Monday, December 17, 2018

San Francisco Textile Designer to Know: Seema Krish

San Francisco textile designer Seema Krish and her beautiful fabrics are creating lots of buzz in the design world. Seema—originally from Mumbai—offers superb handcrafted textiles of beautiful quality, inspired by the rich traditions and artistry of her Indian heritage. Hand embroidery, delicate dying techniques, hand block printing, appliqué, and dye-resist are some of the techiques she uses to create with a fresh new spin.

I made a delightful visit recently to the de Sousa Hughes to-the-trade design showroom in San Francisco. Geoffrey de Sousa wanted me to his his ever-growing collections of textiles from around the world, and especially some new companies that he has discovered.

I was especially surprised and captured by the Seemakrish collection—made in India—for which Seema Krish has boldly updated ancient textile techniques I’ve admired on my travels in India. Airy curtain fabrics have traceries of hand embroidery, and even basic handblocking is done in colors inspired by California coastal regions and the Napa Valley. Her textiles offer custom colors, and endless variations of hand-applied textures and dyes.

Come with me for a visit to Seema Krish’s San Francisco design studio, and hear about her company’s approach and new designs.

Seema Krish, who studied textile design at F.I.T. in New York, is one of the new designers to offer unique fabrics with handcrafted flair. Her seemakrish textiles have quickly become popular for block prints, delicate embroidered cottons, and multi-textural designs, all exquisitely hand- made in India. Her line is growing fast, and she is represented in twelve cities in the U.S and in showrooms in London and Paris.

“I believe the work we create in India, with the finest craftspeople, is original in style and colors. It's unique and authentic, and that is why we have generated a following,” said Krish, who lives in Noe Valley. “We create textiles for high-end interior design, for the luxury market, from a single source, only from India, relying on craft production and fair-trade, certified artisans.”

Recently Seema Krish has developed superb cotton fabrics with complex patterns and textures, which can be custom-colored for designers who specify them for curtains, upholstery or decorative pillows and bedcovers. The combination of print and delicate embroidery was ‘new’ and among designers there is a strong interest in artisanal, handmade, and small-batch textiles.

“Our textiles are made of natural fibers—cotton, linen, wool and silk, all of the highest quality,
 noted the designer.

The dyes used in printing are water-based and non- toxic. They are certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) as being earth friendly. Her designs are exclusive.

“Unlike other textile editors who source from multiple mills, factories and various countries and resources, we design textiles that are simple, minimal and contemporary in design, but they are very complex in production,” said Krish. “We start by developing the woven ground cloth and its texture or drape, and then we add a layer of delicate print, usually followed by embroidery. It is these layers that add depth to our fabrics.”

Seema Krish’s fast-growing collection is shown at the de Sousa Hughes showroom in San Francisco.

The first Seemakish collection was Bombay Bliss, a grouping of six vibrant patterns, bright and colorful, evoking the resplendence and energy of the city of Bombay where she grew up.

“My goal when I created these textiles, was to work with fine Indian craft and artisans in a contemporary context and to bring to the U.S. market a line of textiles made with a social mission, but with a high end, modern and sophisticated context.”

Krish started the company while she was living in Boston.

“The design community there is pretty tight, and I was able to connect with interior designers who supported my work from the get go. A salesperson in New York helped get my samples into the libraries of many well-established design firms in New York like Peter Marino, Sara Story, and Tony Ingrao. The textiles received an astounding response,” she said.

Seema Krish has always had an interest in art, drawing and painting.

Growing up in Bombay, she attended a design school and for the first time I dipped my hands in dye and worked with textiles. She was hooked and continued studying further at F.I.T. in New York.

“I decided to return to India to learn about my heritage of Indian textiles. I established a weaving studio in Bangalore,” said Krish. “I had the opportunity to work with the Indian government on craft revival projects and I also interacted with the various high-end silk mills in Bangalore. I knew my heart was in India and working with Indian craftspeople and it was clear to me that I would have my own textile company.”

