime, here are a few of my favourites from the show:

1. Cerno Group had a stand out sconce that was both ambient and task lighting... ingenious!
as ambient 
as task. See video demo on their site www.cernogroup.com
2. The stunning Icarus pendant from Artecnica
3. Caleb Simon "happy kiss" pendants...the name says it all :)
Table Top
1. Ink Dish...the images say it all.
tattoo artist inspired, collaborated, and designed...
the result!
www.inkdish.com for more awesome designs!
2. Chilewich - my images don't do these beauties nearly enough justice but the small/delicate pieces and the organic quality of the place settings definitely screamed big and bold at me.

tiny delicate tea cups with "saucers" that can act as cup covers 
tiny serving spoons for your condiments made of wood...I die! www.chilewich.com
3. Design House Stockholm - representing several brands these ceramics by Gustaf Nordenskiold stood out for me with their delicately painted interiors. Don't be fooled by the shape, it is actually quite ergonomic:
1. Props to Hammocks & High Tea for their daring and color appropriate spring collection...and it's all ORGANIC and ECO-FRIENDLY!  Now you know green can be vibrant too.  Designer Karen in her booth:
2. Cococozy - beautiful bold and so soft.
The throws were my favourites! 
images courtesy of www.cococozy.com
3. pi'lo - everything about this brand was ingenious! I cannot get enough of it and honestly am now excited to do another nursery...
a tooth fairy pocket pi'lo!
check out the awesome brand www.pilo.ca
The sky planter from Boskke - perfect for all the urban landscape projects we will be tackling this summer!  You read right - we do small to mid-size urban landscapes:
That's it for now.  Look out for our post on our final round up later this week.



Rue Magazine Feature BABY!!!

Sharing some FREAKIN' awesome news...watch the video...wait for it:

YES!!!! We are in the awesome Rue Magazine Jan/Feb issue.  Check us out on PAGE 166, that's 1-6-6.




Numbers can be fun!

And I don't mean the entire 5 seasons of the CBS show that I have on constant replay in the background when I am drafting or rendering.  We mean the 1, 2, 3... kind.  We put together this play/learning area for a very energetic little 5 year old boy awhile back and with a little chalkboard paint and some jumbo chalk we made the number learning system a bit more fun for him.  We love the rough edges and messy quality of the board.  Our favourite part of this little nook?  The vibrant red storage unit from Ikea that he climbs on top of to get to the board :)  Now don't you think numbers are fun?

Niya Bascom Photography


I'd like to thank...

...our supportive family and our ador...excuse me...what?  We didn't win???  Crap.  Guess I'll save the acceptance speech for next year.  
NB's reaction says it all...LOL!!!
Jokes aside, we really want to thank all our loyal supporters who voted at least once during the Jamaica Blog Awards competition for Ishka Designs in the category of Best Overseas Jamaican Blog.  You all ROCK!!!  The top choice in our category went to a photography blog out of London, HR Gallery, authored by Henry my newest friend on twitter.  Check out his blog when you get a chance.  The competition to say the least, was an awesome and truly fun experience.  I've met so many new Jamaican folk, all with a point of view to share via their own blog and on twitter.  Some of these include Lead and Lens, Yaadinfo, and Experience Aurie.  Most of the blogs I voted for did not win in their category... I suppose the judges and I have a different expectation of what makes a great blog, including content, diversity, and overall aesthetics.  That aside, I do want to congratulate our awesome client My Elite Grocer, for taking the Best Food Blog category. Go Gayle!  

Overall, I give the team of the Jamaica Blog Award a big fat A for effort and a B for execution.  It's their first ceremony and there is definitely room for improvement.  What stood out was their ability to get quality sponsorship (half the battle), the appealing website (Creative Engine Jamaica) and graphics (Impressive Design Studio), and the length of the actual ceremony.  My biggest issue was with the poor audio/visual livestream.  What a mess!  If I had a TV I would've switched over to the Golden Globes in a heartbeat, as my best friend and mom were happily texting me the blow by blow, not to mention watching the hashtag on twitter.

