Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Architect and designer.
Studio location: Mumbai.
Describe what you make: Being obsessed with design, I like to create works across varied scales, from the environment one inhabits to the objects one interacts with. The versatility of scale fascinates me and helps me create pieces of design that celebrates craftsmanship triggering all of our senses, from building architectural structures and interior spaces (be it residential, retail, or commercial) to handmade furniture and lighting that inhabit the spaces we create.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: More than any one particular project, I think the most important thing I’ve done is attempt to contemporize traditional craft in India, working with local artisans to push the boundaries of techniques and processes. Although we’ve worked with various craft and materials, the most significant is probably a pioneering technique of embroidery on wood, integrating hand-woven zardosi as a means to upholster a piece of furniture, drilling into the thickness of the wood. The technique is executed by hand from start to finish, and we’ve used it on various pieces of our custom furniture, most notably the signature C-Chair and within an interior space for a wall cladding at the Christian Louboutin boutique in Mumbai.
Describe the problem your work solves: India has a great wealth of centuries-old craft and artisans; unfortunately, they have seen a steady decline over the years and these techniques will be lost to us if there is no overt attempt to revive them. Within the work I do, we engage closely with artisans to understand the know-how and process behind each craft, then try to create pieces that give them a new lease on life, establishing their relevance in contemporary design. Sustaining craft practices and artisan clusters, and reimagining and celebrating craftsmanship is my raison d’être.
Describe the project you are working on now: Earlier this year, we launched a collection of marble tube lights, which are made by hollowing out blocks of white Makrana marble into individual tubes of 6mm thickness on the lathe. The surface of each tube is further hand-carved by Jaipur artisans, the patterns inspired by crystal glass. The light passes through this carved texture in varying degrees, creating a unique effect. We are currently working on a new addition to that series, incorporating the craft of marble inlay for a series of lampshades.
In addition, with the success of our first series of hand-carved alabaster candles, I am currently working on the next edition to be launched in November in time for the festival of light: Diwali.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: As we spend more time indoors due to the worldwide lockdowns from Covid-19, the resurgence of board games is creating meaningful leisure time activities for housebound families. Making the most of this downtime, I am designing a series of three board games that originated in India, each manifested through the celebration of a particular craft.
The first in the series is a chess board; hand-crafted in marble, each piece carved from a monolithic block. The board features marble inlay by local artisans in Agra. The second is Snakes and Ladders, created using tarkashi, a Jaipur craft that involves the laying of brass wire into wood. The third game, Ludo, is derived from the Indian game of Pachisi, and features embroidery on wood. The gaming series will be launched toward the end of August 2020.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Coffee, prototypes, a material library, and a motivated team.
What you do when you’re not working: Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time cooking and really enjoying it. A good game of chess is also a welcome distraction.
Sources of creative envy: OMA, Mathieu Lehanneur, Charlotte Perriand, and Vincenzo de Cotiis.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Social media.
Concrete or marble? Marble, 100 percent. I’m marble-obsessed.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Forget to remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light.