“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” ― Roger Ebert.
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, founded in 1985 by artist Isamu Noguchi, presents In Praise of Caves: Organic Architecture Projects from Mexico by Carlos Lazo, Mathias Goeritz, Juan O’Gorman, and Javier Senosiain, an exhibition spanning multiple galleries on The Noguchi Museum’s first floor. The ongoing exhibition will last till February 26, 2023. It represents alternative visions for approaching the relationship between human-built and natural environments that emerged in Mexico in the middle of the twentieth century, especially relevant today as the climate crisis accelerates..
The title In Praise of Caves is inspired by a chapter of Rudofsky’s The Prodigious Builders: Notes Towards a Natural History of Architecture (1977), a follow-up to his Architecture without Architects (1964). He states that there is nothing primitive or backwards about living in caves. The crux of the text encompasses the fact that the only plausible way out of the mess that has been created by humans is to go underground.
The exhibition begins in the museum’s open air pavilion. A copy of El Serpiente de El Eco (The Serpent for El Eco), a 30 ft long, 16 ft tall snake that Mathias Goeritz designed for his experimental museum El Eco (1952–53) in downtown Mexico City is placed in Noguchi’s indoor-outdoor rock garden. The snake represents a natural and ecologically sound path to the future. The serpent is accompanied by a nest of snakes and more select works in adjoining galleries. A third space, posed as a cave mouth, features celestial oriented work.
In the centre of the gallery on the first floor is a large mosaic covered serpent installed by Javier Senosiain, a scholar of bio-architecture and principal champion of his predecessors’ legacy. The exhibition also houses more conceived and unconceived works including the first home he built himself, namely Casa Orgánica (Organic House).
Another gallery is devoted to architect Carlos Lazo’s modern cave home La Casa-Cueva de la Era Atómica (The Cave-House of the Atomic Age) in Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico City. Recognising the need to adapt to the natural topography and the crucial role of natural resources in it, the works are presented through archival photographs and a model fabricated by Javier Senosiain’s firm Arquitectura Orgánica.
Last but not the least, the featured artist Juan O’Gorman is best known for his apocalyptic works in relation to the troubles of humanity with mother earth. Select works focusing on the former have been included. The main focus is a new model of the home O’Gorman made for his family, which was built around a lava cave in the Pedregal neighbourhood of Mexico City, along with initial drawings for the home. The space was where he and his wife decided to study subterranean dwelling first hand.
The offline journey of PortsideCafé Furniture Studio started from a small store in 2007. Currently the store in New Delhi houses all the latest designs by PortsideCafé, manufactured in their factory located at Noida by a team of 150 skilled designers, karigars and administrators. The skilled hands of the experienced karigars have been producing top notch leather products since the beginning of PortsideCafé’s journey. With the development of times, the karigars have also developed the skills of working on materials other than leather. The shared enthusiasm of exploring new materials and techniques of the designers and the karigars has resulted in the production of unique and innovative furniture in recent days.
PortsideCafé is a brand which is eternally on the lookout for inspirations from everyday life of travels, of unapologetic nostalgia. Each piece of furniture has a bit of a back story – a raison d’être so to speak. With influences that are as diverse as old classic movies, rock music, books, a colour, a building or even a flower. This is what makes their products so much more relatable and personal.
They exude a warmth that is old-worldly at first glance but are thoroughly modern in their interpretations and executions. In the early years of the brand, the focus was on vintage designs and intricate detailing on luxurious leather furniture. These days, exploring new materials and forms and shifting the attention from leather to wood and metal has become the brand’s design language.
To increase its reach, the brand has been showcasing its talent in many domestic and international trade fairs. PortsideCafé mesmerized the international customers with their work in four different occasions at the design capital, Milan (two different occasions) and at Paris (two other different occasions). They have been showcasing at India Design from 2013 onwards and won the Designer of the year award for 2016. The brand displayed their products in the internationally acclaimed domestic fair called EPCH (Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts) since 2014. The exhibitions were much appreciated and they bagged the award for the best stall of 2015 and 2018.
They have also won the Elle Décor designer of the year award for 2014. From 3rd to 6th October, 2019, the brand single handedly hosted an exhibition named ‘Intimate’ at the Lado Sarai store where many other designer brands like Gomads displayed their works. Other than satisfying their own patrons, PortsideCafé products have also made their way into the collections of some well known brands like Purple Turtle, Bangalore; Tata Cliq and Artisera.
To go with the times of rapidly developing social media and to enhance the business and reach more people PortsideCafé introduced themselves to the world of social media by launching its Instagram handle (Portsidecafe_Furniture) in august 2014. Since then they have received a lot of love & response from their followers. The people of PortsideCafé have always believed in growing organically. The happiness of the triumph of as little an achievement by serendipitous ways is other worldly. After more than 1300 posts (1338 to be precise) PortsideCafé achieved the milestone of 10k followers on 22 September 2022 and the number hasn’t stopped growing since.
During the difficult period of covid-19, PortsideCafé realized the need of having an e-commerce website and the brand’s journey in the e-commerce world started. Now the clients can safely look and explore the unique furniture options from the comfort and safety of their own homes and order the pieces that they love. The doors of the Lado Sarai store are always open for those who like to touch & feel the products before giving the thumps up.
By limiting and curating the brand’s vast product offering, the patrons of PortsideCafé have picked up some of their best sellers (out of the 300+ odd designs they have manufactured over the years). The buyers can browse through the different collections of furniture to fit their functional and aesthetic needs on portsidecafe.com, but direct orders cannot be placed through that website. For that purpose, a second website named portsidecafeshop.com has been formed, which is a fully functioning e-commerce website where the purchasers can directly place orders and get them delivered to their doorstep.
It is to India’s massive craft heritage that we owe our pride to; to the richness it adds visually, to the value it adds to lives, to the livelihood it adds to and to the nature that it gives back to. Untarnished by the modern inventions in mechanising craftsmanship and the lure of consumerism, Indian crafts have perhaps survived because of the love artisans have for it; the pride that they hold.
The book Indian Crafts Interiors stars Indian materials in and as they are used traditionally and paves way to using them in a contemporary way as well. This indispensable volume, edited by Jaya Jaitly and Aman Nath, has been published by Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad (www.mapinpub.com) in association with the Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID).
Cherishing the past
Since the inception of Indian civilization, the pinnacle of crafts had started—superior techniques, natural materials, impeccable craftsmanship and unmissable applications. The crafts were way ahead of their time, and the artists were zesty and proud of their skills, but soon came industrialisation and it washed away many artisans of their livelihoods. There was a steady fall in practitioners of crafts after that and unfortunately for India it never picked up the same pace ever again. The book aims at revival of these crafts, their materials and techniques to start a torrent of limitless possibilities for innovation, inspiration, research and experimentation.
Strengthening the present
The core ability of the book lies in the fact that it develops a ground for innovation. Unlike probably other sources in literature, this piece encourages further experimentation with a lavish showcase of the possibilities of Indian crafts being used in expressive, practical and contemporary ways within the interior spaces. Additionally, the scope is not limited to one particular era, style or function—with examples from within India, created by notable practices, the book is organised by material and has a variety of examples, design solutions and materials used in modern capacities.
Solidifying the future
Contemporary discourses on design have been slow to recognize the potential of this heritage, with only a handful of artisans still keeping it alive. The future this book sees is where there is focus on sustainability, upliftment and progress of the artisans and well as their skills, preservation of the beauty in Indian crafts and making it strong enough to sustain and foster over time. With two eighty-eight photographs and a map, the collation of the book is an interesting journey in totality. The future, not only for crafts, but also for design should not be an afterthought, but a part of its DNA.
The co-founders Gaurav Panjwani and Santosh Belani of Studio GSA Architects Pvt Ltd designed this 2500 sq ft fluid retail space in Bengaluru with distinct separations made through screens, drapes and furniture pieces. The styling of soft furnishings is by Nidhi Gupta of Kosh Furnishing Studio.
Expanding from only a furnishing store to a furniture and furnishing store within the same space was the main premise of the project. The growth and evolution of the brand was to be communicated to the clients through the evolution at the retail space.
The designer wanted the space to be inspirational, and hence the products offered by the store are used as displays at the retail space in a cohesive manner with a natural flow that speaks for themselves. The owners were heavily involved in the project and provided a fair amount of contributions to achieve the right aesthetic.
The entryway has an arched metal double door with bronze tinted bevelled glass panels. There are stone sculptures on either side of the door. Upon entering, the right side of the space has an armchair with a fabric drop and a wood panel demarcating it into a separate zone. The usage of various materials and textures displays a glimpse of what the store has to offer.
Moving to the central space, it displays a large circular sofa set against an arched wooden panel with a Sabyasachi wallpaper within. The arrangement of the arm chairs along with the other furniture permeates a natural flow within the room for easy conversation.
To the left of the central area, surrounded with wallpaper displays, is a reception desk with a couple of informal spaces for discussion. With a variation in the furniture used to create these informal spaces, the monotony is broken and it also allows one to display a wider range of furniture.
