Æquō is thrilled to have been awarded the Prize for Contemporary Design at PAD Paris 2023 for the Ajanta Daybed by Valériane Lazard. One of only three prizes awarded by the illustrious PAD jury chaired by Jacques Granges, the prize recognises the most exciting newly created piece at the prestigious Paris design fair.

We would like to offer our congratulations to Lazard, to the Woodlabs workshop in Bangalore and to the village of Gadag in Karnataka who lovingly handcrafted the daybed and mooda mattress. We are touched by the support of the PAD jury, and indeed the entire PAD community, who have welcomed India’s first collectible design gallery to Paris with the ultimate encouragement. Merci à tous !

A graduate of the Design Academy of Eindhoven, Valériane Lazard had a rigorous training in product and interior design. Her research for her collaboration with æquō began in a rare, highly regarded book, The Cave Temples of India, which was first published in 1880 and authored by Scottish born indigo planter James Fergusson. It is here she discovered section drawings of Ajanta, the well known caves near Aurangabad dating from the 2nd century that have inspired many contemporary architects. The monumental formations she discovered informed the hollowed proportions of this daybed - a massive structure of teak wood, hand carved with great voids by craftsmen at Woodlabs in Bangalore.
With a lightness that is in contrast to the monolithic form, a mattress was given equal thought in its development. Using the book Crafts of India: Handmade in India, edited by Aditi Ranjan and MP Ranjan, as her reference, Lazard happened upon the technique of mooda rice packaging. The roped straw pillow was created in the rural village of Gadag in Karnataka. Originally, mooda was made for transportation within paddy fields. Selected for its primitive aesthetics that complement the carved chair and daybed, the cushions give the illusion of being a haphazard bed of straw but are in fact meticulously crafted to perfectly fill the voids.