I got an email from Daflokk.com just a week ago to view their e-portal, and got excited about featuring Ira studio. Let me introduce you to Manasa Prithvi, 25 yrs. old upcoming product designer for interiors, based in Chennai. One can sense her love affair with the ancient Indian handicrafts and her commitment towards it, as it goes beyond creating functional living crafts; it’s all about maintaining a good balance of quality, design and sustainability as Ira’s USP. She is always eager to collaborate with creative people who can influence her artisanal bent of mind. The artist in her cries out for design after refuelling with goodreads, travelling, watching good cinema or lazying around with her 1 yr. old dog.
Marigolddiary.com would like to share Manasa’s work through this interview.
What are your credentials for design?
I started off with a degree in Fine Arts after which I worked for a couple of years with a creative interior design house in Chennai. I went on to do my Masters in Visual Arts at the University of the Arts, London, U.K. Ira Studio was born during my design course in London.
Which are the regional crafts you have dabbled in?
We have mainly worked with hand-beaten metal artisans from different parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Brass casting idol makers from Kumbakonam, Dokra craftsmen from Chattisgarh and Wood artisans from Karnataka.
Which crafts are you looking forward to moulding in the near future?
Ideally we would like to work with as many different crafts and craftsmen as possible. Right now we will be working with stone sculptors. In the near future we are hoping to join hands with craftsmen from the north and the west, mainly Rajasthan and Gujarat.
What is your criterion for choosing a craft for the product line?
We look at its viability in today’s contemporary context and whether it would work as a functional interior product by doing a market survey.
What is your product line and how would you like to diversify in the near future?
At the moment our focus is on handmade interior products such as lighting, accent furniture, and other pieces. We also work with interior designers and architects on bespoke items for spaces. I don’t think we will be diversifying anytime soon. I would rather present a few good products and do it well.
What is the ultimate goal for Ira Studio?
We are a design label inspired deeply by traditional crafts. The ultimate goal is to preserve them and to provide job opportunities for the artisans so that they are able to live with dignity by reinventing their crafts’ identity.
Where do you retail your products?
We are only selling at DaFlokk.com – few designers who have curated an online space for avant-garde design and art.
“In Manasa’s work we see an artisanal approach to design. She picks up a process or a form that interests her, explores it to the fullest and then restricts her creation to a few pieces that are truly representative of her own vision. Her approach to design is completely unique – it fuses a minimalist contemporary take on form with processes, materials and techniques that are rooted in traditional folk or tribal culture.
Her work is also a poignant comment on the way art and design is functioning in this country and even elsewhere. Most of our makers today stay content with one repetitive motif or a few processes and materials that they become adept with. Manasa’s work seems to defy that. In just five collections she has shown a progression of thought and design that most take a lifetime to achieve. One wonders what she would come up with in the years to come.”
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Ira Studio.+91 99621 64452. http://www.irastudio.net