The hanging retort shaped nests of the Ploceus philippinus hanging on the branches of the large thorny tree in our courtyard used to fascinate me as a child. I used to keep staring at these nests from my bedroom window and wonder how the baaya weaver birds would weave these wonderful creations from leaves.
The design of these nests intrigues me still and I am marvelled by the thoughts of how traditionally over the centuries, the baaya has been able to secure the intricate design of their homes that they build.
Exactly the way I am mesmerised whenever I see this weaver bird nest, every visit to the Palladium or to the St. Regis Hotel at Lower Parel leaves me fascinated at the sight of a shop nestled in the ground floor of the building just adjacent to the towering St. Regis gate. The name always attracted my attention, which says, Baaya – where design meets tradition.
When I was invited to this design studio last weekend to finally have a first-hand view of what’s inside, there were surely a triple of things which again fascinated me. The first reason surely was the opportunity to meet up with Shibani Jain, Designer, a NID Ahmedabad alumnus and the Founder and CEO, the second being that it was an evening of interaction over another love of mine, wine and cheese.
The principal motive which pulled me all the way from Malad to Lower Parel was surely the occasion to have a tête-à-tête with Brinda Chudasama Miller, the renowned artist and a textile design alumnus from Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai.
Baaya Design Studio offers a completely unique range of customisable, folk and cultural art, installations, murals, lights, accessories and furniture that can transform any space into energised living environments.
#BrindaSelects was the tone for the wonderful evening as Brinda led an enriching and interactive session on her love for Indian Art forms and enlightened the audience comprising of art lovers, art connoisseurs and several other leading artists and designers of how she selected the several art and craft forms to be showcased there for the evening and its significance in our daily lives.
Enthralled, captivated or awestruck, the adjectives I may use to describe would still fall short to justify my feelings that evening as I was hypnotised by the various amazing art and craft forms from various traditions across the country were displayed and presented.
A personal interaction with Brinda and Shibani cleared quite a lot of misconceptions and myths too about the love and appreciation for art as I could learn the artist’s insight of their feelings while they translate their thoughts into the amazing designs and paintings that we appreciate.
Gond and Warli art has always been in vogue with the art collectors and the extensive use of Gond art in many of the paintings and the furniture displayed at the studio was a visual treat to my eyes. The word Gond comes from Kond, which means green mountains in the Dravidian idiom, where the origin of these largest Adivasi tribes can be traced.
Gond art paintings are expressions of rituals or practices that are deeply linked with the day to day lives, religious sentiments and practices of these tribes that originate from Madhya Pradesh. I interacted with a Gond artist from Bhopal and watched him executing his intricate brush skills on some exquisite designer furniture.
Baaya Design studio surely offers an absolutely unique experience, high quality design skills that seamlessly combine with master artisan skills showcasing the beauty and workmanship of traditional Indian folk, art and craft through aesthetic designs.
Like the Indian weaver bird and its nest with its distinctive craftsmanship and design, this is a place where art and craft weave a magical spell.