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Stories from the House

Your guide to Kathiwada City House

Edition IV – January 2023

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BFT chairperson Dilnavaz Variava with KCH founder Sangita Kathiwada at BFT's centennial 

Art meets design in ingenious ways. This edition is dedicated to how they fold into one another. At the onset of 2023, Kathiwada City House opened its doors to Bharat Floorings & Tiles that marked its centenary year. The heart of the exhibition was a Cabinet of Curiosity that not only summed up BFT’s remarkable 100-year-old journey, but also lent itself beautifully in our gardens.

At the Central Gallery, Priyasri Art Gallery presented veteran artist Jogen Chowdhury’s ‘The Night the Writing Fell Silent’. Cultural theorist Nancy Adajania’s suite of photographs, titled, ‘The House Once Stood in Another Country’ were displayed at the Diner by Anupa Mehta Arts. The two shows were part of the Mumbai Gallery Weekend.

Taking the dialogue of art and design forward, this edition features three Circle 1434 members – Hema Patel, Preeti Vyas and Priyasri Patodia – who are at the forefront of their work.

The Archive Corner features another architectural marvel, too.

We wish our members many artful days ahead.

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The Mumbai Gallery Weekend saw art enthusiats visiting KCH in large numbers from January 12th-15th. They enjoyed three grand shows across the KCH premises. The MGW concluded at KCH on Sunday with a special fare dedicated to art.

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(L to R): Author Parmesh Shahani, BFT’s vice chairperson and Circle 1434 member Firdaus Variava and archivist Sanghamitra Chatterjee against the Cabinet of Curiosity

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Art scholar Srajana Kaikini (centre) led the walkthrough for Jogen Chowdhury's work

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VIP Representative India at Art Basel Shaan Shahani visited the Jogen Chowdhury show

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The two gallerists Priyasri Patodia and Anupa Mehta, who participated in MGW

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Cultural theorists Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania in an  intimate conversation

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Art enthusiasts sat in rapt attention for Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania’s engaging talk

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Members indulged over a wonderful curated spread

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Meet the


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Preeti Vyas, Branding and
Communications' Designer

Designer Preeti Vyas faced a strange predicament – one that plagues many Indian homes – of growing up in a family full of academic achievers. “My siblings performed quite well in school, while I didn’t,” she shares, with a laugh. “It’s a miracle that I even graduated.”
Preeti was always creatively inclined. “I would write poems, plays and stories. I would create interesting games and make libraries. I even made things out of objects found on the road,” she recalls.

Since the only thing she ever knew then was to be creative, Preeti hoped to join the JJ school of Art upon completing her secondary education. However, to her great disappointment  JJ never accepted her application. On a well-wisher’s recommendation she joined the National School of Design (NID), after spending a year at Sophia Polytechnic. “NID was just the right place. It’s a thinking designer’s school. It really liberated me,” explains Vyas, who graduated in graphic design and visual communication.

Soon after, Preeti joined Creative Director Mohammed Khan’s agency. After spending a few years in the corporate world, she gave in to her hippie instincts and lived with a creative community in Cambridge, Boston and later travelled to West Africa to be exposed to the music of the Ewe tribe. “I lived in Togo, a Francophone country, where I also taught children English and art,” she shares. Later she worked for a bit with an Ad agency in New York.

Upon her return to India, Preeti started operating from her family office in Kala Ghoda that was gutted by fire, unfortunately. “I lost my entire portfolio. However, the Taj Group of Hotels, whose magazine I was designing, generously offered me a space to work from,” says Vyas, acknowledged as India’s first commercial designer for publications. Preeti enjoys the privilege of redesigning many publications since, such as Cine Blitz, Filmfare, Femina and Sunday Observer.

In 1997, with the vision to transform the marketplace through strategic integrated design and innovative communication solutions, Preeti founded VGC, one of the top brand and design agencies in the country. “When I started off, I was just one person in the team with a computer then,” she says. Her agency has notched up an enviable client list and established some iconic brands on the way.

As a specialist branding and ad agency, VGC uses design as a management tool to help brands succeed by enhancing brand equity and perception. “The result-oriented brand recommendations are a result of our proprietary design tool we call – Designomics,” she adds. In the last two decades, Preeti has served as a jury for the Cannes Festival twice, the New York Festivals as well as D&AD London awards. She has represented India, showcasing Indian Creativity in Advertising by Semana Internacionale da Criacao Publicitaria in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “Great design language is about understanding the DNA of the company. The design strategy then gets expressed in Design and communication. A logo is never a brand; it is how it behaves. So we craft the journey of a behaviour and help create a brand culture,” she says.

