World View: Letter from India

6/13/2020 2:00:00 AM

In Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, studios and designers have been connecting with team members through craft, while stepping back to appreciate local sources, writes our design editor

In Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, studios and designers have been connecting with team members through craft, while stepping back to appreciate local sources, writes our design editor

Our new series shines light on the creativity and resilience of designers around the world as they confront the challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. Working with our international contributors, we reach out to creative talents to ponder the pow...

Our new series shines light on the creativity and resilience of designers around the world as they confront the challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.The supreme executive body in British politics is the cabinet, chaired by the prime minister.“We need to do better.(Image: Google Maps) Google Maps: Street View captures unusual sight on beach in Salem (Image: GOOGLE MAPS) Google Maps Street View also manages to capture some strange sights from the hilarious to the completely bizarre.

Working with our international contributors, we reach out to creative talents to ponder the power of design in difficult times and share messages of hope.In Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, studios and designers have been connecting with team members through craft, while stepping back to appreciate local sources, writes our design editor, digital, Sujata Burman As a country, India’s cultural verve is built on human interaction with its soaring population size and social heartbeat, so the dramatic lockdown and current distancing rules feel like a paradox.Over time, prime ministers have become increasingly dominant.The design community has had to be particularly resourceful in navigating this shift by connecting digitally not physically, cultivating through craft, and uplifting eachother with discoveries on the doorstep.” These are welcome words from a prime minister prepared to accept responsibility for the tsunami of deaths in care homes.Nikhil Paul, founder of New Delhi-based lighting design studio Paul Matter has been rooting through materials during this time.” Tony Blair was criticised for operating an informal “sofa government”.A lamp design that he had intended to cast in metal had to be revised due to the temporary closure of the cast unit, so he turned to leather.

‘Leather is something that I have been eager to introduce to the collection and it finally got its moment.But under Boris Johnson, the aggregation of power in Downing Street is unprecedented.The National Audit Office, Whitehall’s spending watchdog, confirmed that in the first month of lockdown, 25,000 patients were discharged from hospitals into care homes and spread the virus when testing was either patchy or non-existent, and personal protective equipment was unavailable.We have been collecting hides and experimenting with the material since a year but never got the time to sit down and make an entire piece’.India’s fertile ground of natural source has been key for Paul’s team during lockdown.That is not surprising given the prominence inside No 10 of figures from the Vote Leave referendum team, headed by Dominic Cummings.‘My colleague Ragini is exploring the same form in bamboo and cane as she has access to these materials in her hometown.Instead of shouldering responsibility, Boris Johnson blames others, telling MPs it was clinicians who authorised hospital discharges into care homes.Another designer from our team has access to copper sheets and is exploring the hardware to go along with the leather piece in copper and glass enamel.Cabinet ministers appear often to be mere spokespeople, subservient to Downing Street advisers who write their scripts.

’ Adapting the creative output has called for some experimental techniques for the new Paul Matter leather lamp – ‘the 3D prints take a bubble bath before they are put to use.The studio has suddenly transformed into a small leather atelier, which I am loving,’ Paul muses.When Rishi Sunak was appointed chancellor, few expected him to stand out from Mr Johnson’s shadow.Hardworking medics did not deliberately risk care homes, but a lack of testing surely did.Nikhil Paul‘s initial mock-up of a leather lamp with brass hardware, shot inside his studio Communication has been crucial in Spandana Gopal, founder of product design studio Tiipoi’s business.Run from both London and Bangalore, the team has unified through a WhatsApp ‘drawing room’ to lift spirits.But Mr Sunak has been a steady and articulate manager of the economic response to the pandemic.‘I didn’t know when the lockdown was going to lift in India and I didn’t want everyone to get bored and unmotivated,’ Gopal tells me over the phone.The proportion of those patients going to care homes from a hospital doubled.

This ignited her team to search locally too – her ceramicist Khanmuh Sasa who is from Longpi, Manipur, north east India found inspiration during a trip to the market.Another relatively independent figure is Matt Hancock, who has demonstrated some organisational grip on his department.‘He came back and drew the pumpkin he bought, and sent it to me,’ says Gopal.‘The next day he made it into a into a sculpture , he made it so beautifully and so easily into a little pumpkin pot.Dominic Raab is a weak foreign secretary whose unfitness for a top job was widely displayed as he garbled inanely through a stint as stand-in, when the prime minister was ill with Covid-19.A series of dubious ethical decisions were taken that contributed to the premature deaths of thousands of older people.He sliced off the top and made it like a lid.’ This grew into a creative dialogue in the Whatsapp group – Tiipoi’s accountant then sent a drawing of a bird, which Sasa made into a pen pot.Other departments are no more blessed.

