Sandeep Sangaru designs dreams

Kashmir making_04
Details of carved chair designed by Sandeep Sangaru

“You will need to have a dream and then explore all its dimensions and details and then refine the offering through an iterative process that blends imagination with action in the real world.”
Design Thinker M P Ranjan, 2011

For Sandeep Sangaru, this dream began at Kashmir more than two decades back when he went to work with walnut wood cavers and intrigued by ‘Pinjrakari’ and ‘Khatumbandh’.

He found out how, in the 21st century, deeply carved colonial furniture (introduced by the British and Europeans) became cumbersome to make and transport, making them expensive, slowly erasing them from public usage and memory. He realised that the government initiatives were not triggering a revival that would devise appropriate solutions to the actual problems.

Mukarna Making_01
Mukarna Making with Kashmiri traditional artisans

Artistic collaboration to discover new approaches towards enhancing their worth through design became the reason for Sandeep’s creative search. And, there has been no looking back…

Some of the frustrations faced by the furniture designer from the National Institute of Design (NID) include inconsistency in quality and availability of raw material, stocking it, lack of understanding by consumers of high quality products against inexpensive ones produced out of a cheaper wood in Saharanpur, UP, new GST rules, and a politically fragile reality of Kashmir. But, he refuses to compromise on quality with speed; a new furniture ranges can take upto 3 years to design and develop make.

Pinjra Book shelve_01
Pinjrakari shelf…Sandeep imagines the modern home to have a part of Kashmir in them

Inspired from the sense of scale and proportion of old buildings, their patterns, joinery techniques and artistry, Sandeep created a range of furniture that represents indigenous Kashmiri style, is lighter, easy to assemble, and fits into the contemporary interiors. For the first time, Pinjrakari has been used for designing shelves and lampshades. He finds creativity satisfying and exciting and works as if that’s the only thing he knew!

The Kashmiri artisans depended on Punjabi or Bihari carpenters for making chairs on which they then carved. When Sandeep suggested to them new carpentry styles with less carving they could themselves make, he initially faced some resistance but they were patiently won over.

Md. Ashraf Bhatt
Md. Ashraf Bhatt, the only Pinjrakari artisan in 2004. He now has a group working with him

He is now looking at extending his experience towards Kashmiri papier mache and carpet weaving. Once Sandeep sets his heart on them, they will breathe a new leash of life. The dream continues, and in his words, “my work is in progress since 14 years.”

Sandeep travels to Srinagar, while travelling between Bangalore and Tripura for his exquisite bamboo furniture. Sheer perseverance, dedication, sincerity and honesty towards his passion guides him into intense creativity…

Always, wishing you the very best for success in this adventure 🙂

All photographs courtesy designer Sandeep Sangaru.

pinjra pendent_03
For the first time Pinjrakari as lampshades








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