A DECISION in 2013 to repair heritage furniture at the Sector 12 Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) workshop has been struggling to materialise. Over the last five years, the workshop has repaired just nine furniture items. While it has no full-time carpenter, it has received no furniture items for repair either.
The workshop was selected for the purpose at a meeting chaired by the then UT Adviser, K K Sharma, at UT Guesthouse. The decision was recorded in the minutes of the meeting, a senior officer of the UT architecture department said. UT Chief Architect and chairman of Heritage Protection Cell, Kapil Setia, said, “The decision was taken for repair of the damaged furniture items at CCA-12 but due to the shortage of manpower, it has not materialised. The CCA management has sent a proposal to Ministry of Human Resource Development, requesting sanction of the post of carpenter along with other vacant posts.”
However, CCA-12 principal Sangeeta Bagga Mehta said, “We did send a proposal to MHRD seeking the sanction of various posts. But the model maker and modeller currently at our workshop are also qualified carpenters. If administration brings any furniture items for repair, we can repair these items.”
Sources say since 2013, only once heritage furniture items have been repaired at the workshop in January 2017, when nine heritage furniture items, comprising six single beds and three tables, were repaired at the workshop. A private carpenter carried out the repairs, He had to be educated about the importance of the heritage furniture with the help of the original drawings and the colour of the items. These nine items were repaired for the Pierre Jeanneret Museum inaugurated at the Sector 5 home in which Jeanneret stayed, on the occasion of his 121st birthday on March 22, 2017.
The repair work was done under the supervision of Deepika Gandhi, director of Le Corbusier Centre, Sector 19, and member-secretary of Heritage Protection Cell, Sources said around a dozen heritage chairs lying at the Post-Graduate Government College for Men (PGGCM) in Sector 11 had been selected for repair at the workshop in 2013 but the chairs were never brought to CCA-12 as there was no carpenter at the workshop.
At present, there are three staffers at the workshop: model maker Shamsher Mohammed, modeller Manjeet Singh and blacksmith Vijay Pal.
A staff member said, “We even went to PGGCM-11 for inspection of chairs along with former principal of CCA Pradeep Bhagat. Later, the plan was dropped as there was no carpenter at the workshop.”
Director of Le Corbusier Centre, Deepika Gandhi said, “Indeed, the workshop situated at CCA-12 was selected for repairing the damaged heritage furniture. But in the absence of expert carpenters, who understand all the nitty-gritty of heritage furniture, we cannot take the risk of repairing heritage furniture there. In fact, I myself hired a private carpenter, spent a lot of time to teach him all the nuances of heritage furniture, including the furniture’s colours, design and even its weight, and got repaired six single beds and three tables designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret at the CCA workshop in January 2017. These repaired heritage furniture items were shifted to Pierre Jeanneret Museum in Sector 5.”