When it comes to their homes, people these days are very particular about every small detail and that includes doorknobs. Anagha Dandekar, the creative director of Hardware Renaissance, an international luxury door fittings brand, which boasts of clients like Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand, Silicon Valley billionaires and some of the clients that interior designer Sussanne Khan works with, realised this. Since 2002, she has been designing hardware that comes embellished with semi-precious stones too and has made a success of her business!
A scion of the Camlin family, Anagha was always interested in doing something on her own instead of predictably joining the family business. Luckily for her, she was blessed with encouraging parents who let her pursue her creative side. Since childhood she was good at acting, Bharatanatyam and singing, but it’s with design that she found her calling.
Running a company along with being there for her 14-year-old daughter must must be tough? "That is a constant challenge. When you have your own company there is no leaving it behind, so you have to be careful not to let it consume all your time. I set aside evening time and one day of the weekend for family. My daughter is curious, strong and creative.
We encourage her to try different things and find something she will love to do and work hard at," says the proud mum. Anagha feels that if you are not careful, work can seep into every moment of your life. This is why she has this rule at home, "No cellphones or TV during dinner time as it’s strictly family time." A morning person, she makes sure that her fitness quota is not ignored with a daily dose of yoga.
After she is done toiling on high-profile projects like replicating the stem, leaves and flowers of the favourite tree from one of the gardens of a Coca-Cola heiress on her front door, Anagha likes to take off with her husband and daughter on a holiday. This summer, she is off to Japan. "The whole family is a huge fan of Japanese food (especially Sushi), and I am keen to explore the historic bylanes of old Kyoto and look for exquisite hand-crafted Japanese souvenirs,"says Anagha.
A travel enthusiast, Anagha reveals the kind of places that hit the spot with her. "I love to experience history, beauty in art and architecture, but also nature. While art and architecture inspires me, nature is my elixir. My source of peace, of renewal. I am also endlessly fascinated by nature — we can never hope to replicate the beauty, variety, the ever-changing canvas of nature." She loves Italy for its incredible art, design and craftsmanship in products and food. New York is another favourite, Colorado for its majestic mountains and lakes. The Caribbean for limitless blue seas and lively culture and she loved the safari she went on in Tanzania.
To be able to do what you want and be good at it is the best thing ever, but how do people react when she says she specialises in hardware? "The initial reaction was always that they thought I was into computer hardware. When I would clarify that it was DOOR hardware, there was always a puzzled look, as they were thinking "how did she get into that line"?," laughs Anagha. Another interesting fact that she reveals is that, "Hardware is a male- dominated industry, and mine is the only woman owned high-end hardware manufacturer in the US or India."
It must be challenging to constantly keep coming up with new doorknob designs. "Creativity cannot be forced. So keeping a curious mind and engaging the senses when you travel is very important. I am like a sponge – I absorb forms, shapes, textures that I see in nature and in beautiful things – and they morph into something different in the form of a new hardware design. It’s a highly iterative process, but also a continuous one. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t! But that’s all part of the process of creation. I enjoy it very much, it’s what keeps me going," she concludes.