Limited edition, rare, handmade — words that are used when describing the most coveted design pieces have been de rigueur to India for centuries. Be it families that still prefer consulting jewellers they have trusted for generations, garments that were almost always made to measure or furniture that is custom-made, India has been home to refined, artisanal design for much longer that it’s given credit for.
In the 1990s, the country’s economic boom opened up its creative market to the world. A large percentage of that global interest — be it from haute couture labels or luxury interior brands — was limited to sourcing the much sought after Indian craftsmanship to embellish their own works.
A maturing design economy sees Indian talent turning to their roots to reposition India from a creative services provider to the source of high-quality finished pieces that embody a global sensibility while remaining distinctly ‘Made in India’.
Based in Delhi, specialists in custom lighting Klove are often credited with ushering in the contemporary atelier culture in the country. Founded in 2005, the brand’s core lies in creating light sculptures and installations, rendering traditional Indian glass blowing to contemporary designs and applications. Decorative lights, chandeliers and home accessories present the richness of Indian crafts — including metal and enamel work, ceramics, stone work — blended with the high-tech world of lighting design, delivering statement pieces coveted by celebrity interior designers and design lovers. Klove recently created a limited-edition home accessories collection for the festive season. Bold, colourful and supremely luxurious, the brand straddles tradition and modernity with complete ease.
TRUNKS COMPANY JAIPUR
Meticulously made with the finest raw materials sourced from across the world and lovingly crafted by the master craftsmen of Jaipur, every bespoke luggage piece bearing the Trunk Company’s emblem is a work of art; an heirloom piece that can stand its own against the many Louis Vuittons of the world. Splendid in its metallic embellishment and finished off with a signature teakwood trim, each trunk is an opportunity to create a bespoke piece — its interiors custom designed to suit a vast array of function. Jewellery and watch cases, Polo Kits, bars and suitcases worthy of royalty — the brand has created them all. Since 2011, brothers Paritosh and Priyank Mehta have celebrated the refined Rajasthani craftsmanship, presenting it to a discerning clientele that values exclusivity and the art of luggage making.
An award-winning multidisciplinary design and research studio, this Mumbai-based atelier was founded in 2011 by Shroff. Exploring the intersection of architecture, interior design and product design, the practice often operates on a small scale, crafting bespoke furniture, products and materials. Shroff received his undergraduate degree in architecture at Cornell University, where he was awarded the Edward Palmer York Memorial Prize for Outstanding performance in Design, as well as the Michael Rapuano Memorial Distinction in Design Award. The practice strives to honour traditional Indian techniques and materiality, contextualising it for contemporary living. In doing so, the studio offers a distinctly modern visual identity that is rooted in the Indian way, but has global application.
Assamese designer Ranjan Bordoloi is flying the flag for the underdog. In India, where the North Eastern states don’t often feel included or considered in the narrative of the mainland, Bordoloi’s success is an inspiration and an undeniable indicator of the potential within the repeatedly ignored states. Known to give regional arts and crafts a contemporary twist thanks to his affinity towards local artisans, the IIT graduate’s Pitoloi seater was presented by the revered Italian brand Cappellini at the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair. His Godrej Design Lab 2016 winning Kaathfula chair draws inspiration from mushrooms. Given that his previous works have predominantly featured beaten metals, cane and wood in strong geometries, this prototype sees the designer exploring a fresh creative direction with bright colours, organic forms and new materiality.