Christmas – Victorian & Albert Museum welcomes visitors with Kalpataru whishing tree installation by Delhi-based designers Sarthak and Sahil. Silversmiths and craftsmen decorated free-standing structures in the Grand Entrance of the Museum with classic Indian motifs such as petals, paisleys and colourful birds.
Kalpataru is a wish-fulfilling divine tree in Hindu mythology. The installation was commissioned by Victoria & Albert Museum on the occasion of the V&A India Festival and links the traditions of Diwali Festival of Lights to the spirit of Christmas celebrations.
“The installation is a modern-day interpretation of the Kalpataru that doesn’t only celebrate light in its literal sense but also as a metaphor for the celebration of hope, prosperity and ecology” say Sarthak and Sahil.
The metal frames have been handcrafted from brass sheets by a team of expert silversmiths and enhanced with a hand beaten texture popularly seen in traditional utensils used in Indian kitchens.
Each element is fitted with a vibrant mural motif, hand-painted by artists from the southern state of Kerala in their distinctive mural-painting style. The entire structure is illuminated from below to reveal the intricate patterns of symbolic fruits and leaves.
Sarthak and Sahil say “To us, the V&A is a treasure trove of meaningful objects that narrate varied human customs and traditions over time. For this festive installation we wanted to design something that encapsulates both diverse cultural symbolism and contemporary customs, embodying the metaphorical tree with the spirit of both Diwali and Christmas celebrations which everyone can enjoy”.
Sarthak and Sahil formed their Delhi-based design studio in 2009 and since then have worked across many areas of design, from furniture and lifestyle products, to graphics, lighting, interiors and installations.
Photos: courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum.