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India

India’s prosperity has a long history that dates back to the cessation of the Roman Empire. From the 15th century onwards, with the rise of the Mughal Empire in India, merchants began bringing back stories of the magnificence of the Mughal court, which piqued the interest of the West. This led to an increasing fascination with Indian goods and designs, and a cross-fertilization of influences between East and West in the realm of design and interiors.

Indian goods, including textiles, furniture, and objects, began to make their way to Europe through trade routes and colonial connections. The exotic allure of Indian design, characterized by intricate craftsmanship, vibrant colors, and rich materials, captivated the Western imagination and had a profound influence on Western wares. Indian textiles, such as intricate woven silks, chintz, and block-printed cottons, were highly sought after in Europe and became popular for clothing, upholstery, and interior decoration. The vivid colors, complex patterns, and luxurious materials of Indian textiles influenced European textile design and fashion, and their popularity spread rapidly.

Indian furniture and objects also made their mark on Western design. Indian furniture, with its intricate carving, bold forms, and opulent materials, inspired European furniture makers and designers. Indian decorative objects, such as metalwork, ceramics, and wood carvings, were highly valued for their exquisite craftsmanship and unique aesthetic, and they found their way into European interiors as exotic additions. Indian motifs, such as floral and geometric patterns, and architectural elements, like arches and domes, were also incorporated into Western design, particularly during the colonial era.

The reciprocal exchange of design influences between East and West continued to evolve with the colonization of India by European powers in the 16th century onwards. This resulted in a blending of Indian and European design elements, materials, and techniques, creating a unique fusion of styles known as Indo-European or Anglo-Indian design. This cross-fertilization of design ideas and techniques can be seen in various aspects of Indian design and interiors, including furniture, textiles, architecture, and decorative arts.

The history of Indian design and interiors from the 16th century to the present day reflects a rich and complex interplay between East and West, with Indian goods and designs influencing Western wares and vice versa. This cross-cultural exchange has resulted in a unique and diverse design heritage that continues to inspire and influence contemporary design and interiors in both India and the West.

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