Metal works artist adds to ’SEASIDE®'s charm by Anne Hunter
Manish V. Waghdare is one busy man. As an artist working out of his design studio in Mumbai, along India’s west coast, the prolific artisan has created many works of art for Seaside in the past decade — including the stainless steel lanterns that surround the Academic Village, the Seaside Prize Award Key, the Seaside 20th Anniversary medal and more recently, a medallion for the Seaside Lyceum, and brass butterfly connectors for the new East West boardwalk. This, in addition to pursuing his own artistic ambitions in various mediums, while also crafting objects for designers across the globe.
Waghdare, who grew up in India, is first to admit he loves to create — he comes from the heritage of making traditional hand crafted Indian cookware. The craftsman’s path to artistic success drew from cultivating his innate talent into creating works of art using a variety of materials. “I work in metal, polyester, resin, wood, brick, marble and ice,” he says.
On a typical day in 1995, Waghdare was busy working in his studio when he received a phone call that would change his life. “A local vendor called from a new township project that was under construction,” he explains. “The vendor said that there was someone that I needed to meet. I didn’t know who this person was, but I invited him to come to my workshop.”
That person was Dhiru Thadani, an architect that was master planning the township. Waghdare reminisces, “I wish I had gone out to meet him, instead he came to me. I was taken aback by his warm personality. He saw my work and was confident in my abilities. He has given me many jobs and has been happy with the work I did.”
Thadani says of the artist that he discovered, “For the past 22 years, I have collaborated with Manish on various objects that enliven my work. He shares many of my concerns, and helps imbed in the architecture a subtle reminder of handcraft, mindful concept, and soul that are incorporated into making a memorable place and experience.”
Spanning from the Coleman Pavilion to the edge of Bud & Alley’s restaurant, the new East West Boardwalk will feature the butterfly art. Planned for completion in April, the boardwalk will be a place to stroll, relax, enjoy a drink, meet with friends, dine, watch the sun rising or setting — or steal a kiss, engaging pedestrians with the Gulf of Mexico.
Thadani, a Seaside Institute Board member, drew inspiration from the butterfly as an inlay to secure the joints between the sapelle wood countertop that will span the length of the boardwalk. Butterfly joints made a design resurgence in the mid-20th century when George Nakashima, an esteemed furniture designer, incorporated them as a design element after studying their construct on ancient boats, furniture, and homes. “Across many cultures, the butterfly symbol represents a new beginning, a metamorphosis of rebirth and life,” says Thadani. Waghdare sculpted the architect’s butterfly design in his workshop and shipped the joints to Seaside for installation.
While he speaks with modesty, Waghdare’s list of art exhibitions is impressive. “I have participated in the Marble Stone Symposium in Marble, Colorado, since 2008,” he says. His larger than life sculptures are impressive, sourcing marble from the same mountainside quarry that was used for the Lincoln Memorial. Waghdare has also participated in The International Ice Sculpture Contest in Valloire, France, and Helsinki, Finland; and, the Wood Carving Contest in Salekhard, Russia.
When asked how he felt about his achievements, Waghdare responded, “I am humbled to be a part of Seaside.”