India

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Art Craft

Twisted and Rolled Paper Forms Three-Dimensional Surfaces Inspired by Rich Patterns From India

May 14, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Industrial designer and artist Gunjan Aylawadi (previously) forms sculptural weavings composed of hundreds of tightly rolled strips of paper. The works’ radial patterns are informed by her upbringing in India where she was constantly surrounded by the repetitive geometric patterns found in the country’s art and architectural details. These remembered patterns are abstracted in her paper-based works, which are equally directed by aesthetic and tactile memories. Aylawadi now lives and works in Sydney, Australia. You can find more of her woven series, including the presented Formed in Fantasy, on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 



Art Design

An Enormous Stylized Bird Sculpture Sprawls Atop a Mountain in India

April 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A massive sculpture of a legendary bird has taken shape at Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala, India. Based on the epic story of Ramayana, Jatayu is a noble bird of divine origin who lost his wing and fell while fighting to protect a young woman named Sitha. The bird as recreated in concrete at the  Center is 200 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 70 feet tall, with stylized feathers and enormous curled claws. Its prone body is sprawled on a mountaintop with a 65 acre tourist destination campus.

Jatayu Earth’s Center is a collaboration between the Tourism Department of Kerala and renowned film director Rajiv Anchal and focuses on environmental sustainability in its design. The Center includes systems of rainwater irrigation, solar powered electricity, and planned organic farms. Learn more about visiting on the Jatayu Earth’s Center website. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 



Photography

The Winter Migration of Siberian Seagulls in Delhi Photographed by Navin Vatsa

January 16, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Every winter, flocks of Siberian seagulls migrate through Delhi making a temporary home in the Ganga and Yamuna, two of India’s most holy rivers. Photographer Navin Vatsa camps out in the early morning light as the birds flock in the thousands, often fed by devotees who arrive to bathe in the river and feed them. The birds fly over 6,000 miles to escape the harsh Siberian winters between October and March. You can see many more photos on Vatsa’s Instagram feed.

 

 



Design

A Cascade of Water Over Terra Cotta Tubes Functions as a Beautiful Low-Energy Air Conditioner

September 27, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

New Delhi-based architecture and design company Ant Studio recently created a completely low-energy cooling system that relies on clay tubes and water as a cheap alternative to traditional air conditioners. The spherical system reminiscent of a beehive was built as a part of a larger beautification project for a DEKI Electronics factory. The simple, low-tech solution adds an aesthetic twist to the typical metal appliance, and requires little upkeep to ensure its surroundings stay cool.

In order to cool the air, the system is first packed with a few hundred terra cotta cones. Next, water is poured down the sides of the structure so the clay objects can absorb the liquid as it flows down their sides. Finally the water slowly evaporates from the soaked cones, lowering temperatures around the installation by 6-10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Similar cooling devices have been in use for thousands of years, with archaeological evidence suggesting that clay pots were utilized to assist with water cooling methods as far back as 3000 BC in Pakistan and India. The natural and cheap solution also doubles as an art installation, appearing more like a postmodern waterfall than HVAC system. Although this system relies on electrically pumped water, other versions could function with poured water or a connection to a naturally flowing water source to be truly zero-energy. (via ArchDaily and InHabitat)

 

 



Art History

The Vanishing Stepwells of India: A New Book by Victoria Lautman Documents the Fading Relics of Subterranean Wells

March 21, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Van Talab Baoli. Amer, Rajasthan. c. 1600/19th Century.

Scattered across India’s vast landscape of ancient architecture including temples, mosques, and palaces are an often overlooked relic of historic infrastructure called stepwells. These subterranean buildings, once numbered in the thousands, were originally dug into the landscape so residents could easily access water. Over time, stepwells grew increasingly elaborate in their construction, morphing from modest rock-cut holes into fully functional Hindu temples with ornate columns, stairwells, and shrines. Each well now serves as a fading structural fingerprint, diverse and unique as the communities that designed and built them.

Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman first peeked over the edge of a stepwell some 30 years ago and was immediately transfixed at the idea of staring down into an architectural wonder as opposed to looking up. She has since dedicated much of the last five years criss-crossing India over several years to locate and photograph as many wells as possible. We first mentioned Lautman’s discoveries back in 2015, after which she resumed trips to India to locate an additional 60 wells, bringing the grand total to over 200 sites she’s personally visited and documented.

