Maati Vaani – Sustainable Packaging for Terracotta Windchimes

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Derrick Lin


Design: Divya Lohia
Location: India
Project Type: Student Project
School: National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Tutor: Dr. Tridha Gajjar
Packaging Contents: Spiral Terracotta Windchime
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Two-ply Corrugated Sheet
Printing Process: Single Colour Screen Printing

This project was done as a classroom assignment for the course ‘Frustration Free Sustainable Packaging.’ The idea was to rethink the packaging for any object, in order to make it hassle-free. When we think of frustration, the tangling & collapsing of wind chime components often come to mind.

This quintessential design of a spiral terracotta windchimes from India was hence selected to be studied and resolved. Terracotta Wind Chimes are carefully crafted by the artisans based out of hinterlands of India. These mud-made decorative hangings are seen across the country, and are available in various shapes, sizes, colours and glazes. While the design has immense potential to be exported throughout the world and represent the exquisite skills of our artisans, the packaging has always been a struggle. For this process, the journey map of the windchime was studied, components of the existing ecommerce packaging were analysed, and problem areas were highlighted. This was follwed by concept explorations, hand made prototypes and finally designing the packaging, also proposing a system for it’s mass production and transportation. The aim was to use minimum material (perferably biodegradable) and processes, and also suggest an after life for the packaging box.

The key features of the packaging are:
I. Saves Material (half hexagons are used across the packaging, so as to ensure minimum wastage of two-ply corrugated sheet, since hexagons interlock in a uniform grid like a bee-hive)
II. Easy to Stack (placing and inverted-placing of the boxes creates a robust structure that will take less space and allow relatively easy transportation)
III. Display-Friendly (this structure enables the box to stand vertically by itself which could be used for displays on shelves in gift shops)
IV. Tangle Free (the threads of the chime are neatly fixed in the grooves provided in the separators, which ensure that the threads do not get tangled and knotted during transport and/or while opening)
V. Absorbs Shock (the corrugated sheet has the ability to align itself according to its surrounding elements, along with the buffer of coconut husk this leaves less scope for shaking inside the box.)
VI. Color Identification (windows for easy identification of colours have been provided on the top lid so that the packaging need not be tampered with.)
VII. Reusable Box (the top lid of the box contain all screen printed brand information, this lid can be cut off after acquiring the windchime, and the box can be used as a desk manager)