Ayush Kasliwal, an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, is one of India’s leading design thinkers, practitioners and advocates for artisans. Ayush founded AKFD, an interdisciplinary design company based in Jaipur, India, in 1997. All aspects of the business practices of AKFD and his subsequent retail venture AnanTaya, initiated and managed by his wife Geetanjali reflect social consciousness, sustainability, and women’s empowerment encouraging a new generation of young artisans to continue their skills in future generations. The father of three girls, he incorporates awareness of their worlds and the need for equity in designing for the future.
Ayush and Geetanjali Kasliwal launched AKFD Brand in 2015 with the tag Design, Make, Install. Using local, sustainable woods and metals, repurposed common materials (including seat belt webbing, twine, and industrial leather belts) and an inventive combination of ancient techniques with high-tech modeling; AKFD Brand offers a comprehensive range of furniture and lighting and accessories. Extensive project experience including the VIP lounges and the ‘Mudra’ installation at the T3 Delhi International Airport, Boutique Hotels, Retail spaces and Restaurants promote new collaborations with Architects, Builders and Planners. Believing that the ‘future of India is handmade’, furniture with the versatility to grace a living room, hotel lobby or corporate setting is teamed with dynamic lighting to transform interiors and exteriors into ‘meaningful spaces.’
Ayush Kasliwal’s original enterprise evolved to AKDPL (Ayush Kasliwal Design Pvt. Ltd.). In collaboration with his architect wife, Geetanjali, AnanTaya brand and retail store opened in 2006. At AnanTaya handmade luxury is a part of everyday life with UNESCO award winning products and bespoke objects for graceful living. Also available are ‘one of a find’ products from like-minded artisans and designers. AnanTaya provides direct client encounters, international exposure of products and increasing reach of their design philosophy through exhibitions, museum displays and international trade shows. AnanTaya has a shop in Jaipur, in Bangalore, launched in 2014, and a 2015 AnanTaya Brand launch in the USA. Their clients include Tom Dixon, Conran Shop, Anthropologie, William Sonoma, and Crate and Barrel. AnanTaya appears in the itinerary of the New York Times travel book: “36 Hours in Asia and Oceania.” Press coverage includes The New York Times, Financial Times, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Wallpaper and Condé Nast.
Ayush Kasliwal is concerned that the ‘eye’ of the patron is disappearing from its’ historical role in society. There are new aficionados who appreciate high-end handmade furniture and objects. He believes that a contemporary design aesthetic needs to be integrated with traditional craft skills to create meaningful work for artisans and their communities to survive and thrive. Through inclusive business practices, he redefines ancient local craft traditions and artisan communities by providing design, technology, capital, and creative collaboration. He works in multiple ways, from small batch manufacturing, to artisan driven orders finished at his factory, to interiors and large scale on-site installations throughout India.
Ayush Kasliwal in collaboration with his wife, entrepreneur and architect, Geetanjali Kasliwal provide a sustainable livelihood to 4000 artisans and their communities. These connections increase with each new venture. Their vision is to improve the lives of a million artisans.