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Power to the Karigar at the AD Design show 2018

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Mumbai’s luxury art and design fair celebrated craftsmanship in design with an exclusive showcase for artisans

Breathtaking installations by acclaimed artists, engaging talks and workshops, design and architecture displays by some of the biggest names in the design world – the recently concluded AD Design Show 2018, Mumbai was the place to be for all art and design lovers in India.

Luxury in design can be admired for its various facets, but it is the handmade quality of it and the craft behind it that truly speaks to the exclusivity of any piece of work. As such the show decided to celebrate the unsung heroes, the karigars who are fundamental to any design innovation in our country.

With artisans working on handmade furniture, textiles and accessories, specialising in different kinds of craft, the Power to the Karigar initiative showcased craft studios from across the country so that viewers could experience and understand these intricate aspects of design. One of the highlights of the section was the coming together of two design heavyweights, designer Samuel Barclay and Alibaug-based master-craftsman Poonamchand Suthar originally from a family of carpenters in Rajasthan. The two joined hands to showcase the processes in both metal and wood to make products that are rooted in Indian craft traditions and designed for contemporary living.

Curators of Clay, who focus on ceramic and aim to bring the material out of its traditional confines, showcased the process of handcrafting their products. Founders Rohit Kulkarni and Bhairavi Naik themselves hand-create every piece and their tableware is today used by restaurants such as Masque, Kala Ghoda Café and Arth. “People think of clay products in very rudimentary terms like kulhad, matka etc. We are bringing a modern aesthetic to the craft and this Karigar initiative at the show helped us showcase the effort that goes behind it,” says Naik. Next were works in progress by Frozen Music, a Jaipur-based studio working with karigars from across disciplines, made with semi-precious stones employing painstaking techniques of pietra dura and micro mosaic. Textiles were an important part of the display, where fashion designer Anavila Misra collaborated with REHWA, a non-profit organisation committed towards sustaining Maheshwari handlooms.

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