IN CONVERSATION WITH: ISHRAT SAHGAL OF MISHCAT CO.
We recently had the pleasure of meeting Ishrat Sahgal at a beautiful house she’s currently designing. Founder of Mishcat Co, a design house in Delhi with an interior consultancy, Ishrat uses the carpet as an art piece and starting point to curating an entire space. We absolutely love her luminous, colourful rugs and got to talking about how she started her company, her design philosophy, latest projects and her personal style!
Tell us about Mishcat Co. What inspired you to move to Delhi from New York and set up your own design house?
After working in New York, I always sort of knew I wanted to move back at some point. After founding my own interior practice in New Delhi in 2013, Mishcat Co was an organic process. The idea is to change the way people view the process of buying a carpet; To disrupt the idea of the rug is an afterthought, a hand me down or avoidable altogether, instead, looking at it as a starting point to designing a room. We help you through our complimentary design consultancy, where our designers help you curate an entire look, catering to your space – upholstery, paint colours, throw pillows and the works.
What’s your design philosophy? Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and the materials you like to work with?
Just as a wall is a canvas to a piece of art, the floor is a canvas to each of our pieces, thus holding true to our design philosophy of “Floor Art”. We work a lot with sari silk – leftover silk yarn collected from independent weavers in the South. It really is a fascinating material, luminous and inspiring in itself, mixed with bits of chaired, gota and such. Different yarn mixes are available at different times, which is part of our creative process. We can never really replicate any rug exactly, making each design a one of a kind piece.
Our design process is a collaborative one. Our weavers share with us as much inspiration, sketches and doodles as we share with them and we wouldn’t have it any other way! We look for inspiration within India, from large-scale architecture to a little piece of an ancient textile; from a landscape to the wrinkles on the hands of a potter. We share a lot of these on our Instagram (@mishcatco), and will soon have a section for this on our new website.
We’re in love with how colourful and fun your rugs are. Do you design for a specific customer in mind?
Thank you! We don’t actually design keeping a specific customer in mind. We are constantly evolving and a lot of our patterns and colour palettes are experimental and bold. Truth be told, at the time of making a new palette or colourway, we have no idea if it will work or not – but we kind of do it anyway! Changing people’s mindsets is never easy, but we make what we love and I think that love shines through. So far, it has worked and we have been super lucky. I always tell people Mishcat Co truly has the loveliest clients who appreciate what we do as much as we enjoy doing it.
What are the 3 essential pieces in your wardrobe? Being a creative professional and always on the go, what do you look for when shopping for workwear? How would you describe your personal style?
I don’t know about 3 essential pieces, but I love shirtdresses, differently styled white tees/shirts and oversized pants; Super comfy silhouettes with great cuts and fabrics. I love outfits that easily transcend from night today. So ANOMALY fits straight into that:) Lately, I have developed a weakness for sneakers, so I wear a lot of those to work. VegNonVeg has a fabulous collection. I also have days where I love wearing Indian, especially when I am on site.
How are trying to incorporate transparency and sustainability in your brand, if at all?
We work with a network of independent weavers and artisans who are very much a part of both our creative and production processes. Our sari silk yarn is leftover yarn, thus it is eco-friendly. We try and incorporate transparency and sustainability in every facet of our brand, from sharing our inspirations to sharing images of our creative process.
We absolutely love this space you’ve designed! Can you tell us a bit about some of the interiors projects you’re currently working on?
Thank you! This project is very close to my heart. I’ve been working on it for a while and is for one of my closest friends. We’ve put a lot of thought into it together. The idea is for every room and space in this house to tell a very personal story. The gym and basketball court are my favourite spaces. Besides this, I am working on a menswear store for Rohit Bal with my partner Ankush; An indoor garden restaurant in Chandigarh for ITC and 3-4 more residential spaces in addition to some fun projects in the next year which will be signed soon.
What’s next for Mishcat Co?
Eventually, I would love for Mishcat Co to be a global one-stop-shop for curated, contemporary design with deep-rooted Indian craft sensibilities, of course, with the main focus being the carpet. For now, we are focusing on expanding our product lines and offering new collections with different materials.
Thank you so much, Ishrat for such a fun shoot, sharing your inspiring story and this beautiful space you’ve designed!
Photography: Tenzin Laghlayal (@tenlhagyal)