India Past and Present

Disegno Magazine

Charles and Ray Eames’s India Report in 1958 was a pivotal moment in India’s design history.

Compiled at the request of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the report was written after the Eameses had spent three months exploring design in the subcontinent. In it, they made recommendations for training the nation’s designers, suggesting “an institute of design, research and service which would also be an advanced training medium” – later to be realised as the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. In an effort to elucidate the design such an institute should facilitate, the Eameses selected their preferred example of Indian craft. They chose the lota, an everyday vessel for carrying and pouring water, as “the greatest, the most beautiful” object in Indian vernacular design.

The full text of this essay is available here.

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