An interview with Ambika Hinduja Macker of 'The Dabba Luminaire' boutique

Saturday, 9 August 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Ambika Hinduja Macker, Impeccable Imagination boutique owner on the birth of The Dabba Luminaire

She straddles the creative galaxies of films and design with an effortless elan. There's much more to the dynamic lady than just a famous surname. She designed a walk-in closet for Preity Zinta, a party zone for designer Surily Goel and also the interiors of her father's bungalow in New Delhi. She talks about her new baby The Dabba Luminaire which has become the toast of the art and design world.

The Dabba Luminaire is an impeccably designed, intricately engraved and artistically hand crafted "dabba" made in brass and plated with 18-carat rose gold. This dabba is symbolic of the hope that light emits from within. The symbol of light is also an ancient unifying factor since people the world over celebrate 'light'.
The three tiers of the 'dabba' project 3 synonyms of 'light' beautifully scripted in the Arabic font on different surfaces using the play of light and shadow. The top tier of the dabba has the phrase –"Muneera"– meaning 'illuminating'. The middle tier has the word – "Ziya" – that means 'glow' and the bottom tier has – "Nour Al Huda" - meaning 'light of faith'.

Over to the visionary...

How did the idea of 'The Dabba Luminaire' take birth?
My dear friend, Mozez Singh, was curating an incredibly opulent event for Harvey Nichol's in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was his eagle eye that spotted our talent potential at Impeccable Imagination and he invited us to partake in the show called 'Caravan 2014. Our product is being showcased at their section called 'High Design'. The prestige that complemented this presentation was immeasurable especially since this is, after all, the largest Harvey Nichol's that the world has ever seen.

The brief shared by Mozez was to design a luxurious product that would either be Indian in nature or have some relevance to India as the theme for the Ramadan Caravan this year was 'India'.

As a designer to be offered such an amazing international platform was an opportunity I grabbed. I had only a month to deliver my designs and conceptual philosophy and hence dove deep into my impeccable imagination (which is also the name of my design company that focuses on art, interior and product design).
Armed with my thinking cap, I let my creativity gallop! India, being so richly diverse in culture and tradition, I was swimming in an ocean of ideas. What struck me almost instantaneously, since I'm a new age sustainable designer, was the Indian tiffin box, commonly known as the 'dabba'. As you know, the 'dabba' is used to store and transport food to most of the working community in India, to employer and employee alike. It is the most commonly used object and a very unique symbol of unity. Embedded with rich Indian history, it is also regarded as one of the oldest, most sustainable products. So much so, that the tales of the dabba and the dabbawalas, their precision, commitment and discipline are a global phenomenon.

I envisioned a dabba in gold, sitting amidst an opulent Arabic setting considering that the eventual destination of my dabba would be a grand space.

This is when my design of this unique dabba was born in the form of a light art installation using the classic three-tiered dabba.

Since light is profound and significant in, both, Indian and Islamic cultures, I thought a light art installation, using the three-tiered dabba would be ideal for a global exposition of this scale.

And that is how my light art installation titled, The Dabba Luminaire, translated as the light box, was conceived.

How was the process of working on it?
Dreaming, envisioning and then dreaming some more was the most exciting part of the process of creating The Dabba Luminaire. However, the challenging part was the fact that I wanted it to be a product beyond a product. I wanted it to have dollops of character and layers of history and philosophy. My product had to tell a story, speak about a journey and yet stand out as being extremely contemporary and user friendly. I put myself through quite a task especially because all these thoughts had to be realized into a product that would eventually have to have the strength to stand its own merit and earn a place of pride at a showcase where some of the best talent would be strutting. I have to admit the time lines were lean and, of course, when we work in this market, we have to pay strict vigil to quality and globally appealing standards, which makes a tough job tougher! As an artist, it was an immensely invigorating experience and, now when I back track, it, sure, has given me tremendous strength to encompass bigger challenges.

How was the response like? Who all have bought it so far?
Since I have designed and created The Dabba Luminaire for the Ramadan Caravan, I thought it best that the response for this question come directly from Mozez Singh, the curator of the event. Please find as below, Mozez's comment, " The response has been brilliant. I displayed The Dabba Luminaire at Her Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud's private party at the Palace, and every guest in there was wowed by the piece and of course the Princess has snapped up the first Dabba for herself. Good times ahead for the Dabba because there is a long waiting list already. The product is a sell out."

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