Tuesday, 31 December 2013

S A Y   I T   S W E E T 

Text: Hina Nitesh
How would you like to convey your feelings to someone? Letters, emails, sms - all are passé. Gifts are probably 
what come to mind but think what if the gift itself was more personal than the message it conveyed. 
Think creative. Think out of the box. Think sweet. Think yummy and you are on the dot.


What I have got today is a treasure of cupcakes. Can you even imagine how many emotions can the tiny cupcake be packed with? Right from birthday wishes to get well soon to au revoir to marriage proposals – these cupcakes can express it all. What is more they can be customised for any occasion and for any person. 

The credit for making these gorgeous looking and yummy tasting cupcakes goes to Aamena Khan of Tuptakes. Though baking came naturally to Aamena courtesy her enthusiastic baking family, it was photography which she was inclined towards. She had put some pictures of her cupcakes on Facebook which attracted someone and she landed with her first order. After this fairy tale like beginning, there was no looking back and Tuptakes became her full time job. 

'God is in the details' said the German architect Mies Van der Rohe. 

And one look at these little cupcakes and you know what he must have meant. While customising the cupcakes, Aamena puts in an amazing amount of attention to details. The graphics, the colours, the fonts and the miniaturisation of certain items are all done to perfection resulting in an enviable piece of treasure   

These can be ordered online and delivered at your doorstep if you are residing in Delhi or its neighborhood!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

G R E A T    A R T

We are in the midst of the festive season and I bring to you today a very celebratory, soul stirring painting by 
Vincent Van Gogh - “The Starry Night” 
I have often wondered as to why certain Art captivates you, holds you mesmerized…Be it music, painting, poetry, there are some works that stand apart, have a universal appeal and are cherished as masterpieces. I found my answer recently while viewing “The Starry Night” online in the Google cultural Institute project

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, source: Wikipedia 

Great Art represents the pinnacle of refined expression & technique. It is the culmination of an artist’s journey, fuelled by passion and devotion to their craft; an expression of personal meanings to the spiritual & material. Great Art is evocative, soul stirring. It is inspiring and captivating.

Great Art is also a complete, harmoniously unified entity – all of its elements unite seamlessly to create a fantastic whole. Such works appear simple – our mind can read and appreciate them instantly. Behind this veneer of simplicity, however, are many layers & complexities – of mediums, thought & language. The artist deftly weaves them together to create a masterpiece.

We associate night with tranquility. Van Gogh’s depiction of a village night can be best described as “Flaming” – the sky is a playground for stars, stretching over a tranquil village; the two elements balanced and tied together with a Cypress tree in the foreground. 

Zoom in here and you will be able to appreciate the beauty of this painting. There is astonishing detail in brush strokes and choice of color. The scene at once captivates you – one can relate to it and want to be a part of it. It remains with you till long after. This truly is Great Art..

 Image: Sketch & study in Pen & Ink on Paper for The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh 
Source: Wikipedia
What is the genesis of the idea behind such works? 
It can be a fleeting inspiration, a thought that came to the surface one fine day, or, an amalgam of experiences – anything that the artist catches hold of while exploring the “pensieve”* of his/her mind.

Creating Art is a very intuitive and subconscious driven process. Various emotions spur an artist’s creativity. The greatest musicians have created masterpieces that convey intense agony or great joy while experiencing these very emotions in personal life. Some of the great poetry has been born out of the poet’s pathos.

Imagination & inspiration are hence the artist’s palette which colors the canvas of his/her experiences. 
 This is a beginning in the series of Inspiring art that On the Design Boat will bring to you in coming months. Enjoy with us!
* Pensieve - From Harry Potter series, A magical instrument used to view memories

Thursday, 19 December 2013

 A R T     i n     C O N C R E T E 
Text: Divya Agrawal

Each Era in history 
has been characterized by the use of certain building materials, and, its architecture. 
The Egyptians used mud brick & stones, the Greeks used stone and Indus valley saw extensive use of burned & mud brick. 
Fast forward to today..
Concrete is Modern architecture's wonder material. Using Concrete one can cast, mould, texturize & give form to any shape. Some architects have used this quality of concrete to create awe inspiring architecture. 

I bring to you one such exemplary project today – the Shell Villa by Kotaro ide/ ARTechnic Architects. 

The villa has a sculptural quality to it, what with its fluid lines and play of planes. 
Located in a forested area on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, it serves as a weekend retreat. The climate is cold and humid, making concrete the perfect choice to build a low maintenance, climatically appropriate residence; over the traditionally used wood.

“Being in sync with nature isn’t about yielding to nature – it’s about coexistence.” source : Kotaro Ide / ARTechnic architects

The house stands out in its surroundings but also envelopes by letting nature in. The focal point of the design is a fir tree around which the house seems to grow. The house has large glazed openings (aided by an energy efficient heating system) offering picturesque view of the surroundings.

