A flourish seen on traditional furniture from across Europe – particularly British, French and Swedish – lines of brass studding lend a design an antique air. From the Astor ottomans to the Rouen stools, this longstanding technique is one of our favourite finishing touches.
“We asked Bheemraj what his favourite part of his job is. Instead of naming a specific process, he said: “Every part of your body is important, whether it’s your ear, your eye or your leg. Furniture is the same. It’s made up of many processes, each one is just as important as the others.”
“I’ve dressed smartly since I was a young guy. I don’t do it for the ladies though. Although, I could play on the tailor thing. Maybe offer measuring for blouses…”
“At lunchtime there’s always a lot of joking. The women huddle together and tease one another, especially about their husbands. Who has the smartest husband, and who doesn’t..! We all wear a lot of colour too. A workplace should be uplifting.”
At only 21 years old, Akbar is already deemed as one of the master carvers at the frame workshop. “I learnt a lot as a young man at home. There was an excellent carver in my village and he taught me everything he knew. He taught me about tools too, so I started collecting my […]
“I’m originally from Badmir where there’s very little rainfall. I used to have to walk 5-7km to get drinking water so I’m pretty tough. The temperature can reach 40 degrees there so there’s nothing in Jaipur that I can’t handle.”
Akbar hand-carves every one of our Rouen stools. He describes carving as a ‘divine art’. Literally, a blessed skill. He’s been doing it for over six years and it takes him two-three hours to carve a single stool.
Petite and perfectly formed, the Rouen was one of our earliest French-style pieces and remains one of our most-coveted designs to this day.
Usman is small in stature, with quick movements and a broad smile. He nods his head in answer to our question. “Yes, I’m married,” he says. “It’s a good thing too. If I wasn’t,” he pulls at his clothing, “the women would be tearing my clothes off!”
Luna runs his hand over the freshly cut curves of the Claude petite chest’s front. The shape is serpentine, undulating elegantly. “This is one of my favourite pieces to make,” he says. “Specifically because of the curves in the drawer front. As a carpenter, making something clean and straight is nice, but it doesn’t compare […]
The young carpenter seems shy at first. “Dancing”, one of his colleagues offers up, which produces a chuckle from Surendra. “It’s true,” he says. “I love dancing. When I’m moving to the music…” — he sways a little for emphasis — “…It makes me laugh. It makes me happy.”
The syncopated tapping of wooden hammers comes from a shady outdoor area of the mango wood workshop in Jaipur. Here we meet many artisans who hail from the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Known for its forests, most of the mango wood and rosewood used in the workshop comes from there – as do […]
Luna has a naturally happy disposition. His colleagues claim he’s the joker. “I come from the Khati caste, it means carpenter. I love making all the furniture.” He drags out ‘all’ for emphasis – “allll the furniture.”
Surrounded by towers of mango wood planks Sohan, a carpenter in the wood workshop, hand-selects the best pieces destined for the Lille armchair. Studying them, he visualises how many of the armchair’s parts can be cut out without wasting any of the wood. Once satisfied, he takes his collection of stencils and begins to trace. […]
Mullah Anwar Hussain is known to the people of Jaipur as Mullah-Ji; the ‘Ji’ part is an honour granted to him; it’s a mark of respect. “I come from a long line of block carvers,” he tells us. “Four generations that I know of… I am known for my work.”
“I’m a good laugher, I laugh a lot.”