Making small batch producers in India economically and culturally sustainable
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Traditional Indian furniture is bespoke and labor-intensive to produce. Thanks to recently lowered trade barriers, small-batch furniture producers in India now face economic challenges due to competition from industrialized producers such as Ikea, and a shift in the tastes of young, economically independent Indians, who embrace contemporary international styles rather than the hand carved furnishings that so appealed to their parents’ generation. These trends led me to ask, how can Indian small-batch furniture producers stay profitable in the face of foreign competition? And how can they retain their cultural and aesthetic traditions? In response I have proposed a multi-purpose, inexpensive, and easy-to-fabricate contemporary furniture piece that could help local artisans stay competitive, while retaining their cultural and aesthetic traditions.