A rare combination of tradition and modernity
Materiality and the inspiring force of place is a focus throughout Studio Mumbai’s work. Formed by Bijoy Jain and a small team of architects and skilled craftsmen, including a carpenter and stonemason, Studio Mumbai takes charge of both the design and construction. Located just outside Mumbai, the focal point of work comes from using local resources and Indian craftsmanship which creates a rare combination of tradition and modernity.
Studio Mumbai’s collaboration with Maniera is comprised of four series of studies: ‘brick studies,’ ‘charpai studies,’ ‘landscape studies,’ and ‘illumination studies’, all of which align with the studio’s architectural production. ‘Brick studies’ explores the practicability of adapting the universal and industrial building material into scaled down mini-bricks for use as furniture. These bricks were baked in the studio’s workshop and then glued together and fixed to stools and benches made from rosewood and marble, both of which are often included in Indian interiors. A charpai is a daybed found in most Indian homes and is made using light wood held together by tenon joints and cotton cords. These pieces of furniture are traditionally given at birth and accompany an individual throughout their entire life. Studio Mumbai’s ‘charpai studies’ presents the traditional charpai with some minor changes, including the addition of shellac wood treatment, in a way that was not to fabricate a duplicate but rather examine an existing object and continue evolving it. Indian agrarian landscape typically features white lines that define zones in rural landscape for different activities. These white lines are made by farmers who use kaolin powder to mark anything from resting areas under a tree to emphasizing steps to climb up a small hill. For ‘landscape studies’, the studio uses paper maché, bitumen and cow dung in sculptural seating pieces to present these observations made in rural Indian farmland. The pieces are then treated with body wax and rubbed with coal to achieve a natural aesthetic mirroring that of the rural Indian landscape. The final series, ‘illumination studies’, makes reference to ‘tazia’ which is a ceremonial object that is a model of a monument carried on men’s shoulders in processions during Muharram month in India. Studio Mumbai creates a light fixture in the shape of a traditional ‘tazia’ without a bulb using bamboo sticks covered in gold leaf and pink silk threads to hold it together.
Photos curtesy of Maniera.