Jaipur Rugs has built widespread manufacturing for a solid and humane economy, respecting the traditional Indian modus operandi

In Jaipur, India, Jaipur Rugs distributes the yarns from house to house to the artisan weavers. There is no factory, there is no rational logistical organization that simplifies the management of manufacturing and, very often, strips the artisanal gesture of its proper humanity.

The system respects the existing, it conforms softly to the rules of the community. And it helps to give back to each person a sense of self, in work, in the perpetuation of a tradition and in the dignity of being the custodian of a minor art that builds many small essential micro-economies in one of the most populated countries of the world.

Craftsmanship as culture

There are 40,000 carpet weavers in the city. They work at home, mostly women.

The craftsmen and women craftswomen do not limit themselves to weaving, but teach their work to their children and grandchildren, so that they can: "Continue a line of civilization that originates in the mists of time: every new generation preserves and nourishes human culture ,” explains designer Pavitra Rajaram, in Milan during the FuoriSalone to present Majnun, the collection she designed for Jaipur Rugs .

Who is Parvita Rajaram

Parvita Rajaram she is from Bombay, she studied in the United States, worked for some time for a congresswoman (a senator) and then continued her career in Rome at Villa Borghese.

Back in India she founded her own studio and became one of the most influential designers in the country thanks to her collaboration with Good Earth, a very trendy and sustainable high-end brand with shops all over the Indian subcontinent, particularly focused in the recovery of craftsmanship.

She is an interior designer and is the co-founder of the Sarmaya Foundation, a museum and archive committed to the conservation of artistic and artisanal heritage.

India is an accountability system

Defining craftsmanship as one of the innumerable lines of civilization of the human species is part of an anthropological vision that is not so common in our parts.

“Western culture places a lot of emphasis on individual expression,” continues Rajaram. "In India the value of belonging to a lineage is stronger, it is a responsibility that creates self-awareness, of one's human dignity and, last but not least, it is a production system that permeates the whole country supporting an economy based above all on manual labour”.

This is why design has above all to do with people and "every design gesture is also a political gesture".

An encounter with a human business

Parvita Rajaram is therefore not just any person. Her lucidity in recounting India draws heavily from the loving knowledge of her country and her profession.

In addition to that self-awareness that in India translates into many different ways, from the dignity of manual work to social and cultural commitment.

“I already knew Jaipur Rugs: I am a carpet collector and I have often used their products in my interior projects. However, meeting Nand Kishore, the founder of the brand, gave a different meaning to my work.

His goal, in addition to doing business, is closely linked to the expression of human values. Kindness, love, responsibility for a community of thousands of people are the concrete foundation of Jaipur Rugs”.

The value is in the people, not in the carpet

According to Nand Kishore each rug is woven with the blessings of a family of craftsmen.

"What you pay for is people's hearts, the carpet is free," she told Parvita Rajaram. From the conversation between the two a cultural project was born.

“I explored the history of some of the most iconic and recognizable traditions of carpet weaving. The Silk Road is the common thread, the journey of the artifacts from East to West has for a long time been a dialogue between different cultures woven into the decorative motifs of each place".

From Shikarghas, the Indian carpets, which found their way to England in the 1800s and 1900s, to then return to their homeland in the form of reflection and denunciation of Colonization.

Moving on to the hypnotic motifs of Tibetan's tiger-carpets, used to meditate and, symbolically, remember that the mind is like a wild beast. Up to the Afghan war motifs, which over time have become a visual testament to a painful history of war and conflicts.

Italian craftsmanship?

"I have translated these traditions into a contemporary language, so that they continue to be readable from one part of the world to another, as it has always been", concludes Parvita Rajaram.

Finally: the kind Indian designer is surprised (or, please, pretends to be surprised) to discover that in Italy the design system struggles to find young craftsmen.

She listens kindly when I explain to her that manual work is not considered decent and every parent still dreams of a child with a degree. She leaves with a smile and a hug.