‘Hand’led With Craft
IndiHANDS, a start-up in the wide world of brands, has set foot as a purveyor of the handcraft industry. From conceptualisation to development to curation, Figments Inc. has bred IndiHANDS. The brand announces its arrival with its first store in Pune.
To give a brand introduction, IndiHANDS is a new born brand of parent company MTDS which is a major corporate gifting solutions company. With IndiHANDS, the idea of gifting was taken towards Indian roots by working with craftsmen. This initiative presents a range of creative products which are quite different in nature with a personal touch as all products are handcrafted.
Talking about the concept, Harsh Manrao from Figments Inc. says, “Art, craft and hands were the terms we worked around with. The idea here was to work with craftsmen and channelise their creativity. Also, apart from corporate gifting, such thoughtful products should be able to reach the end-user directly. If it has to reach with a new message it has to reach in a new way with a new brand. So, that is how IndiHANDS was born.”
The IndiHANDS store is the communication point between the brand and the customer. It presents itself as a contemporary space and evokes a crafted nature to its very details. The product range of the brand, arrays from desktop accessories like coasters and pen stands and goes to paintings in block, paintings in marble and Warli paintings.
Terracotta products, silk bags, recycled bags, wooden sculptures, and brass figurines also add to the collection.
The craft and the materials employed in the making of the products is also employed in the making of the space. As a result, the whole space is crafted out of metal rods, jute cloth, hand-made paper and cardboard.
When one enters the store, the observation notes begin with the ring-form which articulates the surfaces within the store. The ring is at the base of the design concept and is inspired from the hoop used in the craft of embroidery. Rings of two different diameters adjacent to each other screen the wall and are made out of the metal used as structural reinforcement in the construction of the envelope. These rings have paper shelves popping out of them where the products are displayed. With such shelves, where would the paintings be displayed, one may ask.
“We did not want an art gallery feel to the space where you cannot touch the paintings. The whole idea was to have the displays quite accessible. So, as a design strategy, the paintings have been displayed on the floor
along the wall from where a customer can easily pick them up,” explains Harsh.
A testimonial to the handcrafted nature of the brand and therefore the space, certain rings work as information touch points on the handcraft heritage. The depth of the products and the handcraft culture is experienced through the information dispensers created in orange and teal handcrafted paper.
Speaking on the mood of the colours, Jasleen
Manrao, Principal at Figments Inc, says, “The colour palette at the store follows three essential colours- white representing light, orange as a colour of the earth and teal derived from water. This nature inspired palette chooses shades which render a contemporary feel to the store.”
Once you enter, the freedom in the space is felt at the sub-conscious level with nothing to distract your movement. The teal flooring defines the space as continuous and plays its part in the contemporary essence of the store. The customer is introduced to new products or hot selling products at the cylindrical central podiums. These podiums might as well be interaction touch points where people can share a word or two or just have a cup of coffee.
When we talk of a handcrafted space, it is the nuances of the details which nourish the space. The podiums when observed intently, reveal their rope twined cladding. It gives a clean look to them. Also, the walls have been curtained with jute cloth in an off-white shade to conjure a handcrafted image. It also creates an illusion of a space beyond.
A design narrative unfolds with all elements thought down to aesthetic intricacies. The space had a high existing ceiling with a finish not quite suited to the space being crafted here. Also, the scale rendered a sense of disproportion. This problem was answered with a ceiling screen where the ring module from the walls continued above your head. This reduced the ceiling height to 8’ 3” which proved ideal. Lights in the form of inverted diyas floated through the ceiling rings. In fact, if looked from a particular strategic location in the store, a perfect reflection of the light can be seen as a diya on the glass of the central podium.
The store has an advantage of space at its periphery which it utilises to its benefit as an interactive space. The interactions relayed in this space borrow from the Indian bazaar concept which is at the roots of handcrafted products. Workshops are conducted, kid’s activities happen and even craftsmen are invited to work right there which offers a sneak peak into the origins of the products displayed. The doors which create the threshold between exterior and interior are designed to blur the lines to render an expanded feel to the interior and a sense of being to the exterior. These doors are therefore sliding folding shutters with a secure grill. The sheer cloth covering on the doors is a design element rendering partial transparency between the spaces.
The story does not end with the design features alone. An unexpected climax lights up at the end of the day. The display shelves are on pivots and can be rotated to a 180 degree. With all the shelves turned and minimal lights inside, when the doors shut at dusk, the store is lit up like a lantern and the products interact with the passersby through their partial visibility. An entity of divinity!