Embracing An Indian Aesthetic

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The Indian design scene is looking better than ever — in my opinion, this is because India is finally embracing its own unique position within the industry and creative worth.

There was a time when the Indian design industry — fashion and product — would try to mimic the West, shying away from an Indian aesthetic with the view that West was best. It has been a long time coming, but I am absolutely reveling in the trend of Indian designers celebrating the nuances of their homeland.

This playful feature looks at designers using India-centric narratives in contemporary design and the specific vernacular of their regions; for once, design made in India for Indians. Scarves printed with various amusing neighborhood characters on their morning walks in Calcutta, embroidered cushions detailing the chaotic tapestry of rush hour, and product details that update traditional Indian design like the ubiquitous woven “Muddah” stool. —Rohini

  1. jorey hurley says:

    Love this. More india content please. fabulous!

  2. kiki says:

    So beautiful! Was hoping to see some designs from Filling Spaces in Portland…I’m a huge fan of Deepali’s work :) http://fillingspaces.com/

  3. Vaish says:

    Chumbak is a great place to go for modern Indian motifs


  4. Tonya says:

    I Love the print! Yes want to see more :-)

  5. Dina Mistry says:

    Great products from some lovely companies. I also create indian-inspired products such as cards and homewares at http://www.theplayfulindian.com.

    My fave companies include Quirkbox who do the best clothing as well as miral malhotra illustration.

  6. Charlotte says:

    Thanks for this post! I would love some more writing on what exactly IS the Indian aesthetic/aesthetic philosophy. I’ve lived in India for a year and a half now and I’ve been trying to put my finger on what makes Indian art and design what it is. It certainly isn’t monolithic in a place this diverse. But are prints of Indian objects really representative of Indian design? The clean, static lines of some of the products in this post, while appealing, don’t really seem Indian to me. They seem a little like Scandinavian or Japanese representations of typical Indian objects. Much of what I see here in India is, by contrast, riotous and nearly overwhelming with color and movement and sparkle. Of course, I have very limited experience and so I’d love to read the thoughts of more knowledgeable people.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      You bring up an interesting and important question here. I agree that it’s impossible to distill any country into one monolithic style. That said, I think Rohini is looking to designs here that embrace aspects everyday Indian culture (produced in India by Indians) with a contemporary flair. (She’s done posts on more traditional Indian design in the past few months, the type you may be referencing here).

      I’ll have her weigh in here, as I’m unqualified to speak on what is or isn’t Indian style.


  7. Rohini Wahi says:

    Hi Charlotte, Yes I do understand what you mean by riotous and overwhelming with colour – much of that is what we see and live by on a daily basis – India has always stood for ‘more is more’ which is inherent as a cultural of expression in the most vibrant, almost theatrical way.

    This post highlights just one trend amongst many of the glorious aspects of Indian aesthetics we have been covering here on the site recently. We have one upcoming exploring the luxury market in Indian design too… i think the list could go on with the wealth of different trends out there… I think a post is definitely due on the ‘colour and movement and sparkle’ you mention though! : )

  8. Love the prints, style and fusion of Indian iconography and heritage with western design. The evolution of “ethnic” to modern style is what we are witnessing here. Great article!

    1. Rohini Wahi says:

      Thanks Shurbra! It is – i love the prints and the iconography too – especially all the references to Chai and tea-drinking – they work so well as repeat patterns.

  9. Anuj says:

    Thank you Rohini and Design Sponge for featuring No-Mad ! Just happen to see this..Many thanks, Anuj


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