What do velvet ottomans, banana fibre blinds, floral and striped armchairs, a marble chessboard side table, a Bohemian fringe sofa, golden switch plates and a black and white chevron table have in common? They, along with so many other fascinating elements, all flawlessly fit together in the interior design of ZxP studio in Bangalore.
“What I like is tempered layering,” says Smitha Zachariah, interior stylist and creative director, ZachariahXPiers. “I like to use different elements that seamlessly come together but aren’t a visual overload. They might be bold and striking in their own way but it’s not just a whole bunch of colours and texture thrown at each other,” she says, explaining ZxP’s signature style.
When Smitha was looking for a space, she realised the fourth-floor terrace of the building she lived in was actually the perfect spot. “There are trees all around and I could build a structure exactly the way I wanted to,” she adds. What she wanted from the very start was oodles of natural light, high ceilings, sloping roofs and every window opening up to the beautiful trees that surround the building. “I wanted a space that reflected my work, who we are as a firm and our distinctive India-modern design style.”
Located in Indiranagar, the 2500 sq ft ZxP office makes an impression at first sight. “The facade takes inspiration from the colonial-style bungalows that I grew up in…with their sloping roofs, tall windows and doors, slatted high ceilings and broad verandahs on the periphery. It brings back nostalgic memories and I wanted a space like that,” Smita explains. The solid white of the slatted façade and columns is only broken by large windows and doors in glass with black frames and a cool grey door. The grey terrace flooring is elegantly paired with a running corridor of patterned tiles while a brick jaali screen on one side is lit up at night.
Open the door into the main office and you understand just why their tag line is ‘Live the Colour’. “The interiors of the office sit on the cusp of a modern India—our muse—with touches of the Colonial era mixed with Indian accents,” she says. This long, rectangular room features an open layout with the lounge and meeting area to one side and her desk on the other. These zones are visually separated by a buffet cabinet in glossy black backed by a mirrored wall.
It’s the walls that are really striking—each given a separate treatment, each working well together to make the whole. “That is what I mean by layering,” she laughs. In the lounge area, one is greeted by a riot of colour and patterns. “Carpets are very important to me and it was the first thing I picked up. I pulled the colour palette of this area from the carpet,” she continues. A black and white, tiled flooring runs the length of the room. Dusty mint green walls with white panelling gives way to a hand painted wall mural topped by a section covered in pale green, patterned wallpaper. A grey, Bohemian style, fringe sofa is paired with brilliant blue, velvet ottomans.
On the other side is her office dominated by dark wood bookcases. A simple glass and brass table is surrounded by contrasting patterned chairs while a beautiful brass chandelier ties it all together. “Designing for yourself really gives you the opportunity to be very creative and do things the way you want. That was really fun!” she tells me. “Of course, there is a lot of confusion also because as designers we are exposed to so many things all the time. We’ve got so many ideas; you have to distil those ideas into actually figuring out what is going to work for your space.”
As you head back out, the corridor leads to a modern and playful conference room. The first thing you notice is the black and white chevron table surrounded by eight chairs of different colours, all pulled from their logo. “The backs of the chairs feature our logo hand embroidered into the motif,” she explains.
Finally, the powder room is a masterpiece in itself. Including patterned black and white wall and floor tiles, the top half of the wall is covered in router cut MDF that features their logo in the design and hand painted to perfection. “There were two main aspects to this office. The conference room is modern and playful while the lounge area is a little more Bohemian chic. That is who I am and I wanted to show the plurality through those different sides,” she concludes.