Tribal Bible

February, 2014


Dr Art +Design creates an apartment inspired by Gond Art from Madhya Pradesh.

We thought home interiors had become quite mundane, with the contemporary modernistic design approach almost monopolising living spaces, but only until we saw this house. This house is not just a breath of fresh air with respect to design; itīs a space that breathes Indianness even as it maintains its contemporary approach. Itīs a space that cherishes and celebrates our traditional arts and crafts and showcases the designerīs ability to create something this unique and magnificent.

What is so unique about this home, you may ask. Everything, actually. Every element in this home is inspired by Gond Art, that is, art originating from a namesake tribal community of Madhya Pradesh. The designer recreates elements of this folk art through furniture, wall dTcor, materials, finishes and art work.

Tales of life
īGond tribal art is a medium to express the tribeīs daily lifeīs quest. It holds the faith which says that seeing a good image begets good fortune,ī shares Mitali Bajaj, Principal Designer, Dr Art + Design, the mastermind behind this unique home. The house is beautifully adorned with customary motifs and tattoos that are seen in Gond art, alongside Gond paintings. These paintings are unique in the sense that these images of animals and plants that articulate folklore are formed almost entirely of dots and dashes rather than continuous lines. The art is in black and white as well as in colour, and each piece is creatively affluent in humor, detail and mystery.

Art everywhere
Dr Art +Design has abstracted Gond artefacts and converted them into functional pieces. Detailing of furniture, tiles, sculptures, paintings, headboards, flooring have all been inspired by the Gond tribal ways. A Gond comb becomes a chair, architectural motifs became headboards, TV units and wardrobe handles. Wall murals in the huts became motifs for cushion covers and bed runners. Elements from paintings are abstracted to form installations. Elements from columns became mirror borders. Motifs from murals get carved onto cabinets. A Mahua tree, the highlight of the living room, becomes a book shelf. The entrance sculpture is also inspired by a comb and showcases various Gond elements on the main door.

Materials and symbols
Distress polish, handmade cement tiles for flooring and mood lighting add to the tribal ambience. Each room has its key tribal features.

The wall mural in the bed room facing the sea is a composition of birds and fish, an obvious reference to the view through the window. The materials used to make this mural are the same materials used by the Gond tribe for the murals on their walls a mixture of 10 materials including marble powder, lime, etc.

In the living room, it is the Mahua tree, much loved by the Gonds, which gets highlighted in the form of a bookcase. The Gonds make alcohol from the Mahua flower, and the drink is an integral part of all their celebrations. īThe tree is a mixture of colours and oxidised gold. We scratched the top layer to make different Gond images. We merged two village forms the Gond kite form and the Gond bird form, which is used as a graphic on the tree; we used teak wood to ensure longevity,ī shares Bajaj.

Seamless integration
While the house is drenched in tribal art, in no way does it look like a handicraft store. It has a modernist, classy appeal that subtly incorporates the elements of the art without compromising on rich finish and comfort.īWe wanted to create a chic representation of Gond tribal art. At the same time, we did not want it to look like an international designerīs superficial view point. People who live in the apartment should feel proud to explain the art and design to their visitors. And their guests needed to be delighted by what we have created,ī sums up Bajaj.

Total Area: 1,450 sq ft
Total cost: Rs.85,00,000
text: Sumisha Gilotra
photos: Indrajit Sathe

30 Union Park, Khar (W). Mumbai - 400 052
Tel: 022- 6642 0000. E-mail:

Meet the designer
Mitali Bajaj
Firm: Dr.Art+Design was founded in Aug 2009.
specialisation: Artistic interiors, concept art, sculptures, installation, art furniture
Design philosophy: Creating artistically relevant spaces.
Philosophy towards life: Learn, earn and return.
Favourite architect/Designer: Kamal and Arjun Malik and Zaha Hadid