Pune Inc: With a new initiative, an urban design firm seeks to disrupt the way people use indoor spaces

Pune-based Imagination Inc’s solution to the traditional mindset, where decorating a home and commercial establishments like shops is done by the owners with a little help from magazines and social media feed, is to take aggressive action to bring the design to potential customers. Its most important initiative allows people to avail all the company’s designs, have free consultations and understand the need for interior design.

“Our point is that art and design are important factors in making a home worth living in. We focus on ambitious homes, where we would like people to get rid of the idea that designers of interior are unaffordable and reserved for the elite. We would like to create an attitude among people that interior design is important no matter the size of your home,” says Shriya Kolte, Founder and CIO of Imagination Inc.

“We are taking steps to increase our reach and look at conversion. A lot of people are afraid to even approach designers for fear of what we will charge,” says Kolte.

The real estate market in India has been healthy in residential and commercial sectors despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the global economy.

Abhishiekh Andlay, founder of Andlay Estates, writes in Construction Week: “The momentum in the real estate sector is visible in the real estate index, which rose by 75%, beating the benchmark Nifty50. It is predicted that by 2030, India will be the third largest real estate market in the world. The Indian government’s own estimates suggest that the real estate market will reach a market size of $1 trillion by 2030, contributing around 18-20% of India’s GDP.

Fittingly, the home decor market, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com, is expected to reach $39.44 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 4.18%.

What Imagination Inc relies on is knowledge of technology. They’ve introduced systems into homes where a range of actions, from turning on the geyser to adjusting a home’s temperature, can be performed from your tablet, before you even get home. For some customers they put in basic lights that turn on if a child or grandparent wants to use the restroom at night. In one store, they used touchscreen and communication-based apps that promise customers a hands-on experience.

“A lot is possible with technology, which is tailored to the needs of each customer,” says Kolte.

The pandemic has increased the demand for companies such as Imagination Inc as people have started to prefer multi-purpose spaces as they spend so much time at home. Spaces had to stretch and adapt, from an WFH office to a bedroom to a children’s playroom – and the age-old practice of DIY had no suitable answers. One of Imagination Inc’s clients lives in Mumbai and wanted a bedroom that would double as a play area for the kids. The company used a Murphy bed which, when folded up, left the space free for the children to run around and play games.

“There’s a lot of research behind this, on how to get the mechanism right and the design right. It’s interesting to use every nook and cranny of the space for multiple functions,” says Kolte, adding that the studio has completed over 300 homes and is set to expand to other countries.

Imagination Inc takes clients from a BHK and duplexes to boutiques to stores. “A home should be functional, and with exciting wallpapers and laminates on the market, it doesn’t have to be unaffordable,” adds Kolte.

Laura J. Boyer