A design for Mumbai

Mar 10, 2013, 10:47 IST | Kareena N Gianani

This week, the city has someone who wants to turn Le Mill into a futuristic laboratory for sustainable products, and a JNU professor who speaks of Indian aesthetics � the understood and the misunderstood

If you head to Le Mill, the concept store in Masjid Bunder, this week, you’ll see the future. At least that of design and sustainable technology.

Designer Asheish Shah, who will curate an interior exhibit with Bijoy Jain and Rajiv Saini as part of the India Design Week, prefers calling it an artiste’s laboratory. “We’ve involved design students and professionals from across the country to create something out of the ordinary. The focus of the exhibit is on creating excellent designs and sustainable prototypes. For instance, a young student has used audio tapes for warp and weft. A Bangalore-based artiste uses electronic junk to make music amplifiers. The products are edgy, futuristic and responsibly designed,” says Shah.

Naman Ahuja (left) will give a talk on a holistic approach between art and design; Ashiesh Shah (right) will curate an exhibition

Shah hopes to inspire designers, students and visitors with the idea that contemporary Indian designs can be just as rich as their traditional counterparts. “We have a rich tradition of art and aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play with the modern.”

While you have design on your mind, head to Design Salon, a talk by Naman Ahuja, associate professor of Ancient Art and Architecture at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and Bandana Tewari, Vogue’s fashion features director. The discussion, which will be held on March 13, will focus on a more holistic approach between art and design, says Ahuja. “The practice of art is associated with metropolitan studio work, while craftsmanship and those who follow tradition are seen as those coming from pre-modern India. Exhibition of modern art in India doesn’t always showcase traditional craftsmanship — which is not the case in Japan for instance. Their traditional craftsmanship with bamboo, lacquer and paper-cutting has been given a lot of importance in art galleries,” explains Ahuja.

Ahuja will also discuss issues of censorship at the Design Salon. “I think censorship comes in when people aren’t sufficiently exposed to the variety and meanings of eroticism and sensuality in Indian art and philosophy. Our history is rich with yogic traditions — and they weren’t meant to titillate. At the same time, pleasure and titillation are equally important things and have been talked about in our traditions.”

Asheish Shah’s exhibits will be on display till March 16 at Le Mill, Masjid Bunder 

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