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Nishi Chauhan and the animals on her farm: A series of contemporary house lamps, Animal Farm repurposes empty glass bottles and sees them take on a new life as a functional lifestyle product. The wood and lac turnery craft of Channapatna in Karnataka was used to elevate the glass pieces, transforming them into whimsical animal characters. The aesthetic and structural characteristics of the bottles are maintained while the Channapatna elements merely bring into focus the potential of a simple bottle silhouette.

The Animal Farm

Designer Nishi Chauhan`s series saw lamps made from upcycled glass bottles and jars without altering their distinctive structural build.

Carving Details

Channapatna craft was used to fashion animal heads, ears, legs and even fins for the glass bottles.

A Familiar Aesthetic

The wood and lac turnery elements of each lamp makes them easy to recognise as an Indian product.

The New Arrival

Nishi was later inspired to introduce Dunk to the farm.

Assembling Dunk

Designed to be moved around the house and to be used in various situations and moods.

A Herd of Dunk

A fantasy creature that stands on three long legs, has a long neck and a horse like head.

Acquiring Dunk

Seeing people’s interest in buying one of the animals led to Dunk being sold on Nishi`s website.

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Showcase 21 Sep 2018

Nishi Chauhan’s Animal Farm uses glass bottles to create sustainably inclined lamps

Collecting empty bottles and jars is a common practice in many Indian households. Where most would have seen storage containers and flower vases, Nishi Chauhan was able to see potential (and animals), and was able to transform these glass items into functional yet decorative lifestyle products. Through the series "Animal Farm" the designer was able to grant these objects a new life as whimsical and contemporary products.

Having studied architecture and later on industrial design, Bengaluru-based artist Nishi Chauhan believes her education in these fields informs her appreciation for shape and form. This becomes evident when assessing her continuing series “Animal Farm” that sees lamps made from upcycled glass bottles and jars without altering their distinctive structural build.

Nishi Chauhan and the animals on her farm: A series of contemporary house lamps, Animal Farm repurposes empty glass bottles and sees them take on a new life as a functional lifestyle product. The wood and lac turnery craft of Channapatna in Karnataka was used to elevate the glass pieces, transforming them into whimsical animal characters. The aesthetic and structural characteristics of the bottles are maintained while the Channapatna elements merely bring into focus the potential of a simple bottle silhouette.

The Animal Farm

Designer Nishi Chauhan`s series saw lamps made from upcycled glass bottles and jars without altering their distinctive structural build.

After the accumulation of many empty mason jars and beer, wine and sauce bottles, Nishi began to recognise a likeness to animals in their silhouettes. She declares, “Every rock is a statue waiting to be carved. Every bottle is something else, waiting to be seen.” While playing and experimenting with these shapes, Nishi visited Channapatna and was immediately taken by their community of craftsmen creating wood and lac turnery effigies of animals. The serendipity of the event was the turning point that set this collaborative project in motion.

Carving Details

Channapatna craft was used to fashion animal heads, ears, legs and even fins for the glass bottles.

A Familiar Aesthetic

The wood and lac turnery elements of each lamp makes them easy to recognise as an Indian product.

Design Meets Craft

Channapatna craft was used to fashion animal heads, ears, legs and even fins for the glass bottles. The animals in this glass farm include Peeves (the penguin), Flo (the fish), Humf (the hippopotamus), Gerry (the giraffe), Porky (the pig) and Ellie (the elephant). Nishi describes the series as “contemporary Indian, minimalist craft and playfully serious. Objects that would otherwise have met uninteresting ends, born again as playful products.”

The New Arrival

Nishi was later inspired to introduce Dunk to the farm.

“Every rock is a statue waiting to be carved. Every bottle is something else, waiting to be seen.”

As charming as they look, these products are fully functional while also contributing to ecological consciousness. The use of bottles and jars minimises household waste while eliminating the need to process any plastics or metals for the body. These lamps also run on electricity and make use of ecologically beneficial, low voltage LED bulbs. When asked if eco-friendliness was always a priority while creating Animal Farm, Nishi explained, “I saw art in the accumulated bottles and started to play with them. Everything else followed. Craft, sustainability, all of it followed the art; the desire to make something of them.” This series also contributes to the support and empowerment of artisanal communities.

Assembling Dunk

Designed to be moved around the house and to be used in various situations and moods.

A Herd of Dunk

A fantasy creature that stands on three long legs, has a long neck and a horse like head.

A New Member

Nishi eventually added to the farm family by introducing a new character. She mentions, “Animal Farm was born out of artistic expression. It wasn’t designed to be made as more than a single set of objects. But seeing people’s interest in buying one of the animals led to Dunk.” Dunk is a fantasy creature that stands on three long legs, has a long neck and a horse like head. This creature was designed to be moved around the house and to be used in various situations and moods. As for more fictional family members in the future, Nishi states, “Design decisions were made to facilitate Dunk’s production at a limited scale only. Will there be more fantasy creatures in the future? Why not. But in this form? I don’t know.” The series was awarded the Red Dot Design Award, Best of the Best, 2014, in Singapore.

Acquiring Dunk

Seeing people’s interest in buying one of the animals led to Dunk being sold on Nishi`s website.

When asked if she had any plans to expand on the series, Nishi explains, “There are other dreams waiting to come to life, right now. After that? Maybe if the animals make enough noise in my head.”

For more on Animal Farm, Dunk or Nishi’s other works you can visit her website.