Engineer Karthik Vaidyanathan always kept a keen interest in design, especially interior design. Over the past 14 years his stint in the media industry kept him busy, but every job kept him in touch with design of various genres – graphic design, multimedia design, jewellery design, etc.
While decorating his apartment 2 years back, the furnishings at his home that he had tailored got his friends talking. Encouraged by his mum, Karthik held a small exhibition of furnishings for close friends. Thus started the journey of ‘Varnam’.
Karthik started volunteering with a Bangalore based NGO, ANTs that showcases products from artisans in the north-east. This exposure helped him build the necessary foundation for working with crafts people. Being in a full-time job, he would travel to nearby villages over weekends and holidays. Karthik was very clear that he did not wish to merely source the readily available products and resell them. He felt that the artisans and their craft needed a design intervention and that they also needed to be hand-held on honing their craft and delivering a product of premium quality. This became the founding principle for Varnam’s design process.
Through Varnam, Karthik revisits the traditional craft and textiles of South India with a contemporary twist. Here are a few of his beautiful designs:
In the coming months Karthik envisions Varnam to become a social enterprise that will continue to give fair wages to artisans and encourage them to think beyond their boundaries.