Some of the best things in life come from the overlap of two differing perspectives. Aequo is a space in the iconic Colaba locale of Mumbai where innovative, modern design thinking from global creatives intersects with Indian craft, to create truly unique collectible design objects. Founded in 2022, Aequo is a gallery, unlike none in India, where functional design is met with the same reverence as fine art and/or fashion design.
Aequo's extensive network of artisans, with their deep appreciation for India's diverse raw materials, joins hands with contemporary designers for every new collection. This collaboration results in collectible pieces, tied together under a dedicated theme that draws deeply from Indian craft, but with design sensibilities. Founded by Tarini Jindal Handa and under the creative direction of Florence Louisy, Aequo seeks to bring together and analyse the ever-evolving relationship between makers, designers and materials to create truly original contemporary design.
Tarini is a third-generation patron who was raised in a family that cherishes the arts. Her family's commitment to supporting the arts and has left an indelible mark on her. After studying fashion marketing in London, Tarini returned to Mumbai to open Muse, the country's first multi-brand fashion store and later joined the family business, JSW Realty. It's here that she found her calling to start this venture. Her chance meeting with designer Florence Louisy in Paris and the ensuing conversation regarding the lack of dedicated space for collectible design is what culminated in the creation of Aequo. Designed by French Architect Ivan Oddos, the space is designed to be the perfect backdrop for functional and collectible design pieces. They also make their pieces in limited numbers, further ensuring the uniqueness of their well-designed pieces. In conversation with the creative director Louisy said, “In this grand design adventure, we create unique collectible pieces. That way, we can truly focus on one unique design. We don’t care if it’s impossible to reproduce, but even if a singular piece can carry the full story of a community, that’s good enough.”
The innovative design approach and the unwavering love for Indian craft is to have Aequo be recognised on an international level with their recent Prize for Contemporary Design at PAD Paris 2023. The award was for the Ajanta Daybed designed by Valériane Lazard. For creating this piece, the designer drew inspiration from the of Ajanta, which date back to the 2nd century and crafted a stunning daybed handcrafted from teak wood, intricately carved to create voids that add to the final piece. To complement this masterpiece, a mattress crafted using the age-old technique of mooda rice packaging was added, creating an exquisite blend of tradition and innovation.
The latest exhibition at Aequo is called Panna, which translates to "folio" in English. It is a celebration of sculptural pieces skillfully crafted through various folding techniques. The collection showcases the beauty of copper oxidised in Jaipur, burnt pieces enamelled in Alibag, and the soft elegance of felt. This collection created by Florence Louisy's collection pays a profound tribute to India's rich craft heritage and reflects Aequo's commitment to collaborating with local artisans. Each piece in the "Panna" exhibition pays homage to the past while boldly shaping the future of contemporary design, showcasing the enduring legacy of Indian craftsmanship. In their own words, Panna is a “celebration of form, texture, and function that weaves its mark on a vibrant canvas where art and culture unite in harmony.”
Aequo's gallery is a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of India but with a clear understanding of the global market for innovative design with strong stories and concepts. Aequo as a space is where art and unite, where tradition and innovation converge, and where every piece has a unique story. When you step into Aequo, you embark on a journey of discovery, where you can witness the beauty of tradition reinvented for the modern world. It's a celebration of the essence of India, and an ode to the remarkable local artisans and global designers who continue to shape the design landscape.
You can find out more about Aequo here.
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