In the intricate dance of daily life, certain objects like the unassuming Indian lota or the ubiquitous matka become so ingrained in our existence that they fade into the background, their significance rendered nearly invisible. However, Gunjan Gupta, with her design practice, unveils a fresh gaze that contemporizes these seemingly mundane artifacts, bringing them into the limelight of conscious appreciation. Gupta's approach is inherently subversive, challenging established norms and narratives. Take, for instance, her interpretation of the chair — a symbol historically synonymous with status and hierarchy in India, a society that once sat, slept, socialised and ate on the floor. Elevating the chair from a utilitarian object to a vessel of stories, Gupta crafts narratives that disrupt conventional perspectives and breathe new life into the overlooked elements of our cultural tapestry.
Gunjan Gupta's distinctive oeuvre, characterized by a trademark playful approach to material and form, redefines the boundaries of India's handmade and craft vernacular. Through serendipitous occurrences arising from iterative play and the assembly of disparate objects, Gupta unravels the complex tapestry of India's cultural contradictions, offering a fresh perspective on societal rules and hierarchies.
A luminary with a Master's degree in Furniture Design from Central Saint Martins, London, Gupta is not only the founder of Studio Wrap, a prominent New Delhi-based interior and furniture design studio, but also the visionary behind IKKIS—a product design brand where classical forms metamorphose into 21st-century design objects for the home.
Ikkis, Gupta's brainchild, seamlessly blends contemporary aesthetics with inherent Indianness. Rooted in indigenous materials, skills, and narratives, Ikkis crafts sculptural objects that symbolize a modern India while falling under the coveted collectible design category. The brand's maiden collection, aptly named 'IKKIS,' comprises 21 objects, each a testament to Gupta's adept fusion of tradition and modernity in everyday living.
The design maven extends her artistic prowess with GG Collectibles, a new limited series titled 'Everyday Yesterday,' set to debut at the India Art Fair from February 1 to 4 in Okhla, New Delhi. Gupta's innovative and playful series promises a conceptual dining experience, 'VEDIK by IKKIS,' in collaboration with IAF X Eleved—a testament to her multifaceted approach to design.
At the 'Talks' program of India Art Fair, Gunjan Gupta will join Home Faber's Andrea Tomasi as a panelist, contributing her scholarly expertise and unique perspective to conversations surrounding craft in India and its global legacies.
'Everyday Yesterday' unveils conceptual objects, such as 'HER Totem Pole' - GG’s signature Matkas tool tables that morph into a series of 4 pots inspired by the sacred feminine, stacked on each other, typically like a totem pole that sometimes uses human forms telling a story of fertility and beauty associated with the primordial form, and the 'MudaWala Throne', a stack of India’s bamboo stools known as the ‘Muda’ on a seat made of bicycle parts wrapped in leather, inspired by the bicycle vendors of India that carry mobile shops on their backs. Each of them is a narrative masterpiece that embodies Gupta's signature vocabulary of materials and crafting techniques. The collection not only explores the intricacies of Indian culture but also showcases the delicate balance between expert craftsmanship and resourceful jugaad.
As a groundbreaking industry game-changer, GG Collectible Jewellery introduces miniatures of Gupta's iconic designs, transforming chairs, Thaali stacks, and Matkaas into exquisite rings in silver and stone — an elegant fusion of artistry, functionality, and tradition echoing the vibrant spirit of contemporary India while honoring its rich heritage.
If you enjoyed reading this, here's more from Homegrown: