Actor Lekha Washington urges you to get creative with cubes and talks about her lunar experiment
vJ Lekha Washington’s navel, hottest must see! Google the actor and you’ll probably come across a link that says this or something similar. But our multi-tasker from Chennai is no longer perturbed. The product designer and artist says Ajji, the ‘odd product company’ she founded in 2013, keeps her busy and too fulfilled to worry about the unsavoury side of the Indian movie industry. You could say few things unsettle Washington these days—when her installation for the opening day of the Kochi Biennale, a lunar experiment featuring helium balloons and light, was destroyed by foul weather the night before the star-studded launch, the actress shrugged away her extreme disappointment and vowed to do it all over again in Mumbai, on a much larger scale. In hindsight, she chuckles, it is fitting that she named the “monumental, mad art piece”, This Too Shall Pass.
Of moons and atoms
It would be unfair to club Washington with other Bollywood hopefuls or star wives who turn ‘interior designer’ overnight. After all, she has been creating furniture and light fittings with a strong visual identity for a while, and has in her corner everyone from French couturier Jean Francois Lesage to interior designer Pinakin Patel. When she began auctioning limited-edition chairs and her Moon Dot series to fund her Kochi Biennale experiment a few months ago, the Godrej company stepped in to help out. She shares that hers is a conscious move towards functional art (this being a more easily accepted term among clients than ‘furniture’, she observes). Be it her Pink Sink over a decade ago to The Drop, which travelled to shows in New York, and Atom, launched last month, her art marries design. “Art shouldn’t be too profound but must have a ‘wow’ effect,” she insists. Featuring a strong sticking mechanism, Atom sees fundamental building blocks used to create a piece of furniture—anything from a couch to a fort! Her materials of choice are fabric and metal. “My ideas have to be simple, strong and clear. Everything else is ornamental,” says the designer. But what we’ll see first is a weatherproof This Too Shall Pass, her take on the moon’s phases. “After all, I have always been fascinated by lunacy,” she concludes.
Ajji products are priced from `3,000 and are available in Mumbai, Delhi and via the Facebook page.