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February 28, 2023
India has a rich history of decorative arts and crafts- the vibrant colors, rich paisley patterns, finely carved gold-tone jewelry and ornaments, and distinctive architecture have captured imaginations around the world for generations. Even creations for everyday use- like sarees, are artistic statements, showing off the skill of each artisan contributing to the design.
With the popularity of mass-production and cheap materials, and the societal emphasis on scholastic achievement, traditional Indian handicraft skills are endangered- losing both audience and talent. With ever-evolving aesthetic tastes and modern expectations of functionality, you could ask if there is a place for traditional craftsmanship in today's home.
Some Indian designers, passionate about their roots, are dedicating their careers to saving these old techniques, re-imagined for modern tastes. These are the New Wave of Indian designers- a focus on craft, high-quality, sustainable materials, and sleek design aesthetic that effortlessly translates centuries of artisanal skill for the modern consumer.
I love when people add a new, intentional twist to tradition- an avant-garde eatery in a historic neighborhood; a ballet to rock music, or-in this case- using heritage skills for modern design. There’s something special about objects honoring the maker’s roots through today’s lens- the process utilizes both skill and craftsmanship and vision. Here are two Indian design-oriented brands carried at Anacua House and their stories:
Fleck was founded in 2019 by Shruti and Nishant, a design-minded couple looking for quality home items utilizing traditional materials with a modern design. Fleck is their story of finding balance between beauty and embellishment, functionality, and modern minimalism. Shruti and Nishant believe in modern design as an evolution of the past and that great materials are essential to telling the story of a design. Heritage techniques and practices are used to bring out the best in materials while refined, modern designs elevate their products for homes of today.
Brass features prominently in Fleck’s collection- a material Shruti’s family has worked with for generations. A copper and zinc alloy, brass has been used in India since the 3rd millenium BCE for everything from decorative arts to cookware.
“Brass is close to my heart because it’s a material my family has been working with for over 4 decades & 2 generations. From getting the zinc-copper ratio right to moulding the molten brass to its final form, each part is done by my folks who know have mastered their craft over years of practice. I want to bring it to the mainstream in shapes and forms that are relevant in today's world,”
– Shruti Gupta
Fleck’s brass accessories are defined by clean, sleek lines, glamorous in their shine and simplicity. The functional shape of their designs takes center stage, while the genuine, heavy brass construction keeps the look decidedly luxe. Their Kavya bowl and wine chiller are accented by natural wood bases- a contrasting touch that manages to lean upscale and not rustic.
Shop our full line from Fleck, including brass accessories and organic cotton textiles here.
Ichcha was founded in 2011 by three sisters passionate about traditional Indian arts- including one sister, Ruchika, with a master’s degree in block printing. Block printing is a method of creating stamped, repeating patterns on fabrics utilized before modern mechanical printing technology became available.
Seeing the knowledge of this heritage technique fading, they decided to take action- working with artisans to promote and preserve traditional block printing methods with sustainable resources. Patterns are hand-carved on wooden blocks and transferred onto hand-spun fabric using natural dyes. The result- high quality textiles with the eclectic-bohemian look of a slightly imperfect print. Their vibrant but coordinated color palettes speak firmly to the modern aesthetic, with print designs ranging from waves to florals, palms, and dots.
Shop our full line from Ichcha here.
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