Block Shop’s Insider Guide to Jaipur

Sister-run textile company Block Shop is based in LA and
Jaipur. Presenting colourful, graphic designs, hand-printed in
Bagru – a small village skirting Jaipur – the pair are no strangers
to the Pink City.

Harvard grads Hopie and Lily (the former attending Business
School and the latter studying painting) joined forces in 2010 to
set up textile studio Block Shop.

The company’s entire process is manual, designing on paper,
printing with wooden blocks and dyeing in small batches. Its
bedding, homewares and woodblock prints are crafted in a spirited
colour palette, while designs are unrelentingly graphic in their

With production based out of Bagru inRajasthan, a village on the
outskirts of Jaipur, the sisters are no strangers to the city.
Having frequented some of its most colourful spots – from
antiquated palaces to chartreuse cocktail bars – Hopie and Lily
here offer an illuminating insider guide to the Pink City.

How often do you visit Jaipur?

We go twice a year for a few weeks at a time to work in person
with our community of printers, dyers and weavers.

Where do you stay while you’re in town?

is our home away from home. It’s a luminous, five-bedroom
guest house owned and run by our friends. The Kothi experience is
super personalised, down to the fruit you prefer in your breakfast
salad or the herbal soap you get to select at the outset of your

Where can we visit to see colours as bright as those found in
your designs?

Taking an auto rickshaw through the bustle of Old City Jaipur at
the end of a working day – it’s the best way to take in the living
colour of this place.

Our favourite monochromatic spaces include JKK, an arts centre built in
1986 which is full of modern geometries in rich terracotta.
Bar Palladio is decked out in every shade of blue
imaginable, while the VIP tour of City Palace is 100 per cent worth
it for the blue room. The
buttercream-coloured stepwell near the Amber Fort is an
Escher-like sight to behold. Jantar Mantar is probably the
most striking architectural site in the city.

How do your surroundings impact your work and designs?

We start our design process by looking up at the architecture
that surrounds us. We isolate architectural motifs, then repeat
them on a large scale to create most of our patterns.

Tell us about the Bagru Women’s Empowerment Program…

This is our form of community investment, designed to support
and empower the women. It provides education on reproductive
health, nutrition, financial planning, goal-setting and self-worth
exercises via doctors and experts we bring in from nearby Jaipur.
The monthly group sessions are sponsored by Block Shop and
implemented by our local community manager. We created this
initiative based on needs assessments we conduct annually in

Your prints are made using the traditional form of Indian hand
block printing; where can we try this for ourselves?

There’s a great workshop about an hour outside of Jaipur called
Jai Texart, which has a lovely printing facility that makes the
most of natural dyes.

For a taste of history head to…

Albert Hall Museum

displays stunning Mughal miniature paintings and ancient
textiles. Aside from its art collection, the heavenly mint-green
ceilings of the inner courtyard are one of our favourite design
moments in Jaipur.

What key pieces do you pack when travelling?

Light linen jumpsuits, wrap skirts, comfy flats, a sketchbook,
portable speakers, Fiona Caulfield’s Love travel guides and Block
Shop scarves.

Where should we go for a low-key lunch?

Café Kothi serves the best lunch in town; its grain-based bowls
and smoothies are great. At Anokhi Café order the massaman curry,
string bean salad and iced coffee.

Other food spots we should try…

For dinner, try 47 Jobner Bagh or 28 Kothi, which has a fixed
menu based on whatever is fresh in the local market.

Where’s good for an evening tipple?

Our favourite bar in the world: Bar Palladio.

What’s the city’s dress code?

Whatever you regularly wear, as long as it’s not too tight or
revealing, which can be perceived as disrespectful. The
temperatures are quite hot from spring to autumn, so lightweight,
linen clothes are best.

A book to read before we go?

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

One misconception about Jaipur is…

…that it’s old fashioned. Traditional Rajasthani culture is
wholly present, but Jaipur has become a cosmopolitan hub,
attracting more and more creatives and young business owners each

One place only locals know about is…

Curious Life Coffee Roasters

– a cute, mostly local, coffee shop.

What one souvenir should we take home?

Hand block-printed textiles from Anokhi and, if you have it in
your budget, a ring or earrings – Jaipur is the gemstone capital of

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