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IN THE WORKSHOP: THE AYASA COLLECTION

Metal Spinning is a highly skilled craft that is central to what we do in our Bangalore workshop at Tiipoi. When we started out in 2014, we struggled to find a craftsperson in Bangalore capable of doing the metal spinning by hand. Most traditional metal spinners had been put out of work by CNC-operated machines, which are no doubt faster and more efficient. But we didn't want to give up on making things the traditional way and continued our search! Eventually, we met Venkatesh Chinappa (A.K.A Venky Anna - Anna means older brother) who came with over 25 years of experience. Today, we're proud to say that Venky is an invaluable member of the workshop team, and makes all of Tiipoi’s brass, copper and aluminium-spun products.

Recently, we launched a Masala Dabba with our friends at Diaspora Co. and so excited for this heirloom pairing of single origin spices with a hand-spun brass dabba made by Venky.

Indian homes and kitchens see materials such as copper, brass, bronze and aluminium to be utilitarian, and they are regularly used for eating and drinking. We're so happy about how this brass masala dabba sits perfectly alongside our AYASA collection, which was our first collection and embodies what we set out to do as design studio. Our idea then – and now – was to celebrate the quiet but considered functionality of Indian household objects that are often not considered design pieces, but absolutely should be.

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Venkatesh Chinappa came to us with over 25 years of experience of spinning metal. Although metal spinning is thought of as an industrial manufacturing process because a machine is involved, it is in reality a highly specialised manual technique that is akin to any skilled handcraft.

We've already said that metal spinning is at the heart of so many of our products and is central to what happens in our workshop. But apart from the spinning itself, there are several stages that take place in the making of a spun piece. For instance, we calculated how long it takes to make a single Masala Dabba and this totals up to 72 minutes with about 16 stages of annealing, spinning, and buffing before its quality checked and packed for you!

Another crucial part about metal is spinning is that most products need an appropriate ‘tool’, - think of these as moulds in a way. These tools are made locally in mild steel. We do the drawing for the tool, and pass it on to our (amazing) engineer Vibin, who communicates it to Venky Anna and the toolmaker. Once the tool is made its mounted on the machine, Venky then works on the blanks with a long device called a ‘spoon’ and the desired shape is formed.

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    We are a product design studio based between Bangalore and London.

    India fascinates and inspires us. We think that there is more to Indian design than just sticking an elephant on it, and that Indian craft has more to offer than simply repeating the past.

    India can seem a pretty chaotic place. But sitting there, quietly are some really incredible, super functional designs. The “designers” of these objects if they can be found at all, aren’t celebrated in the same way as they are in other countries. Instead design is seen as a bi-product of living. This unassuming approach, with an emphasis on a quiet functionality, is what inspires and drives our creative process.

    At Tiipoi, we tell positive and insightful stories of a real India, that is changing and shifting all the time. We don’t want to tell nostalgic stories of its past. We prefer to look at what is happening right now, and highlight India’s role in contemporary design.