Designer Atul Johri gives Channapatna artisans a brand new identity with his latest collection
Clean lines, beautiful forms, impeccable finish, and exquisite pieces. This is how Sonali Sattar, co-owner of Grasshopper, describes Atul Johri’s works that will soon be available at this beautiful restaurant/lifestyle and design studio.
In fact architect and designer Atul Johri is bringing out his new collection after eight years. Titled The Old Tree, the collection features lamps and lighting ideas, which are his signature products, made of recycled wood, and handmade paper. In
addition to that, a range of contemporary lifestyle products in lacquer work are also the highlight of this collection.
But what makes this collection special? Johri has been working with the craftsmen of Channapatna for almost a decade now, trying to continually stress on the importance of handmade artefacts that face severe threat against machine rolled products. He’s in fact taken the craftsmanship of the Channapatna artistes to a different level altogether. “I am very particular about what I bring into the market. When I came to Channapatna in 2004, I saw the condition of the place, and I wanted to do something for the craft and the artisans. So I moved there; there’s no point in sitting in Bengaluru, and making money off this craft, because that won’t take Channapatna anywhere,” says Johri.
What he therefore decided to do is build a community of Channapatna artistes. “I don’t want to sit and work with four or five artisans; what I want to do is build a larger group of artistes where everyone gets work. But let me be clear, we are not reviving the art form. It was already there. You should see the kind of tonal gradation the craftsman here are capable of,” he says.
In the last 20 years, the real lacquering artistes have lost touch with the technique, explains Johri, “I am only a catalyst. All I want to do is bring the artisans, and their craft to the mainstream, and this collection is going to change the dynamics of the Channapatna artistes!”
45, Bannerghatta Road.
— Priyadarshini Nandy