In Hyderabad, the city that spells timeless elegance, the first-ever curated show of fine furniture, colourful art and elegant home accents was recently presented by Taj Khazana along with The Great Eastern Home. When I arrive in the city renowned for its nawabs, I am swiftly driven out to the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, where a horse-drawn carriage awaits me.
A few relaxing hours later, I am escorted to where the international architect-designer Alexander Dolea is all set to begin the curated walk. We start at the Taj Khazana, the chain of luxury lifestyle stores by The Taj Group of Hotels, to experience the eclectic mix of offerings in a collection that ranged from classic French, English, Italian and Chinese to Art Deco.
As we walk around for almost an hour and a half, I am glad I have my sensible shoes on, as Doleo passionately ‘unveils’ each fine thing. Along with the other invitees, I listen intently as he gives a sensitive, informed narrative on the origin of each piece. His attention to detail speaks volumes about his work in the forefront of furniture design and trends in Europe. As he speaks, stopping at individual pieces, his luxury aesthetic is evidenced in his words.
The timeless masterpieces like the Chinese Bridal Beds are instant show-stoppers. Apart from these, we stop to take a closer look at the Paranoiac set – a classic example of Napoleon I Retour d’Egypt fashion, the Ottoman cabinet inspired from the late Ottoman period (19th century) and the French Pedestal, a fine gold-leaf work of the French period of the 1700s.
We climb up and down grand stairways, walk in and out of expansive rooms and through verandahs. All through, we also take in the grandeur of the Coronation Hall and the inviting spaces of the Jade Terrace, the Rajasthani Garden, various courtyards, garden spaces and the Zenana courtyard.
Sarita Hegde Roy, Chief Operating Officer, Taj Khazana said, “We extended our scope to include fine furniture. When the store opened along with the Taj Falaknuma Palace, there were many queries from guests, to acquire reproductions of some of the original pieces showcased at Taj Khazana. Finding the right partner to deliver that need of fine craftsmanship ended with the Great Eastern Home.” The Great Eastern Home, spearheaded by Dr Anurag Kanoria, MD, is a destination store; spread over 60,000 feet in one of Bombay city’s oldest textile mills. It houses not only a collection of fine furniture, decorative arts, antiques and home accessories but also its own design studio comprising of an international team of designers, decorators and architects. He said, “The Grand Trunk Show was a huge event in terms of the logistics and planning.”
Roy adds, “Former royalty, including the Nizam of Hyderabad, had their palaces embellished with designs inspired predominantly by England, France, China and Italy. Other than their many travels across the world, to acquire and commission custom made furniture and collectibles, the Silk road and the Grand Trunk road, were the main thoroughfares for trade.”
And, in the present day, The Grand Trunk Show wove its magic not just in Hyderabad but in New Delhi as well. It is expected to come to Mumbai later this year in October as part of their “110 years of Taj in bay” celebrations, recreating the magic of fine living in the days of the Raj.