An entryway leads to a private design area, the accounts and director’s cabin. The furniture in the director’s cabin has darker finishings with contemporary themes and an opulent wallpaper.
To the right of the central area, grand fabric displays and a gorgeous gallery for blinds are present with a common space to experience it all. A vibrant and intimate discussion room is slyly tucked into this space.
The play of textures and colours and the usage of patterned wallpapers while keeping the colour palette similar is a great way to accentuate the space without losing its essence.
The Aladdin’s magic carpet is parked right in the middle of this office!An incubator for new ideas and concepts, this office space by Shiraz Jamali Architects not only functions as a private office but also as a place for exhibiting art forms ranging from paintings and photographs to jam sessions.
The 900 sq ft office designed by Shiraz Jamali, Mammen Paul and Mohit Darji of Shiraz Jamali Architects and styled by Saket Saurabh is located in Dadar West, Mumbai and houses panoramic views of the city.
The curious brief
With the space being utilised not only as an office but also to explore passions, the designer understood that it needed an out-of-the-box approach and implemented exactly that. With pastels and earthy tones contrasting the blacks and greys, the office seems playful yet professional.
“Being a space that’s built to express one’s artistic creativity, every piece of furniture and decor was designed and curated to harness this expression,” says Shiraz.
Tour every turn of the office
Due to the office being received as a bare shell, transitional spaces needed to be created to define separate areas.
Entering through a blackened arch, the space is divided into three areas—an open lounge, a multifunctional area that houses a stage for performances and a private cabin.
One enters into the open lounge which houses a work space where one can sit and work. The workstations can be moved during performances. Moving ahead, a plush pink couch can be seen in front of a swing. Due to the need for great acoustics, carpeting the floor was preferred. This posed to be a problem as no space is complete without a stylish rug. The designer came up with an avant-garde solution of suspending the rug from the ceiling to keep the carpeting and the rug both in one space.
To the left is an open space with a stage that turns into a dining table which rises from the stage floor. A large white bare bricked wall is present to display pieces of art. An open dry pantry caters to the needs of its inhabitants.
The private cabin is doused in warm shades and wooden accents and it can be used for professional meetings.
Ideas to bookmark
The use of space in this office is impeccable. The way the stage can transform into a table and the rug being suspended from the roof are just a few examples of extremely intelligent use of the area and how it makes it more appealing and enchanting.
Moving to Milan in 2008, inside the former Cinema Cavour, the Italian luxury brand Visionnaire’s main goal was to enjoy a space of artistic expression. Following this was the beginning of the Wunderkammer, an art gallery inside a design gallery, just like a cabinet of curiosities. It was a location for artistic exhibitions that related to the brand’s design activities, initiating a strong and fertile bond. Now, Visionnaire opens its doors to a brand new bistro, the Visionnaire Bistrot, that takes you on a flavourful tour around the world. The Visionnaire Design Gallery, housing the bistro, expands its horizons by becoming a place of well being rather than just a point of sale.
For Visionnaire, the bistro is about curating an experience of a sense of well being inculcated with a delectable palette and wishes to offer a certain je ne sais quoi quality to their space.
With renowned chefs Filippo Gozzoli and Luca La Peccerella leading the way, the bistro is an establishment of Italian gastronomic culture. Sourcing only the most exquisite local ingredients and researching the amalgamation of tastes, the experimentation with flavour palettes caters to a vast international clientele that seeks out a once in a lifetime experience.
With a prevalent plant based lunch menu, along with their signature recipes of beef tartare, the fish broth tube, the beetroot club sandwich and the pappa al Pomodoro, the aperitifs follow and then a dinner, which include raw fish creations with exclusive champagnes, encompassing a selection by the iconic French Champagne Label, Perrier Jouet. For the first time in Milan, The Perrier Jouet lounge will open at Visionnaire, dedicating an exclusive space to the most sophisticated champagne connoisseurs.
The cocktail list pays tribute to Visionnaire’s most beautiful projects around the world—from the Garden of Beauty presented at Miami Art Basel comes the Pavone Sour; the Lego Tonic lands directly from the moon, the inspiration of the designers Draga&Aurel for the Lego capsule collection.
The cuisine of Visionnaire Bistrot is the essence of Italian savoir faire with an international palette.
Nestled in the premier art district of Kala Ghoda, Mumbai is the three-storeyed boutique of the luxury fine jewellery brand Her Story, coming across as a multi-sensory experience spread over 2,723 square feet of area.
The name bears its meaning to the brand shaped by a rich legacy in the world of diamonds and jewellery, and channelled under one roof to celebrate fine Indian craftsmanship through a thoughtful contemporary lens. With careful attention to detail and a strong emphasis on character, Her Story’s new address puts a dynamic focus on authentic personal expression.
