An Ahmedabad designer duo which sees art in a chair and sculpture in a stool

Design means different things to different people. At Ahmedabad-based A Cube Inc., design is an attempt to look at furniture, through its diverse forms and textures, as individual sculptural entities.

Set up by brothers Anand and Anuj Ambalal in 2004, the studio showcases their interest in design by customising furniture. Keen to stay away from the trend of mass-produced furniture, the team creates individually crafted pieces that meet the highest standards of quality and aesthetics.

A Cube Inc. strives to ensure that a furniture user gets the experience of “touch” by instilling myriad textures and contours in each individual piece.

Surprisingly, neither Anand nor Anuj have a degree in design; they both studied business administration. Anuj feels that the shift to hardcore design was natural progression. “I was working as an equity researcher when I started questioning my work trajectory,” he says.

Around this time, Anand, his elder brother, had started exporting high-end furniture components to Japan and Denmark. “Prabhudas Mistry, our master craftsman, was looking after the sourcing of materials and carpentry. I decided to join them. One day, we experimented with a chair design. It turned out well and soon we were experimenting big time. Soon, A Cube Inc. was in business!”

Staunchly believing that there's a need to adapt traditional Indian furniture to modern settings and to make imported furniture compatible to local needs, A

Cube Inc. attempts to explore the “Indian-ness” in each piece of furniture through associative forms, feels, texture, material, colours and even postures.

“Furniture, to me, is not just an interior element or an architectural accessory. I see it as an integral part of architecture that can define, create or even transform a spatial experience. I see it as a tool through which one can interpret, alter, control, frame and even transfigure architectural scales,” Anuj says, adding that his aesthetics place importance on the “texture of material and the form that a material takes for emphasising its texture”.

Anuj specially enjoys designing stools, as he finds them “devoid of all formalities” and they provide him with a lot of freedom to play with. “Stools are among the few furniture pieces that can hold spaces even in singularity, almost like sculptures. In fact, when I am designing stools I want them to be sculptures on which one can also sit!” He picks out a few favourites from his studio’s designs:

A Cube Inc. retails from its Ahmedabad studio, but products are often available in two Bangalore-based stores: Pause and Cinnamon. Lamps retail for between Rs. 6,500 and Rs. 60,000 while the furniture is priced between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 65,000.

The studio functions on a zero-stock policy, so all pieces are made only after an order is booked. Apart from choosing from the studio’s pool of designs, clients can also order customised furniture.