It is the name that gives it all away. Atrangi, a word that means strange or unusual is quite apt to describe this new line of typographical furniture designed by Harshi Shah, Founder of Atrangi, a Designer Furniture Brand.
Her very first line of furniture pieces boldly challenges clinical minimalism and dives into rich Indian heritage. The result is a mesmerising and statement-making collection. The current line has been inspired by a famous step well located in Patan, in North Gujarat. The Rani ki Vav (Queen’s Stepwell) has a conspicuous architectural style.
It’s one of those things that literally just happened. I was in my final year and we had to design a font. I happened to discuss Rani Ki Vav with my professor Mrs. Mansi Keni and how it had been added to UNESCO’s Heritage site earlier that year. She encouraged me to design a font around that theme. I began thinking and designing the font and researching more about it. By the end of the month with the graphic font ready, I told her I’d like to make a piece of furniture because anything else would become too mainstream. That’s where it all began.
The Vav, that is, the well. That is what makes Rani Ki Vav. I sat with architectural plans of the place and then tried to incorporate the construction of well in a way that it makes a flow throughout the design. The sculptures on the furniture are all from the actual site itself. I have creatively juxtaposed them into the furniture.
This was a revelation to me as well. I am a Commercial artist who has specialized in typography. Initially, I viewed this theme and its furniture as nothing more than art pieces with usability. But, it was heartwarming to see that people still rejoice and appreciate our heritage. They appreciated the fact that the designs were rooted in something that was so uniquely Indian, so uniquely ours!
All the pieces are made in old teak wood. The hand carving and craftsmanship is too intricate for any other wood to be able to endure it. Old Teak wood is both a suitable and economical combination.
A library is a world it itself, full of cultures and languages. Some of these few pieces fit best at a library. Take for instance the bookshelf. Pustak in Hindi means book. The bookshelf – Pustak is quite a giveaway, right? We also have a new addition to the bookshelf that reads “Kitaab”, which also means book. The lounge rocker, is one of my favourites in the lot. It is also the one with the highest sale and demand as it is very comfortable and powerful in design. If I had to design a library corner in my house I’d make one using the lounge rocker, center table and lamps. The inscription on the lamps read Prakash, which means light in Hindi.
For more information about the products please visit https://atrangiart.com
Did you know that Venice was one of the ancient seats of the book trade? Bookbinding as an art flourished in the venetian society. If you walk around the maze of lanes in Venice today, you are sure to stumble upon some great book shops where books are objects of art.
One such haven is a store named Charta. The store has a long history and has been present since 1975. Its customers cross over generations. Dario Ustino, Venetian son of a Venetian mosaicist runs the store. The store has many beautiful products: Books, bookmarks, art prints and furniture and accessories as well.
Books have never lost their place. There is a more important enhancement for ancient, illustrated and valuable books. These books will never be replaced with the internet. With time there will be a tendency to publish only valuable books with a nice personalized cover to keep in a timeless collection. Restoration and classic books are increasingly demanded and the bookbinders are really too few in the world.
The process is very classic and innovative at the same time. The restoration and cleaning of the pages are carried out using traditional methods, while the binding is made with an innovative technique using leather cloth and gold leaf with the care of reproducing a cover that is consistent with the era of the book. All our books are original edition, restored and rebound with creative binding in leather and other decorations. Each work is one of a kind.
Miniature bookcases are a very important passion for my husband Dario Ustino, the creator of most of our work. He has a collection of vintage Victorian pieces and with local artisans he also manages to produce copies of miniature bookcases with different themes.
Lovers of good books need to travel a lot to find vintage books, which are sometimes in bad condition. Then, they need to find a good bookbinder who can handle the restoration of books.
To buy our masterpieces you must come to Venice in our unique store of charm or on our website www.chartaonline.com
Barrels cannot be square. So, when a brand like Square Barrel comes along, we can expect stuff that is clearly out-of-the-box! Some objects force you to look twice because they have a differentiating element. These are the kind of products designed and retailed by Pratik and Shikha Barasia, the Founders of Square Barrel.
Translating their vision of ‘funky’ and ‘quirky’, they create objects that are out of the ordinary and very charming indeed! Here are some of their products that any book lover would swoon over!
Nothing like an open book to entice a book lover! This design was created for all book lovers. The handles of the cabinet have been inspired by the leaves of a book. It is a simple unit with a twist which is enough to add a funky element to the piece. The piece is made from Marine Plywood. Polyurethane paint and digital printing have been used for the design. A perfect cabinet to store books!
The Hungry Caterpillar anyone? This design was created with the desire to create a furniture piece that didn’t sit only on the floor but crept up the wall as well. After many sketches and discussions, they created the caterpillar. Cute as it may look, this is a sturdy piece that is made in solid teak wood. Chenille velvet fabric on the stools makes for comfortable seating as well.
What’s a book nook without a rocking chair? The small twist, if you notice carefully, creates all the fun. They have simply changed one arm to a walking stick! Settle down in this cozy teak wood chair for a reading session!
The scroll is an object that recalls elements of the past. This hand-painted mirror is carved in the shape of a scroll. The art is inspired from the style used by tribals in northeast India on textiles.
The Superhero is here to carry the weight of all your books! The aim was to create a bookend which didn’t need two sides to hold all the books in place. They just wanted support only at one end. The tilted angle which was required for this in turn helped them come up with the superhero concept!
Books take you round the world. don’t they? Why not have some iconic global design to host your homegrown collection? This book shelf steals the show completely!
So, the next time you want to amp up your book corner, remember to add that touch of quirk with Square Barrel!
We all love the magic that things of the past hold. The Conferro Heritae Archive is one such treasure trove. The Archive holds about 350,000 vintage newspapers, about 4 million vintage advertisements, dating back upto the19th century from not only India, but the world over, making it one of the largest and the most diverse private collections in the world, along with tens of thousands of books, magazines, cinematic memorabilia, vintage cars, watches, stamps, maps, vintage textile, fine art, tribal art and about 17,000 vinyl records to name a few. Extensive research is the basis of creation of the archive and thus has some of the rarest books, newspapers, vinyls, Bollywood memorabilia among thousands of collectibles in its purview.
The company was founded in 2012. However, we’ve been collecting Art & Collectibles for decades now.
It’s been incredible! It was of course something rather unique that we brought to the Indian Market, but the way it was received was absolutely fantastic! Who doesn’t want a piece of the day they were born, or rather any significant day in their life!
It is of course an expert’s domain and we need to understand the historical significance, rarity, etc. of the collection that we’ve built from various parts of the world. It is also a long process as all the Art & Collectibles are only acquired post all necessary authentication and documentation has been verified.
The oldest newspaper would be the ‘India’ Gazette from 1906 which was published in the UK, we also have some from the 19th century which have not yet been archived. Our oldest magazine would be the magazine ‘Pictures’ – 1920.
Posters have a historical as well as aesthetic value. They are works of art which represent the rich cultural heritage of our movies, reflecting the vibrancy as well as socio-economic conditions of an era. Needless to mention, they are often a significant nostalgic value for a collector. Vintage Advertisements are something a lot of people resonate with. It is an extremely diverse and easily relatable subject. It’s a foray into past times and vintage ads are artworks in themselves. Advertisements are collectibles, which portray multiple dimensions of history and culture both at macro and micro level. They are historic entities for both a country as well as corporate world, signifying its own history, the marketing strategies employed, level of globalization, competition, etc.
We feel blessed to have been able to acquire an incredible number of rare books, dating back upto the 17th century. We’re hoping to showcase and auction some of the rare books from our collection over times to come.
In between mouthfuls of some delicious starters and sips of steaming coffee, a group of young and young at heart people are settled in a corner, doodling away to their heart’s content.
The hip and happening Aka Bistro at Fort, just a stone’s throw away from Mumbai’s cultural heart, Kala Ghoda is hosting participants of an Ink Doodle workshop organized by the Bombay Drawing Room, an inclusive community of Artists & art-lovers, founded by a self-taught Artist & Architect, Snehal Patil.
To me, this looks like a great way to spend a weekend evening. I chat with Shalvi Jhawar, a psychologist by profession, and an artist with Bombay Drawing Room, who is conducting the session.
The flow is that first we recreate basic patterns in these small squares on the practice sheets. Then, we move on to more intricate patterns. Following this, we provide a sheet with a basic shape and practice doodling in it. Finally, we take a final line drawing in which the participants apply all that they have learnt. So, towards the end of the workshop we have two artworks that they can take away.
