What Does Going Back to *Roots* Mean Anyway?
- getting back to sensibility
- applying (and insisting on) substance over style
- looking at something as a whole, always
Showcased here: Ganga Maki Textile Studio by Studio Mumbai Architects
More about the space from The Architectural Review:
This project has gained virtue not because it has used an impressive array of natural materials – nor because it was handmade. It has gained value because of how the materials are used – in keeping with their intrinsic character and purpose. The practice’s projects are not spontaneous (as some commentators have romanticised them) but carefully considered and mediated. History of craft is not a story of stagnation but of sensible emergence.
The workshop is a venture by Chiaki Maki, a renowned Japanese textile designer, and Rakesh Singh, a chef turned entrepreneur from the local area. At its heart are four L-shaped studios where weavers and craftspeople make handwoven fabrics and garments. Arranged around a courtyard, the simple rectangular boxes are buttressed on one side by a narrow storage and service space, and on the other by a slightly elevated workspace. The main spaces are made of bricks, finished with lime, covered by asbestos-free cement sheet roofs, and paved with stone floors. Adjacent work areas have stone slab roofs and lime floors. Sumptuously lit, earthy and comfortable, the studios accommodate weavers – mostly men – who sit at their looms in the central, sky-lit area. Women who knit, stitch and spin yarns cosily use the raised workspace.
Of the four studios, the one designed for Maki is distinctive. Not linked to the others, the structure is built with bamboo frames, plastered with mud mixed with dung and covered by a transparent roof with a bamboo trellis beneath, resembling an eloquent earthen house. It is designed specifically for her use while the others are more collective. Maki’s studio accommodates a few looms, with a long, sliced log serving as a table. She develops designs here before they are converted by the weavers into exquisite fabrics in the adjacent workshops.
North of the central courtyard run the blocks housing the dyeing workshop, guest dining and other amenities. Right at the top of the campus sit the owner and guest residences. At the entrance, a gallery invites visitors; this double-height space is covered by a translucent white marble roof that sits atop walls plastered by local craftspeople after they were trained by the Japanese and Swiss artisans who had created samples for the interior and exterior.