Delhi-based designer Pradeep Pillai on his new collection Tropical Modern

Tropical modernism is a style of architecture that was popularised by architect Geoffrey Bawa from Sri Lanka

Rehna Abdul Kareem Published :  31st August 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  31st August 2018 06:00 AM
Pradeep Pillai's Tropical Modern

Pradeep Pillai's Tropical Modern

Tussar silks from Nalanda, fine cottons from Venkatagiri and Chanderi are just some of the fabrics that 39-year-old designer from Delhi Pradeep Pillai has been working with. For the past decade, the NIFT graduate has been associated with hand-spun, handwoven and handcrafted sector and changing saris into timeless pieces. He is back in the city to launch his second collection Tropical Modern, which is a take on the synergy between contemporary and tradition.

“Tropical modernism is a style of architecture that was popularised by architect Geoffrey Bawa from Sri Lanka,” says Pradeep over a phone call from Delhi. It’s widely used in places like Sri Lanka and Brazil. It’s a design movement in which is known for it’s open spaces, ample ventilation and focuses on local resources. It’s a highly popular variant of Modernism, which we all know of.” Pradeep has imbibed that into his collection and has experimented with traditional textile processes, whether in applique, surface techniques or even sari weaving. “Like the buildings, these saris have an element of both modern and traditionalism as well. So if you see one of my saris, it will probably take you back to an heirloom sari that belonged to your grandmother. It’s timeless and classic,” he adds.


It was in January 2017, that Pradeep made his first entry to Chennai and made his mark in Chennai by launching at Kingsley, where premium sari label Kanakavalli is displayed as well. For this event, he will be bringing in 200 pieces for the launch and they will be in mauves, olives, indigos and neutral tones. “The idea is to blend in with the nature and have that tropical effect,” says Pradeep adding that he sources his yarn, dyes and even zaris from Kolkata and Coimbatore, and then gives it to his weavers in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.