Whether you're in modern New Delhi or historic, crowded Old Delhi, the metropolis offers an array of experiences — even when it comes to design.
In fact, the city is on its way to becoming one of the world's newest design centers, according to Curbed. On any given day, you may see a man threading fabric on the street side, or you may stop by a modern showroom featuring the industry's latest trends. The reason Delhi is earning a spot on the global design scene is because it celebrates both local artisans and global design studios alike.
From a street art district where you can check out the whimsy of wall art to a design district offering modern furniture and intricate rugs, artistry of many forms is celebrated in Delhi. Read on to discover why and how the Indian capital could be the next design capital of the world.
India Design ID is the nation's largest event centered around design, and it is meant to make design "more accessible to the masses," according to the event website. Every year in February (this year, the dates are February 16 - 19), design districts from around New Delhi meet to showcase goods related to design, decor and architecture. During the event, various discussions ranging from product design to urban development take place, aiming to shape a new generation of ideas and fuel the country's design economy. Here, Indian actress Neena Gupta and her daughter Masaba attend the preview party of India Design ID 2016.
In Delhi, opportunities to shop for home goods made by local artisans are vast — and in the case of one particular market, it is encouraged by the government. The Central Cottage Industries Emporium is operated by the government to offer support to traditional artisans. There you can find everything from cushion covers to silk carpets to papier mâché vases, according to The New York Times. (An added bonus if you're not a natural bargainer: Unlike most markets in New Delhi, the prices are fixed.) You can also shop the market online — just check out this beautiful round table.
Designers are finding that Delhi is now offering a more well-rounded design community than ever. "Earlier there used to be one big creative community — there are now a lot of young and talented designers working in various genres of design," Aman Khanna, a sculptor and graphic artist, told Curbed. Here, famous Indian interior designer Raseel Gujral of Casa Paradox showcases some of her designed objects in New Delhi.
The Delhi Design District in the Indian capital is burgeoning with opportunities for shoppers to snag modern furniture, home decor and textiles from quality suppliers and beautiful showrooms. In a slightly less curated setting — yet no less artistic — you'll find the Lodhi Colony, a neighborhood in South Delhi that was the first public art district in India. Between December 2015 and March 2016, more than 28 street artists from India and around the world turned buildings into artwork with stunning murals. Wall art by Japanese artist Lady Aiko is shown here.
Three years ago, India launched the "Make In India" campaign to foster local creative design and manufacturing. The campaign targets both young and seasoned designers to encourage investment, innovation and a manufacturing infrastructure in the country — and also calls on foreign investors to choose India for business.
Need proof? School yourself in New Delhi's history of artisanship at the well-known National Crafts Museum (shown here), which honors handmade goods. According to the museum, crafting objects by hand "continues to be a fundamental activity across India." The museum collection includes about 33,000 objects, and there's also a library with more than 12,000 books on handmade crafts.
Where there is fashion, there will be interior design: The two industries are closely interwoven, with trends from both industries often influencing each other. New Delhi is now appearing alongside fashion capitals like Paris, New York and London in the fashion world — just take a 2015 exhibit on Global Fashion Capitals at The Museum at FIT, which featured New Delhi and Mumbai as two new fashion cities. Here, Indian designers Rakesh Thakor of Abraham & Thakore and Swati Kalsi (a textile artist) partake in a profile shoot in New Delhi.
Take, for example, the Jama Masjid, a red sandstone mosque that was built between 1644 and 1656 by the same emperor who built the Taj Mahal. The mosque's courtyard can hold up to 25,000 worshippers, and features walls covered in marble and intricate arched entrances. "Our current civilization is by all means ways apart from our ancient one, but we can't deny that it's still a big part of us — embedded in our culture," Nikhil Paul, founder of design studio Paul Matter, told Curbed. "Whatever that identity is, it is reflected in the design world in India that exists today."
Opened in 1986, the Bahá'i House of Worship in New Delhi has welcomed more than 70 million worshipers over the years (about 8,000 to 10,000 people per day). Also known as the "Lotus Temple," the Bahá'i House of Worship was designed by Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba and has three sets of petals made of thin concrete shells.
In recent years, Delhi has been avoided by some due to concerns about safety, but it's a reputation the government is trying to reverse with a "Delhi Festival," which is slated for early this year to celebrate the city's vibrant heritage and culture. The city is also addressing tourist safety with upgraded Uber background check and safety measures, plus a new 24-hour foreigner helpline, according to The New York Times.