Discover Germany, Issue 44, November 2016

Page 14

Discover Germany | Special Theme | Dazzling Design for 2017

Bordeaux & Beige Pompom blanketscarf. Photo: © Lipika Bajaj Kruger

Nitra pashmina scarf. Photo: © Brendan De Clerq

La Frange Cape – Poncho. Photo: © Brendan De Clerq

The handmade tale of perfect imperfections

Traditional crafts for modern lives Marking a cultural shift in our consumer-centric society, the desire for hand-made artisanal goods is part of a lifestyle trend running on sustainability and integrity; one that Zurich-based Bombay Birds have embraced with their unique and luxurious home and lifestyle wares, where contemporary designs meet traditional crafts. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE I PHOTOS: © 2014 BOMBAY BIRDS GMBH

Calling on a cadre of talented craftspeople in Rajasthan and a handful of northern regions, Bombay Birds design and produce a continually expanding collection including intricately patterned quilts and plush throws to cushions, classic pyjama sets and eye-catching jewellery. A quick glance at the website reveals sophisticated pashmina shawls with the tagline “all Pashmina is cashmere but not all cashmere is Pashmina” – words that should not be taken lightly, as founder and designer Lipika Bajaj Kruger is someone who knows her fabrics. Hailing from Bombay (now Mumbai), India, Lipika moved to Zurich in 2011 and was struck by the absence of highquality handmade design products from her home, a niche she immediately wanted to fill: “I travelled to remote parts 14 | Issue 44 | November 2016

of Rajasthan and Kashmir for inspiration, learning about our rich Indian heritage of handicrafts. I was surprised to see the scale and diversity of the art emerging from these regions.” Now producing handcrafted creations from premium fabrics, the Bombay Birds collection is characterised by careful stitching and bold, masterful block printing destined for the global market. Bucking the trend for mass production is a bold step in today’s society, but Lipika argues eloquently that: “the beauty comes from the human element of imperfections.” Judging by the company’s success, it seems like her chosen route is a wise one. Lipika, who considers herself an amateur computer graphics designer and photographer, now collaborates with

artisans from four Indian provinces each boasting their own“signature craft forms”: pashmina scarves and digital printed silk from Kashmir; block printed fabrics, handmade quilts and jewellery from Rajasthan; woollen blankets from Punjab; and knitted scarves from Nepal. Lipika designs in-house – often taking cues from her photography – before sourcing artisans, relaying the designs and awaiting the products. Unlike firms that produce on an industrial scale, Lipika has tapped into a hotbed of craft-driven creativity, and she is aware of the stimulus she is creating:“It was a shock to see these art forms dying out as younger generations didn’t, understandably, follow their forefathers, making me determined to help save this heritage, so I brought my designs and their craftsmanship together; as they say, the rest is in the making.” Showroom open by appointment. A special offer - 10 per cent discount code valid until 30 November for Discover Germany readers: DISCOVER10