Named after an archetype of Indian street life—the gadda walla, or mattress seller—this work pays tribute to the distinctiveness of India’s mercantile traditions while drawing attention to their rapid disappearance in the face of globalised commerce. Designer Gunjan Gupta’s larger series of ‘bicycle thrones’ alludes to the many types of goods transported in towering stacks by bicycle in her native India. Gadda Walla Bicycle Throne, with its monumental form and ironic juxtaposition of recycled and luxury materials, also gestures to the history of colonial intervention. Chairs as a standard form of seating arrived in India with European colonisers, displacing traditional cushions and carpets and undermining the power of Indian thrones as symbols of authority.
After studying interior design at Sophia Polytechnic College in Mumbai, Gupta earned a graduate degree from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2006, founding the New Delhi–based product and interior design firm Studio Wrap the same year. She has characterised her design approach as a balance between ‘concept, craft, and context’, advocating for a partnership between artisanal techniques, high-end design, and social and material sustainability in Indian manufacturing. Her interest in using recycled bicycle components stemmed from a 2008 collaboration with Droog, a Dutch design collective formed in the 1990s that encourages the reuse and appropriation of everyday materials and objects.