Showcasing the best of the country’s traditional techniques and materials, these brands are harnessing the wealth of India’s design culture
Across the country, from Thrissur to Goa to Himachal Pradesh, entrepreneurs are using a variety of techniques and materials to dish out beautiful tableware. These 10 home-grown brands stand out for their unique design philosophy.
Indian culture is all about its millennia old love for handcrafted pottery. From the starting material to the final strokes of a brush. Everything made by human hands with the highest degree of precision.
And finally, the colours and textures being far more intricate than anything a machine can ever produce. With each work of art being ever so slightly different than the other. What else could possibly be a better souvenir option for friends and family back home?
Where to Buy: Terravida is a premium boutique ceramic and pottery company based in Goa. All their products are created by teams of experienced artisans from the local community.
Whether you have a penchant for minimalism or like to go all out with baubles and accents, the sky is the limit when it comes to redecorating your space. From edgy, geometrical centre table pieces to decorative trays that don’t spell cliché, trust this edit of homegrown home décor labels to help you bring your aesthetic to life.
1. TerraVida Goa
Love ceramic? Look no further than the Goa-based home décor studio, Terra Vida. A contemporary interpretation of rustic Portuguese elements comes to life in each piece as local artisans set stories in stone. Take your pick from understated teapots, stunning flower vases, decorative trays, crockery and more.
What We Love: TerraVida’s studio is home to 12 skilled, local artisans from around Goa. They together create pieces for your abode, which are hand-made and limited-edition.
Shopping in Goa turns up many happy discoveries, and Terravida in Panaji is one of them. Stop by this ceramic studio to browse a beautiful selection of handmade homewares with a distinctly tropical slant.
The home décor market in India is flush with an aesthetic that’s hard to pin down. Pastel hues stand alongside vibrant brights, and minimalism enjoys an equal footing with maximalist pieces even as a distinct Indian identity with, a global relevance is apparent. There are some aspects common to many of these homegrown brands that we at Design Pataki have come to see as a benchmark of good design in the country. Unique aesthetics aside, you’ll find a beautiful combination of thoughtful design with a deep focus on form and function and a sensitivity to local materials and techniques. These brands have been putting forth objects that are valuable and precious in their own right, commanding the status of an heirloom that might be passed down over generations. Whether you’re looking for a quick online browse or a leisurely peruse at a standalone store, these design-driven home décor brands are worth looking into for a swift, luxurious spruce-up of your interiors.
The traditional Goan souvenir has thankfully experienced a speedy cessation with the introduction of Terravida. The Goa-based brand offers ceramics with vibrant hand-painted illustrations evocative of the land of sunshine. Its collections are fittingly titled, too. The Endless Summer line, for example, comprises spoon holders, bowls, plates, oil dispensers, cups and platters that feature intricately painted botanical illustrations.
The Portuguese collection is a riff on Goa’s connection to Portugal through a range of ceramics inspired by the beautiful blue Azulejo glazed tile. Then, there’s the Tropical collection with jugs, vases and every other piece of tableware you might need to remind you of the land of plenty. Some are crafted in the likeness of banana leaves; others carry more than just a hint of the tropics with coastal-themed motifs like palm trees.
Terravida was launched in 2017 by Aparna Khaunte, whose love for ceramics led her to collaborate with visual designer Karina Amonkar. Together, they aim to continually maintain a connection to Goa’s heritage through Terravida’s offerings. “The starting point is usually Goan elements that inspire us, be it the landscape, things we grew up with, and some things that have been around with for generations,” says Khaunte. The next collection, she reveals, will be something that “takes us back to the typical Goan village setting, early in the morning, at your grandmother’s house as you wake up to sounds of the rooster and the poder’s (breadman) horn as you look forward to that first cup of tea with some fresh bread and butter.” As of now, one can take home a piece of Goa at the Terravida store in Panjim or via the website.
Less than a year old, Dotto has made a mark on the design fraternity rather swiftly since its launch in July 2019. Materiality and craftsmanship lie at the heart of this Ahmedabad-based brand whose design philosophy emerges from “a deeper understanding of architecture, cinema, music and literature.” According to its founders, architect Veeram Shah and furniture designer Saloni Mehta, this gives a certain context and depth of ideas to the products that they want to deliver.
Naari, its first collection, is replete with home essentials — wooden platters, bowls, jewellery boxes, lights and organisers like dressers and clothes stands — masterfully crafted from reclaimed teak wood and embellished with minimal brass accents. Drawing inspiration from the features that accentuate a woman’s beauty, Dotto’s Naari line attempts to interpret the pluralistic nature of a woman’s beauty in many of its designs that carry a brass dot, which, say the designers, represents a nath (nose ring) and a bindi. “We worked around the artistic representations of our ideas to give them a functional meaning,” says Shah.
