A manifesto for craft in space design


30 August 2023

Channapatna woodworking with Syed Mubarak, Salimbhai, with MAIA Design Studio, Karnataka, India


Join our Reinventing the Wheel series for a focus on the value of Indian craft, featuring a manifesto of the Indian Institute of Interior Designers

Space making is perhaps one of the largest employers of skilled craftspersons in India. But with rapid industrialisation, the role of the craftsperson in this area is steadily diminishing, in no small part due to the lack of recognition of what a skilled person can do for a project. This is a situation, which, if not could lead to an irreversible loss of Indian craft traditions. If, on the other hand, we were to encourage this, and practice the points as expressed in the manifesto, space making could gainfully employ millions of makers to create unique spaces. It is with this intention, that IIID (Indian Institute of Interior Designers), under the leadership of its president Jabeen Zacharias started work on a book, which was recently launched in Delhi, which is where a manifesto was declared as well. The book has been published by Mapin. This link will give you a glimpse of 48 pages, including the jacket but not the full book. For ordering you can go to www.mapinpub.com OR www.amazon.in


We, as space designers, solemnly pledge our unwavering commitment to the transformative power and immense potential of crafts in our projects. We wholeheartedly embrace the exquisite beauty of handmade creations and cherish the profound connection they establish with the human spirit.

We understand that crafts are not mere products; they encompass entire processes. Whether it be a miniature painting on paper, the artistry of clay articles, or the captivating allure of murals, we recognize that the essence lies in the intricacy of the process itself. Before incorporating craft into our projects, we will delve into its process with diligence and care.

Tradition holds more than mere embellishments within its embrace; it encompasses logic and sustainable science. To meet evolving needs, we need to harmoniously blend tradition and innovation through the contextual use of crafts. Like master storytellers, we will weave narratives into the fabric of our designs, honoring history, culture, and environment. We commit to understand the context of each craft and seamlessly integrate it into our work.

Crafts is about forging meaningful connections with the land and its people to celebrate the rich tapestry of India’s cultural diversity thus infusing spaces with an authentic spirit that resonates deeply and withstands the test of time. With heightened awareness, we will foster a harmonious relationship with the community by embracing and supporting the crafts practised within the vicinity of our projects.

A craftsman on our team is a Guru, a teacher, who can unlock realms of endless design possibilities, remove all darkness, and bring in light into spaces and lives. Utmost respect reverence and remuneration for the crafts persons’ will be part of our professional code and culture. Artisans and Craftsmen will be our indispensable collaborators in the symphony of design.

While embarking on Design – a storytelling journey, we will share the tales of our crafts and craftsmen to our clients, communities, and world at large. We will infuse our designs with the unique cutting-edge narratives of our rich crafts and the power of the human touch to claim the due place and awareness for lndianness in any Global Design arena with pride.

Crafts in space design form the cornerstone of our design philosophy. With the touch of hand, heart, and head embodied in crafts, we create spaces that resonate with a profound sense of soul. We can transcend the boundaries of design, forging a celestial connection between the earthly and the ethereal. Together, let us celebrate the profound heritage of crafts and design, infusing our creations with the rich tapestry of Indian culture and craftsmanship.

ANANTAYA and AKFD , wholeheartedly support this initiative

Tazia making with bamboo, banana-leaf paper, by Azimuddin for AnanTaya, AKFD

Ayush Kasliwal, an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, is one of India’s leading design thinkers, practitioners and advocates for artisans. Ayush with his architect wife Geetanjali, is Creative Director and Co founder of AKFD & ANANTAYA, an interdisciplinary design company based in Jaipur, India. All aspects of business practices reflect social consciousness, and sustainability. Ayush’s work is informed by traditional crafts and artisans and it reflects a deep understanding of mythology, architecture and culture through a contemporary aesthetic. He believes that “Objects are messages in physical form”.

Ayush’s design versatility is expressed in the extensive projects undertaken, including the VIP lounges and the Mudra, Suryanamaskar installations at the T3 Delhi International Airport, New Delhi, Kiosks at the T2 international Terminal, Mumbai, ‘Handmade in Rajasthan’ Logo for the Government of Rajasthan launched at the 2016 Rajasthan Heritage Week, Pink City E-Rickshaw Design in Rajasthan, Retail spaces, Restaurants & prestigious Hospitality projects like Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner. Edition Nouveau launched Ayush as a designer. He has licensed products to Mater, a Danish ethical design house.​

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