To kick things off, this weekend it is hosting Indian designer Rajeev Sethi, who is currently working on the design of India’s biggest public art commission, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
Sethi will discuss JIYO, the design-led enterprise which is bringing together traditional Indian craft and contemporary design in the rural communities of India.
In a country where poverty is rife but artisan skills abound, JIYO looks to mediate between artisans, artists and designers to produce design-led crafted products.
The Royal Festival Hall foyers and shop will display and sell some of these designs over the course of the Alchemy programme.
Homewear by Indian companies The Play Clan and Happily Unmarried will also be for sale in the shop – products which again follow the craft-cum-contemporary formula.
Meanwhile there will be a chance to see work by Indian designers Ayush Kasliwal – who makes fun utilitarian objects through traditional craft – and Gunjan Gupta whose lifestyle brand is founded on social and environmental sustainability.
Hopefully Sethi, who speaks at the Southbank Centre on Saturday, will mention his Mumbai endeavor.
Recently he told an Indian paper, ‘I am trying to make the airport experience memorable, to the point that people don’t mind missing their planes.’
The project, Liminus T2, is conceived as a liminal space where visitors can lose themselves in works which will represent the diverse regions and religions of India.
Mumbai-born artist Anish Kapoor, Riyas Komu, Bose Krishnamachari and Nalini Malani are among the commissioned artists.
The Alchemy Festival of South Asian Culture runs from 12-22 April at The Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1