Reeta Gyamlani Creates Furniture with a Special Connection

Jul/19/2020 / by seemadmin

Multi-faceted and ever-growing, Reeta Gyamlani, co-founder of Farrago Design, a New York-based furniture and design boutique, creates beautiful, custom furniture pieces for interior designers and architects. Her success stems from embracing her connection to each furniture piece she creates — pieces that incorporate beautiful materials such as camel bone, horn, stone, shells, mother of pearl, aluminum, and sustainably sourced wood.

An Early Love of Design

Gyamlani fell in love with interior design and the art of decorating as a young child growing up in Mumbai, India. She shared a story with SEEMA about how she would marvel at how her mother would organize her home’s furniture to adapt to different scenarios. For Gyamlani, experiencing how a simple rearrangement of furniture could totally change the dynamics of how people interact was a game-changer.

“To me, furniture is beautiful. It isn’t about its utilitarian purpose, but also how it can change the emotional dynamics of those using them,” she explains. Thinking about it makes perfect sense: When your living room has a setting with two solo accent chairs, the conversations happening are entirely different from those happening at a three-seat couch — the dynamics are simply not the same.

As a young child in India, like many others, Gyamlani wasn’t interested in what most parents would agree to be a traditional career — becoming, say, a doctor or an engineer. Despite being influenced by the craftsmanship created around her, there wasn’t one person guiding her through this industry. Instead, she found a mentor and a kindred spirit in a most unexpected person: her landlord.

When Gyamlani moved to New York City to pursue her Master’s in Furniture Design and Design Management at Pratt Institute, her landlord, Arthur Ermelino and his wife, Rita, shared a passion for quality craftsmanship. What started as a renter/landlord relationship developed into a mentor/mentee dynamic that was more than a partnership. It was family. “More than business advice or mentorship, Arthur guided me through life, especially as a young businesswoman. He was almost like a father, and to this day his memories live through every Farrago Design creation,” Gyamlani tells SEEMA.

A Dedication to Craftsmanship

These days, Gyamlani’s workday isn’t like everyone else’s. Between showroom exhibits and marketing presentations, she also works with a Rajasthani family in India, who have passed down the traditional craft of inlaid furniture for almost five generations. “You’ll easily find me at 1:30 in the morning, sending faxes to my workshop back in India,” Gyamlani says.

There’s no doubt that her Indian roots are present in every piece Gyamlani creates, but so is her American influence. Living in India, she was able to connect with people and see the details and passion they pour in everything they do. She values the devotion to tradition and quality of the small family workshop she works with. These are things that she strives to infuse into every piece of furniture she creates, and in every interior setting she envisions.

furnitureLike many interior designers, the current COVID-19 pandemic and the way the world has shifted has led Gyamlani to reconsider her inspiration and goals. “You could say my goals previous to this were healthy financial ones, but today, they feel more emotional to me,” she explains. For her, this time is about understanding how her products can improve someone’s life. While her mission has always been to create pieces that inspire comfort and love, today, they should also incorporate safety. “It’s important to train your brain to think differently and to adapt to see how you can improve someone’s life through your work,” she says.

Looking Ahead

If Gyamlani could share one piece of advice with young women today would be to “not take it so seriously.” When people are worried about making sure everything is perfect, they lose the joy. One more recommendation would be to not corner yourself: “Don’t be afraid to be multi-faceted, you can do other things.”

Looking into the future, Gyamlani hopes to explore new ways of looking at furniture. In other words, how she can design products that adapt to the new normal. Perhaps dining tables are more extended, or maybe designers consider furniture arrangements with social distancing in mind. It’s all about re-evaluating and transforming the showroom experience so it can reach people everywhere.

In the meantime, Gyamlani continues to dream, cherishing the joy in her work and hoping to inspire others to live fully through her designs and experiences. Today, you might find her learning a new recipe, rearranging her furniture, and hoping to open her home to entertaining just one more time for her friends and family.

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