In Profile: Anees Mekhri, Product Designer at Urban Ladder
An observant eye. A creative mind. And her beloved pencils. These are Anees Mekhri’s tools of the trade. A product designer at Urban Ladder, Anees oozes talent. She also portrays an inexplicable love for furniture that dates back to her childhood. Particularly to her grandfather’s collection of the rarest remnants of the colonial Raj. Having grown up surrounded by beautiful furniture, Anees always appreciated good design. But it wasn’t until much later that she considered making it her passion her career.
An alumnus of the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Anees had first wanted to specialise in visual design. In the very first hour of her orientation, though, realisation struck. More a hands-on designer, Anees just didn’t see herself being glued to a computer. So she walked out of her orientation and requested to shift to furniture design. Why furniture in particular? “Because I wanted to create furniture like the ones I grew up with,” she says.
In the years to follow, Anees won the Idiom Scholarship, the Chandawarkar Scholarship Programme and the Commendation Award for the most innovative and unique project. Made entirely of recycled craft paper, her collapsible honeycomb furniture exemplified sustainability.
“Anees has the ability to translate the old into the new. She has an eye for and knowledge of most period furniture. Her designs are modest and can lift the overall look of any space,” says Pradeep James, Design Lead at Urban Ladder.
Anees’ inspiration for design comes from her exposure to art in many forms. Memories of her mother dabbling in knit work, embroidery, appliqué and crochet. A hearing impaired and mute granduncle, who let his paintings speak for him. And, of course, books. “I belonged to that lucky generation that didn’t always have access to the internet. So, books were my source of knowledge and entertainment. I spent most of my childhood nose deep in books, either at the school library or in the store room at my grand mum’s place,” she says.
When not churning out furniture designs, Anees wears several other hats. She loves reading, painting, doodling (cartoons aplenty), rock climbing, soccer, bike rides and motorcycles. She’s also a hoarder of beautiful stationery and a godmother to cats. Her ultimate dream, though, goes back to furniture. “Someday, I hope to have my own label, my own brand of furniture, and a nice cosy cafe to work out of,” she says, dreaming out loud.