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Interior Designer Punam Kalra Creative Director of I’m The Centre for Applied Arts

Punam Kalra a renowned engineer turned designer, marked her venture into the world of art and design by setting up I’m the Centre for Applied Arts in 1994, and there has been no looking back. Having been raised in a highly educated, and liberated family, she is well-grounded and believes in diligence and uniqueness being the prime personal and professional virtues. An early exposure to the rich global culture, language and creative pursuits of music and art expanded her horizons, making her realize that the world was her playground. 

A graduate in Engineering from the prestigious college of Delhi College of Engineering and having worked at NTPC, Punam developed a deep understanding of industrial materials, technological advancement and manufacturing skills with an engineering precision, which she still applies to every project she undertakes. A curious, quick-witted and zealous person, her marriage to the ingenious architect, Deepak Kalra, after her graduation honed her sensitivity towards spaces, shapes, textures, mediums and colours along with an appreciation for clean lines and natural materials. 

Accompanying her husband to all his site visits, client meetings and project discussions to be able to spend more time together gave her a valuable insight into the overall functioning of the field. Soon she started creating idiosyncratic furniture, interiors and accessories, that were both artful and functional with an underlying sense of classicism. Slowly the business transitioned from being a product design and art collective center to a bespoke luxury design studio and continues to attract discerning clients from all over.

She is passionate about her work and her family whose support she accredits for her success.She has had an illustrious journey and believes is still on the path of growth and learning, knowing that there are infinite opportunities out there waiting to be tapped, given that one is fully present and aware.She believes in creating state-of-the-art blends of traditional and contemporary, supported by global awareness. In her words, “Innovation is an ability to see change as an opportunity”.

I’m, in spirit, was born as a design response to the feeling and expression of the awakened self.It was one of a kind furniture and product design studio at the time making her a pioneer of the field in India. She brought in the buzz creating global concepts of modern, postmodern, playful, sculptural and highly stylized pieces of furniture making new possibilities, creativity and experimentation better accessible to the clients.Promoting exclusivity and bespoke, Punam has collaborated with reputed Indian designers across all fields like fashion, interiors and architecture contributing to various globally acclaimed projects. 

Her designs and detailing are unmatched, giving her several intellectual copyrights and patents under her name. A regular collaborator and participant of various art and design events across the country, she has been felicitated with a Women Achievers Award by International Women’s Day Awards in 2018. She has also been named the most influential woman designer by various other magazines in the recent past like Vogue India, Femina India, idecorama and The Ideal Home and Garden. Keeping herself updated about the current market trends, she likes to visualize and design for the immediate future. She is a trailblazer and unstoppable at pushing the boundaries of her craft and capabilities with every project she does.

Punam is well recognized for making bold signature statements with her subtle and nimble detailing. She takes inspiration from the neat precision of industrial design to create chic, artistic and timeless pieces of work. Her constant endeavor has been to fuse various materials, finishes, latest cutting-edge technology and traditional handicraft to create interesting outcomes.Her work exudes luxury and a sense of innovation. 

Her work is a clear example of how luxury is no longer only about an extravagant indulgence of opulence, but rather is a relentless reimagination of the ordinary with an unmatched design and comfort. She believes in forging ahead in time, intuitively predicting and creating unparalleled pieces of furniture that resonate with the innate desires of the clientele. All her projects celebrate a subtle play of design elements and the influence of colours on the overall user experience to create stunning experiences.

Though it’s been many years since she started out, she findsher creativity and challenges increase each day with the new materials and technology available. She is fond of metals in their pure form like copper, brass, steel, silver and gold, but with the latest influx of modern materials like faux stone, experimental leathers, plush fabrics and acrylics, the challenge now is to balance the entire design with a restrained indulgence. She believes in designing every small aspect creatively to create products and spaces that have a strong characteristic and can spark conversations as design does not stop at anything and is actually a way of life.

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