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Apsara

Rajasthan vernacular architecture

For our next spring-summer outerwear collection, our creations are inspired by Rajasthan vernacular architecture’s typical forms. An arid region located in the northwest of India characterized by the cultural heritage of the Rajput clans and experiencing increasingly regular and intense periods of drought. Our coats, Rambha, Tilottama, Menaka, Anjana and Urvashi are embodying the architecture of the Rajasthan of tomorrow. Like all our collections, Apsara tells a utopia, a new page in the history of Oblique.

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The Consortium Museum host Oblique's new futuristic jackets' collection, Apsara, under Maxime Antony's direction. A young woman adorned of Apsara's jackets wanders in this unique architectural site. She strides in courtyards, corridors, roams footbridges, and stroll between artworks. The music oscillates between nervous and violent melodies, while punctuated by laments. In this immaculate and unstable universe, spaces are complex and time is disturbed. Everything is disorienting, yet our protagonist walks confidently towards a destination only she knows.

 

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Inspiration

 RAJPUT ARCHITECTURE 

Apsara is inspired by the vernacular architecture of Rajasthan, an arid region in northwestern India. “The land of kings” in Sanskrit takes its name from the Rajput populations. This Hindu community is made up of multiple patrilineal clans headed by a king who bears the title of Maharaja.

The region is dotted with typically fortified citadels, with Hindu and Jain temples within them with ancient architecture. The most recent have palaces with rich sculpted ornaments borrowed from the Mughal style. This synthesis of the Rajpu-Mughal is considered the golden age of Rajasthani architecture.

Each palace is a trace left by the kings of the various Rajput clans. They are witnesses to a historical, geographical, climatic, political reality but also a cultural vector. These buildings embody the unity of the Rajput community and the diversity of different clans.

The fortifications materialize the war ideology and military history of the region.
The temples attest to the central dimension of religion in Rajput society. The ostentatious palaces mark the need of every king to assert his position of power and the legitimacy of his dynasty.

 RAJASTHAN DESERTIFICATION 

Today, Rajasthan faces major ecological and social issues. In particular, the droughts are multiplying and intensifying due to the regional climate and global warming. These droughts weaken access to a vital resource, water. They even go so far as to threaten the monsoon, the endemic seasonal wind that generates the generous summer rains.

How could architecture respond to contemporary issues in Rajasthan while preserving the regional cultural heritage? What could be the vernacular architecture of Rajasthan of tomorrow?

OUR COLLECTION

Apsara’s starting point is a testament to our deep interest in architecture. We inspired from the singular Rajput culture which gave rise to buildings with a typical style, almost futuristic. More precisely five regional constructions dating from various periods, but all relating to the typical Rajput style. By taking an interest in Rajasthan, we quickly became aware of the droughts hitting the region.

The Apsara collection takes its name from eponymous minor deities of Hindu cosmogony. Apsaras, are nymphs whose name means in Sanskrit "those who glide on water". They are associated with rivers and the ocean. Each coat is named after the most famous of them Rambha, Tilottama, Menaka, Anjana and Urvashi. These names carry the legacy of the Rajput culture, refer to the contemporary issues of water supplies in Rajasthan and suggest one of the possible futures resolving them...

Our utopia

Since the end of the 21st century, monsoons have become rarer due to the rise in ocean temperature. The difficulties of the Indian government to react to the phenomenon, particularly in the arid region of Rajasthan, allowed a local political figure to emerge. The fourteenth Maharaja of the Rajput clan of Jaipur mobilized upon his accession to the throne in 3042, to find solutions to repeated droughts.

In 2267, he inaugurated the monumental construction site of a cutting-edge research center dedicated to hydraulic innovation. In despite of the efforts made, the last monsoon was recorded in 2286. It was his eldest daughter, the fifteenth Maharani of Jaipur who inaugurates Apsara, the solar water palace, to the whole world in 2292.

The building is composed in particular of the Rambha baoli, the inexhaustible step well, of Tilottama, the most prestigious hydraulic research laboratory in the world, of Menaka, the solar ramparts, the Anjana bio-reservoirs and the cenotaph of the monsoon, Urvashi.


Discover the episodes of our utopia throughout the season in our chronicles.

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