Wooden wonders: Quirk in designing

Wooden wonders: Quirk in designing

Manisha Gawade’s body of work brings in a rare confluence of her original paintings and furniture, and the effect is spectacular. Over 10 years ago, Manisha’s journey and passion with art-furniture began in Dubai as she wondered why furniture was always equated with brown. An artist-painter herself, she looked around at nature and the expanse and range of colours and themes possible. If the colour sand vibrancy could be brought into people’s living rooms, it would transform how they live. After the first rejection of her idea, she returned to India and began dabbling in this space.

Contrary to the notion people have about art — that it should be treated ‘elite’ — Manisha has a fresh outlook to wearable and usable art. “Spill juice on the tables I have created,” she says.

Her personal vision for her works of art is that people should touch and feel her work, make it an intrinsic part of their lives, own it, and pass it on to the next generations. Only then will her designs be internalised. It was at the 2015 India Design Show that Manisha understood that there was a huge audience for this concept. “After I showcased a bar, a writing table and a lounge chair, by the end of the show, I had repeat orders for the entire year.”


One look at Manisha’s work and you know each piece cannot be easily plagiarised. She puts in tremendous R&D to ensure each work is treated differently. Manisha has experimented over the years with different materials, paints and varnishes that blend and align with her acrylic paintings. A typical Manisha piece will have 19 layers built into it. And it takes over 60 days to build a single piece. She has been trained on surface creation in different countries like Dubai, London, Scotland and more. In 2012, she experimented with sarees using the concept of wearable art. She collaborated with five artists and the show was successful with the who’s who of the art world walking the ramp for this one.

Her life philosophy is ‘never say die’ and ‘nothing is impossible.’ She believes that buying her art-furniture is exactly like buying a piece of art. When you buy it, it is fairly at a premium, and when you sell, it is like a collector’s edition and has high value.

What a surprise!

Manisha had no idea  that she was the first ever Indian artist to receive the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the ruler and Prime Minister of Dubai and Dubai Art and Culture Authority, post her exhibition in Dubai in 2009. Her art works and collection spread over India, France, the UK, the US, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Argentina, including the royal family of Oman, which holds a large segment of her works as a part of their prized palace collection. In fact, as part of the Christies’ exhibit, in 2009, one of her murals, an eight-feet falcon was sold for 100,00 dirhams.

Her personal inspiration is her sister Alka and daughter Harika, both artists themselves. Her 10-year-old daughter inspires her every day as she believes that children create the purest form of art.

“Art is a way of life. One can see art in everything one does and in every single person one meets.” She was recently in the city to showcase her art-furniture.

There is a world of opportunities in art and Manisha Gawade’s journey has only begun.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox