A TYPICAL OFFICE REFRIGERATOR is likely to be filled with employees’ home-packed lunchboxes, a fruit or two and perhaps a packet of milk for tea. But if you’re visiting the office of Dirty Hands, a design studio based in Ahmedabad, and you happen to peek into the refrigerator, you will encounter rather more disturbing contents. “Here when you open the refrigerator, you find a hand. You find a leg,” said Zuby Johal, who handles marketing and accounts for the studio. And it is very likely that these chilled appendages will have coagulated blood on them, and fragments of bone showing through.
Dirty Hands was founded in 2008 by Rajiv Subba and Mamta Gautam, graduates of the National Institute of Design who were interested in taking on a range of design projects—from ceramic work to interior design to outdoor installations. The same year they founded the company, however, the team grew interested in another field of design—creating realistic prosthetics.
Subba had come across information on the Internet about the use of prosthetics in Hollywood movies, and had spent time learning about materials and techniques before finding a project that they could test their skills on—the under-construction Darshan Museum in Pune, intended to showcase the life and work of educator and spiritual leader Sadhu Vaswani using multimedia exhibits, and a variety of realistic mannequins which would recreate scenes from Vaswani’s life. “We convinced them to let us make one model,” Johal said. “We got down silicone from Canada and made one sample. They liked the sample but we needed to improve on the quality because the material was very new to us.”