BTW, apparently Ishka Designs was well represented at the awards ceremony from a visual stand point, by mom and best friend.  If I get a pic of the well-dressed crew, I'll post.

Speaking of fashionistas and the Golden Globes, did anyone catch Sandra Bullock's stunning dress???  Ok, so I've touched on fashion once or twice before on this blog and despite it being one of my passions, I've managed to keep it at bay.  But when I saw that dress, oh the inspiration!!! I immediately combed the web for the designer.  What a true pleasure to see that the dress was not a one hit wonder but a prelude to some stunning consistent designs out of London!  I now need to fill the calendar with event after event and get Jenny Packham to sponsor Ishka Designs :)  Oh how I wish.  Hope you enjoy her spring 2011 RTW collection as much as I do...


They are all my favourites, but the first 3 images (especially the jumpsuit) I am eagerly assigning to upcoming events on the calendar.  At least in my dreams! I think Jenny and Ishka would make an awesome collab...don't you?



The Past 7 days...

It's over. We survived. 
But barely."  

These few words pretty much describes the past 7 days.  Regardless of choice of words and exclamations, 2011 is definitely off to a really interesting start for Ishka Designs.  Can we scream planning and vision ladies and gentlemen?!!  Yes, over and over again.  A lot of the ground work for these past few days were laid in 2010 and excitingly enough quite a bit of it has come to fruition all at once.  But without letting too much out of the bag, I just want to give a really tight synopsis of what's been going on:

having fun during a photoshoot back in 2009
Self-portrait. NB having fun on the shoot too

1. Friday before last and for the 1st time ever, we had one of our projects photographed and styled by an outside team. What an experience!  While we thought we could just kick back and watch the magic unfold, the OCD in us couldn't help but jump in...days before and during.  Needless to say, we are waiting with baited breath to see the end results...

Lights, Camera, Action! NiyaBas.com Photography on film set in Brooklyn, 2008. Art Direction: Anishka for Ishka Designs
2. Screen time baby!  We did our first live camera action interview on location talking about our favourite subjects: design, business, and photography.  I've seen myself on-screen before back in the days when I moved around on-stage pretending to be a dancer, but NB, always behind the camera, was a bit apprehensive despite the crew's constant comforting praises.  We had a blast with the host and film crew though and enjoyed playing dress up too.  OK, so at least I did :)  And despite NB being very under the weather, we managed to have not only ourselves looking sparkly and fresh in time for the early morning shoot, but the office too.
Sneak Peak at the office showing flowers from the Supermarket used for the shoot
3. If you haven't heard by now, you must be living under a rock!  We are in the running, as in a top 5 nominee, for Best Overseas Jamaican Blog in the 1st ever Jamaican Blog Awards!  I know, I know... it's not the Nobel Prize, but it's definitely an incentive for folks like us to keep on blogging.  We've been "campaigning" like crazy on twitter and facebook for what seems like an eternity, but it really was just the past two or so weeks.  I can't imagine how a real electoral campaign must feel cause not only are we tired, but being the humble-ish people we think we are, weeks of begging for votes just seemed so unnatural and a tad uncomfortable.  Anyhow, the winner will be announced tomorrow at the awards ceremony at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston Jamaica.  So riding the wave of possibility and positivity, I've asked my family to represent Ishka Designs...JUST IN CASE!!!  Would've been cool for us to actually be there, but time is just not permitting...

4. Oh yeah, we still had to do interior design stuff too.  We are currently juggling 3 major projects, one of which is pretty new.

Well, that's it for our 7 day review.  We can't wait to share the end-results of all 4 experiences, so stay tuned!



Efficiently Beautiful Design should be a Lifestyle...

