Friday, April 20, 2012

Tara Books Book Building

For our friends in Chennai, here's a review about the Tara Books Book Building - a place you must visit!

Via Live Mint

In the alley behind a seventh century Shiva temple in south Chennai, amid a cacophonous stream of cycles, cars, trucks and bullock carts squeezing past banana vendors and jasmine garland sellers, Tara Books has culled its own plot. 

But this creation of the nearly two-decade-old, Chennai-based independent publishing house which specializes in handmade books is no page-turner. It’s an eye-popper. 

The Tara Books Book Building—a three-storeyed, ecologically friendly architectural masterpiece inaugurated on 25 February—is a labour of love of Tara Books’ founder Gita Wolf and her team, which outgrew several rented office spaces, pining for a dedicated display for their books and artist sketches.

“It was getting harder to display our books in book stores, and so when we were on the lookout for our own office space, we planned to make it multifunctional,” says 55-year-old Wolf, a former academic who used to teach comparative literature at the University of Erlangen in Germany. Wolf launched Tara Books in 1994.

The airy, sunlit, minimalist building which will soon be 80% solar-powered currently houses a book store and a gallery of its book art. Work is on on the ground floor to create a children’s reading nook and a small refreshments area, where visitors can make their own coffee or tea. These are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The Book Building’s gallery area doesn’t have the conventional heavy frames. The artwork of tribal artists, who have illustrated the publisher’s books, dangle from clips on a wire line.

Currently, two walls of a pillar on the ground-floor public space host bright-coloured murals by patua artists from West Bengal, interpreting the story of the Italian wooden puppet Pinocchio and that of African-American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. The remaining two walls of the four-sided pillar are a staid white, an invitation for visiting artists to leave their mark.

The pièce de résistance, revealed only when one steps away from the wall display of Tara Books into the open gallery, is Gond artist Bhajju Shyam’s approximately 25x15ft tree. The grey-coloured tree winding up to the first floor, and dotted with imaginary birds, insects and animals in yellow, green, red and blue, is simply spectacular.

 Read the entire article here.


Image Source : Tara Books Facebook page

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