Monday, 9 December 2013

R E D E F I N I N G    P L A Y F U L 
Text: Hina Nitesh

Some call them cute others call them quirky but I think they connect with the child within. 

What I am talking about are the ‘turned-wood’ products by Banglore-based Varnam. Turning wood on a lathe and then colouring it with lac to make toys is a traditional craft. Channapatna, a small town near Bangalore is one of the centres in India where these toys are made.  


Varnam has redefined this craft of toy making and extended it to household products as well as accessories. In their new contemporary avatar, these toys are functional as well as aesthetically appealing. After a long day at work, a couple of Varnam products around the house are bound to bring a smile. 

The brain child of Karthik Vaidyanathan, who with a degree in engineering and an MBA could not be any further from the creative field, is the man behind Varnam. 


Varnam products are identified by the use of colours and simple lines. The colours are bright but natural. The sensitive use of colours results in a visually stimulating product. There is a graphic quality about the products in the way the birds or animals forms are interpreted and brought to life. They bridge the gap between functional and aesthetics. 

These products truly connect with the child within and this is what brings an innocence as well as playfulness in them. The craftsmen’ expertise have been utilised to produce contemporary designs which ensures that the craft not only survives but also grows and flourishes.


Varnam has a range of products for the kitchen, household, bar and children. The form is what ties all these products and most of them feel as if they can be interchanged to perform another function.   

What stands out in the collection is their jewellery range. Simple geometric forms have been combined artistically to result in a one of a kind piece. Just like the products for the home, the jewellery too is a sure head turner.   





You can see the entire Varnam range here
              All pictures are courtesy Varnam