Rooshad Shroff reviving traditional Indian craftsmanship through product design

Indian architect and designer Rooshad Shroff showcases the process and works created through techniques such as embroidery on wood and marble craving, highlighting artisanal skills.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Aug 21, 2020

Rooshad Shroff, an Indian architect and designer, completed his graduation from Cornell University in New York and Masters from Harvard University, Massachusetts in the US. Having worked briefly with Zaha Hadid Architects in London and OMA/REX in New York, he returned to India to set up his multi-disciplinary design and research studio in Mumbai. Since his days at architecture and design schools, Shroff has developed a keen interest in the cause and romantic appeal of the handmade and has been collaborating with artisans across the country to promote the craft. 

Shroff has invested considerable time and effort into extensive research and experimentation with centuries-old techniques, to create some never-seen-before fusions in products and finishes. “This modus-operandi typically commences with a furniture line as the testing point of craft focus, which then translates into interiors and techniques borrowed for the creation of finishes,” explains Shroff.  

Attempting to induce a new respect for traditional Indian craft techniques and skills, Shroff believes the work of a studio plays a vital role in their resurgence. “Knowledge of the craft, underscored by innovation, goes a long way in producing quality work that is at par with international requirements,” he mentions. Based in a country where abundance of craft is a unique advantage, Shroff is working toward contemporising artisanry in order to make it relevant in today’s design language. This has led to Shroff collaborating with artisans from Jaipur for marble carving, from New Delhi for woodwork and Mumbai and Lucknow for embroidery, re-honing their crafts and techniques - rooted in India - into a modern aesthetic.

Below, STIR documents and celebrates these collaborations with craftsmen in India, through which Shroff has created extraordinary contemporary products.

1. Embroidery on Wood

An artisan carrying out embroidery on a wooden screen | Wooden Partition Door | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
An artisan carrying out embroidery on a wooden screen Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
An embroidered contemporary look for a traditional room partition| room parition| Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
An embroidered contemporary look for a traditional room partition Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
Embroidery on Wood, an artisan working on a chair | Chair | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
Embroidery on Wood, an artisan working on a chair Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The C-Chair | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The C-Chair Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The Embroidery on Wood which is being implemented in different forms through various kinds of stitches | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The Embroidery on Wood, which is being implemented in different forms through various kinds of stitches Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The knotted embroidery on the wooden bench | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The knotted embroidery on the wooden bench Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff

2. Marble Carving

An artisan working on swivel light through marble carving | Marble Swivel light | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
An artisan working on swivel light through marble carving Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
Marble swivel light | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
Marble swivel light Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
Marble bulb carving in process | Marble bulb | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
Marble bulb carving in process Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The Marble bulb collection | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The Marble bulb collection Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff

3. Marble Inlay

An artisan completing the marble inlay process | Marble inlay| Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
An artisan completing the marble inlay process Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
A marble inlay plate from the series Pixel | Marble inlay| Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
A marble inlay plate from the series Pixel Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
Marble inlay technique being applied by a craftsman | Marble inlay| Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
Marble inlay technique being applied by a craftsman Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
Text being inscribed in marble | Marble inlay| Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
Text being inscribed in marble Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
Marble inlay plate from the Pixel series | Marble inlay| Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
Marble inlay plate from the Pixel series Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff

4. Wood Work

The patterns and stools for wood carving | Wood work | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The patterns and stools for wood carving Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
A craftsman polishing a wood carving | Wood work | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
A craftsman polishing a wood carving Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The pressed flower collection created in collaboration with Ambrita Shahani Tuckwell | Wood work | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The pressed flower collection created in collaboration with Ambrita Shahani Tuckwell Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The table from pressed flower collection created in collaboration with Ambrita Shahani Tuckwell presented at the Raw Collaborative 2018 | Wood work | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The table from pressed flower collection created in collaboration with Ambrita Shahani Tuckwell presented at the Raw Collaborative 2018 Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff
The table from pressed flower collection created in collaboration with Ambrita Shahani Tuckwell | Wood work | Rooshad Shroff | STIRworld
The table from pressed flower collection created in collaboration with Ambrita Shahani Tuckwell Image: Courtesy of Rooshad Shroff

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