India’s stepwells inspire Shalini Misra’s rug collection

Every ancient civilisation has made architectural contributions to the world, and alongside the Egyptian pyramids, Greek columns, and China’s great wall, one of India’s most significant are the stepwells. These unique and intricate structures once numbered in their thousands across India, and have now provided the inspiration for a new collection of rugs designed by Shalini Misra (whose interior design prowess we’ve previously explored in a London family home) and produced by Cc-tapis (a brand among our Best Surrealist Design winners in the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2024).  

Designed to allow access to water via a series of cascading terraces – so that it was within reach no matter how high or low the level – the stepwells turned the simple act of fetching water into a vibrant public show. They were lavishly ornamented, with niches and pavilions where people could swim, bathe, perform religious rituals, and enjoy the natural cooling effect of the stored body of water. Today, stepwells can be found scattered across India, some abandoned, some still in use.

Stepwells Collection by Shalini Misra for Cc-tapis

Indian Stepwells rugs by Shaliin Misra for cc-tapis

(Image credit: Courtesy Shalini Misra)

The Stepwells collection is the first exclusive product that Misra has designed for Curio, her proprietary digital platform offering a curated edit of handmade furniture, lighting, accessories and art sourced from around the world. The London-based designer established her interior design studio in 2000, and now operates from offices in New York, Dubai and Delhi. 


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