Ea r - lier this year, the second edition of Shahid Datawala’s Matchbook was released, which chronicles images and illustrations of matchboxes.
The book was first launched in 2008, and was a hit.
The Mumbai-based Datawala has come a long way since then, going on to design everything from jewellery inspired by sewage systems and vintage cutlery to furniture.
The later has seen him patronised by celebrities like Sridevi, Kangna Ranuat and Monica Dongra.
His latest creation, a spike coffee table (`98,900) is a hit on the pinboard-style photo sharing website, Pinterest, and has caught the fancy of designers like Rakesh Thakore.
We spoke to Datawala to find out what his grandmother’s cutlery meant to him and how he goes underground for inspiration:
Road less traveled
Datawala was 19 when he dropped out of school and left Kolkata to pursue his dream of becoming an artist.
He took up his first job as a freelance photographer in the capital and soon, his photographs made it to magazines like Vogue.
That he loves collecting objects is evident (it started when he was five), especially ‘‘old pieces of art’’, be it vintage sunglasses from the 40s to the 80s, to typewriters and film projectors.
“My grandmother used to have a lot of vintage cutlery from the British colonial era and I began collecting it,” he recalls.
His debut jewellery line, Table Wear, launched last November, was inspired by this collection.
Another jewellery line, The Great Bombay Sewage System, had a quirky approach to design.
“I always observe the sewage system that our country has.
It is often very embarrassing to see the pipes coming up,” says the designer about the handmade copper neck pieces that reflect the underbelly of Mumbai.
His furniture, mostly contemporary, is also inspired by ‘‘small situations in my life.’’ Though his tryst with furniture designing started in the 90s, he entered the collective consciousness when Pallate, a high-end furniture store in Mumbai, approached him in 2005.
He was also doing accessories, lighting, products and ‘‘everything under the sun’’ with materials like glass and steel.
‘‘I find my work schizophrenic to an extent,” says Datawala, who now heads the design team at Pallate.
In the frame
Datawala is also known for his photography and installations, a dark portrayal of metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi, and he insists that it is about bringing alive what is old.
As for Matchbook, he shares how it all began when he came across the rip-offs of a famous matchbox label.
“When one company introduces a certain kind of matchbox, it is followed by many others.
New Ship w a s followed with New Shades, New Shops, even New Shits.
That’s what intrigued me,” he says.
Datawala’s clothing line, Karborised, also inspired by matchboxes (initially started as a men’s line) is likely to include a women’s collection by July.
Datawala’s furniture collection is priced from `30,000 onwards, and jewellery, priced between `7,000 and `12,000.
Details: 022 42206000