Jenny Pinto tells us why she got into designing paper lamps

Frustrated with her hectic life in advertising in Mumbai, Jenny Pinto fled to Bangalore. Where she once shuttled between studios producing ads for various MNCs , the petite designer settled for the green and quiet pastures of Bangalore instead. The huge bungalows, the lush gardens and the numerous lakes seem to “have a calming effect on me,” Jenny says. “I was disillusioned with advertising. It’s not true to what it really is. It’s more like creating an illusion.” she recalls.

Jenny says she started making handmade paper in 1998 as she “wanted to connect to nature again. When I came here in 1998, I never dreamt that this city would transform itself so dramatically.”

Her affair with paper was by accident. “I met a person who was passionate about recycling paper. I took to it. Because of my background in advertising I was drawn to the effect that paper has on light. I started designing paper lamps and that’s how the Jenny Pinto Studio happened.”

The reason she chose to stick to hand-made paper craft is because “I fell in love with it. It was as though paper found me. It also gives me the ability to create and not worry about collaborating with anyone else. I can work at my own pace and time.”

Merely creating lamps was not enough for Jenny. She found that her love for nature started to influence everything that she did. And she began using natural material for her designs — banana fibre, mulberry, kora grass, jute, sisal etc. “That’s also when I got my studio designed along with a few architect friends. I believe my studio was one of the city’s first eco-friendly structures. Those were the days when rainwater harvesting was not even a popular term. However, as a lot of water is used to make paper, we designed a rainwater harvesting structure and also a water recycling process in my studio.”

Banana fibre, Jenny says, is flexible material and takes beautifully to light when made into lamps. As Jenny loves to innovate with new styles even on her paper, she has started using the Shibori technique (a Japanese version of tie and dye) on it. “The effect is simply breathtaking, in fact, it changes the ambience.”

Jenny creates wall, table, floor and ceiling lamps in varied shapes and sizes and when the lights are turned on, each one comes alive looking like a piece of art in itself.

Jenny says she draws a lot of inspiration from nature and also works for corporate offices and hotels. She is also open to custom-designing the lamps. While natural material goes into the lampshade, for the stand and base, Jenny uses material like bamboo, stones, wood or copper.

Jenny is open to studio visits for anyone who is keen on watching her at work. She gives visitors a talk on environmental issues and explains the process of her work.

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