Sarah Najmi Bilgrami of YOC’A talks to Fashion Central

1) How is YOC’A different from other furniture and interior houses?

The word YOC’A itself is a definition of our entire philosophy; expanded as The Young Collective Artists, we challenge ourselves to deliver contemporary and sophisticated designs that are a direct result of a cohesive process. We work as a team steep in varying ideas allowing our products to be a culmination of multiple inspirations.

The term “couture” is being presented through our showcased furniture lines or custom-designed furniture; our approach is to understand the current trends, in both the international and local markets and work with developing designs. This allows us to cater to a variety of clientele and thus, reinforcing our presence as Pakistan’s only home couture brand.

We also take pride in recreating the whole retail experience. We pay special attention to details in the showroom and displays, down to our personal and unique relationship with every individual client.

2) What would be your recommendation for “what to do first” in a decorating project?

First and foremost, I highly recommend that anyone who wants an interior designed should seek professional consultation from interior experts. It is important to feel and understand which shoe best fits one’s requirements and aesthetic needs. 

At the beginning of a project, we ask our clients to write down their exact requirements, likes and dislikes. If there are multiple clients to a project, we encourage separate lists, and then try to work on coming to some sort of middle ground. This process encourages and makes for a successful professional/client relationship.

3) What tips do you have for decorating a room for a baby or young child?

The common denominator in all types of interior design is that it must withstand time. We need to remember that children grow older in a short span of time. So we encourage the balance between simple and mature furniture played up with colorful elements such as lamps or cushions. A limited use of colors will stand out more and will be appropriate for the child at different stages. We also recommend eliminating the notion of themes, as they can be outgrown easily.

Secondly, practicality of furniture design is paramount. Pieces that have multiple functions make rooms child-friendly and efficient.

4) What advice do you have for someone with a new house to decorate on perhaps a limited budget?

Always begin with a list of your “dos and don’ts” as it is the best measure of what you are willing to sacrifice on a limited budget. I personally suggest choosing one or two rooms and place a decorative emphasis on them. This could be the master bedroom, the main living or dining spaces, or the formal sitting room; that is completely up to you. Detail them well; enjoy the created spaces, and when your budget allows it in the future, you can move onto another room in the house.

5) Can you comment on what you see in color trends?

As been introduced in our latest Trousseau Collection, the color of the year 2013 is emerald green and shades of yellow are the best color to compliment it. Gray, as always, is a fantastic foundation for all color collaborations. 

6) What decorating ideas would you recommend to a homeowner who wants to rev up the look of a bedroom or living room for spring?

Nothing stands out more than changing the upholstery; bring in more neutral colors accented with nature-inspired hues in the cushions or various accessories. If you have heavy curtains or shears, replace them with linen shears. This undeniably will lighten up the entire feel of the space.

For a final touch, bring some life into the room. Indoor plants bring in great energy to a space and aids well to the aesthetic of an interior. Always do adequate research for the right type of indoor plants, as not all plants make for a healthy interior.

7) What writers, thinkers, or artists do you admire? The ones who act as inspiration for your work?

Khalil Gibran’s poetry and prose has translated itself into various aspects of my personal and professional life. Reflections can be seen in our work as we too aspire to unify distinguished ideas, themes and trends.

8) How would you characterize your personal style, including you preferred color scheme?

We move away from creating stark interiors or overtly modern design. Instead, we blend modern and contemporary fashions with subtle nuances of classical design. We have a penchant for fine fabric and the best quality of wood; we stay loyal to neutral shades, mixed with dark wood and sparing belts of bright color. The furniture should epitomize the effortless and understated nature of luxury.

9) Some people are baffled about where to place color. If their favorite color is blue, for example, they don’t know if they should buy a blue sofa, pain the walls blue or order blue carpeting. Can you comment on using our favorite colors and ways to incorporate them into home décor?

Every room is its own entity; therefore, when deciding how to use a color, one must visualize it used in totality. As colors have been proven to trigger different human responses, one cannot be too liberal in its application. A successful color palette always emphasizes a strong neutral foundation with punches or accents of bright color.

10) Please tell us something about your first project/client, what challenges did you face then?

From the start, our intention has always been to bring a in a collaboration of international and local design to Pakistan. One of the main challenges was having people accept this idea, especially from such young designers. As time progressed, more clients were open to the concept; so we have had clients who when at first doubted, eventually came back to us again.

Initially, our main handicap was the lack of human resources and infrastructure. Now, we have completely developed into a firm with independent factions, our own factory and well-integrated procedures; all of which are running smoothly on our principles of solidified teamwork.

11) We have heard that YOC’A is planning one of a kind designer series with leading names in the industry. Can you please give Fashion Central a preview of what to expect?

We are currently developing a variety of shows for the following 2013-2014 year. Details of these will be revealed soon!

Sarah Najmi Bilgrami of the Young Collective Artists elaborates the salient features of her furniture and interior house in an exclusive interview with Fashion Central.

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