By Aarti Uppal Singla
On saturday I braved the Delhi traffic to visit the Windmill Design Fair. As I took the right from Arjan Garh Metro station and entered the winding lanes with broken roads of the urban village Aya Nagar I questioned my sanity. As I drove slowly, avoiding people, stray cattle and dogs and trying to minimize the abuse to my car I thought, ‘This better be worth the effort’. The place was not difficult to find thanks to the signage put up by the organizers at every turn.
Parking was stress free as there is a lot of space along the road. I walked in to the courtyard with lots of lovely greens and sculptures. The fragrance of jasmine immediately transformed the atmosphere. I looked up at the exposed brick structure with lovely windows and terraces and I thought I could live here. Few steps led to a large room that housed The Himalayan Cafe serving tea, coffee and assortment of snacks. I was not hungry so no comments about the food. And I forgot to ask if it was a permanent feature or just setup for the fair. Anyways, It was a relaxing space with large tulips painted on the whitewashed wall. That set the tone for expecting beautiful things.
Making my way up a staircase with fish and turtles mosaics I entered the main exhibition hall. The large hall with high roof, pillars and big windows that let in a lot of sunlight is actually the space for Windmill Furniture, owned by PSDA. The complex is the office, workshop and store of Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates. If I ever get a chance to build my house on a little plot of land these are the people I’m hiring. Ah! I digress.
With brands like Pure Ghee, Kurma, The Design Foundry, Leehkin, TOWITHFROM, Organic Connect, Objectry, Silverfish and others putting up their wares there were a lot of beautifully designed things at look at and buy. Nikheel Aphale of Leekhin has used his calligraphy to make tote bags, coasters, trays and greeting cards. Maneet Kaur of Kumra designs intricate blocks and the prints out cotton cloth to make table linen, bags and notebook covers.
If you want to buy bags and purses look at Pure Ghee. If brass sculptures and accent pieces are your things you can check out The Design Foundry. They have small tea-light holders to three feet tall art pieces and others in between.
TWOWITHFROM’s products are as interesting as its name. They use gamcha cloth to make little pouches with a notebook inside.
Wood is what Organic connect and Objectry work with. While one collaborates with block making artisans of Pilukwa to give extra pizzazz to their finely crafted Shesham boxes the other is all about modern urban living turning the usual into fine design.
Vividhara is a collective of organic farmers, forest protectors and friends. They bring flower and vegetable seeds specific to the spring-summer growing season, Food and herb plants, Trees and plants native to the Aravali range, spices and traditional remedies.
I interacted with the resident stone artist Dharmandra Kumar Yogi. Resident of Bhabru, a village near Jaipur, he works here. He chisels away at stone, be it riverbed rocks or large granite slabs, making works of art. You can pick up what he has or order your own.
All in all it was time well spent. Was it worth the effort? Of course. After the India Design fair I had wondered aloud that can’t good design be affordable. The universe gave me the answer. Yes, you don’t have to bust your bank to own something that is functional and aesthetic.
Just the other day an artist friend, who is bogged down by a demanding job, asked me how to make money through art. I said make products. I think in today’s economic scenario the artist’s have the freedom to not just work towards that one end of the year exhibition. They can and should use their creativity to develop products that find place in homes of people who appreciate original art but can’t afford to buy larger pieces.
I’ll eagerly wait for the next edition of this fair.