I love the juxtaposition of wood and concrete in this residence. Note the fine detailing at junctions. 
The structure is two storied with family areas on the ground level and private areas like bedrooms on the upper. 

Since the walls curve, all furniture is custom built. 
The same aesthetic defines the interiors too – clean lines, minimalism and attention to detail.

The simplicity of this structure is enchanting. 
It is a work of architecture and also a piece of art – bound to inspire & to be remembered. 

Would be such a joy to its owner and a wonderful, inspirational space for any creative person to be in :)

All Images: Nacasa & Partners Inc. courtsey  Kotaro Ide / ARTechnic architects

Tell us about your favorite pieces of inspirational, awe inspiring architecture!

Monday, 16 December 2013

D E L I C A T E L Y   Y O U R S 

Text: Hina Nitesh

‘Take me, use me, lead me, mold me, call me, fill me, guide me.
I give my life into the Potter’s hands’
Isaiah 64:8

I chanced upon a porcelain treasure yesterday and am excited to share it with you. Wapa Studio, in Israel is the focus of this post of mine. It was set up by ceramic designer Ady Shapira in 2003 after she completed her studies in ceramic design.

The vases, pieces of tableware and jewellery are all handmade with porcelain. What sets these piece apart is their form and the eye catching detailing which accentuates the form. Most pieces are white/cream in colour but are decorated with minimal streaks of colour or ornamentation in the form of perforations or addition of clay. 

Shapira has been experimenting with using slabs of porcelain and fashioning them into various objects. She uses various techniques like folding, twisting and assembling. The result is a unique object with a contemporary form. Inspired by the art of origami and kirigami, these pieces look as if created from paper. These pieces appear delicate but are strong.

She also used the technique of slip casting into molds designed by her. The use of finest quality of raw materials gives the pieces a certain translucency and glow.     

The entire range offered is lovely but for me what works are the sack pieces. They are unlike what one expects from porcelain. These ethereal objects will be ideal as pieces of conversation.

Leaving you with some pictures… 

All images are courtesy Wapa Studio

Thursday, 12 December 2013

N A T U R E ' S    D E S I G N
Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud,
come floating down in airy play,
Like spangles dropped from the glistening crowd
That whiten by night the Milky Way.
- William Cullen Bryant

Images: Alexey Kljatov

Winter is here. 
As I reminisce about white landscapes & Christmas lights, I can't help but marvel at the beauty of nature - and the 'design' so inherent to everything natural. Snowflakes - nature's magic - tiny, wisp like, falling from the skies that one would like to keep in a treasure chest forever...

We see snowflake illustrations everywhere - in Christmas decorations, embroidery projects & children's books. It is usually represented as a 6-pointed frilly spangle and that's what most of us think a snowflake is. Well, look at the pictures here and think again :)

These are a few of the thousands of photomicrographs taken by W.A. Bentley of Vermont, U.S.A. in the early 1900's. Bentley spent almost half a century photographing & documenting snow crystals.

Does nature ever cease to amaze? Such beauty, precision & goemetry in the tiniest of its elements!

All images from the book Snow Crystals by W.A. Bentley & W.J. Humphreys 

I for sure will examine a snowflake more closely, the next time I manage to catch one. 
How about you?

Monday, 9 December 2013

R E D E F I N I N G    P L A Y F U L 
Text: Hina Nitesh

Some call them cute others call them quirky but I think they connect with the child within. 

What I am talking about are the ‘turned-wood’ products by Banglore-based Varnam. Turning wood on a lathe and then colouring it with lac to make toys is a traditional craft. Channapatna, a small town near Bangalore is one of the centres in India where these toys are made.  

Varnam has redefined this craft of toy making and extended it to household products as well as accessories. In their new contemporary avatar, these toys are functional as well as aesthetically appealing. After a long day at work, a couple of Varnam products around the house are bound to bring a smile. 

The brain child of Karthik Vaidyanathan, who with a degree in engineering and an MBA could not be any further from the creative field, is the man behind Varnam. 

Varnam products are identified by the use of colours and simple lines. The colours are bright but natural. The sensitive use of colours results in a visually stimulating product. There is a graphic quality about the products in the way the birds or animals forms are interpreted and brought to life. They bridge the gap between functional and aesthetics. 

These products truly connect with the child within and this is what brings an innocence as well as playfulness in them. The craftsmen’ expertise have been utilised to produce contemporary designs which ensures that the craft not only survives but also grows and flourishes.

Varnam has a range of products for the kitchen, household, bar and children. The form is what ties all these products and most of them feel as if they can be interchanged to perform another function.   

What stands out in the collection is their jewellery range. Simple geometric forms have been combined artistically to result in a one of a kind piece. Just like the products for the home, the jewellery too is a sure head turner.   

You can see the entire Varnam range here
              All pictures are courtesy Varnam

Saturday, 7 December 2013

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