The woodcrafters of Pondy

A small town with globally-reputed furniture designers — where Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics blend with local craft and sustainability is a way of life

At The Grid — artist and cultural producer Justine de Penning’s Chennai-based co-working space — a glass-topped wooden table with a jagged inlay of dark and light wood is one of the highlights. Created by Puducherry-based furniture designer, Vincent Roy, it was conceptualised after de Penning remarked on the beauty of some waste wood at his atelier. Similarly, colourful plastic cane procured from Parry’s Market is woven into the upholstery of a sofa he designed for her. “It is a good balance of mid-century inspired and contemporary aesthetics,” she says.

Since starting his label, Wood’n Design, in 2013, Roy has become one of India’s most sought-after designers. At his studio, when I visit, over a dozen men in matching red T-shirts are adding the finishing touches to a large order from the local French consulate. His workshop is minutes away from Auroville, but he does not belong to the 50-year-old spiritual community. However, he says, he has “a lot of friends who are Aurovillean”.

This dynamic is an important part of his story, and of the other designers here. Like Samvit Blass, whose bottle chandelier hangs at the Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort and Spa. And Anil Sharma, whose antique furniture (and reproductions) are on display at CGH hotels across the country, and whose joinery (made with recycled timber) are widely exported to Europe.

What is it about Puducherry that convinced Roy, a young, itinerant French man from Cognac (where his parents make the famous brandy) to return to India after spending a year here in 2008? How has the region become such a welcoming home to his fellow woodworkers and craftspeople?....Read more


Source web page: The hindu

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