SĀR: The Essence of Indian Design, written and curated by Rashmi Varma and Swapnaa Tamhane with photographs by Prarthna Singh

Published by Phaidon Press, 2016

This book aims to find a language for design within India – taking into account histories of craft, colonial influences, trade between neighbouring countries, pre and post-Partition, and what contemporary design is. There is no one word for 'design' in either Sanskrit or Hindi, and so we chose the word "sār" which means essence. We were looking for what an essence of an object could be that could reflect a sensibility. 


Bombay Fornicator 

Codd Neck Bottles, used for a drink made with lime, soda, and namak 

Photo by Prarthna Singh

Sil Batta, used for grinding spices

Photo by Prarthna Singh

Sari – this example is by RAW Mango, photographed in the early moments of evening light. Photo by Prarthna Singh

Papier mâché masks, 2010, Dhanalakota Nageshwar, mud, sawdust, cow dung, paper

Photo by Prarthna Singh

Bata Tennis shoes

Photo by Prarthna Singh


In Order to Join – the Political in a Historical Moment

exhibition catalogue

curated by Swapnaa Tamhane and Susanne Titz

Museum Abteiberg / Goethe-Institut Mumbai

Pages from the exhibition catalogue: Mona Hatoum, Astrid Klein, and Sheela Gowda