Adventures from opposite worlds

May 04, 2013, 00:35 IST | Soma Das

An industrial designer and a textile designer set up Aunterra, an online store that merges opposing thought panels to create unique products from ethically sourced materials. The duo's first collection, a jewellery line titled Ore, fuses south India's Bidri work with inspiration from the cold, harsh Ladakhi landscape

Eight months ago, Aunterra started off as a project between industrial designer Malvika Vaswani and textile designer Mallika Dalal. The duo (roommates who studied together at the Rhode Island School Of Design) wanted to create designs that respected Indian heritage and by pooling in their skills, they set out on a process of experimentation.

Mallika Dalal and Malvika Vaswani

They came across Bidri work (a handicraft from the Deccan that includes the art of inlaying silver into a zinc and copper alloy, dating back to the 13th century) and were inspired by its stark black and silver finish. Intrigued, they began work on a jewellery line inspired by Ladakh’s landscapes, which culminated in Aunterra’s first collection, Ore, that won the IDF award in the Fashion and Textiles category at Mumbai’s India Design Forum in March 2013.

Jewellery based on the concept of Shanti

“Aunterra is an ongoing experiment to put two opposing schools of thought, aesthetics and ideals together, to discover the aspect that sparks in the middle. It is a movement that aims to challenge design in India, deconstructing and reconstructing perceptions, aesthetics and processes,” shares Vaswani. The duo seeks inspiration and uncovers new forms of creative expression by using ethically sourced materials to create forward-thinking design objects. While the product line presently includes jewellery and fashion accessories, they plan to include homeware and textiles soon. “We see those who sport our products as part of a global tribe who appreciate aesthetics and are also a part of the new Indian design movement, which we believe is taking place right now,” says Dalal.

(From Left) Shanti necklace, Ring inspired by the Indus river, Hemis necklace, Ring made from hand-dyed cotton

The first look
Their first collection combines the aesthetics of northern Ladakh with crafts from the south by using the craft of Bidri with white metal work, fringe and hand-dyed cord to create earrings and necklaces. “It is an effort to indulge in India’s rich artistic heritage and challenge its current presence and conventions. We hope to create awareness and highlight cross-cultural references within our country in a new way,” states Vaswani.

Did you know?
Aunterra was chosen as the name as Aunter means adventure in Middle English and Terra stands for land in Latin, translating into “adventures of the land”.

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