Sunday, 25 December 2016

Snippet * 29    A 'ShOffice'


Sited in the backyard of a row house in England,  this shed/office designed by Platform 5 Architects is a sculptural extension to the existing house. It encloses 75sqft of office space, with adjoining area used as a garden storage and a timbered protrusion in front acting as a play space for the kids.

Indeed a lovely space to write a book in (as the owner is doing)!

 Images: Platform 5 Architects

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Friday, 2 December 2016

A   W e l l - C r a f t e d  S p a c e

'A space that reflects the vibrancy of our community, celebrates small and local artisans and supports employees' innovative working styles and overall well-being - all while adhering to some of the highest sustainability standards in the world.'

This is how Etsy's new headquarters in Brooklyn are described by the company on their blog.

An installation made by New York based SOFTlabs is just outside the Etsytorium

In 2005 Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade products, was founded in Brooklyn. With the number of employees going up to 500 from 50, the company soon outgrew its headquarters located in Brooklyn's DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and felt the need to shift to a new place. However, they did not wish to move away from Brooklyn because as Justine Chibuk, Etsy's capital project manager puts it, 'staying here is a part of our brand identity'.  

A 9-floor, 200,000  sq ft office space, found a few blocks away from the original office became their new headquarters. The design by Gensler is a true reflection of Etsy's values and commitment to sustainability and crafts.

Salvaging and reusing  

The new headquarters is actually two buildings dating back to 1927 and 1949. They were joined by bridge and housed a printing plant. The history of the building lives on with it in the new design because of the sensitivity of the designers towards reusing what others would call trash. The structure was in a good shape so nothing much needed to be changed. The concrete floors were left as they were so were the green painted window frames. the weathered Alaskan Yellow Cedar water towers from the roof became a part of the interiors in the form of staircase treads. The heavy sliding doors that closed the bridges were re-purposed as conference room doors. 

Crafting all the way

Art Installations made by local designers are an integral part of the interiors

In keeping with its philosophy of boosting the local economy, Etsy wanted its own sellers to produce 50% of the furnishings used. Most of the furniture pieces and all the lighting fixtures were crafted by local studios. The interiors were designed with pieces sourced from the sellers on the site. The challenge for the design team was to ensure that these seemingly varied pieces did not create a visual cacophony. The solution was to create specific frameworks where these products could be displayed as works of art and neither would they interfere with not would get lost in the interiors. On the ground floor is an art gallery displaying works from sellers on Etsy.

An Art Gallery on the ground floor displays works of sellers on the site. It is also open to visitors

A Green Structure

Etsy had stringent ideas about ecological and health impact of the materials used. As a result everything had to comply with strict protocols. There are solar panels on the rooftop and they along with other local sources of renewable solar power will ensure 100% green energy. The company is also aiming for Petal Certification through the Living Building Challenge - an advanced sustainability certification program for the built environment.

Solar Panels on the roof are one of the many sources of green energy used in the building

An Ideal Workplace

Freedom to work wherever the employee wishes to

At the end of the day, any office should cater for the needs of the people working there. With its new headquarters Etsy has done that in ample number of ways. The 1:1 ratio of task chairs to lounge seating takes the concept of employees 'working wherever they felt like' to a whole new level. For the employees there is the green library, room for yoga and meditation, space for bike storage and a shower area to encourage the employees to use the carbon neutral travel mode.

Maker space in the office

More space is now dedicated to Etsy Labs with stations for making things to help the employees find their creative streak.

With more than 1.6 million active sellers and 35 millions items listed on the site for sale, Etsy is no doubt the ultimate go-to place for crafters and lovers of handmade goods. The design of the new headquarters  blurs the lines office space and creating an environment. The result is a great space that is proving to be a great place to work at.

Images: Courtesy Etsy & Gensler

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( ) 

"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with us

Friday, 11 November 2016

 T h e   A u t h a G r a p h 


Hina Nitesh

Ever wondered that if the earth is an Oblate Spheroid, then why is 
the world map a rectangle? Not any more…

Designer Hajime Narukawa, the winner of this year's Good Design Award at the Tokyo Design Week, has designed an equal area type map. The new map fixes the problems of distorted land and sea sizes that exist in the current format. Authagraph, that the map is called creates a map method that can be transformed from a spherical to a rectangular shape with the correct proportions.

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Snippet * 28  BLOCK Play


Alphabet inspired wooden blocks by Lena Mühl. Birds perched atop As and snuggled in Vs. 
A very simple and imaginative block set for kids offering a promise of tireless playtime.