She was following her passion and craft, and was excited by the intention of working with traditional, skilled artisans in India, and bringing a new aesthetic using traditional Indian craft techniques.

Her line has evolved and it now has more breadth of color and patterns--wovens, prints, embroideries and even hand dyed shiboris.

“Each collection is inspired by different cities and locations- place I have lived in or have an affinity for. Patterns are named after street names and neighborhoods,” she said. “Some collections are inspired by Bombay, with street names of Bombay as pattern names—including Altamount Road, Breach Candy, and some I gave San Francisco names, like Fog City, Sutro, Alta, Pacific and others New York-inspired names like Broadway, Brooklyn, Soho.”

She noted that many of her designs have universal style, and have been used by leading designers in rooms with a Moroccan flavor, in ultra-modern interiors, as a handcrafted style in historic bungalows, and for one-of-a-kind pillows and vivid headboards in children’s bedrooms.

Her company also sells ready-made pillows in a range of designs.

Next Seema is introducing printed wallpaper to add a new dimension to the company.

“Additionally, as a zero-waste textile company, we are collaborating with a few local quilters to repurpose our leftover textiles into exquisite accessories. This is exciting, as these pieces are one of a kind, and are like works of art. And I’m happy to be using all of our waste materials in a creative way.”

Seema noted that hand craftsmanship thrives throughout India, and for centuries India has had a very rich, varied, and deep heritage of a love of beautiful textiles, of textile production and textile techniques. Each region has its own unique textile and heritage—Mysore silks from the South, raw muga-silk woven Jamdani from the East, the fine Bengal cottons, and the Madras plaids. “I’m fortunate to have such a deep well to draw from,” she said. “Now my goal with my company is to be inspired by different regions and techniques and to have the opportunity to work with different master craftspeople and to keep learning as I go along.”

As she adds more lines and more ranges of fine textiles, interior designers continue to be intrigued.

“My textiles will always have designs, textures and patterns that are a rich mix of Indian crafts, Indian cultures, color influences, my background, and as well California where I live, and all the different places I’ve lived,” said Krish. “They have an Indian context, which I celebrate, but a contemporary very modern global outlook, and they are very much a reflection of me.” 

The Details 

Wholesale price range: to the trade, from $58- $205/ yard.

Highlights of new collections: Wallpaper is seemakrish latest release. Printed on grasscloth, metallic and non woven vellum. High quality interpretation of hand drawn artwork. Printed in the USA.

Newest techniques and collections and colors:  Hand block printing and embroidery in new combinations. Weaving with metallic yarns New colors are rosé and rain—a little sultry and sophisticated.

The cloths and fibers of the collections are mostly natural, sustainable fibers. Cotton, linen, wool. Cotton-linen blends, linen-wool blends.

All fabrics are handmade in Bangalore. Designs and original artwork is done in the seemakrish San Francisco studio.


Photographs courtesy Seema Krish.


The Seemakrish showrooms—including Australia, Paris, London and Toronto and through the US can be found on

INSTAGRAM: @seemakrishtextiles

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Designer to Watch: Martin Kobus — A Private Design Chat with a Chic and Super-Cosmopolitan Interior Designer

This week we take a close look at the fantastic new work Sausalito interior designer Martin Kobus. He works with a dash of modern bravado, with smart tech invention, and classical grandeur. I loved his witty homage to Rembrandt and seventeenth-century Dutch interiors in a recent San Francisco Decorator Showcase. And he’s the darling of tech execs, art collectors, and San Francisco families.

Let’s pay him a visit and see his latest work.

History Enriches Modern

Interior designer Martin Kobus, based in a dramatic bay-view studio in Sausalito, is admired for the intelligence, originality and bold vision of his designs, always with a comfortable human touch.

He launched Martin Kobus Design a dozen years ago.

“I think the sweet spot for me is a modern design, with a relaxed and richly detailed approach,” said Kobus. 

