Anita Lal, founder and creative director of Good Earth, recently became the first Indian ‘taster’ for Christie’s, the leading international auction house, for its ongoing auction ‘Art from the Islamic and Indian Worlds , including oriental rugs and carpets”. Christie’s Tastemaker Series offers insight into what inspires and drives people whose tastes influence the world of design. Previous fashion designers include famed interior designer André Fu, businesswoman and heiress Aerin Lauder, and fashion designer Peter Copping, whom Oscar de la Renta chose as his successor in 2014.
For this project, Lal has selected his personal favorite pieces from the upcoming sale, some of which will be incorporated into three vignettes alongside selected pieces from Good Earth, which will be displayed on King Street in London.
She spoke to Lounge about what dictated her choices and what constitutes good design:
Is there a common narrative that weaves together the lots you have chosen for this auction? Is there a story you’re trying to tell through these choices?
As a design house outside India, we celebrate all cultural aspects of the sub-continent and this encompasses Vedic, Buddhist, Persian and Mughal inspirations, as well as lands of the famous Silk Road.
The batches I selected enchanted me. The opulent and sumptuous carpets and rugs; the inspiring designs and techniques and the noble provenance of the sale recall our rich cultural past. For me, value lies solely in the visual and emotional appeal of an object, and I treasure things from the smallest handmade ceramic vase to a large sculpture or antique rug and blend them all together. The vocabulary of Islamic design has been an inspiration for many collections at Good Earth and we honor it by creating products rooted in this incredible heritage of craftsmanship in a contemporary context.
Tell us about your association with Christie’s. How did it happen, and is this the first collaboration?
Christie’s has invited me to be the Tastemaker for their upcoming spring sale “Art from the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Oriental Rugs and Carpets”. As a Tastemaker, I had the opportunity to choose my personal favorites from the sale and curate digital vignettes featuring Good Earth products and items I’ve cherished over the years, showcasing the confluence of historical and contemporary design artifacts.
Respect for our heritage guides us in maintaining cultural and design traditions in everything we do. Christie’s shares this vision and it was a pleasure to work with them and to have the opportunity to see these remarkable works of art which showcase craftsmanship and craftsmanship over the centuries.
Although this is the first such collaboration we have done with Christie’s, last year we collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for The Heirloom Project, an initiative led by renowned designer Madeline Weinrib. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Met’s reimagined Islamic wing, we’ve created an exclusive ‘The Blooming Poppies’ capsule collection to pay homage to the iconic poppy. buta.
Tell us something about the individual lots. What are your favorites, and why?
If I had to pick one item from the sale, it would be the Tabriz rug. ‘Van Vaibhav means ‘splendor of the forest’ and is a leitmotif at Good Earth. Flowering trees with birds and animals are a recurring theme in our designs interpreted so exquisitely in this rug. There is an uplifting feeling of being one with nature.
A Tabriz rug from the sale, reimagined in Lal’s house in New Delhi
Other lots that resonated deeply with me include these:
A Picchvai depicting Krishna and musicians, South Rajasthan, India, 19th century, Large painted textile
This textile shows the splendor of the forest; a scene of great joy and celebration during the monsoon with music and dancing peacocks under a cloud-lined rainy sky”.
A painting by Picchvai of the lot
A still life with fruit and a Qajar palace garden, Iran, first half of the 19th century. Painting, oil on canvas
The pomegranate is an integral motif in Eastern cultures symbolizing fertility and abundance. This painting is reminiscent of our latest collection of Bosphorus-inspired dinners and lands around it. Showcasing deep ruby pomegranates in playful arrangements on bowls and plates, it evokes gardens and walks in a dreamlike world of wonder like this Qajar oil painting.
Patterns such as the pomegranate crop up again and again in the collection. Is it a coincidence or a deliberate choice? Why pomegranate? We know that natural patterns pass and go out of style, is it time for pomegranate after pineapple?
the anar or the pomegranate has long been considered sacred and revered as a symbol of fertility, prosperity and abundance. Pomegranates have been grown in Central Asia and the Himalayas for centuries. Bursting with a treasure trove of jewel-like seeds in hues of scarlet and dark red, the anar or pomegranate is associated with the eternity of life in religions and cultures around the world and has remained l one of our sustainable patterns in Good Earth designs.
For our silver anniversary last year, we teamed up with acclaimed British artist Rebecca Campbell for our ‘Pomegranates and Roses’ tableware collection, embodying the pleasure of al fresco dining. The pomegranate is an integral motif in Eastern cultures symbolizing fertility and abundance; and in Western cultures the rose symbolizes love and romance – together they make a powerful romantic combination.
Pomegranate and pineapple are recurring leitmotivs in the world of Good Earth products and appear in our textiles, tableware, wall coverings, etc. In fact, the Tastemaker Room at Christie’s London that Good Earth hosted ahead of the Spring 2022 auction features our Palmyra Damask wallpaper which features both the pomegranate and pineapple pattern, creating an oasis of whimsy and pleasure.
Palmyre Damas wallpaper
What are some of the other big trends you see in home design today?
I don’t follow any trends. For me, true style is when it reflects personal taste with a unique individualistic idea of beauty. I believe that its interior spaces should be created to accommodate the climate and the cultural and social ethos of that particular family. This is what gives the space a unique personal character and real style.
What attracts me to a design or material, besides the obvious aesthetic, is the story it tells, the roots it belongs to and the philosophy and history behind it. Design relevance is all about bringing together influence, technique and functionality to create a product that is loved in all regions. I strongly believe that good design is the result of mindfulness and should connect us in some way.