Tiipoi: Redefining What "Made In India" Means


2020-08-31 14:36:20


In 2014, Spandana Gopal gave up a career in commercial art to set up her own home design brand, Tiipoi, in London, as well as running the brand's workshop in Bangalore, India. With the power of the brand, Spandana hopes to tap into the unseen beauty of everyday objects across India, combining the rigor of contemporary European design and lifestyle with India's rich and interesting indigenous materials, and redefining the concept of "made in India."


Born in Bangalore, India, Mr. Spandana moved to London and studied for a degree in fine arts at Central Saint Martins before earning a master's degree in contemporary Art at The Sotheby's Institute of Art in London. Before setting up his studio, Mr. Spandana worked for art galleries and private collectors for a while, but never found the outlet to satisfy his creative expression. In the end, Spandana chose to return to the concept of home, both professionally and ideas. Its name, Tiipoi, comes from the Hindi pronunciation of "furniture," was created when Spandana moved to his new home in London and couldn't find the materials and craftsmanship familiar back home in India.


The Tiipoi brand promotes the discovery of traditional Indian craftsmanship and its application to contemporary design, drawing inspiration from the simplistic and pragmatic forms of everyday Indian family life that have been rooted in the local handicraft heritage for generations but have not yet been recognised. The Tiipoi studio has chosen to hire craftsmen directly to improve its manufacturing, which Mr Spandana believes is "massively underrated in India". Ms. Spandana's motivation for reinventing the manufacturing supply chain is directly related to her family history, where she grew up in a place she knew well, and where the elders had been in the local artisanal manufacturing industry for decades. Now her 93-year-old grandfather has built a factory near the Tiipoi workshop to advise and help Spandana on how to improve the process. "My grandfather came from a generation that saw the industrial revolution, when such automation was highly prized." "But what I tried to do today was just the opposite." By working closely with small workshops and independent artisans in India, Tiipoi has designed and developed a range of household products that combine the everyday beauty, the traces and temperature of hand-made products, with a new interpretation of modern European home design.


According to Spandana, incorporating Indian culture into a design is not simply a matter of adding graphic symbols like elephants. Traditional techniques are more than just a historical retelling. India is also changing. The Tiipoi brand focuses on the present, emphasising the importance of traditional Indian craftsmanship for contemporary design - design is a necessity in India, and the creative process is rooted in pragmatism itself. As for what he wants to convey through the Tiipoi brand, Gopal says: "What we are exploring is the connection between people, community, objects and memories. The studio hopes to provide strength and support to the community of artisans while at the same time becoming a confident and new showcase for the world to be made in India."


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