If you type Ananya, probably the one you are going to find will be the starkid. However, for home décor enthusiasts on YouTube and Instagram, the name reminds of an engaging digital avatar: "Interior Maata”.
With over 60K Instagram followers and 525K YouTube subscribers, Interior Maata is the digital identity of designer Ananya Bhattacharjee which not just engages her followers but has also been collaborating with a lot of brands as well.
Ananya is a big fan of modern rococo art, but she admits Indian vintage is still her fascination. As she puts it: Some designs are timeless. But with a quirky name for her digital avatar, we were intrigued to ask ‘why’.
Bursting into a laugh, she says, "I actually have a simple story behind it. I wanted my brand to be a Fusion, and Interior Maata seemed to be a good choice." The choice of name did make a lot of difference as it connected her to a wider audience base.
However, many of her followers don’t know that Interior Designing wasn’t her first love. "I wanted to become an Architect. But my parents never understood and introduced me to electrical engineering instead,” she recollects.
Ananya was determined. "When I shifted to Kolkata for my engineering degree for the first time in my life, I had an opportunity to plan and mould my life the way I wanted,” she says.
However, she wasn’t going to let her dream to be an interior designer and more importantly a digital content creator in the space of design to crumble under any challenge. "After having a not so good experience in engineering college, I started doing research and learnt about interior designing. It was fascinating for me that one could do with this field. So, I started reading more about it, from different interior styles from around the world to the story of top designers. I have binge researched the internet. Crossword bookstore had 6-7 books on interior designing, I used to spend my weekends reading them. By the second year of my college, I was sure that I wanted to become an interior designer,” she adds.
Even though she preferred to take a formal degree, Ananya isn’t entirely against the idea of people joining the field sans a degree. "Art and creativity do not need any educational affiliation, I know a lot of great interior stylists from different backgrounds and they are doing excellent work. But again to understand about measurements, elevation and design we use software like CAD & 3D max which a technical requirement of this field. If you want to be a good interior designer and learn the technical part of it, it’s better to get a degree or diploma,” she says.
In 2014, finally, Ananya started her studio in Kolkata, and soon she earned her first project. "I was really young when I started my company…I had this wonderful client who wanted his home to be different from others. Little did I know, from all the designers he met, I was the one who tried something new. We made this beautiful prayer room with full-length glass all sides surrounded by greens, I installed a fountain inside and a hand-carved Buddha murti to finish it all,” she recollects.
Albeit, she recollects that the journey wasn’t an easy one. "Though everything was going okay, it was a huge pressure for me… it was my inexperience to handle 20,000 sqft duplex at that young age. Soon, I started facing many medical issues because of workload. Eventually, I was advised to take a break and relax from work by doctors. I finished that project, though,” she adds.
Thereon, it was a roller-coaster but a fruitful ride, which she recently revealed in a recent Instagram post on her account.
Ananya's qualifies her style as Trad-Mo which stands for a combination of Traditional Indian and Modern minimal. "This is a style for millennials. Most of us like the simple minimal modern design but at the same time, our core is Indian. With the busy life, we want some simple designs that can be easily maintained. We don’t hold into age-old items that our parents use to do; thus, minimal designs make total sense for us. At the same time, we all love that one antique mirror or an age-old vintage armchair that can bring that Indian part of our home alive. If you think practically, minimal maintenance is required for Trad-Mo. It’s an idea of an open bright space with minimum furniture that you only need and then an Indian corner were you have your roots; that’s when you know you are in the right space,” she explains.
So in brevity, the principal to follow in this style is to create a space with a minimal thing, not overloaded with furniture. She affirms, "Yes, pure modern aesthetics with an age-old Indian corner/area in it. Every time you reach that traditional space, the time should hold still.”
"I am a firm believer in sustainable Home Decor, there is always will be a sustainable part in my videos. I always recommend using as many environmentally friendly products you can; use solid wood, bamboo and cane furniture more. Reduce the plastic use on sites, and lastly try to reuse all the existing furniture in the design. You can shop from your local kabari (scrap dealer), you never know what you will find!”
She quickly interjects to push in a request, "Please remember to skip unnecessary decorative, use sustainable products, and add a lot of plants. Oh! And one more thing: Use Brass items as much as you can.” In fact, ask what is her pet peeve, and she says, "Overdoing things. Your home is not a hotel. Please don’t treat like one.”
And don't forget to watch her latest YouTube Series called Ghar Ek Sapna.