International accolades for Indian designers

Indian design talent is making an impression on the global stage. Here’s looking at four individuals who are staking a claim to the creative pie.

Written by Kimi Dangor | Mumbai | Updated: June 2, 2014 10:39 am
Suman and Poulami Biswas (right top); their winning entry, Mola (left); Tina (left) and Nikita Sutradhar of Miuniku (right bottom) Suman and Poulami Biswas (right top); their winning entry, Mola (left); Tina (left) and Nikita Sutradhar of Miuniku (right bottom)

Grand Prix

The Indian connection at the third edition of Prix Émile Hermès 2014, a biennial design award from the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, came in the form of Kolkata-based design duo Suman and Poulami Biswas of Space Tale Designs. The creators of modular furniture and kitchens were awarded a special jury commendation for their entry based on this year’s topic “Time to yourself”. “Or how best to secure a moment’s peace and quiet, take ‘time out’ and leave the fast lane, with its unending stream of activity, information, decisions and obligations”, the foundation revealed on their website.

Chaired by Italian designer and architect Michele de Lucchi, the jury of design professionals shortlisted 12 projects from 700 entries, by designers in 54 countries. Suman and Poulami won the commendation for their entry Mola — a seat designed as a maternal cocoon, inspired by Jamini Roy’s painting Mother & Child, depicting a child sitting on its mother’s lap, wrapped in her sari.

“The picture evokes the feeling of a maternal cocoon. If a painting can transcribe emotions in that way, why not an armchair? This question was the starting point for Mola — a seat that offers not only physical comfort, but an innate sense of well-being,” said the duo in a press statement. Made entirely of eco-friendly bamboo fibre, Mola falls in line with the duo’s mission of working with hand-crafted traditional skill sets.

With another Indian designer Yashesh Virkar also making it to the list of top 12 finalists, it sure looked like an Indian grand prix in Paris. Catch the works of all the finalists online at http://www.prixemilehermes.com

Right Prize

In its inaugural year, the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, instituted in November 2013 to recognise and support emerging design talent, saw Mumbai-based Nikita and Tina Sutradhar walk away with a special prize last week. Their label Miuniku, founded by the sisters at the end of their studies at the London College of Fashion, made it to the top 12, elected by an all-star jury of LVMH designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Marc Jacobs and Riccardo Tisci.

While the final prize went to British designer Thomas Tait, the special prize awarded to the Sutradhar sisters and Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver, entitles them to receive $135,946, and a year of mentoring (as reported by wwd.com). The two have, in the past, won the London College of Fashion’s “Fashion Innovation Award” (July 2013), the ISKO Denim Diffusion Award (July 2013) and were the semi-finalists at H&M Design Awards in 2014.

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