Above, Tiipoi’s ceramicist Khanmuh Sasa’s pumpkin pot.But the government bears some responsibility for the appalling death toll in social care and the prime minister must apologise.Below, Spandana Gopal and the team at the Longpi Black Pottery before lockdown Gopal has been using her brand’s platform on social media to reveal these maker stories, and since lockdown, she has been hosting talks with craft communities – ‘[we are about] investing in people.The education secretary has had months to devise a strategy for reopening schools but has not progressed beyond picking needless fights with unions.And I think that that’s central to any craft-based business, which operates in this way, where you’re working remotely with artisans.But you have to invest in them.Now Mr Gove brings a veteran’s heft to the cabinet office, averting an even worse shambles at the heart of government.Mr Johnson might want to put things right first.And you have to invest in resources, you have to invest in space.

’ Like Gopal, founder of Mumbai-based jewellery brand Misho, Suhani Parekh has also channeled energy into her craftspeople.The public cannot have been impressed with the performances of Robert Jenrick, Alok Sharma and Grant Shapps.‘We’ve worked with the philosophy that the welfare of our craftsmen must align with our brand interests.Otherwise even sincere apologies will look like they are being delivered at the guilty party’s convenience – and will count for very little.This situation has definitely created several challenges to the craft and artisanal communities in India, with vulnerable workers being left impoverished.It is easy to be beguiled by nostalgia.’ Parekh is positive that this moment in time will shine a brighter spotlight on helping those unprotected workers.Suhani Parekh says ’I’ve been playing with and prototyping in any material I can get my hands on, from wax and clay to whole wheat flour! These amphoras were inspired by my Aquarius medallion’ In these moments of confusion and uncertainty, Parekh has been working with jewellery that has extra sentiment – ‘be it personal or spiritual.Some roles are by their nature reserved for less showy politicians, just as some jobs have been doled out as bribes to troublemaking rivals with no talent except for making mischief.

I wore my Zodiac medallion on repeat, layered with a citrine stone my mother had gifted me.As a brand MISHO has always tried to create timeless pieces that feel like modern heirlooms and that’s definitely the direction that we will continue to focus on.The balance has shifted under Mr Johnson.’ In the north of Mumbai, I asked Case Design co-founder Sam Barclay what challenges the pandemic has posed for India’s design industry, he explains, ‘the shortage of designers compared to both the scale of the population and the diversity and complexity of the challenges.For a practice like ours that is based in Mumbai that creates a tremendous number of exciting opportunities but also an overwhelming sense of responsibility to meet those challenges with mindful, appropriate, and responsible solutions.Independent thought and moderating pragmatism are mostly banished to the back benches.’ A model that Samuel made of the house Case Design are designing outside of Mumbai Case Design is gearing up to launch a new website for their furniture, lighting and objects, which it hopes will reaffirm its core values of quality, contemporary craftsmanship and sustainability.

While most of the team has taken on the digital transition with aplomb, Barclay says that he has ‘also enjoyed sitting at my desk and making physical models all by myself.An administration that values propaganda over governance and ideological purity over honesty is uniquely ill-suited to a public health emergency.’ § Read more from Wallpaper* World View.

Read more:
Wallpaper* »
Loading news...
Failed to load news.

The Guardian view on the cabinet: a paucity of talent | EditorialEditorial: Government in Britain relies on a critical mass of serious secretaries of state. The current crop is worryingly lightweight Boris Johnson: A Government of all the Talentless. A paucity of anything I would say, humility, commonsense, caring, other suggestions welcome. Paucity of talent. That implies there is some?

The Guardian view on care homes: take responsibility and apologise | EditorialEditorial: Hospitals were ordered to send patients to care homes without routine testing during the pandemic. Boris Johnson needs to say sorry for this deadly failure to protect the elderly. It's one of the most devastating outcomes of their incompetence. The least they could do is apologise. good luck with that one ToryLiesCostLives Boris has a point of principle not to apologise. EVER. Why say sorry when you can simply dodge the question or pass the blame to someone else? Simples.

Google Maps: Street View captures unusual animal on a beach - is it real?GOOGLE MAPS Street View is used all over the world by armchair travellers, keen explorers and those hoping to take a glimpse of the world. But some people use the tool to capture some very odd sights, and this may be the case for this strange creature.

NBA gives players more detailed schedule for Disney World restartThe NBA gave teams a more definitive timetable for the restart to the pandemic-interrupted season Friday, including required coronavirus testing Florida is a hot-spot .. lol capitalismbaby

The murky world of political donationsPoliticians need to be careful about being seen to do the right thing – and poor judgement can have serious consequences, writes Sean O'Grady The fundamental web of their survival! Who is their right mind is ever going to donate thousands, millions and expect NOTHING in return 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 The thin veil that hides the fact democracy doesn't exist has been removed, just like the screen that covers the disappearing lady before she steps into the trap door. We are aware of how the magic works, we are not impressed.

Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers accused over unpaid migrant workersOrganisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have again come under fire after an Amnesty International investigation found that around 100 migrant workers had not been paid for up to seven months This is worst choice ever for a World Cup. The daily temps in Doha are in the 40s currently. Try playing soccer in 40+ temps. What about the dead ones too? There’s a shocker. Who could have foreseen that?