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Snippet * 27     Folds in PAPER


Divya Agrawal 

Extraordinary talent showcased extraordinarily well!
Here are Spanish musician Gonsalo Garcia Calvo's origami creations. Poetry in paper, shall we call it?

All images: Gonsalo Garcia Calvo

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  ( )

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Stories   in   S_T_I_T_C_H_E_S

Welcome to the heart warming, playful world of 'Miga de Pan' by Argentine designer Adriana Torres. 
With a formal education in Architecture and Graphic Design, here's an artist who works with thread and a needle to create other worlds using fabric and crochet. Her embroideries and crocheted toys are a treat to peruse, with immersing narratives woven through.

Mythical figures and quirky animals wrestle, cycle and meditate in the midst of mountains and flowers here. There is minuteness of detail and an unmistakable feel of the modern in the treatment of each figure. 

Being someone who herself embroiders, I can't help but marvel at the variety of embroidery stitches and the lovely, unusual pastel palette Adriana uses. 

"The mind selects and nests, and with its curious and intrinsic spirit incorporated to the daily effort and an endless imagination has resulted in a collection of precious art pieces..." Adriana Torres

The details are enchanting. French knots, running stitch, stem stitches and more create Russian fairy tale like stories!

Miga de Pan's line of kidswear, toys, rugs etc is equally endearing.

Ander the Lion, Farnesio the Elephant, Oswaldo the Bunny, Mr Kuma the Bear and the very unique Coco Terráqueo the giant Armadillo - all these crocheted beauties would touch any child's heart (adults too!) 

I personally found Adrainna Torres work very inspiring, enough to put to paper an embroidery project I had conceptualized some time back. 
I will continue to follow this talented designer's newer offerings at Miga de Pan. You can too!

Images: Miga de Pan


Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat  (

"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with us

Wednesday, 3 August 2016



T U R M E R I C   H A N D S

Text: Hina Nitesh with inputs from TH

Do you sense some excitement in this post? With the title of 'Giveaway', I am sure, you dear readers would be eager to find out the details...Let me begin by thanking Turmeric Hands for sponsoring this gift.  

Turmeric Hands is a venture by Sonali Chand and Bhavya Kamalia. Both the ladies are alumni of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. They describe themselves as two restless souls who constantly feel an urge to do things that connects them with their inner being. 

And as the duo puts it, ' at Turmeric Hands, we celebrate the joy of creating with hands'. 

The rich tradition of Indian crafts and story telling is what inspires both Sonali and Bhavya. With this venture of theirs, they are learning and enlivening this legacy. 

Their range of products includes stationery items, table top accessories, festive gifts etc. Turmeric Hands offers a collection of elegant, intricate hand crafted simple products that help reconnect with the roots. The idea is to add something new to each product while treasuring the essence of traditional arts and crafts.

Traditional motifs are combined with contemporary colors and backgrounds and styles to result in interesting stationery and other products.

You would have surely enjoyed the images above. Now it time for the much awaited giveaway. With Raksha Bandhan round the corner, it is indeed rakhis that Turmeric Hands is sponsoring and there are not one but two goodies to be won.

First prize - Silver rakhi

Second Prize - Stone rakhis

To be eligible for the rakhis, you need to do the following - 

1. Leave a comment on our page on 'the memorable rakhi moment'.
2. Like our OTDB page and the Turmeric Hands page for extra points

The Giveaway runs till the 11th and that is when the winners will be announced.

Your rakhi will be delivered at your address in time for Raksha Bandhan and this prize will make this festival more memorable.

Sunday, 31 July 2016


Puja Bhargava Kamath, Lai

In conversation with Hina Nitesh

'Story telling via Jewelry '

'This is our tagline', says Puja, an accessory designer from NIFT and the brain child behind Lai, her jewelry design studio. A small conversation with her tells us how meaningful this tagline is. Lets get to know more about Puja and Lai on OTDB today...

Rangoli inspired enamel pendant

On choosing to be a Jewelry designer

For someone whose passion is everything design and craft related, I did not wish to get tied down to a particular design field. After graduation in accessory design from NIFT, I took the freelance/Consultant route and picked up projects across different sectors including jewelry, crafts, interiors and leather products. During this time, I also took courses in Gemology from IGI, New Delhi and Art appreciations from the National Museum, New Delhi. 

