The Indian architectural practice Studio Mumbai, founded by Bijoy Jain in 2005, has developed a body of work that continues to refer to aspects of both Indian and Western cultures. What sets the studio apart is a brilliant combination of tradition and modernity. Local resources and Indian craftsmanship form the basis for highly contemporary architectural designs. Thoughtful and uncompromising to the last detail, the architecture of Studio Mumbai shows a deep concern for the relationship between man and nature and insists on the importance of the genius loci. And it is this, that Jain brings to his second exhibition at the Maniera gallery – a new range of furniture series that is the result of an ongoing process of refinement and study in material, form and function.
On from May 18 to August 24, 2019, the exhibition showcases furniture and objects including a daybed, a console, a lamp, a bench, a folding screen and a series of chairs inspired by local resources and traditional Indian crafts as much as they refer to ancient Egypt artefacts. And yet, you will find, all of these designs are highly contemporary. References to the historical artefacts are motivated by the fascination for the level of sophistication and refinement they contain.
Jain works collaboratively with local artisans, craftspeople and draftsmen to design and build projects through an explorative creative process, which includes large scale mock-ups, models – big and small, material studies, sketches and drawings. This process of seeing, thinking and making is also inherent in the production process of the furniture. The act of making is embodied, both viscerally and physically, in the works.
“My interest lies primarily in doing what I do, with care. As an architect, the way you imagine opening a door, developing a chair, designing the texture of a wall or a floor, is very important. It’s about quality, about the consideration you apply to the making of something. And it’s about being attentive to the environment, the materials, and the inhabitants. It has to be inclusive,” explains Jain.
Material, form and function operate as non-hierarchical elements next to each other. The furniture and objects for Maniera can be seen as the result of an intense and profound material research. Celebrated for his ability to work with humble materials, Jain has used a similar approach to create a range of hand-made furniture objects with materials that are quite universal and can be found in India as well as Europe, but some of them are quite uncommon for furniture. For example, rudimentary materials like stone, brick and cow dung or subtle materials like textile, glass and Japanese washi paper. On show you will also see the use of natural pigments and lime to make frescoes.