An interview with Sikandreen Hassan, Creative Director, Tarkhanom



I love the Tarkhanom pieces we make but being a perfectionist, I can’t say I am 100pc in love with any one particular item. I always feel I could have done better which keeps me striving for further improvement. I am extremely persistent about what I want and I can’t rest till I have achieved what I set out to


While Pakistan’s exports appear to be in freefall despite the government’s repeated attempts to prop them up, there are still some companies that manage to buck the trend. Tarkhanom is one of those anomalies. Since the inception of Tarkhanom in 2008, Sikandreen has provided unique, bespoke furniture for clients in Pakistan and abroad. Incorporating classic, contemporary and eclectic designs, Sikandreen’s finely crafted pieces portray equal measures of sophistication and distinctiveness.

Sowing the seeds

I have always been interested in interiors and everything that entails since I was a kid living in my childhood home. I used to love choosing my room’s furniture, paintings and carpets. My parents used to furnish our home with artifacts or pieces bought when they were travelling to other countries which also fascinated me. I used to observe how furniture, portraits, landscapes and sculptures would blend together to give a particular look and feel to a room. My father, Major Akhtar Nazir, who is Chairman of the World Hand Knotted Carpet Association, began his carpet business under the name of Miaco Carpets in 1975, which also fed my interest in interiors. So, the combination of these factors, as well as my Fine Arts educational background, has sown the seeds for this love for furniture!

Furnished with a fourish

In 2008, the dream of Tarkhanom became reality. My father came up with the name, inspired by the term ‘tarkhan’ meaning wood craftsman. Tarkhanom provides unique pieces of furniture according to the vision and needs of clients. We provide people with the kind of furniture they want, whether in a classic or contemporary style. In the classic category, we manufacture pieces that are finely made and give a high end look and feel through the use of gold, silver and other rich colours. In the contemporary style, Tarkhanom makes pieces that use the modern, straight line, minimalistic look while conveying both comfort and style. The wood we use is strong, treated and seasoned ‘sheesham’ or rosewood. We also utilise other elements in our furniture’s design including metals like brass and steel, mirrors,marble and other stones, as well as, clay tablets.

Pondering the process

From the planting of an idea in my mind, a furniture piece goes through a number of processes till we arrive at the final piece! First I begin with a sketch of the piece I am visualising. After that there are discussions with the experienced craftsmen working at the Tarkhanom factory. Stencils of the sketch are made and the wood, which has been selected after a rigorous process of quality assurance, is then cut accordingly. The next steps entail the carving, fitting and finishing of the product. The finishing is done according to the client’s requirements and can include looks in leafing, high gloss, varnish, distressed finish and even hand painted.

Catering to the clientele

Our clientele hails from around the world, including Pakistan, Canada, the UK, the US and UAE. People in different geographical regions generally have their own preferred styles of furniture. For example, the orders from the UAE usually require elements of intricate carvings, while clients in Canada and the US prefer bolder and more contemporary designs. Apart from working with private clients, we are also working with some international interior designers who order furniture from us to use in their interiors projects.

Many of them discover Tarkhanom through our Facebook and Instagram pages and either email or phone us. Discussions then follow and after decisions are made regarding the furniture pieces required, we get to work on building those dreams! In the end, we ship out items to our international clients.

Currently I am working on both residential and commercial projects. An upcoming project will be taking place in collaboration with an architectural firm which we have set up under the name of Red Inc.This project is for the furnishing of the headquarters of a commercial venture. I am also working on a luxury hotel’s interiors project nowadays.

Inspiring influences

I find inspiration in many ways when designing or visualising a particular piece. It can depend on something as every day as the weather or my mood to my favorite artist, Frida Kahlo’s work to a particular architectural element that stayed with me from a visit to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or an aspect of Andy Warhol’s exhibit at the Tate Modern that stuck.

Taking on trump

In May this year, Donald Trump was the subject of Tarkhanom’s furniture art in the form of the Trump Throne, a unique issue-oriented art creation, inspired by the terrifying prospect of Trump ascending the American presidential throne. This provocative piece addressed the Trump presidential campaign and questioned what may happen if he were elected, which he unexpectedly has been! With this initiation into the area of furniture-as-art, Tarkhanom was expanding its outlook from just aesthetic appeal and utility to challenging art pieces that address modern relevant issues.

Finding the funny in furnishing

There are some amusing anecdotes related to both clients and the craftsmen at the factory. I remember one of my first clients was based in Islamabad. At the time, I was pretty clueless about how to run a business. When he asked me to make some furniture for him, I asked him innocently why he didn’t find someone to make it for him in Islamabad. Now the same person is one of my most regular clients!

In pursuit of perfection

I love the Tarkhanom pieces we make but being a perfectionist, I can’t say I am 100pc in love with any one particular item. I always feel I could have done better which keeps me striving for further improvement. I am extremely persistent about what I want and I can’t rest till I have achieved what I set out to.

I try to think positively despite whatever challenges I may be facing and am a firm believer in the fact that there are no shortcuts to anything. You have to put in the hard work and in the end it usually works out, thanks to the grace of God.

Looking to the future

I intend to continue providing high end, bespoke, yet affordable, furniture items that give that unique look to your home or office. In the next few months, I will be launching the Tarkhanom Home Line. This is going to include furniture, of course, but also cutlery, crockery, tableware, bedding, towels, throws and rugs. I will be introducing lambswool in the making of Tarkhanom Home’s embroidered cushions, throws and trunk tables. My vision is to keep introducing new elements, in all kinds of styles, shapes and forms, that can transform rooms into elegant, individualistic and aesthetically pleasing spaces.




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