Puru Das, Brian DeMuro, and Amy Lee of DeMuro Das sit down to give us a closer look into the design process in creating the Nami Cabinet from the 2020 Uncommon Threads Collection.
Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop this new collection?
DeMuro Das: We began developing this collection after visiting Japan in January of 2019.
Raymond: What was the overall time-line from conception to achieving the final design?
DeMuro: As we have full control over the production process in our New Delhi factory, the time-line from conception to final design is usually quite fast. The Nami went from concept to final design in less than six months. This included experimenting with the casting process.
Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea come from?
DeMuro: The Nami Cabinet was initially inspired by Japanese woodblock prints that we saw during our travels, specifically Hokusai’s “The Great Wave.” We also utilized Indian Dhokra sculptural techniques, which inspired the use of thread to create the intricate surface pattern on the doors that were cast in solid bronze.
Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
DeMuro: Our creative and design process stems from constant attention to the myriad forms of beauty and craft that exist worldwide. These can be as varied as an African tribal mask, an abstract painting, or a garment detail. The process is not linear as we work to tweak the design in form and function until we achieve what we feel is the final creation.
Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
DeMuro: As we design furniture meant to be lasting, we strongly believe in the idea of a piece’s continued use. Our clients value the fact that part of sustainability introduces a higher level of consideration over the objects they bring into their homes.
Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
DeMuro: The Nami Cabinet is composed of hand-cast solid antique bronze door fronts and legs. We used a gorgeous Walnut Burl for the cabinet exterior, and the interior is finished in matte Black Koto. From the woodworking to the metal casting, each step in the production process was completed in our New Delhi factory.
Raymond: Did you utilize a new technique or technology to conceptualize this product?
DeMuro: Both historical and contemporary, Nami was inspired by sand-cast Dhokra sculptures made by nomadic communities in Central India. Using this traditional technique as a starting point, our casting foundry worked tirelessly to craft Nami’s pattern, starting from coiled string and cast into its solid bronze doors. The result is poetry in function, the epitome of crafted luxury.
Raymond: Please describe any challenges that affected the design and perhaps steered you to an entirely new final design?
DeMuro: We experimented with a wide variety of materials and forms to develop a surface texture for the patterning on the Nami’s doors that we were happy with. The mold-making and casting process included many aesthetic decisions: from the shape, direction, and density of the pattern to details such as the thickness of the string and metal, all of which had to be married seamlessly to a modern manufacturing process. Our in-house artisans laboriously created multiple masters, which were ultimately cast by metal workers who have honed their craft over generations.
Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos.
DeMuro: In our practice, design is something that remains utterly borderless. Based in New York and New Delhi but drawing inspiration from around the world, our work is precisely modernist but rooted in history. We believe in the quality of material, the value of collaboration, and the timeless nature of honest beauty.
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