The royal life, historically lived in an oasis of indulgence and decadence, has inspired art and design forever. The rich and resplendent Pandora’s Box of royal iconography has many a modern day artist, brand, product designer and couturier return to it time and again for inspiration and artistic references. The Daily Guardian scans through the landscape of contemporary design to discover some strong brands that don’t just exude luxury but are also symbolic of this historic past.
It is not in the very distant past that the Maharaja and his family lived within a palace surrounded by flora and fauna and all things ornate and beautiful. Be it for a shikaar, the coronation, a state banquet or his ceremonial appearances, his life was lived in the lap of art, architecture and handicrafts. Reflected in perfect harmony in every corner of his palace – his temple, the court, the Diwan-e-Khaas or even the shikaar ghar – the Maharaja always had some stunning symbols of art surrounding him.
Such icons are the cornerstone of Raseel Gujral›s design oeuvres. Her home, the Chand Baag, being a tall example of how Indian luxe has become a recurrent subject in her design story of modern maximalism. Be it the ornate lattice work, the resplendent hand-cut glass, the generous use of silver, or the ornamental chairs, the Raj era surfaces in her design all the time. However, it is wildlife, as captured in miniatures, which is the love of her life. They can be found in their brightest avatar in her Amazonia line – red, haute and Christmas-ready.
From Casa Paradox, we move to brands which are owned by young royals themselves and celebrate a regal way of life. Kesya, based in Jaipur and founded by Divya Shekhawat and Shivangini Singh, capture vintage iconography including the flora and fauna of miniature art, hand-painted images of the horse and the camel (the Maharaja›s constant companions) and, of course, the royal sport of polo. With the horse›s hoof captured in a bracelet, the gold-leaf flower jumping from the realm of art to grace a cufflink, the majestic lion painted on kurta buttons, Kesya creates accessories for the modern-day prince, which are a pleasure to the eye.
Studio Kishangarh, on the other hand, goes deep into the world of pichwais for inspiration. Its founder, Princess Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh, gets her artists to paint the Dhenu cow, the sun motif, the revered lotus and line drawings depicting royal minarets and arches on a wide range of art-inspired products like cushions, wallpaper, trays and jewel boxes.
A personal favourite is the range of vintage watches by Jaipur Watch Company that are actually constructed on vintage coins from the Raj. The ones in gold, silver, bronze and metal, minted to celebrate the many glorious moments of the Raj, are richly royal in their design, yet totally useful in the modern world.
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ZEBRONICS LAUNCHES POWERFUL SPEAKER ZEB-MUSIC BOMB X WITH IPX7 RATING
New Delhi: Zebronics on Tuesday launched a portable speaker ‘Zeb-Music Bomb X’ geared for outdoor enthusiasts, trekking, and camping. The wireless portable speaker is available in three colour variants Black, Red, Blue for Rs 2,299 during the Amazon Sale. The speaker is available at leading retail stores across India. Zeb-Music Bomb X as the speaker comes with RGB LED lights with 9 Modes including rhythmic LED so you can choose your preferred mode to rock the party. According to the company, the portable speaker has a very handy capsule design with controls for media, volume, and call function on the top. The portable speaker features a universal design: Can be kept in horizontal or in a vertical standing position. The speaker has dual 45mm drivers that are designed to produce powerful sound and have a long playback time of 20 hours with 4000mAh battery. Enjoy your pool parties or adventure activities without a fret as the speaker is IPX7 certified waterproof elevating your audio experience further. The speaker comes with ample multi-connectivity options like wireless BT/ Micro SD/ and AUX. It also has controls for media, volume and call function.
MI NOTEBOOK 14 (IC) LAPTOP LAUNCHED IN INDIA AT RS 43,999
New Delhi: Xiaomi on Tuesday released a new version of its famous laptop lineup, called the Mi Notebook 14 (IC) in the Indian market. The laptop will be available in silver colour at a starting price of Rs 43,999 on Mi.com, Mi Homes, Amazon.in, Flipkart and retail partners. The notebook features a 14-inch full-HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) anti-glare display with 16:9 aspect ratio, 81.2 percent screen-to-body ratio, and 178-degree wide-viewing angle. It is powered by the 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U quad-core processor paired with Intel UHD Graphics 620 and the option to integrate Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics with up to 8GB of RAM as well as up to 512GB of SSD storage. The notebook weighs 1.5Kgs also sports an in-built 720p HD Webcam and runs on Windows 10 Home Edition. Mi NoteBook (IC) offers a 65Wh battery with 10 hours of battery backup with 65W fast charging that can charge the battery up to 50 per cent in under 35 minutes.
