Shop Talk

In India, Scarlet Splendour Is Producing Daring Pieces by Top Creators

Richard Hutten Wolk chair in brass
Brother and sister Ashish Bajoria and Suman Kanodia have attracted top talents to create singular pieces for their Kolkata, India–based company, Scarlet Splendour. Above: Matteo Cibic designed the Woman in Paris dressing table as part of the brand’s Vanilla Noir collection. Top: Nika Zupanc’s Orion sofa and lounge chairs and Stella coffee tables in small, medium and large, along with her 88 Secrets Bar in Jade Oro. Photos courtesy of Scarlet Splendour

Thoroughly Indian, but with European accents — it sounds like the description of a winningly eclectic dish on a restaurant menu. But it also describes to Scarlet Splendour, a distinctive furniture and accessories company based in Kolkata, India, but employing some of Europe’s top design talents.

As its name suggests, Scarlet Splendour is far from reserved. There’s a lot of gold and a lot of color in the hundreds of designs available on its 1stdibs storefront, and striking shapes abound. This brand has heart, which it wears on a (gilded) sleeve.

Even as humble a form as a coatrack becomes a Surrealist objet d’art in the firm’s Maldone coat hanger by Italian designer Matteo Cibic, whose two ends are shaped like lightbulbs, or eyeballs, the whole enriched by bone-and-horn-esque inlay.

Founded in 2014,  the company also has an atypical leadership structure: It’s run by brother and sister Ashish Bajoria and Suman Kanodia. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Kanodia, 41, who has also worked as an interior designer. “We know each other’s strengths, and the trust is mutual.”

Ashish Bajoria and Suman Kanodia
Bajoria and Kanodia got the idea for Scarlet Splendour when they were designing Bajoria’s home eight years ago. Photo by Kunal Kampani 

Bajoria, 46, agrees: “I think Scarlet Splendour would not have worked if Suman and I were not together on it.”

“Of course,” adds Kanodia, “there are sibling arguments, but they culminate in positive outcomes.”

One of their many recent positive outcomes resulted from a visit by Humberto Campana, of Brazil’s renowned Campana Brothers design duo, to the Scarlet Splendour booth at a design show in Mumbai last year.

A home in Mumbai features Zupanc’s Orio chair in green velvet. Photo by Suleiman Merchant, styled by Samir Wadekar

“He saw our pieces, our quality and simply said, ‘I would like to design for Scarlet Splendour,’ ” Kanodia recalls. “That was lovely, and I hope it happens soon.”

The key to eliciting reactions like that, she says, is the company’s knack for combining “luxury, style and elegance with a contemporary, fun, sometimes pop aesthetic.

The idea for Scarlet Splendour grew out of Bajoria’s experience designing his own Kolkata home about eight years ago. This entailed many purchases from 1stdibs, including some French gilded sconces and an old Dutch console. “I was searching for furniture and artifacts and art and antiques from all over the world,” says Bajoria, who also runs the family engineering business, JD Jones, overseeing some 350 employees.  

As he and his sister worked on the home, they had a thought: “What if we produced pieces that showcase to the world things that make us happy, are super luxurious and are handcrafted in a way that can withstand the test of time?” he recalls, adding, “I want to be able to hand them down to my kids and grandkids.”

Notable Items by Scarlet Splendour

Ciuco brass donkey cabinet by Matteo Cibic

This home in Mumbai features a Ciuco brass donkey cabinet by Matteo Cibic. All slideshow photos by Suleiman Merchant, styled by Samir Wadekar, unless otherwise noted

The Bijou stool in Rosso and Playhouse cabinet are both by Cibic.

The Glee side table, styled as a stool, is part of Scarlet Splendour’s Fools’ Gold Collection. The amorphous forms, cast in brass, are a tribute to India’s heritage of metal craftsmanship.

And so Scarlet Splendour was born. One of the early turning points for the company happened, fittingly for its aesthetic, in Italy. 

“I’m a big collector of ceramics,” says Bajoria. “We were in Milan in a shop admiring some, and I said, ‘I’d love to meet the designer.’ And they said, ‘He’s here.’ ” 

The designer in question was Cibic — the multitalented nephew of Memphis Milano pioneer Aldo Cibic, who has taken the world by storm with his inventive approach to many media. He became fast friends with the brother and sister. Cibic came to India on an extensive tour of the country looking for materials, artisans and inspiration. He found them, and he has now designed some 80 pieces for Scarlet Splendour, with 20 more in the pipeline.


In the company’s embrace of color there is something fundamentally Indian, a culture characterized by saturated, vibrant hues.


Most of the furniture offered by Kanodia and Bajoria — like Nika Zupanc’s snazzy Orion chair in gold Oro — is made in Kolkata by Scarlet Splendour’s specially trained artisans. “Indigenous craftsmanship is part of what makes us special,” says Kanodia.

Bajoria has divided the workers up into something resembling medieval guilds. “One team does fiberglass work with a lot of clay modeling, one does steel welding, another does brass finishing and polishing, and a fourth team does complex carpentry,” he explains.

The lighting is the only line made in Italy. “They specialize in the dying arts of glass blowing and gold painting,” Bajoria says of the Italian craftsmen, “and the work is so good.”

This is a brand with a decidedly international outlook. “We want to increase our collaborations with designers from different parts of the world and take our brand to every part of the globe,” says Kanodia. “Starting from our store at home — Teatro Scarlet, in Kolkata — we are looking at opening studios in different cities every year.”

This Mumbai home features Zupanc’s Orion chairsin gray velvet. Photo by Suleiman Merchant, styled by Samir Wadekar

In the company’s embrace of color — just check out the deep red curves of Dario Contessotto’s Cirrus sofa in wine — there is something fundamentally Indian, a culture characterized by saturated, vibrant hues.

“We were born with a color sense and brought up with a lot of art around us,” says Bajoria. “Our mother exposed us to the best artisans and the best art teachers. I learned carpentry when I was eight, and I made a huge cabinet when I was about nine or ten. My sister has a jewelry box that I made when I was ten years old — it still works perfectly.”

Strings Cabinet Gold by Nika Zupanc
Scarlet Splendour designed this apartment in Russia, whose master bedroom showcases Nika Zupanc’s Strings cabinet in gold. Photo courtesy of Scarlet Splendour

This artistic background has helped them connect with the designers they work with, like Richard Hutten, who created the Wolk chair in brass. (Imagine a seat in the middle of a spray of champagne bubbles.)

“We allow them to literally dream and not look at the commercial angle of the piece,” says Bajoria, “and these radical designs just come out of them.”


Suman Kanodia and Ashish Bajoria’s Quick Picks

Nika Zupanc 88 Secrets Bar Verde Oro, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour
Shop Now
Nika Zupanc 88 Secrets Bar Verde Oro, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour

“A showstopper by Nika Zupanc that marries wood and metal, two tough materials in which to produce a dainty design gem of our times” — Suman Kanodia

<i>And Then Vermillion</i>, 2013, by Takashi Murakami, offered by Modern Art Etc., Inc.
Shop Now
And Then Vermillion, 2013, by Takashi Murakami, offered by Modern Art Etc., Inc.

“I have been longing to buy a Murakami ever since I saw his exhibition at the Guggenheim in Bilbao several years ago.” — Ashish Bajoria

Richard Hutten Wolk chair in brass, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour
Shop Now
Richard Hutten Wolk chair in brass, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour

“Richard Hutten’s classic masterpiece in brass, ethereal in form and ergonomically perfect” — S.K.

Matteo Cibic General study table, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour
Shop Now
Matteo Cibic General study table, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour

“This study table by Matteo Cibi is from the Vanilla Noir collection, which has introduced new trends in furniture design in the last half decade.” — S.K.

Katie Stout Sitting Girl floor lamp, 2018, offered by R & Company
Shop Now
Katie Stout Sitting Girl floor lamp, 2018, offered by R & Company

“Katie Stout’s work is full of humor, and I love the gilded touches in this one, an exceptional find.” — S.K.

<i>Airmail (Gold)</i>, 1968, by Roy Lichtenstein, offered by Art Commerce
Shop Now
Airmail (Gold), 1968, by Roy Lichtenstein, offered by Art Commerce

“1stdibs is a great platform to pick up an iconic artist like Roy Lichtenstein — and to locate an affordable piece like this one!” — A.B.

Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa in emerald green velvet, 1970–79, offered by Morentz
Shop Now
Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa in emerald green velvet, 1970–79, offered by Morentz

“1stdibs provides us with the opportunity to pick up Mario Bellini!” — A.B.

Matteo Cibic Ciuco brass donkey cabinet, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour
Shop Now
Matteo Cibic Ciuco brass donkey cabinet, new, offered by Scarlet Splendour

“Matteo Cibic’s lovable donkey comes alive in a sculptural cabinet, a testimony to pop luxury.” — S.K.

Gufram x Moschino Biker cabinet, new, offered by Gufram
Shop Now
Gufram x Moschino Biker cabinet, new, offered by Gufram

“I love both the brands. I would love to own a cool collaboration piece like this for my home.” — A.B.

Neha Dani Parisa earrings, new, offered by Macklowe Gallery Jewelry
Shop Now
Neha Dani Parisa earrings, new, offered by Macklowe Gallery Jewelry

“Exquisite craftsmanship from India in stunning modern jewelry.” — S.K.

Ettore Sottsass Ultrafragola mirror, 2019, offered by Urban Architecture Inc.
Shop Now
Ettore Sottsass Ultrafragola mirror, 2019, offered by Urban Architecture Inc.

“It’s a treat to see so many of Ettore Sottsass’s works here, and this mirror could have been designed today!” — S.K.

Versace Spring/Summer 2020 jungle-print finale dress, as seen on Jennifer Lopez, 21st century, Exquisite Finds
Shop Now
Versace Spring/Summer 2020 jungle-print finale dress, as seen on Jennifer Lopez, 21st century, Exquisite Finds

“The availability of the most sensational dress of this decade on 1stdibs is great timing — impressive!” — S.K.

Loading next story…

No more stories to load; check out The Study.

No more stories to load; check out The Study.