Talking Tables | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
December 31, 2013

Talking Tables

Text by Shirin Mehta. Realisation by Neha Kajaria and Photographs by Ryan Martis

It is the attention to detail that makes for great dishes – whether rustled up at home with infinite care or in a professional kitchen. Now, get the larger picture – place your perfect meal into perfect platters – the ones that reflect the cuisine and concern that you have bestowed. Larger still – the flawless setting, the impeccable backdrop. Give your meal a context, whether of stylish coordination or quirky mismatch. Go the whole hog, for visuals should always enhance great taste. Maithili Ahluwalia of chic lifestyle boutique Bungalow 8, photographer and furniture designer Shahid Datawala and fashion designer Payal Singhal show you how to lay out a mean meal….

“We created a buffet setting in our eclectic signature style. Believers in the perfection of imperfection, we paired together different genres, materials and shapes to create a unified yet unmatched look.

We began by honing in on a colour scheme and then built the story from there. To give the table a regal quality, we used an old brocade green bedcover as a table cloth and hung an ornate vintage crystal chandelier above the table. We also draped linen saris in hues of burgundy on the walls to give the feeling of overflowing curtains and thereby add to the grandeur of the setting. For table and glassware, we kept things muted and organic, but textured, to craft a subdued yet opulent feel.”

From right of the table: silk patchwork table cover, vintage hand blown green glasses, etched metallic glasses, green ceramic oval bowl, blue-green ceramic bowl, embossed brass paduka, etched metallic plates, ceramic round planter, ceramic triangle planter, green oval planter, ivory hand painted ceramic box, vintage Diya plate (small), vintage Diya plate (large), Ivory hand painted ceramic plates, green vintage trunk (below the table). All from Bungalow 8.

“My whole idea was to show a work in progress…like things that lie around the house, things on a tray, stuff like glasses, water jugs and so on. I wanted to create that kind of an abstraction. Also, the aspect of colour was very important and it had to be incorporated in a harmonious kind of way. Black, white and red are my signature colours, almost….

I have used the cutlery, crockery and glasses from Hermès, a brand that was absolutely my first choice for this. I felt that Hermès has the sensibility in terms of chic and sophistication to work with my sensibilities.”

Playing cards, Iskender Wine Glass, Balcon American Dinner Plate, Balcon Dessert Plate, HTS Cutlery Set, all from Hermès. Chairs from Philippe Starck for Kartell. Red tray from Kartell. Carpet by Rajesh Pratap Singh. Red spectacle frames from Cutler and Gross. White jug and red tumblers from MoMA.

“The table I set out is for a beautiful winter day in December for tea with my girlfriends on my apartment patio. I have collected tableware accessories from all over the world and love shopping at home stores, bazaars and vintage shops and wanted the table to have a warm, eclectic and shabby chic feel. I mixed in textures like the jute table cover with wooden platters and trays and garden flowers with silver dishes, bone china platters and mugs and glasses to create a rustic outdoorsy feel with elegance and sparkle.

I think entertaining is as personal as fashion is for any individual. Everyone definitely has their own style. I like to entertain all the time and am very particular about every detail because I feel all the magic is in the small touches. I also love to create and decorate tables following a theme or mood so that when someone walks into my space, they should ideally feel welcome and special because of that effort made for them.”

Dinner plates, cushion cover, Moroccan lantern and tea set from Good Earth. Cutlery caddy from Elan at the Vintage Garden. Sangria pitcher and cake stand with cover from Bed Bath and Beyond. Hollow stem sangria glasses from a trip to the Hamptons. Salad bowl and spoon and fork from Crate and Barrel. Wooden two-tiered tray from the Summer House at the Vintage Garden. Silver buffet set from Queen England. Tea mugs from Wooden cheese platter used as a tray from

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