Saturday, 24 October 2015

G O L D E N  M E M O R I E S

Hina Nitesh

Image Courtesy -

What happens when your favourite ceramic vase/bowl slips from your hands and breaks? Of course there is a little heartbreak but what after that? For most of us, it probably ends up in the dustbin unless of course its just a chip and can be re-purposed somewhere. But can you ever imagine the broken/chipped vase becoming a centerpiece? Probably no because not many know about Kintsugi...

Image Courtesy -

The story behind Kintsugi dates back to around the 15th century when a broken lacquerware tea bowl was sent to China for repairs. It came back repaired alright but looking ugly and this made the Japanese craftsmen look for aesthetic means of repair. They discovered a technique in which the broken piece is given a new life using powdered metal like gold, silver, brass, bronze or copper mixed with lacquer.

Image Courtesy -

The repair is carried out in different ways (using a mix of metal dust and resin or lacquer) like:

Crack - In this method, the small broken pieces or voids are filled in using the mix.
Piece - In this, the broken piece with missing fragments is filled with the mix and the original form recreated.
Joint - In this, the missing fragment is replaced by a similar fragment from another piece and glued together with the mix.
Image Courtesy -

"All beautiful things carry distinctions of imperfection. Your wounds and imperctions are your beauty. Like the broken pottery mended with gold, we are all Kintsugi. Its philosphy and art state that breakage and mending are honest parts of a past which should not be hidden. 

Your wounds and healing are a part of your history; a part of who you are. Every beautiful thing is damaged. You are that beauty;we all are."

This quote by Bryant Mc Gill sums up the philosophy behind this Japanese art form.

Image Courtesy -

Image Courtesy -

 If ever art could leave lessons for life, this is it.

A modern take on this traditional art form in seen in the works of Jan Vormann. He uses plastic building blocks to repair corners and fill holes in broken walls. The small colourful pieces seem to weave a story of their own which adds to the original. It is quite a pleasure to see spurts of colour where otherwise would be broken plaster or a gaping hole. 

Not only does this add a little playfulness to the otherwise drab landscape, it also helps create memories!

Image courtesy- Jan Vormann

You can see more of Jan Vormann works here

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat   
"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A      D e l i g h t f u l      F U S I O N

"Home is where our story begins"

Isn't that true? Homes and beings are intertwined, each internalizing parts of the other. The spaces we inhabit silently affect us in a many ways - they impact our moods, sometimes also becoming an inspiration and an enabler. Captivating homes are scrapbooks of life journeys, a coming together of the material and the philosophical. 

Home design can be an exciting and dynamic challenge for both the designer and the client - a melting pot for beliefs, aspirations and ideas. Successful solutions become stories that inspire and ones that the inhabitants enjoy and can immerse themselves in..

We bring to you today one such example : the Wright Conversion in Durban, South Africa, an extension to an existing residence by Elmo Swart Architects.

Sited in a lovely forest-like setting overlooking the Kloof valley, the extension seems to infuse a wave of energy into the existing thatched cottage. 

The clients, a couple - both writers and entrepreneurs, have a love for African abstraction; something that has beautifully translated into this addition.

Cast in concrete and clad in metal, the new structure blends well with the old cottage. Thatched planes in this very modern design give a semblance of continuity with the existing structure. Walls and roof fuse to create an abstract tubular structure with through views of green surrounds.

Embracing a tree with a sprawling canopy, this abstract composition floats above ground, cleverly and inconspicuously making space for an essential - parking.

Housed inside are a bedroom, two studies, an art gallery and an entertainment area. I love the abstraction in interior planes. Walls become sculpture here.

The bedroom has an attached outdoor shower mounted on a wood slatted base - another exterior element that becomes a link with the existing.

A well balanced intersection of planes and seamless merging of the old and the new (above).

A contemporary and in-context creation that must make for a very inspired living!