“Descending into the earth is a profound experience, one in which sweltering heat turns to enveloping cool, and noises become hushed,” she writes about encountering the wells.

After centuries of neglect some stepwells are in perilous condition or have vanished altogether, while others have been thoughtfully maintained by surrounding communities or governments who recognize their significance and possess the will (and funding) to restore them. In an attempt to preserve their legacy, Lautman has gathered a visual tour of 75 of the more unique and interesting wells in a new book titled The Vanishing Stepwells of India. The book includes not only her original photography, but also her impressions about each well and the precise GPS coordinates of their locations.

It remains to be seen if the renewed interest in stepwells, as well as the accompanying tourist dollars, will drive the change to save them. “In the long-run,” Lautman tells Colossal, “I think the most helpful thing for stepwells is simply acknowledging their existence in history and guidebooks, through classes and specialized tours, and finally just seeing them up close, embedded in the landscape.” Another way to explore the wells is through the Atlas of Stepwells, a website where enthusiasts can share their own discoveries.

The Vanishing Stepwells of India with a foreword by Divay Gupta, is published by Merrell and is available now.

Ramkund. Bhuj, Gujarat. Mid-18th Century (c. 700 CE).

Mukundpura Baoli. Mukundpura, Haryana c. 1650.

Ujala Baoli Mandu. Madhya Pradesh. Late 15th/early 16th century.

Chand Baori. Abhaneri, Rajasthan. c. 800 ce/18th Century.

Batris Kotha Vav. Kaoadvanj, Gujarat c. 1120.

Dada Harir Vav. Asarwa. c. 1499

Navghan Kuvo. Junagadh, Gujarat. 4th/6th/Mid-11th Century.

 

 



Art

Lotus Blossoms by Faith47 Sprout on the Streets of Goa, India

December 29, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

South African street artist Faith47 is attracted to the lotus flower because of its strength. It is a plant that must fight through mud and water before it can blossom on top of its high stalk. This ability to find clarity through the murkiness of its surroundings was the inspiration behind her latest series of murals titled Le Petit Mort which she recently finished in Goa, India. You can see footage from the making of the works in this video, as well as further work by Faith47 on her website and Facebook. (via Colossal Submissions)

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Art Design

Taxi Fabric Fills Plain Cab Interiors with Vibrant Original Artworks

February 1, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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‘A Century of Revolt’ Taxi Fabric interior designed by Kunel Guar.

When thinking of decor inside an American taxicab, your imagination is probably limited to an LED payment screen blaring annoying ads and maybe a pine tree air freshener dangling from a rearview mirror. In India, a new firm is thinking a bit more creatively by helping cab drivers completely transform the interior of their taxis with original art by local designers. Mumbai-based TaxiFabric creates cloth interiors printed with vibrant designs that cover nearly every inch of a vehicle’s interior from the ceiling to the door panels and even the seats themselves.

TaxiFabric is an interesting hybrid of interior design, advertising, and promotion of local culture, with a number of benefits both to the cab driver and the artists. Drivers report that after applying the designs to their vehicles, passengers often tip more and remain in the cabs longer. Artists in turn have their work seen by a large new audience and are easily identified by a prominent label on the back of every seat.

From the TaxiFabric website:

Taxis in India, particularly in Mumbai, are not only the most convenient form of transport but have also become an iconic piece of culture. Although much attention is given to each taxi by its driver – to make it stand out from his competitors – very little thought is given to the fabric used on the seats. The designs that cover the taxi seats are often functional and forgettable and with the outstanding design talent Mumbai has to offer, this shouldn’t be the case.

Design, as a job or even simply something studied at school, is unfortunately not widely recognised in India. Older generations don’t understand it- design to them, just performs a function. Many people don’t know that design can create a real impact. With so few spaces for young people to show off their skills, it’s hard to change that perception.

There are dozens of interior designs currently installed in taxis and rickshaws across Mumbai. You can explore more of them on their Tumblr. (via The Creator’s Project)

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