IIAD Students Create Sustainable Installation at the Red Fort for Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design - Hindustan Times
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IIAD Students Create Sustainable Installation at the Red Fort for Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design

Published on Apr 22, 2024 04:01 PM IST

Established by IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts), the ABCD celebrates India's handicraft heritage, particularly those with GI certification

Making of the modular structure of installation by IAD students and faculty
Making of the modular structure of installation by IAD students and faculty
ByHT Brand Studio

Recently, the Indian Institute of Art & Design (IIAD) showcased "Shamiana," a heritage-centric, sustainable art installation at the Craft & Design Exchange Forum within the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design (ABCD). Held on April 6-7, 2024, this forum at the Red Fort premises, served as a crucial platform for advancing the heritage and culture economy. Established by IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts), the ABCD celebrates India's handicraft heritage, particularly those with GI certification. The forum aims to raise awareness of ABCD's initiatives and educate the masses on indigenous design practices. IIAD students contributed to this event through the Shamiana installation—inspired by traditional crafts—fostering a spirit of collaboration and innovation in design.

IIAD Reimagines Tradition through Shamiana Installation
Inspired by the iconic Indian temporary canopy structure, the "Shamiana" installation is built to reflect ABCD’s mission to bridge traditional practices with contemporary design. Developed through a collaborative effort between faculty and students from the Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) department of Indian Institute of Art & Design, the installation creates an inviting entryway for visitors to the exhibition housed within the Red Fort.

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Design and Fabrication of the Sustainable "Shamiana" Installation
This sustainable installation features a collection of interlinked tetrahedrons of varying sizes arranged using parametric design principles—resembling the catenary curves of a traditional "Shamiana" canopy. Using bamboo framework, each tetrahedron with specific planes designed to hold handcrafted elements as infill. IIAD chose to highlight the traditional Bengal-based art form Shola Pith. Shola is a plant bark using Sholapith or Sholakaj—a craft popular in West Bengal and parts of Odisha. These traditional elements were created by master craftsperson Gourav Malakar and his team to celebrate the traditional artistry of Indian craftspeople.

The infill within these planes incorporates a combination of coloured acrylic sheets and paper. Mounted on these surfaces are Chand discs, traditionally used during Bengali pujas. These discs are typically found in Chand-malas and garlands, aligning with the traditional use of Shola Pith. Kadamb garlands hung in vertical clusters over the entrance doors, signify an auspicious welcome for visitors.

Installation Process of Shamiana
To recreate the "Shamiana" shape and ensure a smooth installation process, the students devised a modular design comprising of tetrahedrons strung together with side members made of bamboo. These bamboo side members were then fastened with thicker ropes to pre-installed hooks on the corridor walls. This approach allowed for efficient installation, where each section of the "Shamiana" could be hoisted individually.

Prior to on-site assembly, a full-scale prototype was constructed and tested at the IIAD campus workshop. This allowed the students to refine the arrangement of the tetrahedrons for optimal display of the Shola Pith elements. The final design ensured specific sides of the tetrahedrons were visible from below, creating a striking composition of colourful triangles. Giving “body and form” to the installation, these multicoloured triangles became surfaces to display specific crafts.

Celebrating Heritage, Innovation and Collaboration Through Shamiana
The success of the "Shamiana" installation symbolises the collaborative and innovative approach fostered at IIAD. Final-year students spearheaded the design and development, while third-year students crafted the numerous tetrahedron components. Faculty advisors provided vital guidance throughout, ensuring the project met both aesthetic and structural demands.

Shamiana, a sustainable installation created by IIAD students, suspended in the entryway of Red Fort
Shamiana, a sustainable installation created by IIAD students, suspended in the entryway of Red Fort

Under the guidance of faculty advisors Professor Snehanshu Mukherjee, Ankit Bharadwaj, Rashim Mahajan, Dinesh Chandra, Shreemun Singh and Pankaj Narain final-year students Mohak Goel, Prisha Goel, Sanya Jain, Shea Singal, Siddhant Garg and Yashik Jain led the design and development. Third-year students Adrika Sood, Ananya Bhambhri, Devyani Rathore, Gauri Mehra, Manasis Singh Chhabra, Mihika Gupta, Palak Gupta, Prapti Goel, Reetika Singh, Ridhika Kumari Kandoi, Jahnavi Tripathi, Neelanjana Oberoi, Preeti Chanchalani, Sanskar Bind, Shreeya Syal, Ashna Dutta, Samra Ahsan and Sonakshi Gandhi also played a crucial role in the development process.

IIAD's "Shamiana" serves as a commentary on how contemporary design can embrace and celebrate traditional Indian crafts. This sustainable and innovative artwork functioned not only as a welcoming entrance for visitors to the ABCD forum but also underscored the importance of preserving and promoting India's rich heritage of craftsmanship. The project represents a successful collaboration between academia, master artisans and the government, paving the way for a future where traditional crafts can be integrated into the contemporary design landscape.

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