One to Watch is Samarkand Design, with Carrie Hart and Hilly Grumbar creating lampshades with a difference.
Words by Emily Martin
Carrie Hart and Hilly Grumbar, Samarkand co-directors, founded their business in 2014. It was an idea born out of not finding what they wanted in the existing market – lampshades that added something special to an interior. ‘We wanted to design lampshades that would enhance a room and act as a focal point just as a painting should,’ says the duo.
Without formal design training, they nevertheless share a deep interest in textiles from around the world. ‘Our shared passion for textiles and artisanal craftsmanship, together with the experience that comes from long careers encompassing costume design in the theatre and film production, have developed our skills,’ they say.
Shibori Silk Lampshade: Samarkand Design was tasked with installing its Shibora Silk Lampshades in the Soho Home Showroom at Turnell & Gigon – Chelsea Harbour Spring – as part of the Chelsea Design Week 2017.
Samarkand’s core business is based on designing lampshades handcrafted either from vintage silk sarees or artisan-dyed cottons and silks, but the business has evolved to include cushions, curtains and other furnishings.
The Garden House: Pictured is a vintage silk saree lampshade and cushion by Samarkand Design for Nicola Harding Interior Design, as seen in The Garden House, Beaverbrook Hotel. The designs complement the hotel’s lovely garden.
Headquartered in a traditional barn in Devon, it’s the unlikely place for a treasure trove full of vintage textiles and accessories.
There you’ll find Indonesian ikat, Swat valley wedding cushions, Banjara embroidery and antique kanthas from Gujarat. ‘We’ve scoured the bazaars of Rajasthan, the hidden alleyways of Old Delhi and the souks of North Africa,’ say Hart and Grumbar.
Boutique Hotel Mumbai: One of Samarkand Design’s latest projects is supplying lightshades for some 50 rooms at this hotel. Lampshades for the boutique hotel are being made at the firm’s Ghaziabad workshop, outside of Delhi.
The vintage silk saree lampshade range remains Samarkand’s leading brand, but a growing area of its business is now based on a bespoke service.
‘The past two years have seen us grow from a tiny start-up to the go-to destination for beautiful and unique lampshades for those in the know,’ they say. ‘We are now supplying some high-profile boutique-hotel chains and a growing band of interior designers in the UK, Europe and the United States.’