This quaint New Delhi home is a treasure trove of myriad artefacts
SEP 4, 2018 | By Sonia Dutt and Roger Chen
My career over the past 25 years as a diplomat has allowed me to explore exotic, culturally rich countries. I was based for two to three years at a time in Jakarta, Kuwait, Shanghai, Sao Paulo,Cairo, Beijing, and now in New Delhi. I wanted my home to reflect the traditions and aesthetic heritage of diverse cultures in which I’ve had the pleasure of being immersed. I have been able to travel, document by photography, and bring home art, handicrafts and objets d’art which serendipity helped me find.
I feel a sense of real pleasure when forms, shapes and patterns somehow connect in objects and furnishings which were purchased years apart, from different corners of the world. Each time I start an assignment at a new location, I relish with excitement the opportunity to create over the first month or two of settling in a new living space using my furnishings and artefacts in different juxtapositions, new colour schemes for walls, and new finds during my time in that country.
Anchored by my usual preference for a muted palette such as charcoal, dove grey, ecru or taupe, over the years my aesthetic is usually to showcase art objects and let the eye wander. I have a penchant for sculptures and three-dimensional objects rather than art hanging on walls. The furniture, much of which I designed myself, tends to be contemporary in lines and minimalist in shape, while the objects I am attracted to are usually extravagant, ethnic and evocative with respect to the stories and history of that culture which are suggested from the appearance and patina.
During these past three years in India, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hunting for period pieces which represent the rich and ornate artisan traditions for which the country is renowned. From an antique pillar from Gujarat to temple chariot panels from Kerala, to bracelets from Orissa and half completed sketches for miniature Moghul paintings from Rajasthan, not only has my decor collection been enriched, but my travels and vivid memories from my time here have left their indelible marks as life experiences.