Aishwarya Iyer has a thing for shelves. Usually, you’ll see these strategically styled ledges along a living room or bedroom wall—Iyer’s are in her kitchen. As the founder of the ultra-Instagrammable brand Brightland, which currently sells three different bottles of ultra-pure, high-quality California olive oil (in addition to a sold-out chili-infused variety), Iyer takes extra consideration where cooking aesthetics are concerned.
“I see us being the Aesop of the kitchen: creating beautiful, elevated, streamlined versions of the forgotten pantry staples,” she says. “We wanted any products we debuted to be something that you could celebrate on your countertop or create a beautiful shelf moment with.”
In Iyer’s Los Angeles home, which she and her husband moved into in August 2018, a newly renovated kitchen provides the perfect foundation for such a vignette—though the CEO always finds herself making tweaks and adjustments. “Styling our space is a work in progress,” she says. “Something like an open shelf can change a lot with my mood or the seasons or the cookbooks I’m reading at the time.”
Currently in the mix: Laura Shapiro’s What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories, a Japanese teapot that was a gift from her sister, green tea from tea atelier Bellocq, a vintage camera found in New York, a wheelbarrow-style salad bowl, and pinch bowls from Year & Day. And, of course, a few bottles of her company’s olive oil.
For Iyer, who worked in tech and venture capital before her career pivot, form cannot exist without function. Simple yet elevated staples—a wooden magnetic knife strip with subtle Scandinavian appeal, a collection of cutting boards—foster an environment where whipping up a meal after work or having friends over for dinner isn’t a chore, it’s a relaxation technique.
In particular, she loves Material’s angled board, which makes pouring vegetables—onions, maybe—into pots easier (ideal for someone who loves entertaining). “I think it’s such a great base for displaying food, whether it’s a fruit arrangement or cheese plate, in addition to cutting vegetables,” she adds.
The kitchen is the heart of Iyer’s home—both architecturally and figuratively. No matter the occasion or the company, she wants it to feel special. “Anytime people host dinner parties, they always end up congregating in the kitchen,” she says. “I want it to be a place where you can lean against the countertop and be in the middle of everything. Or if we prefer to sit and eat at the counter, we can totally do that, too.”
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