We’ve been having a ‘thorny’ affair with the cactus for a couple of years now. First there were prints (everything from wallpapers to bedding), and, more recently, an upswing in demand for the real deal, with the prickly pear popping up on office desks and vertical gardens. 2020 promises to take this forward — from the launch of Desserto, a luxury cactus leather that fashion designers are excited about, to the all-new favourite, cactus water (made from the pink flower). Closer to home, the spiky perennial is finding form as sculptures and bar cabinets. Here are 10 ways to bring the desert vibe home.
Scarlet Splendour | Oasis Cabinet
Sleek and utilitarian, the Oasis Cabinet, by Dutch designer Richard Hutten, is a highly-visual piece, which the Kolkata-based brand says stands apart “in the vast desert of mundane design”. The 193-centimetre tall, cactus-shaped bar comes studded with 200 brass spikes. The surprises, however, don’t end there. Inside, the designer, known for his conceptual and playful designs, has also created tiny metal balconies and secret shelves to pique your interest constantly. ₹18,50,000, on scarletsplendour.com
Filicudi Marcantonio | Cactus Chair
You might hesitate to sit on this one, but we assure you this prickly pear doesn’t hurt. Inspired by Filicudi island — in the Aeolian archipelago of southern Italy — and its cactus-covered hills, this iconic armchair by Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba, for furniture brand Qeeboo, recreates the magic of the Mediterranean in daily spaces. For both indoor and outdoor use, the chair with its brass legs is available in black, white, balsam green and bright green. Pre-order for approximately ₹47,450, on store.qeeboo.com.
Paul Smith | Miniature Gufram Cactus
In 2016, Paul Smith updated Italian furniture brand Gufram’s surrealist 1972 cactus coat stand with “hallucinogenic” stripes of pinks, blues and black. Now, the British designer has shrunk the sculptural piece that melded the influences of pop art, illusionism and naturalism. The 11 centimetre miniature Cactus is identical to the full-scale design, down to the 2,165 dimples across its stem and arms. Approximately ₹15,050, on paulsmith.com.
The House of Things | Joshua Tree Vase
Go stark, with this vase handcrafted from black nickel plate and natural bronze. American designer Michael Aram,who calls India his home, shares that he was inspired by the dramatic cacti and otherworldly landscapes he’d come across, on a recent trip to the Joshua Tree National Park in California. The 15.75 inch vase also incorporates the “sculptural interplay between the landscape and buildings” — but we like it for its minimalist appeal. ₹22,550, on thehouseofthings.com.
Baleri Tatone | Canapé Cactus Sofa
Look at those spines! Fashion and product designer, Maurizio Galante, gives us a larger-than-life cactus with this sofa. Using a photographic print of one of his clicks, he gives it a 3-D effect by printing it on bi-elastic textile. The flexible polyurethane is also reinforced with an internal steel support to offer comfortable seating while maintaining its shape. There’s a pouf, too, if you’d like to take the desert theme further. ₹44,790, on artemest.com.
Matteo Cibic | Domsai Hardy & Laurel
This Italian is not unfamiliar to India. He’s designed sculptural pieces for Scarlet Splendour and, most recently, a collection of 24 handmade carpets for Jaipur Rugs (showcased at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, in April). When he isn’t collaborating, the trans-media designer is constantly creating, his designs underlined by playful zoomorphic and anthropomorphic forms. Like the Domsai collection of desk terrariums (for your cactus and succulents), with shapes calling to mind the famous Hollywood comic duo to playful pets. From approximately ₹9,900 (25 cm) to ₹3,64,340 (170 cm), on matteocibicstudio.com.
Alex Davis Studio | The Cactus
Designer, sculptor and artist, Delhi-based Alex Davis is mostly known for his expertise in metal. Often taking his inspiration from nature — his sculptures reimagine everything from puddles to water lilies — the cactus is a recurring motif. This set of four steel cacti combines laser-cutting and skilled craftsmanship. Polished to impart a “mercurial glow”, the installation will create an interesting highlight in your room. ₹32,040. Details: alexdavisstudio.com
Seletti | Cactus Lamps
Seletti brought the desert indoors last year, with these cartoon-like potted cactus lamps. Part of its Blow collection, in collaboration with Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba (who explores the relationship between man and nature in his designs), the mouth-blown glass line was launched at Maison & Objet in Paris, in March. In three different shapes and sizes, complete with spines and topped by flowers, group them together to create an exotic garden in your living spaces. From ₹13,555 (small) onwards, on do-shop.com.
Lladró | Opuntia Cactus Diffuser
Part of the Cactus Fragrans Collection, this diffuser, handmade in Spain by the brand’s artisans, is shaped like the spiky Opuntia cactus in bloom. Combining a porcelain element — in the glossy finish of the cactus and the 26-petal flower — its base is made of absorbent ceramic to best diffuse the scent. Pick it up with the Night Approaches essential oil, a “floral perfume enriched with bamboo, blackcurrant, jasmine, and fine woods”. ₹14,675, it is available across all Lladró outlets in India.
Lalique | Cactus Round Table
This one’s a classic. Originally designed in 1951 by French visual artist, Marc Lalique, the table was created to display an aquarium setting, with crystal fish ‘swimming’ between the eight leaves of the giant translucent cactus. Now, brought back in shades of green, amber and black-and-white, the crystal table fits perfectly into contemporary interiors. Interestingly, it takes eight to 10 weeks to handcraft each of the legs, with over 18 kg of crystal. Approximately ₹60,74,508, on lalique.com.