A wall lamp, made entirely of cement, is shaped like a mother caressing her belly. Other displays are a feather-light fruit basket, knives in varying shapes and sizes, odd-looking chairs and inflated soap dispensers. The exhibition, titled “Craft Béton”, at Bikaner House in Delhi was an effort by Dalmia Cement to position a construction material, cement, as a medium of art.
The 50 luxury products were created by Miroslaw Baca from Poland, Alan Saga from Mexico and Delhi-based Iti Tyagi and Somesh Singh. “A year ago, we thought of ways of making the boring, grey product, which people don’t think too much about, more exciting. We came up with the idea of letting designers and artists come together and play with cement. The brief was simple — to make functional products, that are well crafted and of cutting-edge design,” says Sundeep Kumar, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications, of Dalmia Bharat Cement. Other displays included pendants, earrings, sushi trays, baskets and wine tables, priced between Rs 7,500 to Rs 1.50 lakh.
Singh has created a floor lamp inspired by the honeycomb and its hexagonal structure. Tyagi, also the curator of the show, pays an ode to renowned master painter Salvador Dali’s painting, The Persistence of Memory, where four clocks appear to be melting away in an empty desert landscape, by designing a cement clock that is out of shape. It symbolises the erratic passing of time while dreaming and how clocks and time lose their power in the act of sleeping and in the dreamworld of the sleeper.
The ruffled and layered long skirts of Mexico’s famous women dancers have been translated by Mexican designer Saga in his Danza products. These are replete with the swirls of the costume in the form of wall lights. Tyagi salutes the Taj Mahal by designing a spice rack arranged to resemble the exterior of the monument. “While working on this project, we realised this is a large industry and there are many workers behind the scene. This collection is dedicated to these people working in the mines and cement industries,” says the artist.
All of Craft Béton creations can be viewed and purchased online at http://www.craftbeton.com