India’s ‘climate change chair’ at US design fest

By Madhusree Chatterjee, IANS
Sunday, June 20, 2010

NEW DELHI - A steel-and-fabric chair named “0.76 Celsius” will showcase India’s concern on climate change at a prestigious US furniture and lifestyle design show and looking on will be high-end buyers from Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

This is the first time India will display furniture design at the “Dwell on Design Fair-2010″ in Los Angeles from June 25 to 27 under the umbrella of the “Asia Now” exhibition that will bring the best of furniture design solutions and iconography from 11 Asian countries.

The exhibition, curated by the Milan-based design resource centre, Designboom, is the first ever Asian lifestyle aesthetics design exposition, targeted to attract high-end buyers from Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Los Angeles to the most innovative of Asian designs.

The large steel coffee seat with an art installation of water pots at the back is a comment on the scarcity and growing impurity of drinking water in India. It has been designed by Meerut-based Puneet Gupta, a young National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) graduate.

“My design had to follow an eco-friendly trail and a uniform colour palette that Asian designs are currently following in general. India has several eco-hazards and water is a major concern,” Gupta told IANS.

“My coffee chair has an installation of inverted pyramids of steel pots at the back of it - like the one found in the villages of India. Women balance pyramids of pots on their heads in the countryside of northern and western India to fetch potable water from water holes and wells far from their homes. The larger pots are at the bottom while the smaller pots sit precariously on the top. I have turned the pyramid on its head with the larger pots at the top and the smaller ones at the bottom,” Gupta said.

Each steel vessel has taps fitted to it - and some of the vessels that have several tap heads are fractured.

“The fractures symbolise the pressure exerted on the scarce water resource. Once upon a time, everything was available in abundance in villages but with shrinking economy, rising population and indiscriminate exploitation, resources are dwindling and are almost on the verge of extinction,” Gupta said.

Commenting on the general trend in design in Asian countries, the designer said, “Asian designs carry with them the cultures and stories of the land from which they originate.”

“Asian cultures go back a long way and designs combine the old and the new to acquire a distinct identity. The designs are also emblematic of contemporary concerns like troubled ecology, intense development, imbalance in economies and the overall growth,” he said.

Gupta is of the opinion that “household furniture must be aesthetically nice - but should otherwise have a purpose, a message to convey.”

The designer sells a range of household furniture - each championing a cause - from Design Kitchen, a multi-disciplinary design studio. He has been awarded by MTV for innovative design and feted by the union textile ministry for his graduation project.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at

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