Founder Lucia Lawrence in India. At one point, she traveled nearly half the year sourcing. The company still works with many of the potters, screen makers and metals workers she met on those trips– or in some cases, now their children.
Grand PortalThe larger portal was found in a salvage yard in India, already removed from the structure. Lucia always said she’d felt she was rescuing the door from an uncertain, uncherished future.
Without a single fastener of any kind, the entire structure is designed to fit together like giant, beautifully carved puzzle pieces.
We used a block and tackle secured to a building girder to hoist each piece during assembly.
The portal does stand on its own, but we secured it to the wall as a precaution.
Will and Dave fit the final canopy piece in place. Despite its size and elaborate detail, our team of two assembled the portal in three days – and no cranes were necessary.
A close up of the canopy shows one of several carved areas—this one accented by historical and Hindu iconography.
These carved edge fronts frame the foot of the door. Southern coastal India has some of the most beautiful architectural detail in the country—rhythmic, articulate, detailed and elegant.
The detail in the carving is extraordinary. We’ve been told it includes references to Indian royalty and a great battle for regional supremacy.
This side view reveals some of the support structure we’ve provided.
Spectacular entrances such as this were a key architectural feature during the Raj (1858-1947). The Raj created a very wealthy trading class due to access to Commonwealth resources. This type of portal was the main entrance into a mansion, where extended family lived communally.
Main PortalWe’ve always enjoyed what we interpret as a more whimsical tone to the carvings on the second, slightly less formal portal.
The impressively detailed carvings begin at the foot of the structure and continue into the canopy.
We’ve been unable to substantiate a history, but it’s impossible to look at this without wondering how many hours, months or years it took to complete such extraordinary work.
Unlike the larger portal, this one needs to have a footing built to enable upright installation.
But like the larger portal, no fasteners are used to assemble the structure. We loosely assembled the pieces for this photoshoot, so the boxes are there to provide additional support.