Designers Utharaa L. Zacharias and Palaash Chaudhary can often be found handweaving cane side tables in their San Jose, California rental home. The process is intensive — taking up to 48 hours — but exemplifies the duo’s dedication to their shared aesthetic language and heritage.
Born and raised in India, and continuing to split their time between Kochi and the Bay Area, the pair have incorporated elements of their childhood experiences into a range of refined furnishings. “Almost everything in our homes was handmade,” Zacharias says. “They were both utilitarian and ornate.” These influences appear across a trio of collections conceived since their studio, Soft-Geometry, was launched in 2018; together, their work relays the concept of softness, whether that be how a product looks, feels or is understood.
For example: The Donut table — part of their Dessert Menu collection — is a physical interpretation of both softness and sweetness. It’s composed of wooden offcuts from a manufacturing facility in New Delhi and milled via a CNC machine — the process a serendipitous venture that not only yielded a rotund form, but also tied back into the designers’ love for sustainable production. In this case, soon-to-be-discarded byproducts were “made into something visually stunning,” says Zacharias. The tables’ finishes — Caramel, Chocolate and Sugar — further attest to the conceptual direction.
Other pieces, too, find inspiration in various craft techniques: The SW cane side table (a powder-coated steel base with a six-way woven cane top) and SW fluffy chair (a handwoven yarn composition on steel) have broadened the duo’s admiration for centuries-old artistry.
Unveiled at the Sight Unseen Offsite Online show in May 2020, the cast resin Elio lamp, meanwhile, took its reference from an unusual muse: frosted jelly candy. Yet even as their evocative list of materials continues to grow, the spirit of “crafting and nodding to things made by hand” remains central to the studio’s ever-expanding portfolio.
From a suite of chairs and side tables to light fixtures, the emerging practice crafts a host of refined furnishings that explore the concept of softness.