Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was to open to visitors with the inauguration of our Visitors Centre in February of 2012.
We wanted an attractive sign to hang up on the Pol and relied on Kadambari Misra who had already made some appropriately wobbly graphics for the Park, and for our signs and publications.
Wobbly numbers, like these ones!
Kadambari was looking to find some way of making the main sign blend in with the historic building and she came up with mosaic lettering that looked like this:
Sadly, the signs announcing the Park and Visitors Centre didn’t last very long.
Soon after we put them up, Karni Singh, Director of Mehrangarh Museum, told us the State Department of Archaeology had written formally to the Trust citing some small print that does not permit signs of any kind on notified historical monuments.
Oho, we felt the signs were looking so nice!
So now with a big sigh the mosaic signs came down and we began to think of more functional things, like designs for our tickets.
These are some of Kadambari Mishra's draft designs, before we settled for one of them.
Once Kadambari had created our 'Thhor' logo for the Park, her final design for our entry tickets looked like this:
Ceramic mosaic seemed like just the thing. It can be bright or toned down, it is easy to transport and install, and is a stunningly beautiful art form that has been used for millennia. We chose to create the directional signage out of brightly coloured ceramic mosaic, the arrow shapes organic and ‘appropriately wobbly’.
The challenge for me was to design signage that would help with wayfinding, while still being a natural extension of the Park. It also needed to be easy to execute on a small budget and be simple to install.
Grouted into the rock, it looked like it belonged!
Constraints are a wonderful thing!
I remember labouring to design numerical forms for numbering our plants. The aim was to create a font that was organic and forgiving, because it was going to be hand-chiselled by artisans on stone.
Larger stone signage design flowed from this, the same aesthetic translating into organically shaped stone slabs with ceramic mosaic grouted into them and letters chiselled out of them.
The most joyous, happy, fun part of this signage project for me, however, were the Loo signs!
I wanted to convey not just local costumes, but a bit of Rajasthani attitude — notice the woman’s toes demurely pointing inwards, her feet almost entirely covered by her ghaghra.
The man's feet, in contrast, are planted firmly and bossily on the ground in his curly-toed jooties.
In my mind’s eye I saw him standing with arms akimbo, twirling his moustache and looking around as if it was a Man’s World.
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was formally opened at a small ceremony on the evening of the 3rd of February 2012.
Bapji did the honours by holding up a giant ticket and then we waited for dusk to listen to some Manganiar folk musicians led by Mame Khan from Satto, Jaisalmer.
Mehrangarh was beautifully lit up behind the musicians by the setting sun.
And in the End...