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  • Writer's pictureJuhi Kothari/Shetty

Phoenix of Failure

It started with an idea.

And conviction.

And expertise.

And experts.

The idea was to integrate two existing verticals into coexistence. With a detailed understanding of both arts in their best capability, the teams took on the challenge which reeked of potential of a unique proposition.

The colour palette was a winner already – Royal Blue from Lapis Lazuli, Faithful Grey from Concrete, and Regal Shine off Brass. We were excited (and confident) about the final product though it breathed life on paper. ‘The amalgamation of MICROTOPPING CONCRETE and INLAY is going to be the thing,’ we foresaw!

A coffee table with this new treatment was our prodigy. Its base came to us from the workshop fixed with the brass strips.

With fervour, we began our part of the job. The best blue pieces were chosen for the inlay; they were then cut as per instructions – 12 pcs of 1” x 1” and 4 pcs of 2” x 2”. If it weren’t for the pieces to be made of hard semi-precious stones, a few might have been lying in our stomachs only because of how delectable they looked stacked up…

Once the kaarigars inlaid the Lapis pieces, the tabletop was sent to the next station – application of microtopping concrete. Thrilled with the bits coming together, we waited for the team to finish their final sealer coat on the microtopping.

It was show-time!

The tabletop was laid at the inspection station. The closer we went, the more we stared at it in disbelief. True to its character, the Lapis pieces were a bolt from the blue…

'Each team had done their job well,' we wish we could have documented our assessment that way. The output, however, had a different story to tell.

1. The brass strips weren’t precisely inlaid at equidistance.

2. The Lapis Lazuli squares’ corners weren’t accurately 90°.

3. The microtopping concrete finishing wasn’t flush with the inlaid pieces.

At the drawing board again, we found each team blaming the other for the lapse. Each one did everything but take blame for their actions!

A lesson well-learnt!


In our novel attempt to create a new product, we had collaborated. Having burnt our fingers, we then competently collaborated!

All minor (earlier overlooked) details were tuned into the larger picture. A few aesthetic changes were incorporated too. Brass strips were inlaid equidistantly; yet the angles in the drawing and in real were unmatched. This led to correcting the Lapis squares’ cutting.

The design was marked as guides. Each square, though visually identical, was cut separately and labelled respectively.

Lapis Lazuli squares were laid in their respective spots to verify the design’s symmetry. Only after receiving the go-ahead were the pieces inlaid. This time, they were inlaid 0.5 mm deeper than before.

This seemingly negligible 0.5 mm was the perpetrator of the unlevelled tabletop. With the corrective measures in place, microtopping concrete was poured on the inlaid base. After curing, sanding, and buffing it, the final product was ready. Again.

This time too, we stared at it in disbelief. How was something apparently ordinary not honed for its beauty before!? The marvel of collaboration and competence stood tall on brass legs before our eyes…

It is true what they say –


Isn’t it?

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