While Ambiente 2019, world’s definitive trade fair for dining, gifting and living to be held in Frankfurt, will have India as Partner Country for the first time in its 70-year history, designers Ayush Kasliwal and Sandeep Sangaru are revving up their creative motors to plan the designer arena and cafe, respectively. Last week, India’s Ministry of Textile announced the theme of the India Pavilion, ‘Future is Handmade’, which salutes the craft heritage of the country. So besides the 450 Indian exhibitors at the world’s largest show for consumer goods, Jaipur-based Kasliwal and Bengaluru-based Sangaru will present the joy of handmade. Sunil Sethi, President, Fashion Design Council of India, is the curator of the design. With nearly 4,376 exhibitors from 88 countries, Ambiente provides the competitive edge Indian exporters need to showcase their wares.
Kasliwal themes the arena on ‘Timeless’ and ‘Handmade’, which will celebrate everyday objects, from bowls and moodas, to crockery and charpais. “Craft is a way of life in India,” says Kasliwal, who adds, “The design arena will be a way to show how industry and craft come together in contemporary India.” Imagined as a city’s skyline, the arena will have tall partitions in vibrant shades of madder, teal and ochre. Kasliwal hopes the colours of the pavilion will drive away the grey gloom of Frankfurt skies, when the fair opens for five days on February 8, 2019. At the entrance, the pillars done in extruded aluminum complement the gallery’s 45m high ceiling. “On display, we will have works by Sanjhi artists, khadi textiles, bamboo chiks, and more, even the humble lota will find shelf space. The handmade celebrates the beauty of inconsistency. The idea is also to acknowledge the contribution of multiple players in the craft sector,” says Kasliwal.
Sangaru, meanwhile, who has been working with bamboo, or natural gold, as he calls it, for the last 15 years, presents the theme of ‘Starry Nights’ in his cafe. Making the green grass the hero of his pavilion, Sangaru will shape furniture and lamps with the material that is not only sustainable but also provides incredible tensile strength. The cafe that can easily seat 35-40 people will have Sangaru’s curved benches called ‘Truss Me’, which is his way of telling visitors to trust the bamboo when they are seated, simply for its unassuming appearance. “We will use modern technology to complement bamboo in our lamps and furniture to show the world the strength of our country. Bamboo is not a mainstream material, but in the northeast, everything from baskets to homes are made from it. We need to take it out and show it to the world,” he says.
Another arena will present ‘Crafted Forward, Crafts and Perspectives and Crafts and Industry’. While objects on loan from museums will form the bulk of the exhibits, it’ll also tell the story of the crafts employed during those ancient times.