Indian streets have the ability to fascinate anyone willing to take a moment to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. From flower markets to local bazaars, our vibrant streets keep surprising us with a captivating array of colours, shapes and sights. As Pradeep, a craftsman said, “Our country never fails to inspire us.”
It is this very outlook that has led him to develop a unique skill—creating furniture inspired by daily life. Pradeep makes furniture pieces that look like everyday objects. Now, thanks to him, it is possible for one to sit on a saffa or a tokri of phool (flowers).
Pradeep began his career 14 years ago, making ordinary sofas and engaging in other upholstery-related work. A turning point came along when he began working with a design studio based in Delhi and met a like-minded designer. The two connected in their shared admiration for ordinary objects and soon began a lifelong exploration of designing distinctive furniture pieces. Today, Pradeep has countless unique pieces to his name, such as the ghoomar stool, tokri pouffe and kulluvi stool.
Pradeep proudly claimed that the work he is doing is quite unusual and exclusive in the market. Having been in the industry for many years, he has only come across a few other craftsmen who dare to experiment with their work. Of course, upholstering furniture to look like genda phool comes with its fair share of uncertainty regarding the result. “When I was first challenged to make something like this, I was excited but did not know about the outcome,” he said. However, he has overcome all obstacles in his path with his faith firm in the belief that learning while doing is the only way to move forward and acquire new skills.
His bond with his designer remains strong. When stuck for ideas on how to move forward with a piece, Pradeep said he would often approach the designer and both would find a solution together. “After making every furniture piece, I feel extremely proud and happy about my skills.”
His furniture pieces have often been shown in various exhibitions, both local and global. A great response at such events helps fuel Pradeep further. He believes that learning about any craft does not end with the completion of a crafts course. Instead, it evolves and develops through daily practice with new materials, techniques and constant iteration.