If there were a physical intersection between Germany and India then the roads would meet at Reclaimed Stories, a collection of five artisanal items that truly represent the best of both worlds. Established by two friends, Indian designer Nikita Bhate and German designer Pascal Hien, these items were originally part of a larger collection they designed for an interior project for an international, boutique fitness club. "Extending their concept, [our] intention was to design essential pieces for their 'LIVE-IN ROOM,' Pascal and Nikita tell Yatzer. "They are the first outcome of an ongoing conversation about contemporary design made for and from India."
What does the language of this conversation contain? There is the Sancha/Block Dining Chair, a meticulously made wood seat that is intricately hand carved by blockmasters from Pethapur through a process usually utilized for textile block printing. The Sancha also features a gently curving granite back and brass joinery details. Then there is the curving Tankan/Stoke Lounge Chair, whose design includes an iron base that has been hammered by a local blacksmith and a soft leather upper with hand stitched seams. Meanwhile, the natural teak construction of the Ayama/Extend Deck Chair utilizes traditional reclaimed wood and traditional Indian turning techniques.
Teak is also the base of the Barza/Balcony Lounge, which boasts a long and wide bolster headrest, an extended armrest and a cushion cover handmade out of upholstery using the prestigious Ahmedabad Organic Fabric. And last but not least, there is the Dasta/Handle Dining Table. This single slab of marble (or glass) tabletop contains a very interesting detail: the array of holes in the tabletop fit multiple brass door handles which can be arranged to create a display to hold various dishes. To note, everything in this collection is made to order and customizable by material and color.
We ask Pascal and Nikita where Germany and India meet, design wise. "We meet in the curiosity to discover old and forgotten crafts, in the discussion about design in general, being aware of the past while creating the future," they say. "It’s maybe not even specific to our origins but to how we grew up and what experiences we have gone through. We think at the bottom of design always lies a human interaction that defines its function. This mutual interest made it easy to collaborate."
Their collaboration indeed seems to be a perfect match. Whereas Nikita is an "insider" to Indian culture and traditions, the two describe Pascal as the "outsider," one who often notices things that seem completely "normal" to Nikita, details that a native might take for granted. "By sharing these thoughts, it became a very fun and often surprising exchange between the two of us," they share.
And as for the future of Reclaimed Stories and Pascal and Nikita, much seems to be in the pipeline, including a "native Indian furniture brand with a unique business approach." If this detailed and miniscule collection of five pieces is anything to go by, we're sure that it will be a beautiful example of collaboration between a rich past and a thriving present.