Plain Type

What you see in front of you is not an essay. It is actually the outcome of an unspoken negotiation between two parties: the one who designed Proxima Nova (in this case‚ Mark Simonson) and the one who decided to use it. Speaking through its counters‚ bowls and tails‚ the typeface designer made his case clearly and plainly‚ never overselling the virtues of his creation. After … Continue reading Plain Type

Simran Lal: Cultural fabric

In 1996, a store called Good Earth opened without much fanfare at Kemps Corner, Mumbai. There were no ‘big names’ on the mantel or imported goods in its inventory, only an ethos that spoke of celebrating India’s heritage and crafts, in a way that was neither kitsch nor ethnic. “I remember having many discussions with my mother (founder Anita Lal) as she was planning it, … Continue reading Simran Lal: Cultural fabric

India Mahdavi: Life in Technicolor

When India Mahdavi was asked to design a gallery restaurant in London’s Sketch complex that would display 239 black-and-white drawings by artist David Shrigley, her answer was pink — from the walls, to the chairs and banquettes. Naturally. Whether it is the first RedValentino store in London, Ladurée in Geneva or its newly opened second outpost in Los Angeles, it becomes clear that colour is … Continue reading India Mahdavi: Life in Technicolor

Clothes with a conscience

For many of us, childhood memories are made of hours spent sifting through our mother’s (and grandmother’s) cupboards; which to our eyes seemed like veritable labyrinths of saris and fabrics in myriad styles, hues and textures. We have grown up with jamdanis, ikats, Chanderis and Benarasis, and regular visits to the tailor who would obligingly whip up a suitable blouse in the latest fashion to … Continue reading Clothes with a conscience

Chanderi: A gossamer trail

Few tourists pass through the town of Chanderi, in spite of its 272 monuments. The simplest route to this remote hamlet is to alight at the nearest train station, Lalitpur, and drive 37 unwieldy kilometres from Uttar Pradesh into Madhya Pradesh. With roughly 30,000 inhabitants and a loom in almost every home (4,352 to be exact), unbeknownst to many, it is one of the most … Continue reading Chanderi: A gossamer trail

Works in progress

On a sultry Sunday afternoon, we were welcomed by artist-curator Sudarshan Shetty along with co-founders Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari and Kochi Biennale Foundation CEO Manju Sara Ranjan at Aspinwall House, a heritage property by the sea and the primary venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB). Visibly exhausted and nervous about speaking in front of the group that had gathered around him, Shetty began to … Continue reading Works in progress