Made in India BE OPEN’s search for the future of creativity starts in India, with a focus on making
11 - 28 February, New Delhi
10 February official opening, by invitation only
BE OPEN, the global philanthropic foundation, announced its intention last month to launch a worldwide project that looks at the handmade and how to ensure its survival in the future.
Each year BE OPEN announces a theme that guides their research. 2012 focused on design and the senses, while the theme for the year ahead is North/South – East/West. Travelling to the four corners of the world, the foundation will involve a new generation of makers and designers, as well as students, academics and retail industry professionals, to develop the subject, exploring where and how our diverse cultures can meet and how to take traditional skills into the future, through innovation and technology.
The journey of discovery begins in India, where, from the time of the Mughals through the Rajput, to the present day, Indian craftsmen have been commissioned to carve and inlay marble, wood and stone, to weave in silk and to mould in clay. “Made In India” will showcase furniture and tableware, textiles and jewels that reveal an imaginative reinterpretation of traditional craft skills by contemporary Indian designers.
A range of pieces by approximately fifteen designers will be installed in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi, in a bespoke space created by architect Anupama Kundoo. Kundoo will also design a unified way of presenting the work, both graphically and from a branding point of view. Far from being an exhibition of contemporary craft, “Made in India” is an experimental approach to re-positioning locally made, handcrafted goods to give them global appeal.
Founder of BE OPEN, Yelena Baturina, says: “Business is in my DNA, so I can’t help but bring a business focus to this project as well. We feel that the future of the handmade is about keeping it out of the moribund museum space and instead making it live and breathe by becoming part of the market economy. Working with local experts, BE OPEN has been looking at today’s most promising Indian designers, encouraging them to think beyond their usual market and giving them the opportunity to present their work from a completely new perspective, so that it appeals to a much wider, international audience. “Made In…” is launching in India, not least because its culture reveals such a fascinating and stark dichotomy between tradition and modernity. This means that there is a tremendous legacy of skilled work and a willingness to take it forward into the future.”
BE OPEN is working with eminent design consultant, President of India’s Fashion Design Council, Sunil Sethi for this project. Sethi has been a pioneer in terms of changing perceptions of India abroad, through events such as Bollywood at London’s Selfridges (2002), and installations at Conran shops internationally (2007), amongst others. He says: “We have chosen designers to represent all of the craft skills for which India is best known, yet will be showing them in a light that will dramatically change the way that people might think about the tagline “Made in India”. For many, Indian goods are associated with poor quality and cheap labour. The BE OPEN project will prove that there is vast potential to reverse that perception.”
Pieces in the exhibition include: fashion by Abraham and Thakore and Rahul Mishra; textiles by Ezma and Rasa; furniture by Bombay Atelier and Ayush Kasliwal; products by Gunjan Gupta and Sahil & Sarthak; and lighting design by Klove.
Nothing will be for sale, but the work will be presented as though part of a new brand, with logo, labels and tags, shopping bags and display all reflecting contemporary design: dynamic, beautifully crafted goods, grounded in tradition, yet reinterpreted for today. Items from the exhibition will be auctioned during BE OPEN's events at Milan World Expo 2015. The proceeds from the auction will be plowed back into the Young Talent Award fund, creating a virtuous circle of support for emerging designers.
In addition to the product installation, a discussion panel will see prominent international design and fashion professionals sharing experiences and discussing their approach to the future of making in a globalised world.
BE OPEN’s activity in India will be supported by a call for ideas through a web and social media campaign that will invite Indian design students to submit concepts for the ultimate contemporary Indian product – Imagine your Ideal Indian Object, while a global call for entries will invite responses to the image we have of India today: “India Through My Eyes.” One winner of each competition will be invited on an all expenses paid trip to participate in the next international BE OPEN event.
“Made In India” is not only about making a strong statement for Indian craft; it has global application. BE OPEN’s mission for this project will be to encourage makers around the world to explore alternative ways of using traditional skills and keeping them alive, with the next event, “Made in Japan”, planned for Tokyo in autumn 2014.
Press contact, UK:
Theresa Simon & Partners, London
+ 44 207 734 4800
Press contact, India:
VTY, New Delhi
Pareina Thapar firstname.lastname@example.org, Pooja Gulati email@example.com
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