Friday, September 28, 2012

While I was away..

Among the few things that happened early this year while I was away from the blog :

A book which  features one of my photographs from this blog on its cover came out early this year.

A Festschrift titled Anthony Reid and the study of the Southeast Asian past - published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. The book celebrates  scholar and historian, Anthony Reid's contribution  to the field  of Southeast Asian History. 

The cover uses a picture I had taken for a post on Indonesian Ikat (here).

Was thrilled to find my copy in the mail! Sharing an image of the book with all you readers:


Finding a space on Bangalore based Artist, Aarohi's blog!( here) I was thrilled to be part of the all women series Aarohi did on her blogger friends. 

I've been an ardent admirer of Aarohi and her involvement with the cause of  stray dogs..(read more).  In fact whatever this spirited woman takes on to do, she does with so much love and fire, it is an inspiration to just watch. 

I would like to say more about Aarohi and the various offshoots  of her artistic journey right away.. but something tells me I should wait. There will be more Art by Aarohi on this blog in time to come for sure.. ! Until then:

Thanks for the feature Aarohi and being the friend you are!! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Design in focus: Devigarh Fort Palace

The facade of the Palace

On a fine morning, the bar at the Devigarh Fort Palace is the best vantage point to savor the  local scenery from.  Sitting on the many comfortable reclining day beds, it is possible to take in the lush post-monsoon vista of the Aravali ranges. The spacious verandah richly decorated in bright yellow and red colours, frames  the rolling hills, glistening waters of lotus choked ponds, tiny flat roofed houses of the neighbouring Delwara village beautifully- in short all the bucolic one will ever want !

And how wonderfully this renovated,  16th century home of Rajput warrior chief Sajja Singh frames the beauty around !  From carved Rajputana-style windows, balconies,  a lazy poolside, floor to ceiling windows of  bathrooms of the property's many suites.. pretty much everywhere. So much so, that it is hard to say what stunning sight will await one at which corner. 

The painstakingly restored medieval royal residence presides  over the village of Delwara, 28 kilometers north of Udaipur. Its many storeyed construction looming above the village's flat roofed houses.

The Delwara estate was given  by Rana Pratap Singh of Udaipur to Sajja Singh in reward for his support in battle.  The vertical structure of the place was subsequently built by his descendants over a period of time. The palace grew  around the zenana courtyard, its construction over many levels making the most of the stunningly beautiful vistas around.

Following a extensive seven year old restoration process, the once crumbling structure of the palace was arduously brought back to life in 2000.

The past exists in a fine balance with the present in the newly done up rooms of this all- suite property .  Built using a neo-Rajput idiom achieved through the use of traditional elements such as marble, semi precious stones, mirror work, mother of pearl, plaster work and vividly toned murals, albeit with a definite contemporary twist.  Even as the traditional materials are handled according to age-old techniques,  the end result is by design,  modern.

The property is the foremost among the recently renovated royal palaces so far as a modern, eclectic  design sensibility goes. Here  the past is delightfully and most elegantly reconciled with the sleek lines of modernism. There are witty references to historical architecture albeit created in a modern spirit sprinkled all over the palace in tiny details.

While old palaces and homes all over the country are actively being restored, in some instances the work involved goes beyond mere rehabilitation of the structure. Genuine looking, but entirely new additions- dining halls,  modern bathrooms and swimming pools – are painstakingly made, such that the changes are not apparent to the  visitor.

The above two are among the hotel's many private dining nooks. There is no saying which delightful corner one will encounter on an exploration around the property!

A witty a reference from the past  presented with a modern twist.

Bright contrasting colours in the Bar are in stark contrast with the minimal, almost monastic palette of the rest of the hotel.

The Palace Suite is the only suite I had access to over this trip. Pictures from the other rooms will make for a whole new post !

The table setting in the hotels main restaurant combines modern and traditional decor elements...

The Zennana, around which most of the palace is built is a beautiful nook peppered with interesting details...such a an old swing and a square shaped fountain..

old and the new!

Detail of a thoughtfully placed rose bowl

Finally the beautiful countryside framed by some of the palace's many windows and arches..

This post is a result of a wedding in the family  that is being planned at the property by the end of this year.  This one is from a recce trip I undertook over the weekend... Being part of the prep has been very exciting this far ! I will come back with yet another post about the Royal theme wedding later  hopefully...for one post is really not enough to include all sights the palace has to offer. But that is a few months away.. ! Until then hope you have enjoyed snippets from around the stunning Devigarh Fort Palace...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Design in focus: A labour of love : UDD

Yuti and Atul: the heart and brain behind UDD

The name Udd meaning `fly’, evokes many images. That of soaring the skies,  to venture where most people resist, unshackling and taking flight.. It does not surprise me in the least that the name of the label under which husband and wife duo—Yuti Shah Edward and Atul Edward - decided to float their new venture a year and a half back was Udd.

For the incredibly talented Yuti and her adventurous husband Atul, Udd has meant crossing crucial boundaries and breaking quite a few chains in the pursuit of a dream.   "I had had enough of deadline based design,’’ says Yuti, a graphic designer by training. This was also around the time the couple had decided to tie the knot.

"We both quit our steady jobs, with very little idea about our future was going to be " adds Yuti.  It was on the couples many travels that Yuti’s constant doodling struck Atul as something they should take on for a new venture.

It was with this germ of an idea and little else that Yuti quit her four year old job at Freedom Tree Design  and started to draw in all earnest. Important learning from an exhibition later, Udd came into being.. A label that boasts Yuti’s folk art based graphics digitally printed on to fabrics with bold, primary colours.

The array of dupattas, scarves, skirts and sarees Yuti designs , speak volumes on her strong sense of colour besides  her expertise at drafting her designs.

Having spotted her range for the first time at an exhibition in Mumbai, I was completely hooked!.. So when an opportunity presented itself to me, I found myself at the door of Udd’s Andheri based workshop, a tiny hole in the wall where the incredible range of clothing is put together.

With enough room for just three or four people to sit at one time, the tiny sun filled space was a pleasure to hang around at,  take photographs and listen to Yuti and Atul wax eloquent about the passion that they invest into their work.

Today’s is going to be a series of posts on the bright brilliant people I have met over the last two years. This one about Yuti has been a long time coming! Part of the trouble I had with writing this was how I was going to manage all that I wanted to say about Udd in one post !

Am taking the plunge today wholly knowing there is no way to do complete justice to her work.

Yuti Sporting a Udd Matsya Dupatta. The range features graphics of mythical half man half fish figures

The tailors

Sewing up the vibrant squares

The embroiderer at work

Devil in the finest details !

The Master Draft's Man, Islam Bhai models for the camera :)

Colour, colour and more colour !

A skirt bearing the peacock motif 

Buttons, trinkets and baubles


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