Prior experience is not necessary, nor do the participants need to be from an art background. We start with basic lines and patterns. We completely understand that our participants may not necessarily have an art background but instead are art enthusiasts. Our worksheets start from lines, broken lines, checks and so on, progressing at each step.
In our Doodle Ink workshops, people are really happy. This has no norms. You have a shape and what you will fill inside it is exactly what you feel. There are no rules here. For example, in acrylic painting you know that the sky is going to be blue. But here, there is no such thing. It’s just how you feel. It allows you to express what you feel at a very subconscious level on paper.
It’s a good mix. We’ve had kids from six years on participate in the sessions! We have people from different backgrounds, ages and profiles. It’s quite a mixed bunch.
It allows participants to socialize with a lot of people. There are no rules and no time restrictions. We keep a casual approach from the beginning!
Zentangle gets a little meditative. Doodling is also meditative but here you can feel free to draw anything. Zentangle is more about shapes, while doodling includes everything.
Doodling is something that we all do in life. If you are sitting in office and getting bored you may doodle. We all have been doodling since school. We help to channelize this and give it a look that is aesthetically pleasing.
What Bookedforlife recommends: Well, the Ink doodle workshop is a great way to pass a few productive hours over a weekend. No better way to get your creative juices flowing! It could be an apt activity for gatherings and parties as well. It could also turn into a good bonding activity. Try participating with your child, partner, friend or parent!
Image credits: Priyamvada Sinha
The Bombay Drawing Room does not insist on any special equipment or brand, and all materials are provided.
If you are keen to try doodling on your own, here are some of our finds, which could be helpful:
2. Doodling pens
We may not have the space for a full-fledged library in most city homes. But, we can always create a reading nook. It is a refuge in the midst of a busy life. Here are some tips on creating one that you will cherish!
Pick an area in your home which will offer you a bit of quiet and peace.
Loads of natural light will do wonders! Top off the serene feeling with a small potted plant.
For all those late night reads, ensure you have a well-placed reading lamp that guarantees comforting light. It could be a floor lamp, table lamp or a chandelier. Take your pick!
The most important element is obviously the seating. When we talk about little reading nook we immediately picturize a comfortable chair that you can sink into. Take your pick. A rocking chair, arm chair, day bed, chaise or even bean bags on the floor…all these options can work. The only requirement is that the seating needs to be comfortable for long durations.
For the sake of comfort, indulge yourself if you must! A pillow that could support your head or elbows would be fine. If a footstool helps, why not add it?
Well..obviously! You may have a full-fledged bookshelf in the area. In that case the reading nook would be a kind of mini-library itself. If space is a constraint pile up the books on a ledge or table. You could put them in a nice wicker basket.
A little touch of green with a small potted plant, a few bookish knickknacks or flowers and candles.. decorate the space a bit and give it your own personal touch.
There….you have your reading nook ready! The very idea of a reading nook reminds me of a quote I read in one of my favourite classic books:
“Jo hurried to this quiet place and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travel, and pictures like a regular bookworm ” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Let your very own reading nook transport you to a world of books and beyond!
‘The Narrators’, an initiative by Reshma Jain, gets literary gems on the wall in form of beautifully designed book posters. In short, get the text of your novel in the form of a poster. For any book-lover, no wall art can beat this!
These posters are very unique not only because they carry the entire text of the book, but also because the shape of the text reveals a motif or design that is crucial to the theme of the book in question.
Bookedforlife converses with Jain about this venture…
I loved the poster and put it up immediately. Everyone who would come home used to be stunned and would ask for a copy! So, Peter and me decided we should exhibit it in Bombay. Peter’s friend in London, Carl, and his team were the main design team and for very customised prints like The Bhagwad Gita, Peter designed it.
They can email me on email@example.com if they want to personalise or customise a book or a song for the poster.
That is a question any book lover would answer easily- that a book in its original form or as an art form can only enhance any wall and any shelf! It is an extension of all that one is!
The original black and white prints are sourced from England. We also customize and personalize in-house.
For a brief season we did book lights and ‘booknitures’ – little felt tables which fold into a book shape when not in use. We are involved in a variety of activities. The narrators are basically a bunch of journalists and designers and together we do books, biographies, commissioned writing, short films and so on.
