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Rooshad Shroff unveils marble tube lights at Raw Collaborative

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Designer Rooshad Shroff’s newest collection explores light and stone in a series of intricately-carved tube lights

A marble tube light and light bulb on display at Raw Collaborative

A marble tube light and light bulb on display at Raw Collaborative  

A few years ago, Rooshad Shroff teamed up with Atmosphere, the luxury textile brand, to create a series of tube lights. He played with casting and fabric to control how light passed through. Then, in 2016, he took on the filament light bulb, but experimented with materiality, rendering the classic in white marble. Today, he’s exhibiting his new collection of carved Makrana marble tube lights at the third edition of Raw Collaborative, ongoing at the Mill Owners’ Association Building in Ahmedabad. He’s come full circle.

But it isn’t lighting that fascinates him; it is “re-actualising the handmade”. “The starting point was really about looking at different crafts. I absolutely love marble as a material, but I wanted to take the traditional know-how of marble carving and see how far I could push it, make it more contemporary,” explains Shroff, 37. “When I designed the bulbs, it was to see how one could make something as fragile as a light bulb from a monolithic chunk of stone. With the tube lights, however, it was to see how far one could take the techniques, such as scooping and hollowing out marble, to get it as thin as possible.”

Rooshad Shroff

Rooshad Shroff   | Photo Credit: Neville Sukhia

Challenge accepted

The collection of 15 pieces — in different configurations, from a table top series, to hanging ones, and floor-and-wall-mounted designs — showcased against the stark walls of Le Corbusier’s iconic concrete landmark in Ahmedabad, is garnering great response, with many taking to social media to enthuse about the intricate handwork, the unusual material.

The effortless lines and the hand-carved patterns, inspired by French crystal ware and Grecian columns, however, belie the work that’s gone into it. The designer and his five artisans spent over nine months, scooping, carving and breaking innumerable pieces. “Getting the length was quite challenging. Smaller pieces, till about six to eight inches were doable, but then they started breaking,” he laughs. After a lot of trial and error, the longest tube is now a little over two feet.

Another roadblock was the artisans themselves. “With the light bulbs, the challenge was getting them to work with geometric patterns [it is very unforgiving; they can’t easily conceal an error or a chip in the stone]. But with the tube lights, it was the fear of failure. Unfortunately, artisans are paid for the product and not for their time. So, if they break something, they lose money. When I took that fear away, they opened up, getting bolder with their ideas and techniques, and even pushing the limits, wanting to go thinner, more intricate.” Needless to say, they are now ready for fresh challenges.

Raw Collaborative ends tomorrow. The marble tube lights are priced between ₹58,000 and ₹2 lakh. Details: rooshadshroff.com

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:13:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/rooshad-shroff-unveils-marble-tube-lights-at-raw-collaborative/article30114828.ece

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