It’s no coincidence that product designer Aziz Kachwalla’s work, under his label At-Tin, fits in perfectly with the interiors of his studio-cum-store in Mumbai, housed in his father’s old automobile garage in Mazgaon’s Old Anjirwadi. Kachwalla, a civil engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, says his family’s car repair business always allowed him to tinker and temper with metal in unusual ways, and fashion furniture and home decor items using other unlikely materials.
In an attempt to widen the audience for the At-Tin store that he set up earlier this January, Kachwalla will showcase some of the brand’s most interesting pieces at the Artisans’ exhibition space. A defunct washing machine drum has been repurposed to create a shade for a tall floor lamp, tiny rubber stoppers sourced from under the bonnets of old Premier Padmini taxis make up the cushioning for a metal stool, and ashtrays have tops made of car clutch plates.
The show will also include a range of armchairs, stools and cots made from ropes woven out of old scraps of cloth and plastic by Mumbai-based designer Anu Tandon Vieira’s label “The Retyrement Plan”, and pouches, sling bags and satchels made out of worn out rubber tyres by Goa-based designer Kaushik Narayan Ramanathan.
Kachwalla says At-Tin, named after the 95th sura, “The Figtree”, of the Qur’an, is a culmination of two decades of his experience dabbling in art direction, specialized furniture, retail display, and set, exhibition and museum design. “This is an outlet for my personal design grammar to come out,” says Kachwalla. “I’m also hoping this event starts a dialogue around the custom architectural and interior design projects I take on—I can design and manufacture anything from decorative hardware accents to railings for stairways and balconies.”
Apart from upcycled products made from found objects, Kachwalla will also display his range of raw plywood furniture, which he claims was put together without any adhesives or complicated joinery, just nuts, bolts and screws. One of our favourite pieces is the Slat Bench, which features a simple V-shaped metal frame fitted with unpolished wooden slats.
“One could slap a sheet of veneer over any piece of furniture and polish it, but to me, that would feel as if I’m hiding the basic material and giving it a false sense of decoration,” says Kachwalla. “At At-Tin, when we talk about designing products, you can be sure we are using a material just for its own sake. It’s never just about the look of a product but also about everything else that goes into it, right from the type of materials chosen to the processes used to create it.”
11am-7pm. At-Tin exhibition will take place on 13 and 14 September at Artisans’ , Kala Ghoda, Colaba, Mumbai (22673040). At-Tin studio store at Old Anjirwadi, off Champsi Bhimji Road, next to Saifee Burhani Park, Mazagaon (022-23717372). For more details on the brand, see www.at-tin.com. Small, decorative hardware items like door knobs and latches cost Rs.500, while the Slat Bench is for Rs.30,000.