At the end of the day, a design language is helping a brand create a personality. “You’ll make your choices based on that. People associate good design as an embellishment tool, but good design is good business,” she insists. In fact, she curated a programme called Designomics for Bloomberg that shed light on the same philosophy by interviewing captains of Indian industry who were also design evangelists. Vyas, who currently serves on the board of Century Textiles and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, as an Independent Director, has also been on the advisory councils of ISDI Parsons School of Design, MIT School of Design, member of the India Design Council and the governing council of NID, Amravati.

Recently conferred the Women Disruptors Lifetime Achievement Award 2021, by Ad Gully, Preeti describes herself as a rolling stone. “Each time something changes, I am always keen to adapt and learn,” she says. “I want to stay hungry and foolish all the time.”

Favourite thing to do in the city

To leave it. To be on my farm.

My indulgence


How I unwind

Food. Flicks. Friends. Also, meditation and painting.

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Hema Patel Shroff, Textile Practitioner

Self-taught handicrafts artist Hema Shroff Patel of Amba believes what one chooses to wear is a choice one makes every day. “It’s a constant choice — you can keep buying and getting rid of clothes, or you buy something sustainable,” she says.

Shroff Patel, who has beautifully captured her tryst with sustainable fashion and what it means to be a crafts entrepreneur, in the book,  ‘Amba Twenty-one Threads’, launched last year,  recaps. “My exploration of slow fashion began soon after I moved to India; I realised this is who we are; we are a culture that has the trend of conscious clothing built into it,” she says. “When I got engaged, somebody suggested that we meet Sally Holkar of the Rehwa Society and look at the wonderful work she was doing with weavers in Madhya Pradesh. When I met Sally in 1991, I was completely taken by her.”

An inspired Shroff Patel, who moved to India from the US, volunteered to help Rehwa Society organise a show of textiles in Juhu that year. “To express their gratitude, they took me to Maheshwar,” she says. “I am a person drawn to land. Maheshwar was a sleepy little town in 1991, but I was mesmerised. When I got there, I stood on the banks of the Narmada river and felt like I was home. I walked up the ghats to where Rehwa Society’s weaving centre, Unit number 1, was, and that’s where my journey began.”

For Shroff Patel, it was a homecoming. “I realised I loved the fabric,” she says. “I started making pyjama sets for my children. Friends liked those sets, and the next thing I know, I had started making those for them as well. Then, all of a sudden, I was doing trunk shows.”

Encouraged by the response, Shroff Patel launched her own micro-label and social-enterprise called Amba, in 1999 — which is one of the 101 names for the Narmada. “It started off with lounge wear and then, at some point, I wanted to start creating scarves and stoles. That’s how my journey began; in fibre study and learning about yarns and how they behaved,” she says. “Launching Amba meant not only a commitment to preserving the traditions and techniques of Indian textiles, but also to push the boundaries of the weavers’ loom set-up and teach them new skills.”

With this intention, Patel Shroff has shared her passion for the weave with the members of Kathiwada City House, last December. “We work on traditional Maheshwari two shaft looms where we push contemporary boundaries on the loom. One example is our Deco Details collection based on Mumbai’s rich art deco heritage. This is showcased beautifully every time we show at KCH,” she smiles.

Favourite thing to do in the city

Visit art galleries and grab a coffee, or attend a good textile talk.

My indulgence

An evening with friends at Americano.

How I unwind

Drawing and doing a bit of watercolour.

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Priyasri Patodia, Gallerist

Growing up in an artistic city such as Baroda, Priyasri Patodia’s art journey has been fairly osmotic. “My mother turned our home into an artist adda. She became a popular entity with sculptors, artists and painters in Baroda,” shares Patodia, who set up an eponymous gallery in Mumbai in 2004.

Patodia recounts fond memories of visiting the Faculty of Fine Arts at the MS University with her mother. “Those have been my earliest interactions,” she says. “I was surrounded by artists 24/7. My eyes were trained over the years. Artist Jagannath Panda even taught me sand casting in my garden.”

Back then, Patodia was studying textiles in Baroda and later pursued a diploma in sculpture. However, she harboured dreams of pursuing hair cutting. It was only after she left home to pursue a diploma at Northwestern University in integrative marketing that she realised how much she missed the art fraternity. “That’s when I shared with my father that I want to open a structured art studio in Baroda,” she says.

Patodia observed the huge chasm between making art and selling it. Opening a gallery in Mumbai seemed like the next logical step. “My father had a space in Mumbai, where I opened a small gallery and started showing recently graduated students from MSU along with my studio artists,” she says.

Her debut show was an ode to sculptor Jyotsna Bhatt’s studio. “The first piece of art I ever bought was of Jyotsna Bhatt from her studio in Baroda,” she remembers. “I don’t come from a background of art education. A lot of my learning has happened through reading, writing and meeting with the artists. I would spend time, converse and interview artists such as Riyas Komu, Bose Krishnamichari, KG Subramanyan, Akbar Padamsee and Jogen Chowdhury to learn about them and their art practices.”

