Stuffed toys. Leather offcuts. Bubble wrap. Sticks. Throughout the past 40 years, Estudio Campana has created iconic furniture out of unusual materials, elevating a raw aesthetic that pays homage to radical resourcefulness. Now the Brazilian practice is introducing a hairy cabinet for æquō, India’s first collectible design gallery, based in Mumbai.

Resembling something out of a fairytale, the Atuxuá cabinet is a limited-edition piece, part of a collection curated for the gallery by Florence Louisy. “Named after Indigenous Brazilian masks used in healing rituals, known for their intricate craftsmanship and symbolic significance, the Atuxuá cabinet showcases the intrinsic beauty of Sabai grass,” states the official press release. The gallery describes it as a “unique Indo-Brazilian” collaboration, in that it takes materials local to eastern and north-eastern parts of the country and weaves them into a one-of-a-kind work reminiscent of the most evocative designs by the São Paulo studio. (Humberto Campana carries on the irreverent spirit of the practice that he founded with his brother, Fernando, who passed away in 2022.)

Estudio Campana, which worked with æquō’s partner workshop in Jaipur, Frozen Music, tamed the grass with a delicate brass framework reminiscent of a hair net. “The intricacy of the Sabai grass and the metalwork represents a parallel between the spirituality, rituals, and religious syncretism we can find both in India and Brazil,” says Humberto Campana.

This wire enclosure also references the traditional technique used to bundle grass for trade. “Weeks of hand work were spent sewing each blade of grass onto a bamboo lattice to recreate the impressive mass that Sabai grass represents during its harvest,” explains Campana. This “wild coat” is supported by a solid brass structure; the entire piece measures 160 cm long, 60 cm wide and 185 cm tall.

By “blending historical significance with contemporary design,” the cabinet represents the raison d’être of æquō. Founded two years ago by Tarini Jindal Handa, the experimental project “introduces global designers to fine Indian craftsmanship, giving global importance to the country’s artisanal heritage.”

Elevating local craft is the main goal – with “contemporary design” by globally renowned practitioners a vehicle for this cross-cultural translation. “Contemporary designers encounter India’s diverse and profound techniques through æquō’s extensive network of artisans,” the gallery states. “These makers, who work with an astonishing sensibility toward India’s varied raw materials, are placed in dialogue with global designers to explore what happens when the familiar seeks the unknown. Each of [our collectible pieces] carries a story rooted in India, yearning to be told to the world at large.”

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