Stylized paisley statement pendant

After providing design services to a number of leading national and international jewelry houses and working with craft clusters across India, the next obvious step was to venture out on my own. I felt silver jewelry was where my three passions - working with crafts and traditional skills, jewelry and history, converged. Thus in 2011, Lai, meaning beloved in Sanskrit and lyrical in French was born though I had started retailing with Fab India in 2009.

Modular earrings with lapis and granulation work that can be worn 2 ways

On the love for jewelry

I love jewelry- especially silver. I felt unexcited by the same-old designs that were in the market at that time and wanted to create pieces that were contemporary- not in a stark, clinical way but ones that celebrated an Indian minimalism. My jewelry also had to be wearable, something the wearer could relate with and most importantly, affordable. In short, it was to be the kind of jewelry that I would personally want to wear.

Mehndi inspired long ovalish pendant with black rhodium plated detailing

Amber color glass earrings with silver & turquoise accent

On influences and inspirations

My designs continue to be very personal and come from a place of my preference and influence at any given point. Travel and experiencing new things is a big source of inspiration for me. and so is history - about India and the ancient cultures around the globe. Cultural heritage is something that I turn to time and again, to seek inspiration from. In my work ethnicity, architecture, colors, textiles and motifs are also a source of inspiration.

Kutch inspired square top, round sunburst hanging earrings

Of late, I am also extremely drawn to and inspired by the Bauhaus and Mid Century Modern design idioms as well as the restraint, proportions and finesse in Japanese art and architecture.

Silver and Bidri dori necklace

Greek inspired open oval gold plated pendant

On the design process

A collection starts with a theme/ an inspiration/ a story. My collections could be based on a place that I'm fascinated with at that point or have traveled to such as Samarkand, Alhambra, Kinner Kailash or Kutch  or culture and aesthetics like the Greek, Nilaj (a), Kashmir and Mughal collections or iconic motifs and their history eg paisley, mehendi and rangoli collections or crafts skills like Bidri and Nathdwara collections.

Hoops with arabesque cut work

I spend a considerable time soaking in all kinds of information about the theme. I immerse myself in the research and learn something about say the weaves of a region and then interpret them as jewelry I use these bits of images and information to design a collection.

Multan inspired enamel finger ring

Cut-work earrings with lapis, turquoise and pearls cluster

At the core of every collection are definite characteristics, forms, motifs and craftsmanship that encompass the spirit of its inspiration. And that is why we use 'Story telling via jewelry' as our tag line.

Mughal inspired long rectangular enamel pendant

On making of the jewelry

I divide my time between San Francisco and New Delhi. After finalizing the sketches, I send them to a workshop in Jaipur. Here the initial samples are made and pictures are sent to me. I make whatever changes have to be done and then the final set of samples is sent to me. I go through these samples including wearing them to check on the comfort level etc. They are sent back if there are any more changes. Once the final product is sent to me, I shoot them and open the collection for pre-sales or put a small batch in production for ready to ship collection.

7 tiered jhumkas with intricate arabesque pattern ear top

On the future of designer jewelry in India

Gold and diamond jewelry is preferred for weddings and such occasions but when it comes to daily wear or other events that do not call for traditional dressing, a lot of women prefer costume or silver jewelry.  

Looking at the explosion of jewelry brands both on and off line there is something in the market for every taste and sensibility. These pieces of jewelry also tend to be easier on the pocket as compared to restricting  oneself to buy just gold.

Bidri modernist pendant

Pre-independence Indian coin pendant with silver work and an onyx flower

As far as silver jewelry is concerned, historically, we have been fond of silver. As an essentially silver jewelry brand, my customers often say that they buy a lot of what they do knowing that they will be able to pass their collection to the next generation. So as far as silver is concerned there is a definite emotional link involved. People are now willing to pay for the design, the concept, the craftsmanship and how wearing a piece of jewelry makes them feel versus its weight ans resale value as the deciding factors. In my experience, the future is not bad at all especially, among the urban 25-50 years old.
Apart from designing, I love...

Marrakesh inspired kite earrings in satin finish with garnet and gold plated detailing

When not designing or buried under the admin tasks of running a small business, you'll probably find me planning my next trip, reading or hiking! I am always happy to travel, I thrive on new experiences, sights, smells and taste. History, food, textiles and architecture are my other big passions.

Hand painted black enamel work and a turquoise drop

Himachali long pendant necklace with enamel work detailing and fringe  

Text & creative layout copyrights: On the Design Boat   
Images copyright: Puja, Lai

"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat