‘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.

VM&RD - - COLUMN - Mansi Lavsi

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!

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