Have you ever had one of those moments where you sit back and think, I really want a vintage suitcase that doubles as a table top? Singapore-based sisters from India, Pooja Kapur and Shabri Malik, probably have. The duo has started a store, Benares, that sells exactly that, amongst other eclectic items. But more than just a typical lifestyle store, Benares is also meant to be a platform for young and emerging designers to flaunt their creativity. After all, "good karma comes back as good design", the sisters believe.
Their vision for Benares is a blend of "the mystique of old India", with the contemporary style of their home country's modern design talents. Each product on the shelves of Benares comes with its own unique story, originating from its own provenance. It is soulful and eclectic and is "a far cry from the 'Bollywood kitsch' that is so often associated with Indian design".
As always, everything a matter of taste, but here are a few items from Benares you should definitely take a closer look at.
The trunk table, made out of leather and tetron, doubles up as a handy storage box. It's perfect as a centerpiece in the living room, or with a lampshade on it if you're not planning to use it for short term storage.
The trunk table also comes in black and green, and retails for S$389.
The regular trunk does not come in table form, but is definitely better off for actual traveling use. It is canvas-lined and even has interior pockets for stowing away those nifty things you don't want to lose in the bottom of a suitcase. Classic leather, tetron and canvas make for a sturdy and hopefully not-too-heavy trunk.
It comes in sunshine yellow and green, as well as two different sizes, retailing at S$339 (bird not inclusive).
Streetwise Laptop Bag
Benares' series of Streetwise Laptop Bags feature a slice of colonial Indian history with photographic prints on canvas, and are pretty neat, not to mention eye-catching. There is even a contemporary classic leather range that includes iPad cases and wallets for those with more reserved tastes. These make for a great gift, that is, if you're not looking for one for yourself.
The Streetwise Laptop Bags retail at S$299.
The Benares store is located at ION Orchard Level 4, No. 2 Orchard Turn, #04-03, Singapore 238801.