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The Silicon Review Asia

Infusing Design and Innovation with Craftsmanship: Direct Create

The Silicon Review
May, 2019


The modern India is truly incredible, owing to the diversity, richness of culture and vibrancy. While we haven’t lagged behind in making numerous modern achievements that are well recognised over the world, at times, we tend to become unaware of the centuries-old cultural heritage. If we dive deeper into the glorious past, there will be a lot of things to uncover, but traditional craftsmanship is probably the most tangible manifestation of our cultural heritage.

In the light of the above mentioned, we are thrilled to present you Direct Create, an organisation that is India’s only bespoke, online creative community platform which brings artisans, designers and interested customers together to co-create customised and premium handcrafted objects. Its handpicked network of over 15,000 artisans and designers ensures that Direct Create works with only the best. Through a premium, bespoke service of its in-house curators, the company ensures that its client’s ideas are matched with quality craftsmanship by using the best of materials and timely delivery.

Direct Create: A Class Apart

Direct Create is reimagining the many ways that traditional craftsmanship can enrich modern day design-thinking. The potential of including craftsmanship in modern day design, even futuristic, are endless and are only limited by the imagination of the creator. Throughout the world, India is known for its longstanding tradition of creating exceptional and exquisite crafted goods. Direct Create is dedicated to enriching modern day design with authentic and excellent craftsmanship, whilst building societies and protecting these exceptional skills.

In the field of handmade products, Direct Create is working to create a unique collaboration based community. The concept is one of a kind and unique in the world - working with the hand producers, developing relevant products with design intervention and enabling the makers with generations of knowledge to create market linkages and exposure in the country and abroad.

Direct Create is now reaching out to the global audiences in Europe through its office in Netherlands. It recently concluded its exhibit themed “Craftsmanship in the Digital Age” at the Milan Design Week where its concept and products were appreciated by the leading design audiences.

Committed to providing design interface and marketing support to all levels of the artisanal community

Direct Create started with the idea of offering markets to the hand producers through ecommerce and online shop in 2016. Through these years of operations in diverse projects ranging from re-imagination and designing of product ranges for Fabindia Home and Lifestyle (2017-18), design and execution of the prestigious Swadesh Bazaar for the Reliance Foundation, projects for the KGK group of companies, the Jaipur Literature Festival amongst others,  Direct Create is now engaging with architectural and interior products that will bring the much needed scale and possibilities of innovation to a large number of hand producers.

Direct Create nurtures the art and culture that lies in the heart of Indians with its trademark projects:

Swadesh Bazaar for the Reliance Foundation

The Swadesh Bazaar was an immersive experience into India’s deep cultural heritage, curated and designed by Direct Create. 108 crafts, a sacred number with roots in ancient mysticism, were showcased to represent each and every state of India. Commissioned by the Reliance Foundation, an Indian philanthropic initiative driving sustainable development across India, the exhibition was initiated to encourage the craftsmanship of traditional Indian artisans, with a special focus on preserving and reviving indigenous craft traditions. The exhibition not only provided livelihoods to thousands of such artisans, but also gave them an opportunity to showcase their rare works from every corner of India to a global audience.

What started with ideas jotted down on paper resulted in a completely planned-from-scratch marketplace showcasing the best of craft products and art pieces from across India. Under Direct Create’s umbrella, curators spanned the length and breadth of India to bring in products that spoke to the language of creativity across the country – woodwork from Nagaland and Suf embroidery from Kutch; bell metal mirrors from Kerala and pashmina Kani shawls. A team of architects and visual merchandisers built and outfitted the space at the Trident Hotel in Udaipur, which spread across 10 pavilions. The Bazaar brought together elegance, skill, vibrancy, richness and functionality.


Located at the heart of Jaipur’s emerging commercial district in the Rajasthan region, Leheriya is a finely-crafted business destination that integrates traditional values with modern-day enterprise. Famous for its flowing patterns inspired by waves or ‘lehar’, ‘leheriya’ is a tie-dyeing craft technique native to Rajasthan. The craft is the inspiration for Lehariya’s facade, as well as the root of its name. The pattern, derived from the Lehariya turbans worn by Rajput nobles, flows across all four towers, covering them like a second-skin. This facade is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has a functional benefit as well: by absorbing and deflecting much of the direct sunlight, it keeps the towers cool.

Inspiration to Keep Direct Create Moving Forward

Sheela and Rajeev Lunkad, the founders of Direct Create, believe that the innate energy that lays in the handmade processes, the grace and beauty of nature and the cultural amalgamation across communities has always inspired them to keep Direct Create moving forward. They are working to connect the head, heart and the mind and scaling up of creative intelligence amongst the community members. The team at Direct Create has various vibrant minds from technology, graphic design, product design, merchandise, marketing and communications and all segments of the creative and production industry. They are always curious and driven to discover how technological developments can be combined within the heritage of quality craftsmanship. It has always been their aim to think big about how to build an innovation path that makes a seamless connection with their past, present and future. People should be given the tools to create products that are highly personalised and not forced to consume what the markets are handing out to them each day. Customisation is the order of the day and human beings are looking for engaging experiences each day of their life. Direct Create technology platform aims to bridge the gap between the design and crafts, the aim is to constantly innovate between the triparty community of makers, designers and markets enabling evocative experiences for all of them.

Knowing the Promising Leaders

Sheela Lunkad

Sheela has more than 2 decades of experience in the area of design and sustainable practices in arenas ranging from craft revival, textiles, handcrafted design space, architecture and eco sustainable hospitality. With an in-depth knowledge flow of artisanal communities, she has helped craft a 360-degree design solution, building eco systems for self-reliance, innovation and growth within these communities. Her entrepreneurial ventures include Direct Create Jilling Terraces and Turtle Beach, and through all of them, Sheela is working to establish a well-defined market link up, revive crafts, build trust, create jobs, keep the jobs in rural areas and establish an integrated model for sustainable and equitable livelihood.

Rajeev Lunkad

Rajeev has worked on wide-ranging culture linked design projects, both at the micro and macro scales. He is one of the primary designers and the Project Director of the JalMahal Project, which also helped restore JalMahal Monument and revive the ecology of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur. Mr. Lunkad has succeeded in bringing together the government, civil society, institutions, and businesses for India’s first public-private partnership-based tourism revival. As an entrepreneur, Rajeev has successfully incubated two Eco-tourism ventures: Jilling Terraces and Turtle Beach.

“We are trying to make handcrafts aspirational because the power of expression that a handmade product holds is unique and profound.”



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