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Celebrating India’s heritage through design

Product design is a growing industry, one that traverses scale. As a discipline, it blends objects that address functionality with art and visual culture. So, Istituto Marangoni’s Mumbai campus is growing its repertoire by adding a new Product Design course.

 

The OTLO exhibition in Mumbai, India, presented by Atelier, a collaborative extension of the design firm spearheaded by Architect and Istituto Marangoni Mumbai mentor Ashiesh Shah

The OTLO exhibition in Mumbai, India, presented by Atelier, a collaborative extension of the design firm spearheaded by Architect and Istituto Marangoni Mumbai mentor Ashiesh Shah

 

As the economic capital of India, Mumbai is home to a diverse creative community and is home to creative minds from all over the subcontinent. Often viewed through a colonial lens, the history of objects in the subcontinent follows a fascinating, intricate narrative. 

 
New Product Design course in Mumbai merges India’s craft heritage and Italian design

 

Istituto Marangoni’s global community and industry presence are to find a new home at the school’s Mumbai campus. With this course, the school hopes to equip students with the practical abilities and appropriate tools to create objects that enhance space. Taking cues from the country’s rich history of handicrafts and combining them with Istituto Marangoni’s Italian roots, the Mumbai campus Product Design course has the potential of being an essential bridge between the perceived dichotomy of Western and Eastern design.

 

India has been heralded as a resource for a variety of important handmade techniques, from the intricate textile designs on the traditional Indian saris to the elaborate wood carvings seen on furniture

 

Since the late 17th century and throughout the 18th century, the city of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, served as a crucial port facilitating trade between the subcontinent and Europe. By the 19th century, Indian design and craftsmanship became highly prized objects on international markets. Particularly with the success of the Great Exhibitions of 1851 in London, products featuring Indian motifs became fashionable in European capitals.

 

T_The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai

The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai 

 

Following what could be considered its debut exhibition, the industrial and decorative arts of the subcontinent saw a commodification of their crafts. Training institutes and workshops were set up to promote the development of the decorative arts. Traditional local crafts were modified to incorporate European taste. This also led to the creation of the erstwhile Victoria and Albert Museum, established in Bombay in 1872. Now known as the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, it was Mumbai’s first museum and had the purpose of showcasing the city’s cultural heritage and history through its Fine and Decorative Arts collection. The collection highlights various communities’ early modern practices and craftsmanship in colonial Bombay Presidency.

 

Divya Thakur at her home in Mumbai_courtesy of Atul Loke for The New York Times

Divya Thakur at her home in Mumbai

 

While the history of decorative arts and craftsmanship in Mumbai includes a colonial narrative, techniques and products are part of a more extended history

 

As it is taught and practiced today, product design has a two-prong approach: as a way of creating solutions and as an experiment in technique. From Divya Thakur’s Design Temple – a 23-year-old multifaceted boutique design shop in Mumbai – to Rooshad Shroff’s Hermès windows, Mumbai’s current design industry provides our students with a rich ecosystem of diverse contemporary practices that combine an abundance of historical references and global aesthetics, inspiring them to develop ideas and designs that disrupt the status quo. This is what Istituto Marangoni Mumbai aims to do best.

 

Rooshad Shroff's window displays for The Hermes Horse travelling exhibition in Mumbai, 2015 (courtesy of rooshadshroff.com)  
Rooshad Shroff's window displays for The Hermes Horse travelling exhibition in Mumbai, 2015   

 

 

Devanshi Shah
Tutor

 

 

School
MUMBAI
Course
Programme
undergraduate-Undergraduate Progression