“We don’t adhere to a certain palette, scale or a style, but with every collection, we want to explore new material and a new technique,” says Mehta. “We believe in the timelessness of the materials we use, pushing their limits in terms of texture and form and focusing more on the details of the objects. These details themselves become the brand aesthetic.”
Bold shapes with a sculptural quality meet pastel and pop solids in the tableware served up by Ware Innovations. The Mumbai-based brand offers a range of ceramics and marble ware intended to liven up your tablescape. Retailing both online and offline—at stores like Magnolia Homes (Mumbai) and Pepper House (Kochi), among others—it has something to suit every need and taste.
Yogita Agrawal, who launched in the brand in 2017, explains, “The design process for our tableware collections begins with the objective to reimagine the way we present and eat food. So our collections tend to be designed around food. The fin cup, belongs to our first collection ‘Ek.cup’ that was inspired by Mumbai’s cutting chai. When you spill the usual cutting chai, it leaves behind a circular ring impression, but the fin cup would leave an ‘x’, adding a playful element to this mundane observation.”
Every product in the various collections by Ware Innovations is decidedly versatile. Take the Cee plates, for instance, which were designed to plate finger foods in a fun and well-thought out manner. But, says Agrawal, “People have been using the Cee plates in ways more creative than we imagined — for dips, desserts and even pani puri and chaat!”
For Agrawal, a graduate of Parsons School of Design, New York, the design process is a hands-on experience with every one of the brand’s designs conceptualised in-house from start to finish. Having lived in the city for four years, she accredits her love for a clean and functional aesthetic to New York and hopes to “bring a little bit of its designer-maker culture to Mumbai through Ware Innovations.”
You might not find incredulous shapes and quirky form to choose from in the tableware collections by the Indus People. What you will find, though, is richly glazed stoneware like plates, bowls and cups in pretty pastels that will fit right in at an intimate soiree or tea party. That said, its three collections — The Source, Dip in the Ganga, and The Confluence — are just as perfect if you are one who looks to good design for an instant elevation of the everyday dining experience.
Aditi Chaddha Batra, the founder of Indus People, believes that the simpler the form, the easier it is to use. “We want people to buy our products for everyday use and not wait for an occasion to take them out. We always encourage people to mix and match. So you could buy one cup for your office, two dinner plates for home, or even mix and match an entire collection if you wish,” she says.
After zeroing on the brand name, the inspiration for the collections that followed arrived in a manner most organic. For example, all pieces from the Dip in the Ganga collection have a rippled texture and are studded with 24K gold marigold petals. “Varanasi and the Ganga have always been a source of fascination for me. This collection is a reflection of the ripples that arise when one takes a holy dip, and of the floral offerings that one usually sees floating on the surface of the Ganga,” she explains.
You will find the Indus People online and in select stores across Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon and Rishikesh. But you are just as likely to come across customised creations by the brand at CinCin and Provenance Café in Mumbai, among other cafes and restaurants.
An evolution of the online home décor brand CuroCarte, Ikai Asai was recently launched at Maison et Objet, Paris, as an artisanal lifestyle brand run by Ananya Birla and Kanupriya Verma. The brand offers four collections, or moods, and each collection celebrates the collaboration between IkaiAsai, artisans and designers. Lila was a result of a collaboration between Rina Singh, founder and designer at conscious fashion label Eka, and the artisanal craft cluster of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Singh’s understanding of textile design unfolds in this collection that plays on a nostalgic narrative brought to life through a post-colonial Indian design aesthetic, or, “a play between timeworn and contemporary.”
Yet another collection Junoon brought together architect Ashiesh Shah and craftswoman Noor Salma. “Ashiesh’s vision of space and choice of materials find inspiration in Wabi-Sabi. The designer’s ode to Junoon’s fearless, saturated and manic intensity is embodied in the rich contrast of two colours, red and white, coming together to form the visual building blacks of this fiery creation,” explains Verma. Ikai Asai also roped in architect Dharmesh Jadeja to conceptualise a line for the Deva collection with craftsman Mathew Sasa. For Kama, the brand worked with product designer Ayush Kasliwal and the jewellery stone-carving cluster of Rajasthan.
Without adhering to a pre-determined form, material or product line and by collaborating with artists from various fields and respecting the design process, this artist-driven brand embodies the most inclusive form of creation. “The brand’s vision has always rested on creating an ecosystem that’s humane and can celebrate and inspire human creativity,” explains Verma.
It was early in the morning when we had sauntered through delightful alleys of the most quintessential Goan village to get to a pottery studio. After an informative introduction to the art form, I found myself at a potter’s wheel with a lump of clay just waiting to reach its potential. Even the most infinitesimal flicker of my fingers had a physical manifestation in the design. I realised sculpting that clay could either bring me insurmountable frustration or lull me into a blissful state of zen; I chose the latter.
