By Savitha Hira
Qutab Chandelier ( iconic symbolism of Qutub Minar)
How much can design endure? Are we truly cherishing our design roots by reviving everyday products into alternate designer-ware? Or are we merely dabbling in kitsch elements in a bid at contemporary revivalist design?
Every day, we are introduced to a variety of design. Everyday products define useful design; some even define luxury design… tested design, innovation and heightened aesthetics that put-together, form the core of our immediate environment. Yet, many a time, utilitarian design is taken-for-granted. Our eyes scan past it, but do not register it the way they should.
Deer Wall Light
Newness is a constant. When a new product enters the periphery of our vision, our senses make note of it and react to it. With design, reinvention and sustainability go hand-in-glove in consistently giving back to society whilst addressing yet another new generation.
|Saint Lamp - inspired from Karmandal (vessel used by Sadhus –saints-|
in India to store the sacred water of the Ganges).
Grain Shovel Lamp installed on a donut-shaped
jute cushion – coherence in originality
Sahil Bagga and Sarthak Sengupta – two product designers from Delhi, with an established design practice since 2009, create products inspired by memories of everyday objects and employ traditional craftsmanship and indigenous materials in a revived manner. Asked what led them to this route, Sarthak says, “Everyday objects can beautifully narrate the change in our everyday lives, changes in society, our aspirations, rituals and beliefs, in simple yet tangible terms.” Thus they pick on certain objects that are fast growing obsolete and hold on to their memory in a re-contextualized function.
Their collection of lights shows a mix of re-design (grain shovel, deer lamp) and inspired design (saint lamp, choori lamp, drop lamp, Qutub lamp). Reworking on a perspective does not take the product away from its origins; rather retrofits it in contemporaneity; viz., the metal milk canisters were innately designed to be water-proof, sturdy, carrier friendly etc; these very characteristics now make the milk cans a perfect refit as outdoor lights.
Reminiscent of jewellery from Indus valley Civilization
Metal milk can - rescued from a junk yard and
transformed into outdoor waterproof floor light.
And is such an exercise empowering the local artisan? Well, to a certain extent, informs Sarthak. They try their best to work on a mass production of 100-150 pieces. And they take it further by retailing their products at leading lifestyle stores in India and abroad. Besides, they strive to employ crafts and rural materials and objects into their interior projects. Such efforts open up opportunities for artisans to apply their skills in a more contemporary context.
Choori (glass bangle) Lamp – maybe used singly or as an installation
|Katran(textile waste) Lamp|
On the one hand, such efforts garner a feel-good factor that appeals to the sentimentalists. On the other more pragmatic front, is such an exercise truly engaging in terms of both, impacting the layman and revalidating his familial heritage; and in empowering artisans and a forgotten craft?