Behind the Scenes of the Tangāli Collection



Parni Ray



Designed by Inoda + Sveje, the Tangāli collection comprises a daybed, bench, coffee table, side table and a modular chair set. The collection developed over a period of nearly two years, from early 2018 to late 2019, and has a distinctive cane weave pattern as its signature design element.

The first time Inoda +Sveje came to the Phantom Hands workshop was in 2017. It was their first time in India.

They took their time to get a feel of our craftsmen’s process, a lot was unlike what they were used to. Instead of working on a carpentry table, for instance, they found our carpenters sitting, working on the floor. They discovered how this local technique allowed for much greater involvement of the body in the making process, lending to the finesse the craftsmen managed to achieve just with hand tools.

Carpenters at Phantom Hands working on the Tangāli Bench prototype

Kyoko and Nils took back all they had seen to their drawing boards. Among these was their newfound fascination with woven cane. When they returned to the Phantom Hands workshop the year after, they came armed with the intention of making cane the headliner, the ‘cherry’ atop their designs.

Prototyping discussion with the Phantom Hands team.

Being strenuous and time consuming cane weaving by hand is a dying craft. In Europe, where Kyoko and Nils are based, it has been replaced almost completely by machine weaving. Cane itself has largely been abandoned in favour of plastic. Instead of being woven onto furniture frames, typically, prefabricated webbing sheets are retrofitted.

Cane weaving experiments on proto 1.0 of the Tangāli Daybed

To emphasize its distinction from such furniture, the Tangāli collection incorporates weaving techniques that can only be done by hand, such as the double woven borders around the wood.

Nils working on the cane weave of the Tangāli Modular chair prototype.

Instead of being ‘tidied’ up like in a factory made product the furniture also has the weaving knots visible ‘The knots convey the story of the making of the chair’ says Nils. Plus they provide the furniture a tactile quality. ‘We may not realise it, but we all touch our furniture a lot’, he says ‘you will find that woven cane is quite pleasant to touch’.

Kyoko and Nils discussing a prototype of the Tangāli Coffee Table.
Nils testing the ergonomics of the Tangāli Modular Chair.

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