The furniture we make comprises re-editions of mid-century furniture (Project Chandigarh collection) as well as contemporary objects created and licensed exclusively to Phantom Hands by designers such as INODA+SVEJE and X+L.
The pieces we re-edit and produce in our Project Chandigarh collection are based on designs that are in the public domain. To provide historical context - In the early 1950s, it was decided by the Punjab government of the day that furniture must be created for public buildings in the new city of Chandigarh. The furniture would reflect the modernism of the architecture, but would be adapted to the usage requirements and made by Indian craftsmen with locally available material and skills.
A Design Office was set up under the leadership of Pierre Jeanneret with a team of young Indian designers and architects assisting him. A range of furniture was developed, some were site specific and some used across multiple buildings. The drawings created by the Design Office were given out to several carpentry workshops and model makers with instructions that they could improvise on the design or material as per their judgement and requirement. Therefore there are several variants of each model. These pieces were meant to be freely reproduced and were never licensed to a single manufacturer. Over the years the designs became pervasive and the same style of chairs could be seen in government offices and private spaces in other Indian cities like Bangalore and Delhi too.
Project Chandigarh evolved as our homage to Indian modernism, a style and philosophy of making that manifested in Chandigarh. Our pieces are made by hand, using material and craftsmanship that is nearly the same as was used in the 1950s. The nuances and details that make these designs special – finger joints, radius of the arms and legs, various joineries – are all made with hand tools. The natural rattan cane we use for the seat and back are peeled and woven by hand by highly skilled weavers.
This legacy of Indian Modernism is carried forward in our collaborations with contemporary designers such as INODA+SVEJE from Milan and X+L from Amsterdam. The same principles of using traditional craft and combining it with design innovation can be seen in the contours and shapes of the Muṅgāru Collection or the cane weaving patterns of the Tāngali Collection.