Designer Burhan ud din Khateeb launched Studio Kalib to create unique handiwork items like bluetooth speakers, furniture, bags, chicken coops and more using Kashmir’s traditional craft.
After completing his graduation from National Institute of Design-Ahmedabad, designer Burhan ud din Khateeb,30 returns to Kashmir to set up Studio Kilab, also called Kashmir Innovation Lab in Srinagar, a design studio aimed at bringing crafts industry in the valley into mainstream home furnishing market by using sustainable and biodegradable materials.
At university, he came across with Indonesian designer Singgih Kartono who inspired him to use traditional wisdom in manufacturing of sustainable and eco-friendly furniture. He devised a way to use traditional Kashmiri craftsmanship with contemporary design while giving it a sustainable spin.
He went to his village to see how he can utilise local materials and craftsmanship to design products.The designs predominantly use paper mache, willow wicker, pine and walnut wood he adds. The paper mache comes from local printing presses, offices, and universities where there is a lot of waste paper. The make a range of decor items, furniture, chicken coops, or home utility and whatnot.
After doing some projects for Ishfaq Mir, who then had a traditional crafts family business, they both co-founded Studio Kilab. As of now around 100 craftsmen from Srinagar and nearby areas work with him in the studio. They engage maximum eight to ten craftsmen at a time in one project.Besides this they are also training them to create contemporary designs.
The most unique Of all items he designs, the most unique are innovative bluetooth speakers made using paper mache. The idea for bluetooth speakers, was to push craft to newer technology and electronics. The material is eco-friendly, durable and the acoustics, resonance of a paper mache enclosure are pretty much like wood’s. The pulp is highly flexible and can be moulded into any shape, which is quite challenging with wood, he says.
The willow wicker comes from a place called Ganderbal, which is famous for cultivating wicker. For wood we work with the Forest Department, who have a very organised way of procuring wood from trees that are very old,” he informs.