RGAON: The urban hamlets of the National Capital Region hold a quirky allure for city folk. Here, they can leave the metro behind, yet, at the same time, not be too far from its hubbub. Ayanagar, on the border of Gurgaon and Delhi, is one such urban village.
This is where, on a couple of too-warm spring days, the fourth Windmill Festival was held. The event is hosted from the studio of Pradeep Sachdeva, noted architect and urban designer (and the life-force behind ‘Windmill’). Away from the garbage-strewn approach to the place, and the cluttered lanes that announce this embryonic enclave of designers and artistes, is the leafy hush-and-cool of the studio premises. On Sunday, not even the loudly-proclaimed patriotism next door, in a function on the village maidan, could disturb Windmill’s weekend arcadia.
The festival is a labour-of-love of the Windmill community, a snug collective of talented designers of every proclivity. There are no big names at the ‘Windmill’, only quality designs. And in their desire to be resolutely non-commercial, the organisers are willing to go against the grain. “We’d like to keep it this way, not let it grow too big that it becomes unmanageable,” shares Aditi Prakash, festival curator, and the face behind Pure Ghee Designs.
“I don’t want us to grow larger,” admits Sachdeva. “I like the scale of the festival, and I like the people who come here.” More than encouraging young artistes and artisans, ‘Windmill’, says Sachdeva, seeks to create a designers’ commune, and to embrace the local folks. “That’s the key, of having a community, not just of the designers but also the people visiting, from near and far.”
From the products on show, one can discern that design is both livelihood and passion for the creators. From the magnificent furniture (of teakwood and sheesham) and calligraphy-based prints and designs, to organic-cotton furnishings and metal sculptures, ‘Windmill’ resembled a happy space for those drawn to the universe of the artisanal. And with kite-making and pottery workshops, as well as storytelling sessions, the young ones had no reason to feel out of place in the arty milieu.
For Sachdeva, it’s all about crafting a community spirit. “We’re working with the villagers to develop public space, for example by planting trees – it’s a good idea to catalyse things that involve us working with the community.”