 All images: Copyright  Elmo Swart Architects

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat   
"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

E C H O E  S  of  O U R   L I V E S


Hina Nitesh

After a few years of being stay at home moms, we both decided to DO something (we were already doing a lot as moms and wives). but we wanted to DO something more - something for ourselves. Over the years we had become more moms than the architect-designer we were trained to be so our first thought was of course about children...and as things turned out we decided to make clothes for little people and we are still taking baby steps in our clothing line for kids. 
You can view our designs here.

I am telling you about all this because it really is inspiring to see people are like us who have succeeded in making a mark for themselves. This post is about Almirah and MUNY both brands for little people (though MUNY has stuff for women as well).


Simple lines make elegant clothes for little people

The brain child of a Divya and Aditi - mother daughter duo (what fun to work like this) the brand caters for children in the age group of 0-12 years. Their range of products for children includes clothes, bedding, toys, accessories etc. They use organic cotton, soft mulmul, linen and wool for their entire line. 

Quirky motifs embroidered on the garments for the Indian touch

What stands out for me is the way it conveys 'Indian'. The brand does justice to the rich fabric which is block printed with contemporary and at times quirky motifs like cow, parrot, Indian truck, taxi, Vespa, etc all bringing out the essential link. Whether it is quilted or embroidered or has patchwork on it, you will be able to identify it with India.

Quilted in the traditonal manner these are soft and therefore ideal for the baby

The Indian market for kids clothing is flooded with run of the mill clothes which lack an Indian identity. We have a rich heritage as far as textile and crafts is concerned but it is sad that the same has not translated into regular clothes for children. The 'Indianess' seems to be reserved for ethnic clothes for the likes of weddings and festivals. Almirah is one brand that fills this void. the range of product in Almirah's portfolio reflects the traditional heritage while still being everyday clothes.

Sensitively designed accessories for baby care

The clothes as well as the embroidery patterns on them are designed by Aditi while Divya looks after the production aspect. Simple lines and comfortable to be in are two aspects that characterize these clothes. They are easy to wear as well as maintain.  Both the embroidery and block printing patterns retain their childlike qualities. Soft cloth and pastel shades make these clothes a must have for children. 

Let the toys also wear the same clothes...

I had a tough time deciding on my favourite in their collection but I absolutely love their teddy bears which are dressed in the same quirky block prints.

Almirah has retail outlets in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengluru and an online shop.


Celebrating the rich Indian textile tradition

Let me begin by saying that if someone has lived in India, they cannot go untouched by the variety of weaves and sheer brilliance of colours, patterns and texture of Indian textiles. Keep this in mind when I tell you about MUNY(moo nee) - a children clothing brand based in Brooklyn. 

A contemporary touch to handloom fabric

An acronym of Mumbai New York, Muny's founder Samara Mahendru is an architect with masters in communication design. Though she had practiced architecture for 14 years, when she stepped into cloth and fabric it was totally uncharted territory. This is where the opening statement becomes relevant. Inspired by Indian traditional techniques like weaving and block printing, MUNY has a range of clothing for children, clothing for women and accessories. These products are unique in themselves for they are influenced by the designer's cultural background as well as the environment which she is living in at the moment.

Stylizing to give a new definition

The story of making of these clothes spans half the world - they are designed by Samara in Brooklyn and manufactured by craftsmen in Rajasthan in India. Block printed cottons, khadi and ikat are the fabrics  that are used for making these clothes. The designs add the contemporary touch whether in the form of the whimsical block print or in the style of the garment itself. The entire range for children is designed around being comfortable. They also have quilts, blankets and pillows for children made with the same fabric. One look and you will surely be bowled over by their softness which is successfully conveyed through pictures.

Snuggle into the softness

Apart from children, MUNY has designs on women as well which include dresses, skirts, tops, scarves etc. 

Blending the modern with traditional

To know more about MUNY and its range of products do stop by at its online store.

All images: Copyright  Almirah and MUNY

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat   

"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat