“The future, especially for India, lies in craftsmanship”, says Jaipur-based designer Ayush Kasliwal. One of India’s leading design thinkers, he redefines ancient local craft traditions and artisan communities by providing them with design, technology, capital and creative collaboration. Kasliwal is Creative Director and Co-founder of AKFD, an interdisciplinary design company in Jaipur.
With India as a partner country for Ambiente 2019, Kasliwal will be demonstrating the importance of traditional Indian craftsmanship. Ambiente is the world’s largest consumer goods show, with a comprehensive focus in the fields of Dining, Living and Giving.
Taking place in Frankfurt, Germany, the trade fair provides a full spectrum of new concepts, design proposals and trend displays that will impact the marketplace in 2019.
Design Pataki talks to Ayush Kasliwal about craftsmanship in India, sustainable design and Ambiente.
Design Pataki: How do you reinvent the wheel with traditional handicraft?
Ayush Kasliwal: Well, sometimes it is reinventing a context that is needed. And sometimes it is a question of paring this game down. However, there are also occasions when one has to completely rethink the craft, and figure out what to do with it. There no particular method, or formula, and one has to look at the situation from perspectives that are appropriate.
What is a challenging material that you are currently experimenting with?
AK: I am really keen on working with grass and leaf, as a material. There are strong limitations but given the sustainability, it is definitely a material worth looking into. However, when it comes to new materials, we behave like children and jump eagerly from one to another.
DP: How do you navigate hand imperfections in the export world of mass production?
AK: It is, most often sharing the limitations and having clear parameters that both the client and the craftspeople agree upon. I strongly believe that the markets are not necessarily looking for standards, they want to be clear on expectations, and spell them out for their own markets as well.
DP: What would make you the happiest with future AKFD Studio?
AK: Making design accessible, and establishing its importance in daily living. Design, not as an aesthetic tool, but design, as a way of thinking.
DP: What changes in the global design scene can we hope for with AKFD and India as a partner with Ambiente?
AK: India has been nominated as a partner country for Ambiente 2019, this will give a tremendous amount of exposure to India and specifically to Indian crafts. The challenge remains the short time span and being able to do justice to the project in the little time that we have. As far as changes are concerned, we hope to present India as the destination for handmade and hope to see more and more handmade products in the world market.
Photographs courtesy AKFD Studio