Originating from the Greek word ‘keramikos’ which means potter’s clay, ceramics are made from different clays, hardened at high temperatures and glazed. The treatments rendered these items durable, washable, and microwave-proof. There are three types – earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Hardened at varying temperatures, they differ in raw material, porosity, and finish. Due to its aesthetics, functionality and durability, the most common ceramic home décor products are tableware and serveware.
While I highly recommend taking up a few pottery classes – it can be thoroughly therapeutic – we’ve picked out homegrown ceramic labels that offer the most spectacular artisanal and handcrafted products.
Describing himself as a graphic artist, illustrator, sculptor, and visual storyteller, Aman Khanna converts his artistic virtuosity into the most mesmerising, thought-provoking objets d’art. He draws inspiration from his ‘observations of the common man and his dilemmas’. Claymen is among one of the most well-known homegrown ceramic labels, featuring quirky yet minimal figurines and décor accessories that make for brilliant conversation starters.
A boutique ceramic and pottery studio based in Goa, Terravida’s exceptional aesthetic is a result of a modern construct of rustic Portuguese elements. Contemporary in form, the pieces are vibrant with a touch of old-world charm. Their handmade creations, from dinnerware and ornamental tiles to home décor and souvenirs, have the ability to add pleasure to any corner.
This home décor label focuses on the joyful interplay of striking colour and whimsical patterns. Their capsule collections can transport you to different worlds. CAARA, a collection made in collaboration with the farm-to-table eatery of the same name, is an ode to childhood memories of family picnics. Tea time with the Grand Budapest collection was envisioned as the ultimate homage to Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest hotel, filled with pastels hues replete with gilded edges. By The Pool is a collection of table and serveware inspired by dreams of summer, featuring natural speckled ceramic paired with matte tile black or turquoise glaze.
Food brings us closer and White Hill Studio wishes to foster these relationships through their ceramic tableware collection. Deeply influenced by the nature, stories, and culture of the Himalayas, their beautiful designs reflect longing for the hills. Collections like Midnight in Mashobra, Solitude, Home Coming, and Comfort Staples feature imagery that conjures comforting sentiments of idyllic villages, yearnings for crisp mountain air and moments of pure joy spent surrounded by the rolling hills.
With a passion for product design and an intense curiosity to explore different materials, designer Yogita Agarwal started Ware Innovations. The range includes ceramic and marble products for the home that are highly functional and beautifully detailed. Her creations inspire the user to appreciate the finer aspects, encouraging us all to infuse our daily lives with the beauty of sculptural pieces.
In the quiet village of Corlim in North Goa is an artisanal workshop of 12 artists from across India, who bring elements of nature alive on handcrafted ceramic tableware, tiles and home decor items. About 25 minutes way, in the city of Panjim, their designs are put on display at Terravida, a bespoke ceramics store and brand run by Aparna Khaunte. Inspired by rustic Portuguese elements, these pieces are minimal, contemporary and shaped not just by hand, but by culture. The limited-edition designs represent the Portuguese influence in Goa, and on Goan art and craft. Aparna Khaunte, Founder, Terravida
Tableware from the Tropical Collections
Tableware from the Endless Summer Collection
Excerpts from our chat:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started this label. I am a doctor by profession, with a strong inclination towards art and passion for pottery. On a visit to Portugal, I realised how under explored the art of ceramics is in India; we usually only see decal or plain pottery here. Being in Goa, we saw it as an opportunity to showcase this art to travellers from across the world, and help them take back some great memorabilia. This led to the inception of my label, Terravida.Dinner plates from the Portuguese Collection
Christmas Tree Plates from the Christmas Cabinet Collection
Lone Fox Tableware from the Endless Summer Collection
How did the name Terravida come about? What is your design philosophy? Terravida is a Portuguese-inspired name; Terra means clay or earth, and Vida means life. Our design inspiration comes from the unique Portuguese influence in Goa. Our designs are based mainly on Goan art, with influences of Indian art. Specifically, I draw from nature, so animals, sea creatures and forest elements form part of our designs. We like to keep our lines simple yet classy.
What techniques do you use to create your products? We primarily work with stoneware. Each product is handmade, using different techniques like wheel throwing, slip casting, slab construction and pure handcrafting.Banana Leaf Platters from the Tropical Collection
Autumnal range from the Endless Summer Collection
Santa Figurines from the Christmas Cabinet Collection
Any pieces or projects that stand out for you? Our USP is that we’re able to create custom pieces for anyone who asks for them. We recently created a couple of black sheep for a customer and they turned out beautifully. We also release new collections every four months for our store visitors. In terms of projects, we have executed a mural installation and cutlery range for Tataki Panjim, and curated cutlery sets for Marriott and Taj, Goa. Currently we’re focusing on expanding our brand presence across India.Azul Tea Set from the Portuguese Collection
Vintage Floral Cups from the Endless Summer Collection
Abundance Set from the Endless Summer Collection
Summer Harvest Plates from the Endless Summer Collection