A Fine Form
Brussels-based gallery MANIERA showcases an architect's approach to design with a new furniture collection by Indian practice Studio Mumbai
Combining tradition and modernity, and relying on collaborations with architects, engineers, carpenters, masons and draftsmen—through a creative process described as “human infrastructure”—Studio Mumbai delves into the different steps to produce furniture, from thinking to making. “My interest lies primarily in doing what I do, with care”, says founder Bijoy Jain, who after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and starting his professional career with Richard Meier, returned to India to launch his own practice in 2005. “As an architect, the way you imagine opening a door, developing a chair, designing the texture of a wall or a floor, is very important. It’s about quality, about the consideration you apply to the making of something. And it’s about being attentive to the environment, the materials and the inhabitants. It has to be inclusive.”
Comprising a daybed, console, lamp, bench, folding screen and series of chairs – including some acquisitions by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris – Studio Mumbai’s new collection explores form and function. Presented from 18 May to 24 August in Brussels by MANIERA gallery – which commissions architects and artists to go beyond their usual practice – these objects and furniture were inspired by refined, traditional Indian and ancient Egyptian artefacts while featuring contemporary design sensibility.
This exhibition also reflects Jain’s love of and ability to work with humble, universal materials such as stone, brick and glass to create handmade pieces. Cow dung and Japanese washi paper – made from local fibre and protected by UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage as a Japanese craft – are a surprising addition in some of the pieces while natural pigments and lime were used to make frescoes.
As an architect, the way you imagine opening a door, developing a chair, designing the texture of a wall or a floor, is very important. It’s about quality, about the consideration you apply to the making of something
Through a spontaneous approach, Jain, whose head office is located in a semi-rural area two hours from Mumbai while his second studio is in the heart of the city, pays attention to every detail. He painstakingly considers the relationship between man and nature, and what it means to give equal importance to the hand and the mind. At the intersection between different cultures and eras, Studio Mumbai’s new series of furniture and objects intertwines several disciplines including architecture, design, art and craftsmanship – capturing the perfect balance between functionality and beauty.
MANIERA 06, Bijoy Jain
Place de la Justice 27-28, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
18 May to 24 August 2019