The Grand Reveal!
The award-winning French architecture and design studio RDAI, known for its experience in retail design and their work with some iconic luxury brands globally, was chosen. General and Artistic Director Denis Montel and Interior Architect Johan Thuillot from studio RDAI have successfully blended functional minimalism and intricate artisanship to appeal to the glocal spirit of modern Indian women in the Her Story boutique. “Our brief to the designers was to celebrate the facets of the modern woman, with depth and creativity. It was important that they maintain the integrity and aesthetic feel of the heritage space, while delivering the brand concept in a manner that is tasteful and with subtle sophistication,” says Sitanshi Talati-Parikh, Brand Creative Director when asked about the brainstorming that went in ideating the store.
The Translation of Expression
The collections have been created through a unique process of ‘Insight to Expression’, a form of design thinking in jewellery – which is the essence of why the space speaks to every woman’s consciousness. Every idea is born from intimate in-person conversations, gathering a library of human emotions, all done by the brand’s consumer insight team, that gives each concept-driven collection its unique and specific point of view. A part of the customer experience is the ‘storytelling wall’ – designed by Her Story and crafted by Gujarat-based Shed. This full-sized creative piece showcases the journey of a Her Story collection from concept to product. As metaphors and ideas come alive through carving, marquetry, magnetic and detachable elements, the digital screens and visual storytelling give it an interactive feel.
“Playing with an organic layout and creating alcoves which the client could discover as they moved throughout the space was a way for us to create rhythm and integrate the extremely detailed scale of jewellery within the larger architectural design of the space. This voyage of discovery enables the client to experience the brand, and this experience is not just the jewellery but the global experience offered by the promenade throughout the boutique,” says Johan Thuillot, Interior Architect, RDAI, about the design of the overall space, which has been presented like a ‘Gallery of Moods’. To bring this idea to life, each alcove is designed to represent a page of a book, using expressive materials.
It All Starts With Lines and Curves
Adhering to the brand’s philosophy is the signature pattern, a beautiful symmetric Kolam-inspired pattern translated to a binary code from the celebration of each woman’s individual sense of self outside of gender constructs, while finding modernity in tradition. The story of art and expression continues on the experience floor that showcases a conceptual embroidered wall art by Ahmedabad-based textile artist Hansika Sharma. Each section of the artwork connects to specific keywords that form the brand core, through the use of different colours and traditional craft techniques. Natural dyes are utilised to lend subtle drama and depth while a running golden cord depicts the dynamic nature of the woman as a binding force.
The Design Language
The overall theme is modern femininity, which is a part of the Her Story brand platform. Soft curves play with illumination and powerful materials, rose gold textures and jewels are offset by dramatic displays, and an earthy rootedness lies at the foundation of the experience, with natural terrazzo, mineral finishes, evocative art and iconic global furniture.
The entrance installation is conceptualised by Her Story to bring to life the modern woman keywords that the brand concept is built around. The brand imbibes an installation-like approach to showcasing jewellery through conceptual storytelling in the visual merchandising. The interiors are planned taking along some of the most iconic furniture by Moroso, Overgaard & Dyrman, DeMuro Das, Marelli, and Gubi, as well as a piece by Sculpture Jeux, complemented by bespoke fabric from Pierre Frey, custom hand-tufted rugs by Bikaner Handloom, true-to-concept photography by Princess Pea, sculptural elements by Claymen and a lamp by Ashiesh Shah.
Exchanging notes with leaders across the world, Tale Of Two Cities is a revolutionary talk show hosted by urban Indian designer Dikshu C. Kukreja that discusses the built environment and what cities can learn from each other to solve the most pressing challenges of our times. The series, presented by APLApollo Steel Pipes premiered on WION (World Is One News) on 29th October 2022, followed by fresh episodes every consecutive Saturday.
Talk shows are an excellent format for discussing topics that viewers might not otherwise be exposed to. They possess the ability to educate and entertain viewers in a wide variety of ways, allowing them to shift gears and present unique perspectives. This 8-episode series follows Kukreja around the world and was aimed to bring conversations around cities and urbanisation to the forefront with global leaders representing some of the world’s leading cities.
“Our cities have a unique wealth of history, culture, and innovation seeped into their fabric. It is critical for us today to engage with the world to find common ground and shared solutions to some of the most pressing concerns of our times,” adds Kukreja. The series features eight Indian and eight international cities along with their representatives, including the likes of Iván Duque Márquez—former President of Colombia,Edi Rama—Prime Minister of Albania, Sally Capp—Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Federico Pedini Amati—Minister of Tourism, San Marino, and Fabio Righi—Minister of Industry, San Marino, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo—Mayor of Mexico City,andAhmed Aboutaleb—Mayor of Rotterdam.
