Lights. Furniture. Action.
Nothing is as it seems, or so it will appear during a trip to Artisans' Gallery. When you step in, it's impossible to miss the wooden padukas (slippers worn by saints) that have been transformed into centre tables, milk cans morphed into bar stools, Naga beer barrels masquerading as cabinets and a set of tilted trunks serving as a storage unit.
(From left) Ishitta Arun and Aradhana Nagpal at the workshop
At D-Tour's latest exhibition, you'd be excused being awe-struck with the numerous objects of furniture and lighting. The two-month old lifestyle brand is the brainchild of Aradhana Nagpal (owner of craft shop Dhoop) and Ishitta Arun (TV/ theatre personality and founder of design label D Se Dijhaeen).
Chest of trunk drawers at a sloped angle
Designed by fate
While the duo studied in college together (both studied Ancient Indian Culture at St Xavier's College), they re-connected when Ishitta approached Aradhana to customise furniture for her label. "It involved a lot of recycling, including taking apart her clients' old dining table and giving it a brand new twist.
It was fun and we made a good team. She agreed to come aboard for a one-off exhibition I was planning and we eventually decided to work under the D-Tour label," says Aradhana. The name is a spin on the detour the designers took from their regular work and it also matches the initials of their respective ventures.
At the exhibition, the range of products on display includes tables, stools, couches, lamps and drawers with a kitschy, street vibe and made by transforming daily use products to give them an edgy twist. The 30-piece collection is made up of various series, including the Trunk series, the Recycled series and the Rajasthani series.
Aradhana admits that the exhibition borrows from the concept of functional art by displaying artistic items that can be put to use instead of merely being mounted on a wall or displayed as sculpture.
"Each piece was an experiment. Often, a product looked visually stunning but wasn't fully functional. For instance -- the first chair we made with cycle rims looked visually perfect but the rims fell off. But it was worth the trial and error and we even received orders for it," she explains.
While the duo worked jointly on the designs at the Dhoop workshop, they took turns supervising the making of the products. "Ishitta and I are perfectionists and we would obsess about the right bolt or the perfect buffer. For the recycling experiment, we would walk around streets where old car parts, paper and computer chips were recycled, and try to pull out pieces. You have to really grab what you get and its exact use is determined afterwards," laughs Aradhana.
While Ishitta might be more familiar with performing arts, she admits that designing came naturally to her. "I grew up in an environment where there was never any restriction to creative expression. It has been a very organic experience with its own challenges but something that I felt I was meant to do from the beginning.
I have been inspired by the local artisans of my home state, Rajasthan as well as several quirky family members and friends I have grown up with," she reasons.
Till: November 22, 11 am to 7 pm
At: Artisans', Dr VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda.