March Issue 2013

By | Newsliners | Published 11 years ago

Coalesce Design Studio and Zaid Hameed’s furniture display titled Bhaitt could not find a better venue than Noorjehan Bilgrami’s Koel Gallery to hold the exhibition. Bilgrami is known for her work in the preservation of the crafts, and Bhaitt was all about utilising age-old traditions, albeit with a contemporary twist, making it appealing to the modern eye. Bhaitt, which means ‘contrast’ in Sindhi, suggests a dialogue of two opposing themes and styles. Coalesce, comprising five Indus Valley School graduates with a background in architecture, has a distinctly contemporary style whereas Hameed, also an IVS graduate with a background in textile and ceramics, works with traditional crafts and material.

Hala culture and tilework is present throughout the exhibition, evident even in the display of metallic diyas that decorate the gallery. The objective behind the work is to revive indigenous crafts that are dying out by finding modern uses and settings for them. The result is unique and modern designs, whose traditional roots are hard to miss. Hameed has been working with Hala tiles for the past five years. His work is decorative, detailed and exquisite.

One example is Girhan, which redefines the elements of a charpai to create a light fixture. Another is Dhaaryo, an old-fashioned screen with patterns and colours inspired by both colonial times, and from Hala. Teh is a multifunctional table made with Hala tiles that serves as both a coffee table and a chess board. Zahir, true to its name, reveals its structure by its very design as it is a hammock-like chair and the most modern and minimalist piece of the entire exhibition, unique in that it has nothing ornamental to bear. Speaking of one of his favourite pieces Ba-roop (“two faces”), a red table connected to a large mirror, Salman Jawed from Coalesce says, “the piece sums up our exhibition as a whole,” in that it reflects the duality of their work.

While the contemporary styles are sophisticated and practical, it is the traditional aspects that lend the pieces their bright colours and beauty. Here’s hoping for more Coalesce Design Studio and Zaid Hameed collaborations in the future.

The writer is a journalist and former assistant editor at Newsline.