Sculptor Aman Khanna of Claymen opens a window to his evocative and minimalistic world

FEB 21, 2019 | By Aneesha Bhadri
FROM LEFT Functional and dysfunctional pieces are placed in a manner that allows every object to breathe; Large windows bring in abundant natural light; The Clayheads from the Dysfunctional collection; The Commitment from the Dysfunctional/Characters series

A design studio packed with untold stories and whispered tales, where you can’t help but run your fingers over the objects. Sculptor Aman Khanna’s Claymen Studio has a story that is as evocative and minimalistic as his pieces. Aman says, “Claymen objects simply are what they are: a celebration of a style that is at peace with its own little imperfections.

Handmade and functional, the objects are built to be used. Some incarnate the dysfunctionality intrinsic to society by hinting at the fragility of the human condition in a more general sense. And I wanted the studio to reflect exactly that.” Walking us through the space, he adds, “When we found this studio in Dhan Mill compound, it was a cuboid-shaped, empty shell with a tin roof. It was used as a rice storage warehouse.

However, the address is now the new design district of the city, hosting studios like Bharat Sikka, Motherland and Odd Bird theatre to name a few.” The studio rests on the visual storyteller’s design philosophy. Ninety percent of the display has been reused from his previous space in Hauz Khas village and materials from past exhibitions. “The idea was to reuse and refrain as much as possible from creating anything new.” The restrained fluidity of the space has a tranquil effect. It houses the gallery, the design studio and a courtyard, which doubles as a drying area for newly-produced clay pieces.

The 2,100sqft atelier comes alive with technical and structural inputs from architect Saurabh Dakshini of Studio Organon — a dear friend of the sculptor who understood the studio’s need to revel in the drama of natural light. Aman adds, “Negative space is important to me. The display areas in the front and middle sections are left bare, which gives us enough mobility to change things around according to whatever I am working on.” The industrial and terracotta hanging lampshades made by the studio make for an interesting addition. He also points out that in the evenings, the space shies away from any form of artificial light and bathes in the afterglow of the setting sun.