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Manasa Prithvi: Young and upcoming

NOV 19, 2015 | By Aditi Gaitonde

During her Masters in Visual Arts from the University of Arts in London, Manasa launched her product design firm Ira Studio in 2013. Since then the independent designer has been crafting limited edition pieces like pendant lights, side tables, stools and more recently trays. With a philosophy that values and celebrates age old Indian crafts, she uses traditional techniques to envision contemporary items fit for today’s homes. Fresh off her showcase at INfluence – Design across continents at London Design Festival 2015, we caught up with Manasa to discuss her work.
Relishing the forgotten model of slow design
“What I do is completely driven by the underlying concept of handicrafts, where every piece is unique and a one off. All my products are limited editions or single edition. I look at it in two ways: This is how handicrafts were meant to be… all about slow design. You can make 100 products but it loses the quality of it being handmade. Traditionally speaking, handicraft was exclusive, one of a kind and customised. Secondly, I prefer keeping it this way so that I can explore newer designs and crafts. There are challenges like when a client asks me for a sold out product. Although it is disappointing to tell them it’s sold out, I remake something similar along the lines of the original.”
Materialising a particular sensibility
“Ira Studio’s key aesthetic is understated and minimal. I like to look at one aspect of tradition for inspiration and then make contemporary product with it. The quality of being slightly imperfect, the makers mark as they call is, is something I absolutely love. Since I work with traditional master craftsmen and they use only these natural materials like brass, copper and wood, those are the element I work around. Both the Tekku stools and the Madras Trays are made of wood and brass.”