Chowk & Charpai: An Urban Living Room

‘Chowk & Charpai: An Urban Living Room’ was awarded Second Place in the London Design Biennale 2023 Public Medal.

The Indian pavilion is a multi-sensory evocation of the essence of a contemporary Indian city chowk –  an open market at the junction of streets – through the visual metaphor of a charpai a traditional woven daybed found across India. The charpai is a design icon that transcends time, and its weave is representative of Indian craft. Its versatility expresses “Indianness” with its plurality of use. In essence, the charpai is a micro chowk in itself - a place for conversations and collaborations.

Urban spaces are where a city comes together. Societies collide here, and the aim of public spaces is to create environments that not only serve functionally for individuals, but also collectively foster a location for exchange, while maintaining the character of the city and its sense of identity.

The India pavilion will recreate the contemporary Indian city chowk – an open market at the junction of streets. The pavilion will stand as a large urban charpai sculpture, gently shading Somerset House as it basks in the British sun. The weave of the charpai renders a play of light and shade to make a street square - a chowk, where chance encounters take place. The oversized web of the charpai represents India - modern in its outlook, rooted in its culture.

Due to globalization, public spaces are increasingly dominated by global brands, making it hard for local sellers and artisans to hold their ground, as central meeting and trade spaces around the world begin to all look the same.

This loss of traditional spaces goes beyond the physical. They are also spaces that have incorporated and evolved with the lives and backgrounds of the city’s inhabitants, allowing cohesive cultural identities develop and inducing dialogue between global and local evolution.

Through the elements of touch, sound, sight, smell and taste, the chowk will represent Indian urbanity which adjusts and adapts through dense landscapes. The chowk is an epitome of resilience, endurance and resurrection: juxtapositions that speak of democracy and autonomy, ego and humility, hope and pride, rapture and rejuvenation – this plural paradox is its true eloquence.

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Artist's impression





Sourabh Gupta


Harsh Chauhan



Mridu Sahai Patnaik

The Design Village

Vatsal Agrawal

The Design Village


Association For Socio - Political Reforms [ASPR]

The Nehru Centre, High Commission of India, London, UK


Kayakalp Trust 

Boond Fragrances

2023 Exhibitors