Vivek Radhakrishnan is not your regular furniture maker. The Indo-French entrepreneur holds an international degree in product design and his daily life is rooted in the arts through Kynkyny,
a gallery in Bangalore that he runs with wife Namrata Kini. He also launched India’s first professional cycling club in Bangalore and is a fitness buff himself, cycling 50 km everyday.
But with his latest project Kabuki, Radhakrishnan fuses art design and drama into one cohesive line of limited edition furniture that is at once beautiful, functional and unique.
“Kabuki means drama in Japanese, and we thought it was appropriate since we have fused two seemingly disparate worlds, contemporary art and modern furniture design. Each piece also tells a story,” he says, gesturing towards the carefully crafted cabinets, nesting tables and consoles displayed around the gallery. Each piece is quite unique and Radhakrishnan has limited production to just seven pieces.
Kabuki is a project that was several years in the pipeline and has only just come to fruition, says Radhakrishnan.
It involved several lengthy discussions with artists, many hours at the drawing board and workbench and the judicious use of technology and industrial processes that helped to create what he describes as ‘three dimensional canvases that can be touched felt, seen, used and experienced”.
“I worked with four contemporary artists— C F John, Praveen Kumar, Nishant Dange and Yuvan Bothi Sathuvar. I spent hours studying their work closely. I then tried to figure out the best way to amalgamate form and function without sacrificing one for the other,” Radhakrishnan explains.
Cabinets and cupboards incorporate C F John’s birds and trees that come with fine brush detailing and subtle earthy tones.
Quiet and contemplative in form, Nishant Dange’s gorgeous female faces merge in graceful fragments on clusters of tables and deceptively simple cabinets. The effect is like that of a mesmerising optical illusion.
Statement pieces take on a whole new meaning with Praveen Kumar’s black on white and white on black dramatic
chests of drawers that highlight the strong clean lines of his architecturally inspired paintings.
Displaying stunning minimal design and
vibrant bursts of colour, Yuvan Bothi Satahur’s mixed media canvases embossed onto marble tops simply stand apart. The coloured marble panels are neatly converted into console tables and held in place by finely crafted ‘Naja legs’.
The legs, designed by French designer Stéphane Choquet and developed by Radhakrishnan, are finished with cast aluminum and make clever use of wood-working clamps that perfectly balance the curvy Louis XV style.
Despite all the attention paid to design and finish, Radhakrishnan emphasises that his furniture is still very practical.
“All the art is sealed in through the use of modern technology. Kids can eat off the tables, guest can put their feet up and relax. These are pieces that are made to be used and enjoyed by families. They do not belong in a museum,” he says.