by Rishad Patell on
By the late 50's, the British department stores had closed in India, leaving a great void in some categories - particularly home accessories. As architects, we found it very difficult to complete our projects. Our search for suitable products began. As we travelled across India we met many skilled workers/craftsmen in search of a market for their skills. As a result, CAC was born in 1962.
The good news is that today, more than 50 years later, some crafts have passed from generation to generation and CAC is working with grandchildren of our original contacts. Sadly, these few relationships are exceptions. More often, the craftsmen find it difficult to make a living and their produce cannot support two or three generations - they need help - they need help in the form of innovative design, which respects their age old craft techniques .
We have government sponsored design centres - wherein great designs, respecting the crafts, are created. What happens next? It is my experience that these designs may or may not be exposed around the country and then are consigned to a steel cupboard in some must, dusty, smelly store room. This exercise, in no way benefits the craftsmen.
Further they need help in marketing their products, in packaging their products, in packing their products for shipment, in dealing with couriers, in short they need help at every step of their journey from their modest dwellings to the city market. If all of this help is not available soon, India will be poorer for it will have lost a wealth of skills which can never be replaced .
We, at CAC remain dedicated in our search for and support of good design and fine craftsmanship.