Designed by: Team “Wood n Gift”, Husain Patel and Mubin Ansari.
Photography : Truptesh Sawant, Volume Zero.
Wood has been one of mankind’s oldest building materials. It exemplifies a design concept and typology which is so unique and creative in transformation, allowing one to personalize details, varying in ornamentation of simple details as well as that of a complex element. A tribute to this excellence and versatile genius of a craftsmanship in wood is Husain’s workshop. In an age which is so reinforced by urbanism and technology, there exists some of the most distinct craftsmen, who have made creative and innovative use of wood within the severe constraints laid down by the rules of building sciences.
A walk into Mahim Causeway in Mumbai, along reti bunder, will eventually lead you to a designer’s paradise and an architect’s delight. Take your time looking through the narrow alleyways and lanes that connect one home to another, watch out for little sit outs that allow the residents to sit and indulge in the free air, where you will see houses in various stages of construction.
There is a change for a great opportunity to explore and have an insight into a village of Mumbai, that no tourist office or brochure will ever give you. At the end of this walk you will eventually spot a workshop so unique in today’s wooden starved settlements. You will be surprised to notice, how a craftsman spent an entire lifetime working with a single material and fabricating artifacts of similar typology, where he became a master of that particular material and object making.
Each Craftsman here at Hussain’s have their own set of thumb rules and guidelines which are used as principles for design. The accurate angles and sizes were obtained by applying each of the thumb rules. Each of the artisans have achieved perfection of his art through vigorous apprenticeship and careful perseveration for the material. The spatial aesthetic experience of this workshop contributes a great deal to the wood work. In spite of typological standardizations uniqueness was brought in each craftsman as he was allowed to leave an imprint of his artistry in the creation of various details.
The carpenters here are designers as well as craftsman and are trained in structural aspects of ornamentation. They work without any drawings and express respect as well as meticulous care for wood. The level of intricacy of ornamentation in the quality of wood and details of carvings will satisfy the aesthetic sense of the designer.
The art of crafting thus results in manifestation of shared cultural heritage. This wooden craft of Mumbai still survives today as a symbol of prosperity of the mercantile community and versatility as well as artistry of the craftsmen.
– Niyati Shetty,Volume Zero.