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The upcycled bottle lamps visualises six animal forms featuring the wood and lac turnery craft of Channapatna in Karnataka

The Animal Farm

The Animal Farm collection is Nishi Chauhan’s continuing series of explorations centered on the twin themes of craft revival and the repurposing of used objects.

It all started with the slow but sure accumulation of glass bottles in Nishi Chauhan’s household; beer bottles, mason jars, wine bottles, pickle, sauce bottles and just about every other bottle, ad nauseum. Soon it became difficult to ignore them and the bottles in the ever growing pile took on a life of their own. Shapes started to emerge – animals, things, people she had known, and possibly even a cloud or two!

Ellie, the elephant
Ellie, the elephant

Nishi Chauhan, an Architecture and Industrial Design student from New Delhi enjoys a more tangible approach to design and craftsmanship. Inspired by her mother’s creative leanings, Nishi Chauhan developed a love for crafting things. She found a love for form, sculpture, texture and lighting, and used it to create a unique experience.

In the middle of giving form to shapes, sketches and models, a casual visit to Channapatna, the craft district located just outside Bangalore, made Nishi’s heart skip a beat. Here was a sizeable community of craftsmen churning out playful animal toys by the hundreds! Soon after that, she was collaborating with these very craftsmen in a back and forth of ideas, sketches, mock-ups and study models.

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‘Animal Farm’, her most recent work, is a result of the various facets of her design personality. This collection is a part of a continuing series of explorations centered on the twin themes of craft revival and the repurposing of used objects. The first set of upcycled bottle lamps visualises six animal forms featuring the wood and lac turnery craft of Channapatna in Karnataka, India.

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Peeves, the penguin, Porky, the pig, Gerry, the giraffe, Flo, the fish, Humf, the hippopotamus and Ellie, the elephant are few of the animals created in the Animal Farm currently.

Work in progress at the Animal Farm
Work in progress at the Animal Farm

Objects that would otherwise have met uninteresting ends in the recycling chain were born again as playful, usable products. The real challenge Nishi believes was to achieve a fusing of attitude and approach between the designer and craftsman, with give and takes on both sides. From the collision of these two worlds came the Animal Farm. It is as much craft as it is art. It is as much a finished product as it is a work in progress.

Humf, the hippopotamus and Porky, the pig
Humf, the hippopotamus and Porky, the pig

Talking about her creation, Nishi Chauhan says, “Going from pre-production prototypes to full scale production is a journey unto itself. From stable raw material sourcing to safely shipping a consistent, quality product, there’s a ton of work to do before it becomes a sustainable venture. In future, I intend to continue working with the rich craft traditions of India. The craftsman spends years, generations if you count accumulated knowledge, learning his/her craft and that kind of intimacy with the material and process is impossible for me to replicate over a few months. In that sense, it’s very important to achieve a true collaboration between the designer and the craftsman.”

Nishi plans on producing ‘Animal Farm’ and taking it to the market. In addition, she is also working on a product that helps differently abled people.

Contact:
tel: +91 9620339690
email: contact@nishichauhan.com
web: www.nishichauhan.com

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