Aranya is one of the earliest a crafts initiative in Bangladesh, to exclusively focus on vegetable dyes. Aranya uses authentic natural dyes freshly prepared from ingredients such as Madder, Indigo, Cutch, and other varieties, every morning, in wonderful shades of blues, greens, maroons and more. It also develops and sources authentic and original crafts and designs from all over the country and makes it available at its outlets.
The architect Tahmida Afroze. The museum designed by Nahas Khali, was designed to sit on a 45-acre site in the outskirts of Dhaka, and would be the first instance of large-scale adaptive reuse. Although the project did not proceed, initial efforts included transforming jute factories currently occupying the site, into exhibition spaces, seminar rooms and a cafeteria. Small bungalows were designed to occupy the space between natural groves of trees, their features responding to the low-hanging foliage overhead.
Although a portion of the site consists of built structures, the majority is unoccupied natural landscape. To respect this, the architects, headed by Nahas Khalil, have employed a minimal design approach which is informed by the environment rather than opposed to it. This consists of ecological maintenance and limiting architectural interventions to the interiors and an as-needed basis, thus preserving the trees and industrial character of the complex. Additional nods to the environment are achieved through sustainable practices, like natural daylighting and passive shading techniques.
Since its inception, Aranya is relentlessly working with a wonderful pool of dedicated craft enthusiast and artisan clusters towards the development of traditional crafts. From brassware to copper and silver jewellery, from terracotta to woodcrafts, from leather to bamboo, we are working with all forms of crafts in Bengal. It is only through such commitment have we been able to help the craftspeople and change their quality of life meaningfully. Hand-dyed yarn in silk, cotton, and other blends are woven and embroidered into traditional saris, ready-wear, fabrics, accessories and a wide range of home textiles. Aranya’s special achievement has been its revival of two very distinct craft techniques; the traditional Jamdani and Kanthas, the former being a UNESCO Heritage craft. Today Aranya has created a niche for ethnic textiles and artefacts which one can be proud of
Researcher, social activist and crafts expert Ruby Ghuznavi founded Aranya in the year 1990. Today, Aranya is a well established fair trade organization and a member of WFTO. It is also one of the earliest members of the World Crafts Council from Bangladesh.
Principal architect: Tahmida Afroze
Architect in the Design Team: Samira Awal