VIVO Y31 WITH 48MP AI TRIPLE CAMERA LAUNCHED AT RS 16,490
New Delhi: Vivo on Wednesday expanded its youthful Y series with the launch of Vivo Y31 in India at Rs 16,490 for 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM variant. The smartphone is available for purchase in two attractive colour options- racing black and ocean blue on Vivo India E-store, Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, as well as across all partner retail stores. The smartphone features 48MP AI Triple Rear Camera setup with photo processing algorithms. The device also has a 2MP Bokeh camera and a Super Night Mode for the rear camera which uses the multi-frame noise reduction algorithm to reduce the noise in your photos. The smartphone also uses Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) technology in the rear camera which crops and aligns individual frames, which is further supported by an algorithm that automatically corrects for unstable movements delivering Ultra Stable Videos. On the front, the smartphone has a 16MP camera. The smartphone features a 6.58-inch FHD+ (2408X1080) resolution.
REALME TO LAUNCH 5G SMARTPHONE WITH DIMENSITY 1200 SOC
New Delhi: Realme on Wednesday announced that it will be one of the first brands to introduce a smartphone with MediaTek’s new Dimensity 1200 flagship 5G smartphone chip, to build a dual flagship portfolio in 2021. Relying on the comprehensive improvement of Dimensity 1200 in 5G, AI, photography, video, and games, the Realme flagship smartphone will provide users with a superior 5G all-around experience. MediaTek launched the Dimensity 1200 flagship 5G smartphone chip comes with a 6nm advanced production process, which brings powerful performance and lowers power consumption. With this, the Dimensity 1200 aims to create a seamless 5G experience in all scenarios at all times, maintaining its 5G leadership in the process. Realme has launched many “Firsts” in smartphone models equipped with the MediaTek’s Helio series chipsets in the 4G era, with the first to launch Realme C3 equipped with Helio G70, Narzo 10 with Helio G80 and Realme 7 with Helio G95.
FIRST LOOK: GALAXY S21 ULTRA SEEMS LIKE A COMPLETE PACKAGE
It’s 2021 and Samsung has rolled out the first device from their kitty Galaxy S21 Ultra. I have always enjoyed the S series from Samsung even though they always launch a Note later in the year ‘S series’ remains to be my forever pick. This is not a review but a first look at a device which is competing with some strong devices in the market and has a good lineage to keep up with.
Design-wise the device is not much different from the predecessor. What remains constant is the good built quality, premium appeal, and a comfortable form factor. High-quality materials have been used, which is a combination of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and metal but what stands out is the camera module. It is a large bunch at the back. What would have looked a bit obnoxious a few years back now seems to be the new normal look for camera modules. The device is available in two colours—white and black. This is surely a big device but a comfortable one. It does feel heavier than the previous S series. It is as large as its obvious competitor iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The phone has a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED 120Hz display. This is adaptive, capable of going as low as 10Hz, while the brightness can go all the way up to 1500nits. S21 Ultra lets you run 120Hz at Quad HD+ resolution. It is the first S series device which supports the S pen though it does not come with one.
Under the hood, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra packs an Exynos 2100. This is paired with either 12GB or 16GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage. There is no micro-SD card slot for storage expansion, which feels like a miss. It comes with 5,000mAh battery with 25W fast wired charging, 15W fast wireless charging, and wireless power share, it doesn’t come with an adapter in the box. There is 5G connectivity, dual-Sim, IP68 dust and water resistance, stereo speakers, and support for Wi-Fi 6E and ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking for seamless integration with Samsung’s SmartTag trackers. Software inside the phone is Android 11-based OneUI 3.1.
The main and the most exciting part of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the camera. It comes with four cameras on the back. The main and ultra-wide angle 108MP with a brand new HM3 sensor though + 12MP. Two 10MP cameras 3x, 10x zoom capable, one of which is periscope-style. All the cameras have Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and can record in 4K@60fps while the main camera can additionally shoot in 8K. The front camera is 40MP and is capable of recording 4K@60fps videos. The camera department deserves a full review by itself which would follow soon. The director’s view is a new addition and has some cool features and recording capabilities, I will elaborate on that in the review.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra starts at Rs 1,05,999 for the variant with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage going all the way to Rs 1,16,999 for the model with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. The phone will ship from 29 January. The first look leaves you smitten not just for the way it looks but the entire package that the device offers.
SKODA PRESSES REFRESH BUTTON ON SUPERB, ADDS NEW FEATURES
The Czech car-maker introduced a new version of the Superb which promises more luxury and smart technology than ever before. We look at the car to tell you if it’s worth the price and attention.
The Skoda Superb has been on sale in the country for more than a decade-and-a-half and since then has been satiating the needs of the luxury sedan buyer in the country. It provides great comfort and luxury that is on par with more fancied German cars which by the way are much more expensive as well. For the year 2021 the Czech car-maker has introduced a refreshed version of the car which of course promises more luxury and tech than before. The car continues to get the same variants called SportLine and Laurin & Klement.
The refreshed Skoda Superb comes with a comprehensive raft of design and technological enhancements that effortlessly shifts it to a class above. The sharp and sleek new headlights now merge with the radiator grille and come equipped with LED daytime running lights, with illuminated LED eyelashes and ‘coming / leaving home’ function, as well as LED turn indicators, as standard.
The refreshed Superb also comes with an adaptive front-lighting system for optimum illumination of the road and its surroundings. The variable geometry enables the new headlamp units to respond to any change in speed, light and weather conditions. The available modes include city, intercity, motorway, and rain. This lighting system dons headlamp swivelling and cornering functions, in addition to dynamic headlamp inclination control. In addition to this, the shape of the front fog lights also adds to the exterior appeal of the car. These LED fog lights house four diodes to illuminate the area in front of the vehicle, especially in low lighting condition.
The Superb now sports a new 20.32 cm floating capacitive touch display, with proximity sensor, which features a glass design and an updated user interface. It is a part of the new generation Amundsen Infotainment System, with inbuilt navigation, developed by the Czech automotive manufacturer. The car also comes with SmartLink connectivity which supports MirrorLink, and is also compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also supports voice command control, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming options. By placing a smartphone, face up, over the wireless charging pad, the mobile device automatically connects and starts receiving power while the cabin now also gets new ‘Type C’ USB ports.
The Piano Black décor, sets the tone for the more expensive Laurin & Klement variant, with Stone Beige or Coffee Brown perforated leather upholstery. The decorative elements are black and the use of chrome highlights adds to the appeal. The famed two spoke steering wheel design from the brand finds its way for the first time on the refreshed Superb. In the Sportline variant, the Carbon décor, new three spoke flat bottom SuperSport multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift and black Alcantara sports seats with integrated headrests add to the active theme. The car, now as standard, features the Virtual Cockpit – a customizable digital instrument panel that offers a vitalised perspective on comprehensive driving data and navigation.
The 360° surround area view, with an array of four wide angle cameras mounted on the front grille, fifth door and the wing mirror covers, displays the immediate area surrounding the car, on the central infotainment system of the on the Laurin & Klement version. The variant also gets a Park Assist function which minimizes the hassle of parking in tight spots by automatically identifying an appropriate parking place in a row of parallel or perpendicular parked vehicles. According to Skoda the system just needs a space 60 cm longer than the car itself when parking in parallel.
The SportLine variant is the more affordable of the two variants and is priced at Rs 31.99 lakh (ex-showroom). It is more suited for you if you love to drive. For those of you willing to spend more time on the second row, the top-of-the-line Laurin & Klement edition with all the bells and whistles will set you back by Rs 34.99 lakh (ex-showroom).
Zac Hollis, Brand Director, Skoda Auto India said, “Since its introduction, the Superb has been setting benchmarks in its segment, and the one above. With its compelling combination of elegant design, luxurious interiors, plentiful space, and distinctive presence, the saloon has been a favourite for many ‘value luxury’ seekers in India. The refreshed car hosts some contemporary updates that further elevates its appeal and shall be appreciated by all.”
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