Delhi-based visual artist and designer Rachit Arora has been, for a long time, enamoured by Hindustan’s Ambassador car, which he says is a “nostalgic piece of India’s collective memory”. His posters of the lal-batti white Ambassadors of Delhi, the iconic kaali-peeli taxis of Mumbai and the yellow, metered cabs of Kolkata, on display in the Capital, reveal how the appearance and colour of an object change its identity.
“The Ambassador has been a symbol of power in Delhi. At one time, the waiting list to buy an Ambassador stretched for eight years, and now, the car has zero takers. The kaali-peeli taxis of Mumbai are the city’s lifeline, while more than 30,000 yellow metered cabs lend the city of Kolkata its particular identity. Just like how we travel to a city by road, its language and culture changes, the same happens with cars,” says the 26-year-old.
His posters are a part of the seventh edition of “Design x Design”, an exhibition showcasing the works of 20 designers from across India who are under 35, working in the fields of architectural design, industrial and product design, graphic and communication design, and apparel and textile design. Also on display are works by Sayon Chatterjee, whose handmade wooden eyewear company, Sayon, took shape after several failed attempts by the designer at upcycling wood. Finally, his experiments have yielded results — the eyeglasses and watches made from maple and sheesham wood on display at the exhibition stand as proof.
Inspired by the idea of “Punahveen”, which stands for “the revival of discarded items”, Delhi-based Abhishek Srivastava set up Welava Design last year with an aim to lend a creative edge to discarded materials. Their circular chairs made out of tyres called “Tyrochairs”, animal toys made out of cartons, and bangles cut out of plastic bottles and then doodled over, are some of their many inventions on display. “Our philosophy is to spread the message that we all have a maker inside of us and we don’t need to go out and purchase these products,” says the 29-year-old.
Meanwhile, by displaying a colourful rug and skirt made of leftover fabric, fashion designer Karishma Shahani Khan aims to create clothing based on sustainability and craft, using a strict zero-waste policy. After the cotton garments are made for a certain line, she ensures the waste from one clothing is reinvented into another in the form of patchwork jackets, footwear and rugs.
The exhibition is on till February 13 at Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate, Delhi