‘When you think of print and textiles…think Botto.’ This relatively young firm (considering they kicked off in 2011), has managed quite a reputation by wowing their clients helping them snag a large number of commissions in a very short period of time.
I am sitting in a tiny office located at Chapel Road, Bandra, where I am greeted by Nisha Castelino, the co-founder of Botto, a textile and print design studio. The conversation begins on the note of design and print customisation that various design firms have now come to offer. Soon Nitya Amarnath, the founder of Botto joins in. Nitya Amarnath, an NID graduate, has worked with a few textile companies after passing out of NID, and single handedly manages all the design aspects of Botto.
“Botto covers varied segments in the area of surface print and textile design, which includes home textiles, apparel and textile art. We have developed prints for ceramic tiles and ceramic products, plastic based surfaces, paper, etc. Basically any surface that can get printed on is in our domain of expertise,” announces Nitya.
Botto has also ventured into installations and handmade products. One of their most prized installations was a collaboration with Juhi Pandey and Arun John Lakra, both independent design professionals. The Christmas tree made for this commission was of beer bottles (thanks to Tuborg and Carlsberg who were behind this venture) and was erected in thirty different corners of Mumbai city.
“Pink Brown Copper” one of the retail collections by ‘Botto’ was started with the thought of focusing on a range of products which were ‘Handmade in India’. The product is meticulously made with an eye on detail, form, function and story telling. (Available at www.craftsvilla.com). The range includes shirt bags, a handbag made from old unused shirts and fabric, even cushion covers made from salvaged silk threads.
“Thanks to my textile design background I knew people from the field to source the unused cloth from,” says Nitya. “I always wanted to make products, which are sustainable and hence, I made recycling a part of Pink Brown Copper through the shirt bags,” she adds.
Other than shirt bags, Pink Brown Copper also includes a range of basket bags called The Plastics; these bags are made of colourful strips of plastic, through a traditional method of basketry. The bags are available in single and multi-coloured options and have multiple uses from stuffing your grocery to squeezing in your dabbas, serving as an ideal companion during family outings and picnics.
When it comes to garnering customers Botto likes to take a back seat and let word of mouth and their creations do the trick. Botto has worked with a number of high end luxury brands, but due to their non disclosure agreements there’s very little they can share in the public domain.
Botto has even ventured into the overseas market through third party arrangements; prints for a resort wear collection designed by the firm for a client was recently exhibited at the Dubai Fashion Week. A few of the brands Botto has worked with include Priyadarshini Rao, Tambourine, Welspun, Artistic Tiles, and a U.K Based Company called Rickshaw Traders.
Their list of corporate clients also includes ICICI, for whom they recently designed customized stoles and ties. This was an especially interesting commission as the final design had to be in complete sync with the brand and values that ICICI embodies. “Be it a corporate client or a regular customer, its an age of customization; in a group or at an individualistic level we cater to both these segments,” adds Nisha who also looks after the marketing strategies of the company.
The volley of corporates makes me ponder… so how does a regular customer get enticed? And Nitya interrupts, “We have done interiors and prints for clients who were looking forward to unique designs for their home; we have done cushion covers, curtains, wallpapers, developed fabric, the list is endless, last time, a curious client wanted us to see if we could apply print techniques on building facades and we are still toying with that idea since it gels well with our fundamentals of print beyond textiles,” she signs off.
Text By Vikas Bhadra
Photos By Snigdha Hodarkar