The first episode, which was shot in July, saw the then Colombian president, Iván Duque Márquez in discussion with Kukreja explore the cities of Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. Highlighting the cities’ shared and individual histories, cultures, and identities, the conversations take a deep dive into the cities’ most pressing current and projected urban issues, and possible solutions to enable a better urban future.
The Lux Studio by Jaquar—a bespoke architectural light experience at MG Road, Delhi is the first-of-its-kind light studio where a wide range of architectural lighting solutions are displayed in an applied scenario.
As aptly put by the designers of the space, Harmeet Singh Issar and Nivedita Sehrawat of Design Matrix—“It was imagined as a space where the boundaries between architecture and light are blurred; where the three constructs of space, time and light merge together to create an experience that is unpretentious, unexpected, fluid in form and program, and dignified yet engaging.”
The design of the experience centre for lighting typically tends to fall into two categories- the first being white, matte minimalism driven by surface textures and the second being a dark, edgier aesthetic emphasising contrasts. The design for Lux Studio amalgamates and represents both these approaches: with dark, solid, charcoal grey walls contrasting against luminous, textural ‘light’ partitions. Both sit side by side in an amorphous, sinuous plan. Designed to be flexible, the space is both a blank canvas for lighting experiments: making allowance for tests and trials, and evaluation of light/light quality inside the dark room; at the same time the setting itself is a showcase of lighting capability and possibilities.
Today Jaquar Lighting is one of the leading brands in architectural lighting having a wide range of innovative and energy-efficient lighting solutions from home to office, decorative to outdoor, from gorgeous chandeliers to unique LED-based smart solutions. In fact, Jaquar lighting carries forward the legacy of Jaquar bath where the thrust has always been on creating new parameters of design, quality and customer satisfaction.
The year is about to be silver-lickin’ good! Because all you need is a sliver of silver to make the year brighter than ever.
On 13th January 2023, Asian Paints, in collaboration with St+art India Foundation unveils their latest project ‘Asian Paints Art house’ at the Mumbai Urban Art Festival (MUAF), providing an exclusive preview of ‘Illusions’, a part of the Sassoon Dock Art Project and announces the Asian Paints Colour of the Year 2023— ‘Silver Escapade’.
The project ‘Illusions’ on the other hand reflects reality and is advocated by fluid and expansive views. The project commences from 13th January and is present till 22nd February.
The Asian Paints Art House project is an ode to the ocean. With an association to it, Sassoon Docks seemed like the prime location to host the project. With ample culture, art and people, the place was designed to entice and intrigue the attendees. It was created using waste material, debris, upcycled fabrics and other bits and pieces found around the dock. Considered to be a ‘home’, the art house inculcates the Asian Paints Colour of the Year— ‘Silver Escapade’ in a clever manner.
Unveiling the Asian Paints Colour of the Year 2023— ‘Silver Escapade’, the shade is characterised by time travel and technology, child craft, wellness, it also represents the shade of auspicious beginnings in our country. UK artist Steve Messam clutched onto the colour and created an installation that encapsulates it.
The Asian Paints Art house with St+art India Foundation also dropped 5 NFT’s created by visual artist Amrit Pal Singh. The series labelled ‘Toy Faces’ is reminiscent of childhood experiences. Toys represent the part of our life which was devoid of cynicism. Symbolising fictional stories and characters predominant in that particular chuck of our life, Toy Faces aims to revisit the feeling of euphoria attached to them. For the MUAF, he extended his hand to five individual artists to celebrate various styles and mediums.
Mr. Amit Syngle, Managing Director and CEO of Asian Paints Ltd. stated- “We are proud to unveil the ‘Asian Paints Art House’ and the 2023 Colour of the Year at the Mumbai Urban Art Festival. We are thrilled for the public to see what has been created at Sassoon Dock, representing Mumbai city, its art and culture, in a way that Mumbai may have never witnessed or experienced before. Illusions, is another landmark project we’ve launched at Sassoon Dock, adding to our collective vision of celebrating Mumbai city and its people. I am also very excited for the NFTs that have been curated for the festival with a tinge of Colour of the Year – Silver Escapade. A call out to the St+Art India Foundation for co-curating the Mumbai Urban Art Festival and building onto our long-time partnership. A special mention to the Mumbai Port Authority for their support in making MUAF a possibility”