Mili, from the hindi word मिलन (milān) meaning union, was conceptualised as a range for modern newly-married couples that have recently moved to the city. This was my first project with Furlenco, a furniture rental firm based in Bangalore, India.
The furniture range consists of functional, compact furniture to comfortably fit into even the smallest of spaces. Mili is modular and multi-functional, thus giving users maximum freedom through versatile design. Bright colours and light stains help to brighten up the home, bringing new life to every inch of space.
It includes furniture for 3 spaces - Living, Dining and Bedroom.
The living room is a public space to entertain guests and relatives, but also a space the couple would spend time together eating meals, watching TV, or relaxing. This meant the furniture had to be versatile enough to suit both situations.
The living room furniture I designed consists of a modular L shaped couch with a square coffee table. The couch is designed such that it can be arranged in 5 different configurations as shown below, depending on the situation and need.
The set comes in two combinations, teal - teak, and grey - walnut (also called Mili Dvi couch).
The dining room is a space that is in the centre of the home, where a lot of activities apart from eating meals take place. Young couples might bring home work and sit together and work. Sorting of bills and papers would take place here as well. The kitchen table is often used to keep items like pickles, jams and other condiments as well. It might become a dumping ground for chargers, stationery, etc as well. Although the couple's daily meals might take place in the living room in front of the TV, more formal meals with family and colleagues would still take place at a table.
The furniture I designed was meant to meet all these versatile needs of the couple. The square table that comes with two upholstered chairs and benches is comfortable, young and lively. The table has two large drawers on either side to store knick-knacks, stationery, magazines, cords and cables but also cutlery, condiment sachets, napkins, etc. A side unit acts as additional storage for files and books. It can be used both horizontally and vertically, and has a movable wooden drawer.
Since the dining package was a slow moving item, it was decided to repurpose the same table with just two chairs and the side unit acting as a small book shelf. It was called the Mili workstation package. This appealed to many youngsters living in the city who needed a larger study table.
The bedroom is a private space for the couple. This is where they spend intimate moments together, rest and relax. It is also a space where they store most of their belongings. In smaller homes, bedrooms are mostly tight spaces, and extra wardrobes and bedside tables can be a luxury. It becomes hard to find place for personalised items like photographs and trinkets.
To add functionality to the bed, I designed the Mili bed with a storage headboard. It has two cubby holes on either side to keep smaller possessions like books, glasses, waterbottles and cellphones at night. It has an upholstered flap, that opens to reveal a slim storage area, for extra blankets and cushions. The surface on top provides space to keep lamps, photo frames and other memorabilia. A large storage drawer on castors fits snug below the bed, for extra clothing and bedding.
I designed a second version of the bed called Mili Dvi (meaning two in sanskrit) to give the customers more choice. It uses the same structure of the first bed but has a different headboard. Although it does not have the same kind of functionality as the Mili bed, the tufted design of the headboard and walnut stain aim at giving it a more luxurious appearance, fit for a master bedroom.
The Mili range was entered in the Design Excellence Awards 2015 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It reached the second round of elimination in the Industrial Design - Architectural and Interior Design category, but unfortunately did not win the first prize. The products were praised for their practicality and usability, as well as their young, quirky nature.
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Sketches and Prototyping
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