In conversation with Mr. Hassan Janahi, founder of Classy Interiors.
He is a perfectionist; almost like a surgeon who knows exactly what his next precise move is going to be. He goes to great lengths to give the desired effect to his masterpieces; like the one time he procured the paint used for BMW cars to create his pièce de résistance. He is also an artist, who can literally create music out of wood. Be it teak, maple or cherry, he can make your furniture sing for you. Introducing the founder of Classy Interiors, Mr. Hassan Janahi, who in recent times has stunned onlookers with world class furniture that is made right here in Bahrain
Tell us about the beginning of Classy Interiors…
We began at a small rented place in Salmabad almost 25 years back, with just 4 employees including myself. It was a time of struggle and I had to get everything together from scratch. There was only one machine in the workshop and all my efforts were directed at getting my workmen to learn the importance of making the best quality furniture. My shop during that time was called Classical Carpentry. Over time we had people coming to my workshop and actually appreciating the quality of our products and services.
I also used to travel to a lot of shows and exhibitions outside Bahrain, including Lebanon and South Africa. All these travels gave me the experience and more insight into the world of interior designs. This is an entirely different world and it’s too deep to be understood fully in just one lifetime.
Then how and when did Classical Carpentry become Classy Interiors?
After our name became established I wanted to form my company as a group; something of my own. I bought this new place in Sitra almost 14 years ago. While making new registrations, I renamed the business to Classy Interiors and Trading. If we got an entirely new name, it could create confusion for our customers and that would not be good for the brand. And you always need time for the brand to establish. I am glad that we have grown over the years to accommodate over 30 staff now.
Tell us how your work stands out in the crowd…
We may be small compared to other bigger brands or companies with more sophisticated equipments. But we stay unique with our ideas. Great ideas make a difference and I believe that our furniture is different, unique and of course a work of art.
I believe in working on every detail of furniture. It should give the comfort expected by the customer and I work in close association with all my workers and test each piece of furniture a thousand times before actually delivering it to the customer. I personally go in search of every accessory that completes a piece. It might sound a bit strange to you when I say that I had actually bought a whole chandelier to get that one special piece from it which I could use to perfect my work of art.
Tell us about the birth of your new collection, where music meets furniture.
A few years ago I had attended a concert at the Sheikh Ebrahim Center. It was a violin recital accompanied by the piano. The music was so mesmerizing, it actually took me through a journey of all the memories I had. I was so deeply moved that I desperately wanted to create art that would challenge the artist in me. Soon after I took my pencil and paper and began sketching the violin. It didn’t take me much time to start working with my team to create the first violin masterpiece of Classy Interiors and the rest is history. I must also add that each of these musical art pieces takes up to a year and half to complete.
Do you remember the first time you displayed your musical art pieces for the public?
We brought them for display to the public for the first time in 2014. It was at the Gulf Interior Exhibition. We had all the pieces carefully covered in black cloth and unveiled them when the hall was full. The visitors were in awe and couldn’t believe that these were actually made in Bahrain. It helped to establish the name of Classy Interiors at a totally different level in today’s market.
Our collection was next exhibited at the Hotel Exhibition in Dubai last year. We had the falcon piano and cello out on display for the first time. It was an unbelievable experience we had in Dubai. We were actually competing with the big brands from Italy and France. I even had an Italian gentleman actually asking me the location of my shop in Italy. And no one could believe that they were being made in Bahrain. These are those special moments that make me proud to be Bahraini, for being able to take my country’s name to an international platform. But being at these exhibitions cost more than you might expect and I sincerely hope to get more support by which I can let the world know that Bahrain is no less than any other place.
What do you think about the new generation joining your team as interior designers?
The competition today in the interior design market is tough and the new generation is full of ideas. But I have also seen many youngsters adopting patterns from Google and then fitting them into a design. But that’s like copy-pasting, which I would say a big ‘No’ to… You need to be creative and be prepared to get your hands dirty to create a real work of art.