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Embroidered panels for Kutch museum

Mumbai-based Design Collaborative has designed the Shrujan Gallery in the Kutch, which was to develop the first textile gallery and museum for the Living and Learning Design Centre in Bhuj.

The design narrative wove together the life and works of 10 embroidering communities from Kutch, ranging from the Ahirs to the Halepotras. The firm spent six months observing the work of Shrujan and the community, studying the surrounding villages, embroidery clusters and craftswomen to formulate design concepts for the museum and continue their traditions.

Out of the three layers of visual narratives, the main display features a collection of embroidered panels and garments. The uppermost comprises a photo-documentation of the craftspeople hailing from a particular community, while the third layer is a more interactive segment where people learn more about the embroidery style and choose samples. The exhibition also has a display of crafts, lippan kaam (local mud art), household goods and other goods.

The spatial design renders a brutalist feel with metal structures that hold the entire exhibition space together, and the exposed raceways in the ceilings colored in a Mondrian grid. Metal screens made of local embroidery form motifs creating partitions along the first exhibit of the gallery. The Shrujan Gallery comprises embroidery from several communities: the Ahir collection shows an extensive use of red, yellow and orange while the Rabaris use black, grey and silver. Muted colors bring out the richness of these collections.

The display design resembles portrait photography, where the main subject is highlighted by creating complementing environments. The crafts section uses blue to differentiate the photomontage produced by the craftspeople from the rest of the space. Textured art intrinsic to the community, such as lippan kaam is used while Ajrakh prints are used to render a part of the Kutch map at the entrance of the gallery.