BE OPEN Made In... India: here are some photographs of the handcrafted products on display at the BE OPEN Made In... India Samskara exhibition in New Delhi.
Creative think tank BE OPEN organised the exhibition to launch its Made In... programme, a two-year-long project focussing on the future of craft in design.
Products on display at the Samskara exhibition include contemporary furniture, homeware and garments made using traditional techniques.
Samskara continues until 28 February at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. Opening hours are from 10:30am to 7:30pm and entrance is free.
Dezeen has filmed a series of movies at the event, so look out for these on the site soon.
For more information about the exhibition and the Made In... programme, visit the BE OPEN website.
Here's some more information from the organisers:
Made in... India launches in Delhi, with a challenge for handicrafts to design the future
BE OPEN, the global philanthropic foundation, launched its worldwide project "Made in..." in Delhi last week, the beginning of a two-year journey to the ‘four corners’ of the earth to research the handmade and how to ensure its survival in the future.
Nowadays we tend to consider bespoke items as the ultimate form of luxury, since they stand above the homogenised mass market, offering the consumer a unique mode of self-expression. As a result, despite having been neglected for a considerable amount of time, crafts are now re-acquiring a leading place in the production chain, with their potential to offer this much desired exclusive and uniqueness. "Made in..." is BE OPEN's way of investigating how craft can adapt itself to these new opportunities, getting up to speed to face the associated challenges of delivering in a highly demanding, global marketplace. "Made in..." looks at how work by small-scale producers can adapt and survive without losing its integrity and local flavour; how makers can collaborate with designers and companies to exploit new networks; and, crucially, what the future holds for these independent, skilled makers.
BE OPEN chosen India as a starting point because it is home to the strong dual influences of tradition and modernity, with all of the innate contradictions and endless mutations that this combination provokes. Is Indian craft still what is used to be? Is it ready to evolve and encompass new approaches to change its output?
Made in... India is an intensive program that includes an exhibition, Samskara, a discussion panel, featuring worldwide experts on craft and luxury market and two competitions, challenging Indian students and the global users of social networks to offer their visions of the country, both through proposals for new products and through images representing India's past, present and future.
Over 600 guests from the worlds of design and fashion, together with politicians, high-profile, international figures from the creative industries, business and academia, gathered at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi to see the opening of the Made in... India showcase, Samskara.
The director of BE OPEN, Gennady Terebkov, welcomed guests on behalf of the founder Yelena Baturina, announcing that India is the starting point for a series of exhibitive platforms that will take place across the world to raise the profile of local makers and designers, whose work relies on traditional materials and techniques. Mrs Baturina is emphatic about craft's significance as the "embryo of design" and India’s renown as a birthplace of handicraft practice. "We're very excited to be here at the beginning of our global adventure, bringing together practitioners, academics, industry and business experts who can explore how best to support handicrafts and develop strategies to ensure that it flourishes in today’s highly competitive, global marketplace," Mr Terebkov said.
The event was officially inaugurated by the Honourable Minister of Textiles, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, and Honourable Minister of Culture, Chandresh Kumari Katoch, showing their support for BE OPEN's mission to sustain national heritage and keep it alive by refreshing and reinvigorating it.
Samskara aims to refine and re-position craft practice, showcasing furniture and tableware, textiles and jewels that reveal an imaginative reinterpretation of traditional craft skills by contemporary Indian designers.
This is done through a display that suggests how an ideal Indian brand would use traditional crafts and production methods to meet the demands of a worldwide luxury market. Such an innovative approach to the subject was made possible by the very essence of BE OPEN: an international foundation whose scope is to investigate, to share thoughts and ideas to improve our perception of the world.
Over 350 objects by 24 Indian designers are on display, selected by BE OPEN with creative advisor of Made in... India, Sunil Sethi, President of the Fashion Council of India. He commented that BE OPEN's Made in... India is a ground-breaking project for Indian design: "It is the first time that Indian designers in the fields of fashion, textiles, decorative objects, floor coverings and furniture have all been brought together in one exhibition. The result is a fascinating overview not only of where Indian design is today, but of where it is going."
The installation for the exhibition, created by celebrated Indian architect Anupama Kundoo, is an integral part of the Samskara experience, designed to suggest how a contemporary, conceptual brand might present its products to a sophisticated international audience. Sparkling tableware, sumptuous homewares and ravishing clothing were dramatically displayed against the sober palate of the hand-stippled, rippling granite flooring, while furniture pieces were ingeniously "floated" in four, large, rectangular pools of water that intersected the granite, creating a variety of hard and soft surfaces to delight and intrigue the eye.
Samskara's aim is not to replicate a traditional gallery style overview of contemporary craft, but rather to show how the presentation of product with a holistic branding concept – from everything including the shopping bag, labels, music compilation created for the show and brochure – can contribute to the effect of visiting a luxury store, rather than an exhibition space, repositioning the way we "consume" craft.
A Talk, held as part of the launch day at the Indira Gandhi Centre, entitled The Future of Making in a Globalised World, was moderated by Luxury Briefing expert and creative consultant from New York, Jeffrey Miller. The panel shared thoughts about "acting local, thinking global" (Angelika Taschen, publisher); the increasing profile of the handmade in luxury output and how small-scale production has to be acknowledged by the big brands (Raymond Simpson, the Dominion Diamond Corporation); and, with particular reference to India, how craftsmanship could drive employment and generate prosperity, but it has to shed a legacy of decades of stagnation (Amy Kazmin, the Financial Times). The importance of teamwork in the craft process was also discussed in relationship to its territory – how we can exploit our natural resources – was another key topic (Armando Branchini, Altagamma). Kundoo spoke for everyone when she said that she would like a future where humans are more intelligent and enabled than machines, so continuing to work with our hands and perpetuating skills is vital.
BE OPEN's Director Gennady Terebkov also announced the educational element of BE OPEN's activity in India. Two competitions will act as a call for ideas and promoted through a web and social media campaign. The first "Create the ultimate Indian object for our future" invites Indian design students to submit concepts across five home and fashion categories, awarding 1500 USD to each category winner. The prize money will ensure that the winning student is able to cover material costs in the interim between educational and professional practice, a concept which was enthusiastically acknowledged by Mr Prem Kumar Gera, Dean of NIFT, India's National Institute of Fashion Technology, whose institute is participating in the competition and who voiced his support as part of the announcement. The second, "India Through My Eyes" is a global call for responses to the image we have of India today. Winners will be invited on an all expenses paid trip to the next international BE OPEN event.
Made in... India is not only about making a strong statement for Indian craft; it has global application, which highlights the important relationship and exchange between micro and macro economies. BE OPEN's mission for this project will be to encourage makers around the world to explore alternative ways of using traditional skills and keeping them alive.
Once again, BE OPEN demonstrated its determination to promote growth and progress through creativity, and design in particular. As Yelena Baturina says: "creativity should not be consumed by the future; creativity should design the future!"
Made in... India continues at The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts until 28 February 2014. The "Made in..." project will then travel to its next international destination.