Ranjan Bordoloi is the founder and creative director of Amiya Lab (previously known as Studio Bordoloi), a multidisciplinary design studio currently based in Assam, India. Since childhood, he has had a great deal of enthusiasm for Art and Design, observing his family members, weaving handlooms and interweaving bamboo to make buckets and side tables. The manufacturing of handicrafts used to be the standard method of earning in rural Assam. These very surroundings, growing up, shaped and aided in igniting his love and attachment for humble, traditional methods of art and craft. Thus, he picked the furniture plan without hesitation while applying for the National Institute of Design. Later in 2012, he joined the Department of Design at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati for a Master’s in Design and specialized in Furniture Design. He always encouraged himself by the works of other incredible Designers, Artists, and Architects like Peter Zumthor, Anish Kapoor, Alexander McQueen, Thomas Heatherwick, and the beloved Indian fashion Designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee. In the year 2018, the young-promising designer was chosen for the Forbes India 30 under 30, a prestigious list of achievers across 15 categories.

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Designer Ranjan Bordoloi_©elledecor.in/article_category/edida/current/
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The making of Pitoloi barstool in Assam_©theartling.com/en/artzine/the-unconventional-career-path-of-ranjan-bordoloi/

The 2017 Red Dot Award 

During his university days, Ranjan Bordoloi invented the concept of utilizing brass while studying various modern manufacturing strategies. The chair of Pitoloi, built for his last year’s graduation venture, received the 2015 Park Elle Décor Graduation Competition (the best use of traditional material). He also exhibited at India Design ID in February 2015. At the young age of 27, he caught the global eye of an Italian artist, Giulio Cappellini (craft head of Milan-based Italian plan firm Cappellini) and was allowed to present his work on a global scale at the Salone del Mobile in April 2015, Milan.

“What impressed me about Ranjan Bordoloi’s work is his sensitivity towards the materials. His projects are never obvious, but they are able to mix contemporary and innovative forms by using manufacturing techniques belonging to the artisan tradition of his country,” says Cappellini.

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The Kaathfula Chair_©www.goodhomes.co.in/design-and-style/style-makers/ranjan-bordoloi-on-the-road-less-travelled-5560-3.html

In October 2017, Ranjan Bordoloi was the only Indian leaving with two awards at the Singapore Red Dot Award held on Design Concept. In the category of furniture and conceptual Design, his Kaathfula Chair made the mark. Using EVA fabric (ethylene-vinyl acetate) and supported without the use of metallic or timber casings that appear in an otherwise typical chair seat, the edgy chair takes its form inspired by the shape of a mushroom. With the Kaathfula chair, he wanted to create something radically different and functional since most of his previous works involved using hard materials like metal and cane. It won him the Godrej Design Lab in 2016 too.

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The Pitoloi Collection_© bookofachievers.com/articles/iitian-furniture-designer-made-it-to-forbes2018-sough-after-by-international-big-brands

Though it was Pitoloi that made him a star at the Red Dot Award night. The collection won the Best of the Best award and consisted of small stools and barstools. It is made, by cutting sheets of brass that are joined together by an ancient floor-based coal welding technique. The sheets, given shape by wooden moulds, are hammered using traditional beating techniques. He collaborated with Emam Ali, a master artisan of the community, to create these high-end contemporary utilitarian objects for both; domestic and international markets. The collection aims to revive the dying craft of making utensils and artefacts by hand-slashed brass artwork, embellishment, and welding methodologies – traditionally practised by a community of Assamese artisans. He hopes to make his passion for unfamiliar art relevant to a 21st-century contemporary lifestyle. 

“Currently my work is very artisanal, but going forward, I would also like to get into the industry, combine a high-tech production facility in the form of robots with artisans,” says Bordoloi.

His dreams and challenges post-fame 

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Following simple design philosophies over trends and styles, Ranjan Bordoloi hopes to create high-quality products in collaboration with companies that value Design and Craftsmanship. He believes that Indian Designers need to lean more towards innovation and less towards decoration to be a robust global player. He is keen on designing products for daily use that have a deep cultural meaning rather than just being a decorative piece. Unlike the West, our country does not have brands or galleries that can showcase or support budding artisans and designers. In India, one has to do their production, distribution and retailing, which can often become a discouraging factor for many. He was also engaged in working with a Rosewood inlay artist in Mysuru and hopes to use the technique to create three-dimensional objects (such as curved trays). He further has plans to work with carpet weavers in Nepal to create woven rugs. Apart from creating, he also aims to educate the youth. He is currently teaching at the National Institute of Design. 

His ultimate target is to reach out to an audience that appreciates authentic Design and Craftsmanship and pins India along with other major design houses.

References:

Quotes have been taken from the article published on : https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/guwahati-designer.html 

Author

A student of Architecture who lives by the word nostalgia and enjoys taking black and white photographs. Her style of writing is unconventional and often romanticised. She believes Architecture has the power to heal and adores anyone who listens to Radiohead.

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