ECCO magazine logo

Yay! We penned our first design article "Efficiently Beautiful Decorating Should be a Lifestyle" for one of the smartest eco-friendly magazines catering to the Caribbean, ECCO magazine.  I am really proud of the founder, Shelley Dunkley, for attempting to change the mindset of our people.  Our beautiful islands are green but we need to make sure that they stay that way for a very long time to come.  Go Shelley!

Here's a brief intro into the article with a link to the page on ECCO magazine's latest issue:

"Growing up I saw my mom take some seemingly inane actions to "save money". My most vivid of these was the time she bought rum and raisin ice-cream in bulk and stuck it in the freezer. "When's the party and what's it for?" we asked. After all, it wasn't summer when we all celebrated birthdays nor was it Christmas when we would donate to the church Sunday school party. No, it was just the ultimate in economical shopping. Truth be told, it felt like an eternity passed waiting on those 5 GALLONS of rum and raisin to be depleted so I could get back to eating grapenut, vanilla, or chocolate :(  But these were the days when buying in 3's to lower your overall shopping bill had come into vogue in Jamaica. And my mom for what it's worth, realized that one container with five gallons was more efficient than three 1-gallon containers in the fridge. Nowadays, we call this efficient packaging! 

Other similar activities became the bane of our existence at home..."

Read the rest here



Looking ahead Part 1: To Produce or Not

We are designers. We create. Constantly thinking about invention or re-invention. And for the most part, monetization. We've been toying with the idea of line extensions for a long time. Actually, if we really think about it, for both Niya and myself, Ishka Designs is actually an extension of a brand we've been individually developing for a very long time. Long before we knew each other. From the creation of a line of handbags, to t-shirts, dresses, and customized bicycle finishing we've both been busy creating. Culminating at this juncture with Ishka Designs, creating floor plans, conceptual designs and custom pieces for residential and businesses a like.
Custom Concrete Sink. Commercial installation. Design by Ishka Designs 2009. All images by NiyaBas.com Photography
Ishka Designs Custom Concrete Sink. Top view. 2009
So why stop at just interior design?

Since Ishka Designs' incorporation, the focus has strictly been on interiors.  Luckily, we've also had the pleasure of custom designing and building several pieces of furniture and fixtures, leading us to consider the production of our own line.  But...and it's a big but...
Bedroom storage during installation.  Design by Ishka Designs. 2008
Bedroom completed.  Design by Ishka Designs. 2008
Opposite wall in progress.
Opposite wall fully installed.  Design by Ishka Designs. 2008
Our concerns don't lie in the obvious, such as consumer satisfaction and demand, first to market, targeted segmenting, distribution and pricing or even production, sourcing and manufacturing issues.  It gets a bit more philosophical than that:

Have you ever asked yourself why so many versions of any one product exist on the shelf?  We have and increasingly all the time.  We read magazines, shop online, go to exhibits, showrooms, and retail stores and while we adore a lot of what we see, there's always that nagging feeling in the back of one's head regarding excess.  The more we consider our place, impact on the world around us, the less inclined we are to enter the realm of production unless it's absolutely necessary.  As we've mentioned before, we've custom designed and built.  But primarily when nothing else will do whether limited by existence, cost, availability or even accessibility.  To appease ourselves, we pat ourselves on the back for creating a job for a local carpenter, upholsterer, painter and ourselves.  We are, too, proud of our product.  But does this mean that we should put this into production to convince someone who may not need yet another item, that they should purchase ours? Or take up space in a store, on a shelf, or in a catalogue online?  To potentially get rich...absolutely yes.  To do our part for the world...maybe not.
Wet Bar/Media Unit installed.  Design by Ishka Designs. 2008
Wet Bar/Media unit. Design by Ishka Designs. 2008
So right now, we are settling for custom design on an as needed basis.  We will also continue to explore vintage, flea market, and garage sale finds to tinker with, upcycle, re-upholster, revitalize without our conscience getting the better of us.  Maybe one day, sooner than we think, something will change.

Happy new year,
idi team