A remarkable businesswoman and a new-age womenprenuer, Deepika Jindal is the Creative Head and Managing Director of JSL Lifestyle Limited (JSLL). She started her design journey with the inception of ‘Arttdínox’, a JSLL brand that exemplifies ‘art in stainless steel’. By marrying fine artistic sensibilities with classic home décor solutions, Arttd’inox is India’s first stainless steel lifestyle brand that resonates with an individual’s personality and creates spaces that are beautiful and ever-lasting. With a vision to make luxury an everyday phenomenon, Ms. Jindal is leading India’s lifestyle revolution. She always wanted to place India’s heritage artisans at the forefront of a global panorama, and showcase their handcrafted magic with the world. Given the level of craftsmanship our national legacy boasts of, the culturally conscious, she has built JSLL from the ground up, which is now thriving as an INR 450 crore entity.
Stainless steel has been one of the most enduring parts of the Indian kitchen. But what may seem ubiquitous, is, in reality, a fairly recent entrant as part of our kitchen or dining table. It was only in the early 1900s that stainless steel was patented and manufactured for surgical stools and cutlery. Thanks to its non-toxic and durable properties, it would soon replace steel in our everyday life.
In recent years, stainless steel has seen another avatar. From the traditional crockery of choice, stainless steel has now become a lifestyle choice, shaped by new designers, influencers, investors, and companies who are breaking new grounds in design and function. Today, stainless steel is fast emerging as a desirable lifestyle accessory.
What makes it special
There are good reasons for the popularity of stainless steel and its quick dominance in the global market after it was first commercially manufactured in the 1920s. Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion and temperature changes. In terms of daily usage, it means that we don’t have to worry about rusting or using it in hot or cold environments.
Stainless steel is also arguably the most user-friendly material available. The highly lustrous material only needs a regular wash with water and dishwasher to keep its shine. It doesn’t need regular polishing or special attention. It is non-reactive to almost all food groups, which means one can use it for any food or drink. In other words, it ensures form, function, and durability.
When it comes to sustainable materials, stainless steel is the champion. Not only is it highly durable, it is also one of the most recycled materials. Its high resistance to corrosion is complemented with a high tensile strength and easy formability. These properties make stainless steel ideal for repurposing into new usage. In fact, 60% of all stainless steel is actually recycled. In other words, any stainless steel now in use will be repurposed, reformed, and reused when its original usage has been exhausted.
Heirlooms to treasure
Stainless steel is extremely durable. Most of us have inherited stainless steel crockery, dinnerware, serveware, and other kitchen equipment from our parents. Some may be able to trace these back to their grandparents. In fact, most Indian kitchens are testaments to the longevity of stainless steel, housed with lovingly-cared for kitchenware that ranges from ladles to elegant tea-sets.
Advent of new designs
One of the most notable developments in this field is the emergence of new designs, brands, and utility. What was confined to everyday use has been upgraded several notches with new designs and formation by lifestyle brands. Designers are playing with the lustrous material with embellishments or embossing, creating contrasting textures and visuals where a matt finish is juxtapositioned with glossy surfaces to create interesting designs. These can range from playful exuberance of Gen-Z or the classical elegance of the bygone era.
Today, many designers are also experimenting with different stainless steel combinations where the metal is combined with other elements like ceramic or embedded with semi-precious stones like onyx for a dramatic finish. Importantly, many brands are also introducing different forms of stainless steel with features that make it one of the most flexible and user-friendly materials in the kitchen. So, while one can get an elegant dinner set in stainless steel, it is also the metal of choice for induction-friendly cookware.
Impact on the market
The emergence of stainless steel as a lifestyle brand can have a deeper and far-reaching impact on the stainless steel market in India. Currently, 80% of the kitchenware market is dominated by the unorganised sector. However, these products are often of inferior quality and can rarely match up to the quality standards required in the lifestyle category. With a growth projection of 9-10% per annum, the emergence of high quality stainless steel will help the organised players to expand their market.
The new trend for upmarket stainless steel material also helps in establishing quality standards with a clear preference for high-grade steel. In a highly globalised market, it also allows us to showcase Indian design and workmanship even as the industry breaks new grounds in its market and scope.