Book posters are indeed exciting artworks for any book-lovers wall! We wonder what’s next for The Narrators?
SpinTales takes storytelling to an enchanting level. With a duvet that immerses the child into an augmented reality experience and a rug that takes interactivity to another level, this product is a game changer indeed!
Narendra Ghate, Chief Designer Research, Service Design & User Experience Design, Tata Elxsi chats with Bookedforlife about this fascinating concept.
Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality are some of the futuristic technologies, which several industries are adopting. Welspun – one of the largest home textile manufacturers is one of the forerunners to adopt the augmented reality technology in textiles.
Welspun had a vision to launch smart textiles for storytelling for children. The idea was to make home textiles more than just an upholstery, and make it more immersive and engaging for kids. Tata Elxsi was a preferred design and technology partner of choice for Welspun. We helped Welspun to envision their idea to reality.
The Duvet and Rug are interactive and innovative textiles for kids, age three and up. The experience is uniquely interactive for both children and parents, with a focus on multi-dimensional storytelling, educational activities, and Augmented Reality. It is an experience that kids love.
By scanning the specified markers on the rug or duvet (using a tablet or smartphone), children can view characters in Augmented Reality. It feels like you are part of their world and you learn a bit more about the world they live in. SpinTales is the first of many experiences that is introduced and launched by TILT.
The above-mentioned stories are available in the interactive duvet. In the interactive rug, one will find jungle themed stories. Currently, three different stories are available in the rug and the duvet. The number of stories are expected to be added soon.
The activities are based on the stories, which are similar in nature. The duvet for instance has activities like Little Red Riding Hood baking cookies. In the Jungle Rug you will have this character Milo making fruit juices. The difference is mostly in terms of ergonomics.
While playing with the rug, the child will be standing, but while using the duvet kids would be mostly lying down on the bed with the duvet covered on them. Hence, from a design aspect we had to consider the height from where the duvet / rug is accessed. This is to ensure that the markers are detected when the tablet / smart phone is pointed at the rug / duvet.
Users need to follow the washing instructions as specified by the brand – TILT.
SpinTales is targeted for both playtime and bedtime. Instead of being a purely digital product, SpinTales connects the screen experience with physical activity.
To experience the beauty of Augmented Reality technology, one needs to move around. This is gives users to not just involve in physical activities, but to also enjoy the benefits of digital technology.
In addition, there are specific games, which encourages users to get involved in more physical activities and exercises. For instance, there is a game called ‘Frog and the Yoga poses’ which will encourage kids to emulate the yoga postures done by the frog. Also there is an Augmented Reality game where kids need to collect flowers by walking around on the rug.
Yes. The plan is to add more stories with fresh content and new activities. The app will be the same but the content will be upgraded. For instance, there might be bonus chapters in future for Christmas and Easter etc.
The feedback for SpinTales has been amazing and has been well received from both parents and their kids alike. SpinTales was initially launched for the US markets but it is also now available in India in stores namely Hamleys and Home Centre.
SpinTales has brought an innovative concept to merge the worlds of storytelling and technology. Time will take the magic to new heights!
Anna Corba, alumnus of Academy of Art in San Francisco, California, and founder of the “Found Cat Studio” has been working with paper in exceptionally creative ways.Those of us who love books, also have an unspoken attraction to paper. Paper is magic, not only in the words it can hold, but also in the myriad creative expressions it can be used it.
For reasons unknown, I find it essential on any given day to work with my hands, creating something beautiful to look at by the end of the day. I believe this is a way for me to make sense of simply being in the world. I like long stretches of quiet, alone time and the meditative quality of creative endeavor appeals to me. Losing myself in a project this way not only soothes my senses, but also occasionally allows me to touch an energy that is greater than myself, as though I am channeling creativity as opposed to ‘efforting’ my way through.
When I first saw the ledger book, I was drawn to its tactile quality…. I could turn the pages and hold it in my arms; it exuded a sense of humanity and intimacy that drew me in. I began my creative life as a painter, but through the years began to add torn papers onto the canvas to create interest and texture; once this began, I never turned back.
I gravitate towards vintage, worn, yellowed, stained and tattered papers. I like margins that have been written in and end pages that people have doodled in with pencil or carefully autographed for safe keeping. I steer away from anything with a sheen or overly bright colours. I like books that have been muted with use and time; I always go for the ones that whisper instead of shout.
