NAME CHANGER

BY DOUGLAS KING | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Change is part of life. We are constantly faced with the changing times, changes in our body, and changes in fashion and trends. Change is a good thing. AOI Home, formerly known as Art of Old India, is going through a change, and the result is beautiful and amazing.

The change is apparent when you first approach one of the long-standing stores in the heart of the Design District. The fresh new exterior and large display windows, along with the signage, which sports a new logo, are obvious hints that something new awaits you beyond the calming courtyard, with its marble fountain and greenery.

Inside, recent changes allow more natural light into the space. “This really allows the pieces to stand out and creates a light and airy atmosphere,” says Rupal Dalal, who, along with her father, Pankaj, owns and operates the showroom. Like the updated logo and showroom, one immediately notices that the aesthetics and product offerings of AOI Home are more contemporary. “We’ve been offering more and more of our own designs,” says Dalal, who has been instrumental in the recent contemporary designs.

While the products continue to use classic materials, such as mother-of-pearl and teakwood, it is the designs that have changed. Dalal works with artisans in India to create new coffee tables, mirrors, consoles and chests of drawers from her designs, all crafted by hand with incredibly detailed inlay work and carving. The skill and pride of the designer and artist can be easily gleaned from the perfection of every piece.

Of the product’s quality, Dalal says, “Handmade products will outlive all of us.”

In addition to the new line of contemporary pieces, AOI Home is also bringing new life to vintage items and using reclaimed wood to make new designs. With only a few simple upgrades and updates in design and material, vintage items are given a fresh new life.

Even with all of the change, there is still a reverence for the past, and AOI Home will continue to offer architectural elements, such as ceiling panels, columns and oversize doors, that have made it a designer favorite for years. “Our architectural elements are still the most sought-after pieces in our collection,” states Dalal. “Some of our clients travel internationally to purchase doors and ceilings for their homes.”

It was the change in people’s attitudes toward antiques over the last several years that promoted the change at AOI Home. “While we will always seek out the best antique pieces, we needed to make a change to reflect the changing market. Our contemporary home furnishings now play a more important role,” says Dalal.

All of the updates to the product offerings and showroom appearance required a change to the company name and logo. “Our old name was no longer reflective of our store. We have something for everyone— modern designs, unique finds, small accessories and large architectural elements. Our high-quality designs and hard work will always stay the same!” Dalal makes a point of stating. “We want people to know that AOI Home has evolved over the years.”

And it isn’t only AOI Home that has changed. Dalal notes that the Design District itself is changing and modernizing. People should not feel intimated to shop in the Design District, as it is always evolving and becoming more customer friendly, especially with the recent addition of restaurants.

“You want your home to be unique and the Design District, and especially AOI Home, is filled with the best in design,” says Dalal. “Taking a little time to venture out in the Design District is always worth it. Imagine what your home could look like with a one-of-a-kind entry door or a hand-carved coffee table. Your home is a reflection of you and your sanctuary. Take pride in it.”