Furniture designer, Sneha Jajoo, is on an eternal search for ecological and sustainable materials that are malleable enough to take the shape and form she bids. Her exploration came to an end during a workshop in Auroville. Inspired by the workshop’s design techniques of making houses from mud and cob came the idea for Mrittika, a multi-purpose object to be used as both a table and a stool. It has been constructed using some of the simplest raw materials available, has a particularly low carbon footprint and is visually quirky. The name Mrittika, which means earth or soil, goes on to represent the ethos of the product designed by Sneha. Intense research led her to materials like clay, sand, agricultural fibres and varnish to create Mrittika, fully compostable and after reaching full utility can be revamped into something new or return to its origin, the earth. Breaking the piece down further she says, “The texture of the surface gives a unique visual of small pieces of hay and smoothness of clay. The stool creates a visual rhythm of the arched earth attached to a crisscross cane, adding to its poetic intensity. We researched a lot about the raw materials we used and kept testing them out on smaller objects to be sure of the utility.”
When it comes to her design philosophy, the art enthusiast likes to keep things simple. “There isn’t anything in particular but I find myself inspired by historical architecture. It is imperative for everything that I do to collaborate with nature. Even with Mrittika, it can be produced anywhere with soil around, is hassle free and doesn’t require any energy.” An ode to slow living, Sneha’s furniture practice, Saar, further makes use of traditional artistry and experiments with it to lend a modern take on things. As someone who began her journey with a degree in Interior Design followed by a Masters in Furniture Design, she understands spaces innately and the dire need for man-made atmospheres to connect closely with nature.
Working tirelessly to preserve indigenous techniques, Saar focuses on building narratives that inspire and evoke emotions. In today’s day and age, when it is of utmost importance to create in a manner that reduces clutter, Sneha believes when it comes to the importance of good design in our times, social media plays a role in the same. Individuals find themselves educating themselves on all that’s happening and the desperate need to reduce mindless consumption, “It’s great that people are developing more sensitivity towards their context.”
As a young brand attempting to establish themselves, things have been slow during the pandemic, but Sneha also chimes in on how the extra time has benefitted their research work and experimentation with materials that may not be commonly thought of for building furniture. Other than that, she also has her plate full of some upcoming projects, one of which is developing more products using the same material as she uses for the creation of Mrittika. While her objects remained unnamed as of now, she’s excited for the future.
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Text Unnati Saini