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South Asian Heritage in Contemporary Design

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Tanay Kandpal’s ‘Of Returning’ project beautifully bridges the gap between contemporary design and South Asian heritage, particularly highlighting the influence of Channapatna craftsmanship on Ettore Sottsass’ Memphis Movement. Through his Atike collection of lamps, Kandpal reclaims and celebrates the rich narratives of South Asian design within the global design discourse.

The Atike lamps, handcrafted from ivory wood in India, are not just lighting fixtures but pieces of art that embody the playful and artisanal qualities of Channapatna toy-making craft. The name ‘Atike,’ meaning toy in Kannada, perfectly encapsulates the essence of these lamps, which delicately illuminate spaces with a soft glow, reminiscent of the vibrant colors and asymmetrical shapes found in South Indian homes.

South Asian Heritage

Kandpal’s exploration into the shared history between Sottsass and South India is both enlightening and inspiring. It sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of design history, where South Asian aesthetics played a significant role in shaping the visual language of postmodern design. By showcasing the Atike lamps at the Isola Design Festival during Salone Del Mobile, Kandpal invites viewers to reconsider the impact of South Asian heritage on contemporary design.

This project exemplifies the essence of a multidisciplinary design studio, where Kandpal’s expertise in design, craftsmanship, and cultural heritage converge to create a meaningful and impactful narrative. Through ‘Of Returning,’ Kandpal not only promotes his project but also shares his vision of reinterpreting and preserving South Asian design heritage within a modern context.

As we navigate through the ever-evolving landscape of design trends, projects like ‘Of Returning’ remind us of the importance of embracing diverse cultural influences and celebrating the richness of our design heritage. Tanay Kandpal’s work serves as a testament to the power of design in bridging cultures and creating meaningful connections across the globe.

By exhibiting his work at Milan Design Week 2024, Kandpal ensures that the legacy of South Asian design is not forgotten but rather celebrated and integrated into the contemporary design narrative. The ‘Of Returning’ project is a beautiful homage to the craftsmanship, artistry, and cultural significance of South Asian design, inviting us to explore and appreciate the beauty of our shared design heritage.

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