The gallerist was drawn to all aspects of art. “I wanted to exhibit print-making, ceramics and all the art from my studios,” she says. “However, working with Akbar Padamsee changed many things. He made me cut down all the work I was doing. There was a certain void similar to the emptiness in a watercolour work.”

To fill that void, Patodia devoted her entire time and attention to Padamsee’s work, and later to the artworks of Chowdhury, whose recent exhibition, ‘The Night the Writing Fell Silent’ is currently on view at Kathiwada City House (KCH).

Patodia’s association with KCH professionally started in 2016, when she was looking for a venue for a spite-specific exhibition, ‘Spaces and Traces’, which lent itself beautifully in an Art Deco space. “My aunt, Sangita Kathiwada, has been encouraging young individuals from the arts. Since the show was going to be curated by a then student of art history Pronoy Chakraborty, she generously offered us her space.”

Last year, Patodia hosted an exhibition of Padamsee’s work at KCH as part of the Mumbai Gallery Weekend, too. “What better venue could we have asked for,” she asks, adding: “The house formerly belonged to Jehangir Nicholson an ex-sheriff / art collector’s home and it is now home to Sangita Kathiwada, who is an epitome of design, fashion and has a museum-worthy art collection.”

Favourite thing to do in the city

Gazing at the sea. Fortunately, our studio Priyasri Art Gallery has nothing else but the sea on its west side.

My indulgence

Food, friends and all forms of art.

How I unwind

Dancing with my baby girl Alaya to 'Fly me to the Moon' by Frank Sinatra.

Past Events

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Changing Metropolis: 30 Nov

A gripping talk on urbanisation in the city by architect and urban
planner Pankaj Joshi

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Miniature Art Workshop by S. Shakir Ali: 3 Dec

Mughal Miniature workshop by Padmashri Awardee S. Shakir Ali, a miniature artist from Jaipur, specialising in Persian Mughal paintings and Islamic illustration

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Phad Painting Workshop by Kalyan Joshi: 3 Dec

National Awardee Kalyan Joshi conducted a traditional Phad Painting Workshop. He comes from a lineage of Phad painters dating back to the 13th Century

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Colours in Confluence:
3 Dec-10 Jan

Artist Divya Pamnani’s exhibition “Colours in Confluence” was on view at the Central Gallery

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Van Gogh’s Starry Night workshop: 17 Dec

Recreating Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic painting “Starry Night”, at the KCH garden with Know Your Art

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Paint, Pigment & Media in Art: 21 Dec

A fascinating lecture by ace conservator and educator Anupam Sah

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Paper Collage Workshop: 7 Jan

Conducted by Divya Pamnani in continuation of her show “Colours in Confluence”

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BFT Panel Discussion: 7 Jan

A dialogue on the role of design to create immersive experiences with (L to R)  Pavitra Rajaram, Rajiv Parekh, and  Sarah Sham, moderated by Shaan Khanna, in continuation of celebrating 100 years of Bharat Floorings & Tiles

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Tile Making Workshop: 14 Jan

Participants made their own cement art by plunging their hands into the tile manufacturing process

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100 Years of Bharat Floorings & Tiles Centenary Exhibition:
5-15 Jan

The exhibit included various objects, archival photos, stories as well as tiles repurposed into tables, lamps and mirros

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This House Once Stood in Another Country: 9-15 Jan

Photographs by Nancy Adajania, presented by Anupa Mehta Arts at the City House Diner

Things to do

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Art in the Art House

Until 24 Jan; 11 am to 7 pm

Last few days to catch Jogen Chowdhury’s show The Night the Writing Fell Silent - A solo exhibition presented by Priyasri Art Gallery at the Central Gallery, KCH.

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Photo Book weekend with Editions JOJO

3-4 Feb; 11 am to 7 pm

KCH invites you to engage with a curation of books by Veeranganakumari Solanki and spend the day at the library corner to peruse through some wonderful photo books and photographs.

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Create your own sculpture

4 Feb; 10:30 am to 1 pm

A hands-on workshop by Kris Vandenberghe, a visiting artist from Belgium, with over 30 years’ experience as a sculptor, painter, draftsman, and teacher.

For bookings, call +91 91372 7762

Archive Corner

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Old structures, which are palatial in nature – merging both Indian and British style of architecture – are found across Limbdi, a princely state in pre-independent India.The Jhala Dynasty found their prominence there. The photo predates the 1930s when Maharana Shri Daulatsinhji, the Thakore Saheb Bahadur of Limbdi was present and ruled over it. In this photo, viewers get a glimpse of Ghanshyam Nivas, a royal housing, which was built for the family and their guests. We are proud to note the alliance between Limbdi and Kathiwada through marriage. The Princess of Limbdi became the Yuvrani of Kathiwada.

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Kathiwada City House

69, Sir Pochkhanawala Road,

Worli, Mumbai 400 030. India.

[email protected]
+91 93728 59864
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