Indian kitchen utensils revisited with a contemporary aesthetic

Designers Nikita Bhate and Pascal Hien present SĀR, a new brand of sculptural everyday objects inspired by Indian rituals and cooking traditions

Left, two chopping boards in reclaimed teak. Right, an asymmetrically shaped rolling board for making roti bread, made of red agra sandstone and a wooden rolling pin
Designers Nikita Bhate and Pascal Hien present SĀR, a collection of everyday objects inspired by Indian cooking rituals. Pictured here are the ‘Bay’ chopping boards in reclaimed teak wood and the ‘Flawless’ board and rolling pin, inspired by roti-making techniques
(Image credit: Shek Po Kwan)

Conceived by designers Nikita Bhate and Pascal Hien, SĀR is a brand offering everyday objects inspired by Indian cooking rituals, heritage and identity. Based between Pune and Berlin, the duo have collaborated on a series of daily essentials, inspired by traditional kitchen objects but seamlessly translating from the kitchen to other areas of living, such as the bathroom and the workspace.

Bhate and Hien first met at Fabrica communications research centre in Treviso in 2014, and found a common ground in their shared interest for holistic design and creation as a tool of cultural exchange. After an initial furniture design collaboration, unveiled in 2017 and featuring intersecting cultural languages, the pair now present the new collaborative brand, based in India and featuring everyday essentials reimagined with a contemporary spin. 

Round boxes (shown open and closed) made of reclaimed teak wood

‘Hover’ boxes in reclaimed teak

(Image credit: Shek Po Kwan)

The debut series, Rituals, ‘is a radical collection of everyday objects that serve the Indian heritage and identity, in tune with hourly habits’, explains the brand’s statement. ‘Each object is revisited, celebrated and re-explored for its relevance to today's global citizen.’

Left, an asymmetrically shaped rolling board for making roti bread, made of red agra. Right, a chopping board in white ash featuring a curved edge

Left, the ‘Flawless’ rolling board in Red Agra sandstone. Right, the ‘Bay’ chopping board in white ash

(Image credit: Shek Po Kwan)

Sharing their unique perspectives – Bhate being close to Indian culture, Hien advising from Berlin – the collection has a modern, timeless aesthetic and each piece is as beautiful as it is functional. Every design is inspired by everyday actions; the imperfections of hand-kneaded roti bread are reflected in the ‘Flawless’ rolling board and pin, while the precise chopping of ingredients for curries is celebrated with the ‘Bay’ chopping board, featuring a collecting bay to aid what the designers call the ‘domestic production line process’.

Also inspired by the roti-making processes are the ‘Hover’ lidded boxes, Bhate and Hien's version of a roti dabba (stainless steel roti boxes) featuring a curved base and a lid and formed following a traditional tawa cooking pot. The lid doubles as a tray or plate, and the box's shape, the designers explain, ‘is an intuitive design response, facilitating the fast pace and immediacy of actions that roti making requires’.

Left, stacked modular and rectangular wooden trays made of white ash. Right, two fringed summer towels in white and brown

Left, the ‘Repeat’ plates in white ash. Right, the ‘Rann’ summer towels

(Image credit: Shek Po Kwan)

Deconstructing traditional Indian kitchen utensils is a recurring theme throughout the products, as seen in the ‘Repeat’ plates, a new take on the concept of stainless steel dining plates, which here become stackable and modular wooden trays to hold food as well as everyday objects. The collection includes a series of towels inspired by the landscape of Kutch (in Gujarat), and created as a thin textile ‘for its cultural and practical relevance’. 

The essential and sculptural designs of the inaugural collection are combined with a material palette that includes matte Red Agra sandstone from Uttar Pradesh, reclaimed teak, as well as beech and ash wood.

The brand's inaugural collection follows Bhate's belief that designing collaboratively can bring different worlds together. The idea for the future, she explains, is to work with local and international talent, ‘to have a distinctive approach by taking cultural and contextual references and making design relevant to how we live today’. 


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.

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