Spaces are charged with an immutable history and contain within them an inevitable destiny. The Great Eastern Home journey originates in one such space in the heart of central Mumbai's textile district; in fact, within the precincts of an erstwhile textile mill – The New Great Eastern Mills, founded in the year 1839. While the spindles have long ceased to rotate, and the staccato rhythm of looms fusing warp with weft are only a distant memory, the chimney – that proud sentinel and iconic symbol of a bygone era – still stands tall.
Establishing a store purveying fine furniture, art and collectibles in what once were warehouses, is a marked study in contrasts, and speaks volumes about preserving an architectural idiom that is all but lost to the stifling homogeneity of cement-steel-glass malls. High ceilings, aged wooden beams, cast-iron columns and exposed brick and stonewalls restored with minimal intervention, present a charming backdrop to a magnificent ensemble. All of this instills an overarching feeling of stepping into a delightful world of treasures.
The offering in the Store only serves to heighten this evocative mood. As you browse, your gaze is compelled to take in a multitude of fine objects in one sweep, while tempted to linger over every single detail in a leisurely way. Look up, and richly gilded and coloured glass chandeliers twinkle beckoningly amidst intricately carved ceiling panels; look around and your eyes travel across centuries of styles arrayed in eclectic harmony; a splendid example of a collection curated with passion and a flair for visualizing the unconventional. The grandeur of Baroque, the glamour of the French style, the nature-inspired exuberance of Art Nouveau, the subtle grace of Art Deco, and the timeless appeal of the Colonial style are among those that find expression in the fine furniture showcased.
In an age where luxury is often mass-produced, what strikes you is the exquisite craftsmanship and finesse that has gone into creating these pieces. From the selection of wood, to the stylistic demands of proportions, to the actual crafting techniques and processes, right down to the polish and finishing, it is as much about a design revival celebrating elegance and opulence, as it is about imbuing each piece with a bespoke character that transcends the limiting boundaries of trends. Working together with architects and designers of international repute has broadened the creative bandwidth, making way for modern interpretations of classical styles to suit contemporary preferences.
This pluralistic design philosophy embracing hybrid influences is equally evident in The Great Eastern Home's extensive portfolio of home accents and collectibles.
Fine art forms an integral part of the offering too, as The Great Eastern Home takes pride in providing a much-needed fillip to young artists of exceptional talent from across India and the neighbouring countries. Besides on-going promotion of artworks, the Store offers artists, photographers and sculptors the space to exhibit their works as part of curated shows, allowing for exposure and engagement with viewers and buyers alike.
While the flagship Store at Byculla continues to re-invent itself, The Great Eastern Home brand is reaching out. In January 2013, the second store opened its doors in a booming suburb of north-Mumbai. Exciting plans are in the offing to establish a presence in select cities, as well as connect with other premium brands for joint events that offer unique experiences to discerning audiences who value provenance, history, heritage, aesthetics and soulfulness, above all else.