I love vintage foreign postcards, especially with the sentimental notes in evidence and cancelled postage stamps. I am always on the lookout for ledger books that show accountings of rooms to let, eggs being sold or lace being measured. I also love volumes of sheet music, the older the better…I simply like the graphic quality of musical notes running up and down a page.
I like books from France, as I have a petite knowledge of the language, which I find beautiful in itself. Yet the language is also just enough of a mystery to me, that I can appreciate the books simply for their visual quality, and not get lost in interpreting the story. When I work with these books I get to practice my French skills just enough, but not too much! I am a true romantic, so I often veer towards poetry not only for the phrasing, but the fact that that a poem can have a certain shape on the page which is appealing in itself.
I also like rubber stamping over text or doing simple watercolors or pen and ink sketches. Being able to see through the compositions to the words in the background can create a very compelling piece. Anything that mixes two or anything that mixes two or more mediums together will garner interest due to added texture and intrigue. I also like simply rolling beautiful pages into individual ‘tubes’, tying them with lovely ribbon and placing a dozen upright in a vase or clear jar like a bouquet of flowers.
I believe that at the end of the day, in spite of all the technology available to us, we are sentient beings and as such, we respond to and crave the natural world in an elemental way. We want to touch that which is real, that which has been carved from the forest, that which carries a handprint, not just a manipulation of wires and computations. Paper is of the earth. Books hold a history of being revered for their ability to carry the written word in a fashion that bears an imprint, physically, on the paper itself. Handwriting whether it is from a child or a monk bending over his candle, illuminating sacred text, is a conduit of the human spirit, magical in its way. When we scour a flea market and are drawn to the ledger books from the 18th century we are bearing witness to an art form that has stood the test of time, not just been whisked off into a cloud of obscure memory. Technologists could make handsome arguments against anything I am claiming, but for me, that which we can hold and turn over in our laps, reach for on a shelf to lend to a friend, or pore over as we take an afternoon break, will always trump a computer screen that remains mute and hard and backlit to lure us in. A book need only rely on its humble weight to compete.
I find that when a group of people gather that have similar instincts, a collective energy is formed that is nurturing, fascinating and inspiring to be a part of. It is like that saying that says the collective sum is always more than the individual parts. Most participants leave a workshop feeling a deeper sense of themselves for having connected with like-minded souls; this is a wonderful arena to help facilitate and be a part of.
Anna Corba has surely found the magic that lies in old forgotten paper!
Anna Corba’s Found Cat Studio
A selection of beautiful vintage paper on Amazon
For a bibliophile, curling up with a good book is the ultimate luxury. It helps to have a reading corner, a special book-nook in the house. While an exclusive home library room could be a distant dream for many of us, these tips will help you set up your own book corner. Having a space specifically designed as your own library where all of your books can be stored, is an avid reader’s dream.
Interior Designer Ayushi Kanodia shows how…
Book lovers never stop buying books. Hence, we would need to have ample storage space for them. Have an in-built wall book shelf instead of cabinets to store your books. For a vintage or old world feel you could plan this area around an exposed brick walls.
Lounge Chair: Having a comfortable lounger in your library space will not want to make you get up! It should not only be ergonomically comfortable but should also look stylish in your library.
Wooden Desk: In the same space, you may would want to note down, write or research something. For this purpose, having a vintage walnut desk that is sturdy and functional would be great!
Lighting: While reading books you are transported into another world. Having a well lit room is always important so that you are not only able to stare outside your window while your imagination sways you away but at the same time you are not straining your eyes too much. Hence, if you can, create your nook in an area having large windows through which the light can seep in. Furthermore having LED lights as well as stylish hanging lights would also provide the much needed lighting in your library.
Colours: Go along with a mix of neutral colours since you don’t want to overwhelm your library with a lot of colour. By having neutral colours like beige, whites and shades of mushroom and grey will make the atmosphere calming and inviting. Book covers always have their own colours and textures. So, they will surely provide the splash of colour!
Go ahead and create your very own reading corner!
If you have a reading corner you are proud of, do post images in the comments section below. Do post any helpful tips for designing a book-nook as well!
Ayushi Kanodia is a Mumbai based independent interior designer