Designer Martin Kobus

“Often modern design can feel cold and uninviting—which is something we avoid entirely. There is definitely a European sensibility in my design that honors material integrity and plays with texture and form. Complementing the selected furnishings with a fresh neutral color palette also helps to add lightness to the space. We create a toned-down backdrop so that furnishings and foreground accents and artwork can pop and have their own spotlight.” Kobus has an encyclopedic knowledge of historical and modern architecture and has the ability to filter new interiors through a classic, historic concept. And it’s always tailored precisely to the site and the region.

The Human Touch

“Creating a simpatico interior and exterior architecture that welcomes the indoor/outdoor connection is high on my agenda,” said Kobus. “The Bay Area is both scenic and tech centric. As such, we are constantly inspired to source new tech and craftsmanship in our design choices, as well as invoke an indoor setting that highlights and complements the natural landscape that we're surrounded by. We love fresh twists on old classics and reinventing pure forms and old techniques into new forms for living.”

Kobus noted that this is a ‘golden age’ of design, as the design world evolves and new clients have enhanced design awareness.

“I’m noticing a wave of young clients very interested and appreciative of good design,” he said. “It seems as though there's a move towards 'the not so big house'-- more manageable, live-able, and less maintenance spaces. They want every inch of that space to be well curated but it's less about opulence and more about experiences. It's been incredibly refreshing for us to design for these clients and be able to mix high and low items in a way that captivates the eye.” 

Multi-Cultural Thinking

Martin Kobus grew up in Holland and studied in the Netherlands and Italy.

“My mother is Dutch and my father was Indonesian so I am lucky to be the product of several cultures,” said the designer. “I was able to pick up five languages during my upbringing. This comes in handy when traveling.”

His roots in Europe and Asian have also informed his design in many ways, he said.

“It can be very drab and rainy in the Netherlands so it has always been my focus to bring brightness to a space in a simple, calm and luxurious way,” said Kobus. “I am constantly inspired to re-invent or re-imagine design choices, furnishings, and art. If my design firm cannot find or engage in what we want or are looking for, we have it made. San Francisco has so many fine artisans.”

Kobus said that Amsterdam is graced with extremely narrow and tall houses. This has heightened the attention for innovative small space design, functionality, and form, he said.

“I’ve always like living hear the water, and the canals and connection with the sea in Sausalito are the reason that I always approach projects with the goal of integrating indoor and outdoor living,” said the designer.

What’s the Latest

A new project Martin Kobus is thrilled about is a landmark residence in Belvedere.

“It is a modern take on a historical Spanish revival,” noted Kobus. “Our friends who bought the house became clients and, we're still friends! It has been a great exercise in collaboration that will spotlight Piet Boon hardware, Waterworks, and many top creators. This is will be a showcase house for us. It is incredibly unique to have such wonderful alignment in design with our clients and to get the green light to execute our vision on a project of this scale. We feel incredibly fortunate for the partnership and know that the complete project will be tremendous.”

Kobus, always designing and dreaming, recently created an amphibious 350 sq ft. house concept.

“We could not be more excited about this new MK Tiny House,” said Kobus. “It’s something that feels fresh, scalable and very now. It will be about 300 sq/ft and is entirely custom-designed by us with high -end design finishes, appliances, and all fixtures. The house is 'portable'. It allows one to be on-the-grid, off-the-grid, or on-the-go. And the houseboats in Sausalito were not our inspiration. The idea actually came from the houseboats that line the canals in Amsterdam. Target launch date will be in 2019.”

Next for Kobus is MK Resort. 

“My spouse, Chris Bergin, and I bought a vineyard in Healdsburg, and we recently conducted the first harvest,” he noted. “This vineyard/ private resort is a bit of a passion project and will be a totally modern oasis with the footprint of the house smack in the middle of the vineyard. So now I’ll be a winemaker and a designer. Always learning, that’s the key.”


Martin Kobus Home
4000 Bridgeway Suite 318
Sausalito,Ca 94965


Douglas Friedman (Dutch Library; Keane Project)
John Merkl
Eric Rorer