In Collaboration With Mother Nature !


Interior architect Vaidehi Thakkar of ‘Spaces, Things, Etcetera’ talks of her unique home design products

Ever thought of adding a touch of nature to your lighting fixtures? Well, we came across lamp shades made from veggies and fruits! Yes, you heard right! Cabbage, bitter gourd, pineapple and pears to name a few! And this amazing out of the box innovation has been garnering a lot of positive reviews not just in India but came under the spotlight at the London Design Festival 2019! Ritz is in conversation with interior architect Vaidehi Thakkar of ‘Spaces, Things, Etcetera’ who has taken a copyright for this unique form of design!

Interview: Riya Sonny Datson

Tell us about this new form of design from vegetables and fruits.

We use a special technique by which we get a material called ‘fibre flats’ made from dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Although I did a course in fibre art while I was abroad at the University of Arts. Philadelphia and the Cleveland Institute of Art, this is a proprietary process that I developed over the years. The material has various applications. It can be used in lamp shades, window screens, dividers or even furniture and is customised as per the requirement of the client.

What kind of fruits or vegetables do you work with?

I have worked with close to forty varieties of fruits and vegetables. There are around thirty five different types of 30 textures and colours that we can make. The only ones that we do not use would be the Ladies finger or the banana due to the mushy texture.  But we use most other fruits and vegetables like Kiwi, orange and pineapple, cabbage and even bitter gourd.

What was the inspiration behind this invention?

I have always been interested in natural fibre. My family was based in Alappuzha, Kerala and my dad had a business in jute and nature so I guess I have always been drawn to it. But more so, I feel everyone likes nature and that is a given! We try to bring in an element of nature inside our homes – be it through plants, pictures, paintings or prints on furnishings. Every designer has their way of expression, this is just my way of bringing in Mother Nature indoors.

Being a natural product, what are the challenges when it comes to designing?

When it comes to using natural products, there are a lot of challenges. The raw material by itself is expensive and often there is a lot of wastage that happens. Especially fruits are much harder to treat, it is more difficult to treat them as there is a lot of sugar content in it, which tends to crystallise. So, working with them becomes a challenge.  Then of course, we need to ensure that it is treated well to ensure that it is durable for a minimum of ten years once it is made. There is no durability issue but it is smarter to use it indoors. It is not an exterior product.

Apart from being natural and sustainable, what do you think is the USP of your product?

The translucency of the product is the one thing that comes to my mind. It highlights all the natural fibres that is inherent in the material.

What has been the response at the London Design Festival?

It got a very positive response at the festival and gave me a lot of exposure for the product. In fact most of my clients are abroad.

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This was more like an experiment for you but has the product created a market here in India?

Well, this started out as an experiment but it has become my bread and butter now. People are not aware of it in India. It is unfortunate because there are a lot of applications to it but maybe I have not reached out to the right kind of people. Most of my clients are abroad and I export my products. Since I have a design firm, I work with architects and interior designers and customise products as per their requirement. As it is not an easy process, we prefer to take orders in bulk as I have to mould the fibre into the required shape. Once it is made, we can not make any changes to it. The beauty of the product lies in the edges. It is all natural and moulded and can’t be cut or altered once made. Making a single piece is not economical as the costs are high. We would prefer to make at least ten pieces of each design.

You are a manufacturer of fibre flats but you sell only finished products. Why not the fibre?

Not everyone is aware of the material as it is relatively new. We have worked with it for so many years now that we have found our way of working around the material. Once it is treated with anti-fungal and fire retardants and applied to a product, the durability is higher. Also like I said, we can’t make any changes to its shape or size once it is made. So we prefer to sell the final product.

What is in the Pipeline when it comes to design? Would you be associating with the Biennale?

I am working on my ongoing architecture and design projects for Spaces, Things, Etcetera, based in Pune. Talks are on with the Biennale team but it is at a very nascent stage and it is hard to confirm anything at this point.

Since you are based in Pune, how can customers across India reach you?

You can check out our products at



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