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HAVE YOU MET: ADHYA DESIGN

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More specifically, have you met Neelima Rao & Mukesh Tyagi? 

Together, they run Adhya Design Private Limited: a craft & design-centered company located in Faridabad – an industrial city neighboring Delhi, India. 

But what has Adhya to do with E-O? Well, no less than the making of the iconic Liège Waffle (and more).

Lucky Charm Manneken.. (OUT OF STOCK)
Waffle Paperweight (AVAILABLE)
Embezzled Necklace/Ring (AVAILABLE)

The Faridabad-based enterprise strives to explore craft and materials to find new expressions of traditional crafts. And by; using recycled materials for the most and involving handicraft in its makings, Adhya was an ideal partner for Extra-Ordinaire.

Since the crafting of the paperweight waffle using a traditional sand-casting technique, Adhya has accompanied E-O on many more projects. 

Mukesh & Neelima for the 10th year of Adhya

Let’s get to know Neelima and Mukesh: 

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH E-O?

Manufacturers

Neelima speaking:

We met Jean-Paul about four years ago in our factory. In the context of an Indian factory, he totally was standing out with his flamboyant, fun style and personality. He observed our sand-casting work and sheet metal artisans, and there began a relationship of mutual curiosity and design interaction. We started producing the iconic Belgian Waffle and continued to manufacture other items from the E-O collection, in our handcrafted techniques and materials.

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WHERE IS ADHYA BASED? 

Neelima speaking:

Adhya is based on the outskirts of Delhi in an industrial city called Faridabad. Frankly it’s a place of hardly any charm or character – besides convenience for proximity of workers, artisans, logistic and financial reasons. The main hub of traditional metalwork in North India is Moradabad – but we really wanted to stay away from there to create fresh designs that represent contemporary India.

WHERE DO YOU, ITS FOUNDERS, COME FROM ORIGINALLY? 

Neelima speaking:

Mukesh is originally from a small village in rural India – His story is quite a fascinating representation of the movement and aspirations of the youth from farming communities. His education, struggles and ambition brought him a long way from home. 

I am from a South Indian middle-class family–who typically prefer professional qualifications and jobs (not entrepreneurial). I never intended to settle in Delhi – it represented all the fears of aggression and pollution in any parents’ mind. And yet as life would have it – my first job after design college led me here.

NAME 1 PERSON, 1 PLACE, 1 OBJECT THAT SHAPED YOUR PAST, YOUR PRESENT AND INSPIRES YOUR FUTURE.

Mukesh speaking:

All – One person: “I have always felt influenced and inspired by many ordinary people who I encountered during my life. In the smallest professions, be it a fruit vendor, a teacher in the village or a cleaner, their pride and honesty in their work, their patience and ability to still have time for another person, to lend a helping hand or go the extra step with integrity.

Mukesh

All – One place: My first trip to Paris was eye-opening. From the small village of Palhedi where my world was full of India and the traditional existence to the heart of art, culture and western civilization. It opened my mind to the possibilities that life offered, and opened the future, a whole new world to explore and learn.

All – One object: “The bonsai plant has always fascinated me. A miniaturized tree, exactly like a large one, representing the macro in the micro it informs my present and daily life. Something small can reflect the biggest most ambitious version in every way. I think ambition is not about how much more or bigger but about detail and quality.

Neelima speaking: 

Past – A place: “Andaman and Nicobar Islands. I grew up there, amidst untouched beaches and raw nature, while we lived in a one room concrete house adjacent to the bank where my father worked. What confluence of chance and opportunity made my father agree to work in the remotest region of India – I don’t know…but it left a wholesome indelible effect on my growing mind.

Neelima

Present – A person: JIDDU KRISHNAMURTY (Philosopher) – Always a dreamer since my childhood, I was lucky to go to a school founded by JK, it allowed me the space to reflect and think and be aware of who I am. It helped me question convention and look at things with fresh unconditioned eyes.

All – An object: Driftwood – buffeted and formed, modified by the weathering of nature, wind, water, sun and salt. Each piece is unique and in an aesthetic sense, represents the inspiring “wabi” of Japanese culture – of transience & imperfection.

HOW DO YOU FIND THE EXTRA IN THE ORDINARY IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?

Neelima speaking: 

By being a little extra aware in every ordinary moment. It is easy to breeze through life fulfilling desires and filling the time of day with distractions. It’s one way to live a lifetime. We find value in stopping to see the details of life, pay attention to the small things.

Neelima in the center

WHAT MAKES E-O PHILOSOPHY SO EXTRA-ORDINARY?

Neelima speaking: 

Our interactions with E-O and JPL have given us a unique insight into the world of retail and fashion – old /traditional things in a new context. Objects invested with new meaning in a world with free information flow. It has a synergy with why Adhya was started by us. Culture, craft and society changes and flows. Nothing stays the same and yet we want continuity and a sense of history/ identity. At Adhya we wanted to look at Indian crafts – so intricate, incredible and so marginalized in the new world of modernity and cheap machine-made product. To infuse a new life, and to take along with us into the future the things that are unique to the people and philosophy of India – the energy of a handmade object, the skill and quality of detail that an artisan breathes into the product, a slow sustainable form of life, a local aesthetic that has universal appeal.

Discover more about Adhya: https://www.adhyadesign.in/

Interview done and written by Richaad Kindts. 

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