A personification of the love for handcrafted metalware, Studio Coppre is a Pune-based social enterprise that directs its efforts towards the revival of heritage metal crafts.
In the 17th century, the metalworking artisans of a small settlement called Tambat Ali migrated to Pune. Over 800 craftsmen thrived under the royal patronage of the Peshwas, beating on copper to make artillery, seals and utensils for a living. This went on for more than three centuries.
However, when the British regime replaced the Peshwas, steel and plastic replaced their traditional metal and the lives and livelihoods of the artisans slowly faded into oblivion. Today, unsure of what to do with a skill that they have inherited through many generations, only about 80 people continue to practice the craft. As a result, the heritage is dying and the availability of handcrafted metalware is dwindling.
It is this gap in the market that Studio Coppre strives to fill. Their objective is two-fold – firstly, to promote and preserve the dying craft, and secondly, to showcase to the world the artisanal skills of metal workers by collaborating with them to design contemporary products.
“The hero of our work is the fine craftsmanship of our gifted and highly skilled artisans,” says the team.
Studio Coppre designs floaters, lights, cutlery, serveware, utility and wellness products. This includes bookmarks, mirrors, jewellery boxes, hair bands, earrings, buntings, jugs, cups, plates, bowls, etc. Each of the products makes amply evident the fine competence of the artisans as well as the attention the company pays to high quality finishing.
Coppre’s products are designed in-house, starting from product planning to concept and right upto production. New techniques and tools are developed with each new design.
Setting crafting norms for designs is a time-consuming process; with both artisans and the development team contributing equally to make sure that the product emerges true in spirit and form to the original concept. They have revived some beating patterns and are in the process of creating a master document that will preserve the data of beating styles for posterity.
In April 2016, at the Salone d’el Mobile in Milan, Studio Coppre collaborated with Riccardo Giovanetti Design Studio to create Russet Revival, a series of copperware that experimented with simple shapes and basic functions. A celebration of colour, form and superlative artisanship, the exhibition was a stellar success.
Text By Priti Kalra