When the moon is your inspiration, the sky is the limit. That’s what Jannat Gill and Sharon Sethi of Delhi-based design firm Daera discovered with their first interior furniture line, the Lunar Collection. Inspired by the different phases of the moon and its transformative patterns, as well as the colors of the night sky, it features classic, uncomplicated pieces with a modern twist.
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Built on a foundation of sustainable, eco-friendly practices, the brand stuck to its green guns in this collection, too. All raw materials are ethically sourced and handcrafted in small batches to reduce the need for extensive machine production. Not only that, but it also uses lead-free paint and polishes.
Simplicity and playfulness cohesively coexist in Daera’s designs has been its hallmark since its inception five years ago with a residential project. While interior design has remained the mainstay, the brand has also been curating and retailing furniture online for the past year. Last month, Gill and Sethi decided to launch their first full-length collection.
How did they all start? Gil recalls: “While studying graphic design at USC in Los Angeles, I happened to be an intern with Maxime Jacquet in Hollywood. That’s when I discovered interior design as my calling, and that’s where I met Sharon. We moved in together and during this time, we often discussed collaborating on something together.” Or start a design-focused business.”
Sethi agrees, “I worked for Flaunt magazine in Los Angeles, covering stories on Hollywood celebrities. However, I found myself moving away from fashion and into interior design. Then, in 2015, Jannat got married and settled in Delhi, and together we did the interior design of her house.” This garnered a lot of interest and we were flooded with inquiries.” This prompted Sethi, who was ready to move back to the US, to stay put and start Daera with Gill.
Over the years, the brand has built a diverse portfolio, including residential, retail and office spaces, with designs that have been eclectic and infused with sensibilities as diverse as minimalism, classicism and even bohemian, while playing with color and texture.
However, they soon realized that if they wanted a certain type of piece of furniture, they had better make it themselves. “In the beginning we would source and customize pieces. Because our designs were always forward-thinking, we focused on extensive experimentation with materials. But, many sellers didn’t want to work outside their comfort zone, and we struggled with implementation and then, of course, with Deadlines,” Gil recalls.
Their troubles end with Hidden Gallery, a highly creative factory whose vision aligns with theirs. What started as a partnership eventually led to them acquiring the unit in 2020, as the owner wanted to retire and move back to London. “Starting our own studio enabled us to experiment freely, explore new concepts and create designs. In addition, controlling production allowed us to adhere to schedules and ensure that the execution of our designs met our standards,” says Sethi.
Environmental awareness is their core philosophy, and the designers prefer to work with natural materials such as stone, terrazzo, copper, cane, cotton, and linen. “The focus is on reducing waste and energy consumption while contributing to the circular economy. For one of our collaboratives, DaeraXCancelled Plans, we used metal coated with lead-free paint as our base. All the furnishings are pharmaceutical waste, either embroidered or inlaid with resin,” says Gill. They also use high-quality woods such as teak and oak, which are timeless and durable woods that can be passed down as heirlooms.
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For future plans, the designers are looking to set up an in-house metallurgical workshop so that they can directly manufacture and process the medium. They are also working on a new collection in solid oak that emphasizes the “less is more” philosophy.
(Tags for translation) Jannat Gill (R) Sharon Sethi (R) Dayra