Arjun Rathi’s new glassblowing studio nurtures young Indian artisans


If you look up as you enter the World Towers in Mumbai, you will see an installation by lighting designer Arjun Rathi. His work also illuminates spaces ranging from Lodhi in Delhi to the Lower Parel store at The Nutcracker restaurant in Mumbai. Now celebrating 10 years as a lighting designer, he hosted 10-01, a week-long exhibition showcasing his designs from the past decade, and is focusing on the future with Rural Modern Glass, the glass-blowing studio of glass which he co-founded with glass artist Ismail Plumber. in 2021.

A display at the new lighting gallery which is next to the studio.

Lighting designer Arjun Rathi, founder of the multidisciplinary studio Arjun Rathi Designs.

Shivani Goyal

The exhibition, Rathi explains, originated in a trip to Firozabad, known for its glass industry. “It was by accident, an intern’s uncle mentioned that I should go, and that kind of sparked something.” In the years that followed, he first imported glass and now he hand blows and creates bespoke light objects in addition to his lighting collections, which include his Bauhaus, Sugar and Shikhara collections for n’ name just three. Among these, the Sugar collection was developed at Rural Modern Glass and indicates the future of its practice.

“When we created the studio, we wanted to make it an independent business. The idea was to take inspiration from rural India, Indian culture and make modern objects out of it,” he explains. adding: “All the resident artists come [to the studio] with a similar file. Currently, Matthew Piepenbrok is the artist in residence. He is the fifth artist to visit.”

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