Iti Tyagi took it upon herself to challenge the notion that cement & art aren’t great companions and came up with many artistic and utility products.
It is not often that one associates cement with art. But when an artist combines such material with ideas located in the beauty of nature, the resulting product is definitely intriguing. A rage of artistic and utility based products have been created by designer Iti Tyagi who explored the medium as a part of ‘Craft Beton’.
When she first got the brief for playing with cement and working beautiful pieces out of it, Tyagi was, “confused”, she says. After all the medium has not been explored in the world of art a lot. The young designer, who is also a founder of ‘Craft Beton’ shares that a lot of research went into this project. “We experimented a lot to find out how to come to a specific design, what temperature to work at while handling cement. It was very interesting to research on this medium and was also a great learning opportunity as an artist.” She started working on this project in collaboration with a team of three other artists, Alan Saga, Miroslaw Baca and Somesh Singh, who have their own take on this very versatile medium.
Tyagi has previously explored metal, wood, glass and embroidery. “But cement is a very versatile material. Every material has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. With cement you have a power to mould it in which ever way you want. And unlike plastic or wood, that material has a stronger outcome.”
But what about the greyness of the material? And does the minimalistic look that cement can give work well on products or does it needs enhancement with other materials? Tyagi feels, “While there have been pieces that have used some other materials, I wouldn’t say that cement doesn’t have the power to be worked upon alone. There are many pieces in the collection that have only used cement and it has worked out beautifully.” The collection is proof that design in India has made a huge shift towards minimalism and minimalism is here to stay. While some components of other materials have been included in the collection, the calming look that comes along with the greyness of cement makes it class apart.
Her collection is inspired by seasonal changes. If beautiful leaf-shaped bowls, ashtrays, candle holders and trays don’t make one’s head turn, there is also jewellery made out of cement. “Cement can be moulded by hands as well and that works really well for design.”
While the artist has previously worked for many well known brands and designed household and lifestyle related products, she shares her experience of working with a team, “As different artists come together, the ideas are only bound to grow. At ‘Craft Beton’, we didn’t have any clashes, it was infact a great opportunity for sharing and expanding ideas.”
Tyagi is also interested in sustainable development and likes to help marginalised sections of the art world. She has worked previously with artisans in regions like Balakatti, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Firozabad and Kutch.