The bustling MG Road in the capital is where I find myself one afternoon and I soon walk into the cool comfort of the House of Raro showroom to catch up with the minds behind it, Rolly and Rajeeta Gupta. Soaking in the hush-hush ambience, replete with bespoke furniture pieces and other home décor offerings, it becomes evident that luxury – the way the girls perceive it – defines their work and their workspace.
Rajeeta, who is the elder of the two, says, “True luxury should be a ‘sublime experience’. Historically, the term luxury has always been a standard of quality, a mark of authenticity and has been shielded by a veil of exclusivity. Today ‘accessible luxury’ is the new buzzword. True luxury is made to order – the client’s whim and fancy must be translated into reality.”
Although many purveyors of luxury feel that it should not border on the ostentatious, Rolly would beg to differ. She emphasises, “Interestingly there are two schools of thought – one that believes in opulence and the other where design and function come together. It is important to go to create something that is superior in detailing, in craft and in the time taken to make it. It is like couture – the function of an inspired imagination.”
For both, a recent landmark has been the newly-minted vast space that they now occupy. Rolly points out, “This road has become a real hub for home solutions – and we now regard this as our flagship store. This, perhaps, reflects our journey over the years. Earlier, I used to think more about individual pieces – so we would have the odd chair or table in a part of the room – and each would be a star piece. Now, I’ve started thinking of composites and what would go with what. Things are now more coordinated, wholesome.”
As a designer Rolly has her own concerns. She admits, “In India I do not feel very challenged as we have been ahead of the curve here. Although in India many feel our designs are exclusive, looking at the West, I realise that they are basic and we have a long way to go.”
Rolly draws inspiration from a variety of sources, primarily travel and architecture. She points out, “While revising our corporate identity for this showroom, we wanted to a stronger art décor sensibility that can go global. What inspires me the most is art deco and the era of the 1920s – I get a high when I work with ebony wood, a material that was popular at that time. That is one reason why we are so excited about going abroad where the appreciation for real, original, high-end design is so much more.”
When I quiz the Gupta girls on how much their sensibility has intruded into their own space, they laughingly admit, “We still live with our parents – we come from a Marwari family. Our father tells us that he cannot relate to our furniture, spaces and homes, and states that he can never be our typical buyer.”
On their almost two-decade long journey, Rolly says, “We have evolved a great deal from where we started. It has often been frustrating for it hasn’t really been what we wanted it to be. But, I’m a big believer of timing and destiny and I think now is the time that we are meant to go out. London will be our first stop and from there, the natural course would be to go to Dubai. After that, let’s leave it to fate to see where we will go.”