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In the studio of Red Lion

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Designer Elsie Nanji’s studio, Red Lion, would make any collector proud- filled with some of the best books on design and peppered with eclectic objects

At the time we visit designer Elsie Nanji’s workspace in midtown Mumbai, she is in the middle of a de-cluttering epiphany. Having recently discovered Marie Kondo, (the Japanese de-cluttering expert) who has made millions of people around the world re-evaluate the number of material possessions they own), Elsie is attempting to ship a room full of beautiful things that she has collected over the last twenty years to friends and family members.  She is especially amused at the fact that people around her are busy calling dibs on all the delightful things in her studio. We wouldn’t blame them.

That’s because Elsie’s studio is a collection of wonderous things- a bit like the design equivalent of Willy Wonka’s candy factory. Collected over an illustrious and eventful career in advertising, design and now interiors, Elsie’s studio is a treasure trove of things big and small. The walls are all-white, with wispy sheer curtains that provide a calm, meditative space, one that shields her away from the hustle and bustle of midtown Mumbai. “White brings every colour alive, my room is a basic white and then filled with colour,” she explains.

“I drew a simple plan and asked Nozer for guidance,” she says, referring to architect Nozer Wadia. The three things that she wanted in her studio to be close to her was ample amount of light, large windows and a tree. She made sure she got all three in this studio. 

I ask her what makes her studio an inspiring space for her, and she answers, “Where everything is within reach, and I am inspired by the wisdom of others in books, objects even the softness of linen cushions.”

What would we always find on her desk? “Curious objects that bring a smile to your face,” she replies.

The most inspiring thing about her work space? “It feels like being at home,” she answers. We couldn’t agree more.


Bindu Nair

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