Tara Lal and Mortimer Chatterjee
Founders, Chatterjee & Lal
Within the domain of contemporary design, there is a tendency amongst some practitioners towards producing the rare or the unique. At the same time, there are historically important design objects that constitute the last surviving examples of their type. In both cases, the resulting material is considered as a collectible. Collectible design is a growing field in the Indian context and requires nurturing as it establishes itself alongside other collectibles, in particular that of fine art.
Riten Mozumdar is one of the great artist-designers of the 20th century in South Asia. A product of the famous art school Santiniketan during the 1940s, Mozumdar went on to gain an apprenticeship at the design studio Marimekko in Finland. On his return to India, he worked across the design spectrum, including as a lead designer for Fabindia. Material designed by Mozumdar is now collectible.
In the space of collectible design, Gunjan Gupta was one of the first names to emerge in the early 2000s. In reimagining the tradition of 20th-century seating solutions through the lens of indigenous crafts practices, the designer produced a seminal series that occupies that blurred space at the intersection of art and design. Viya established itself in the 2010s as an important voice in the home decor space. More recently, founder Vikram Goyal has increasingly focussed his energies on collectibles, in particular on limited edition objects that utilise highly specialised crafts techniques, such as repousse.
Nitin Barchha’s Material Immaterial is known for its whimsical miniature concrete objects that have been produced for a range of functions including kinetic sculptures, decor, jewellery and lights. Over time, the studio has begun concentrating on producing highly complex, collectible objects made in small batches. Ashwin Mallya represents a new wave of design practitioners at work in India who have started to receive attention since the beginning of the 2020s. Mallya, like a number of his peers, operates both in the collectible design space and, also, that of industrial design. His work till date has included a range of soft brutalist sculptural wall tiles and limited edition sandblasted steel vases.
Among the numerous artists who contribute to the allure of collectible design, there are a few favourites of mine. These artists seamlessly blend innovation and artistry, making them my go-to choices.
Ravindar Reddy, known for his sculptural masterpieces, brings a unique touch to architectural elements. Bosa, with their exquisite ceramics, adds an elegant and artistic flair to interior spaces. Appam Raghava’s visionary approach creates mesmerising statement pieces that become focal points in any design. Richard Orlinski‘s sculptural creations push the boundaries of collectible design, capturing attention with their bold and contemporary appeal. Mark Divo‘s art installations challenge norms, offering a captivating twist to functional pieces. Valter Adam Cosottu‘s artistry brings a touch of traditional craftsmanship and Scarlet Splendour for their timeless beauty to design.
These artists exemplify the essence of design, infusing spaces with luxury, exclusivity, and enduring artistic appeal. As architects and interior designers continue to embrace the magic of these artists, we can expect to witness even more captivating and innovative design integrations that redefine the boundaries of creative expression in the built environment.
Director, Akara Art
The idea of collectible design has been very popular in the West and quite increasingly creeping into our rapidly consuming society. Boundaries between art and design are thinning and there is a huge demand for objects which reflects the ethos of a unique blend of craftsmanship and design.
I personally admire the design objects created by Rooshad Shroff and Ravi Vazirani. What draws me, particularly to Rooshad’s work is his sensibility in seamlessly incorporating Indian handicrafts into contemporary design and developing a distinct aesthetic which is very exclusive to him, like most talented designers. Ravi’s work is something I personally relate to a lot. His work has a simplistic approach, very minimal and it also carries a global language. We would be very open to the idea of hosting an exhibition at Akara Contemporary in the near future which involves the culmination of design and art.
Tania Singh Khosla
Founder & Creative Director, tsk design
A collectible is something that is precious, rare, or perhaps a limited edition piece. But contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe it’s something that needs to appreciate in value. It’s something that holds value to you today – and so it’s personal. Design has function and so when you have an object that brings together the precious and the purposeful, that’s collectible design.
For me, that could be an object that is beautifully crafted – that has mastery and commitment embedded in its making or an object that is bold and daring, an iconic marker of a moment in time and place.
Some of my picks for collectible design include Vikram Goyal (Delhi), Rooshad Shroff (Mumbai), Alice Cicolini (London), Rare Tribal Rugs by Danny Mehra (Bangalore), Apparatus Studio (London) and Morii Design (Ahmedabad).
In 2023, India Design ID unveiled its brand new ID Collectible Pavilion, a first-of-its-kind platform in India that brings forth an experience of discovering pieces and objects of unique collectible value. Take a look here.