I strongly feel that, every entity has a tale to tell. Every object that exists has a soul. Just like a writer plays with words, I play with forms.
As a district level Table Tennis player in grade seven, I was part of a coaching program which involved travelling from my home to the sports club every day. En-route this daily ritual, I used to pass a variety of furniture stores full of lights and designer furniture. Just as any adolescent girl is sometimes attracted to glamour and glitz, I was intrigued by these lights and furniture pieces; not very common for a girl my age.
I began getting increasingly curious about product design. I remember for the first two months of my coaching regime, I was given an iron racket instead of the usual one. Whenever I used to look at it in my hand my mind used to question…why was it made in iron? What could be the possible utilitarian difference of this racket compared to the regular one? Similarly, looking at the merchandise in the furniture store I used to question…what would make people buy these products? You can say that along with design, I also learnt a thing or two about consumer behaviour at this formative age.
I initially took up architecture, but later decided that I didn’t want to build buildings all my life. I quit within a few days, as I wanted to be an Industrial Designer.
After completing my Bachelors in Fine Arts in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, USA, I went on to study Furniture Design at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. At both these institutes I studied courses designed by renowned American designers – Wendell Castle and Stanley Rickel; and European designers – Erling Christoffersen, Flemming Jensen and Nils – Ole Zib. They have exhibited in prestigious fairs like Salone Milan and at airports in New York, USA and Scandinavia, Europe; they have been published in the 1000 Chairs book; and work for the furniture giant – IKEA.
Today, I refer myself as a Product Designer by qualification, and not an Industrial Designer. Partly because people in India often tend to get confused, and a common response to my qualification is – Oh! So you build industries!
My teachers and mentors have been a constant source of inspiration, especially Wendell Castle. Two of his creations, the Ghost Clock and the Coat Hanging on the Chair, are my personal favourites.
I still remember, he used to make us do 50 designs in a single day only to reject them all and later recollect each of them with astute precision. He constantly reminded us…don’t fall in love with your designs else you will become an artist.
During my early days I didn’t have a carpenter, and all the projects that I did back in college were ‘one man shows’. Owing to this disciplined approach it has now become easier for me now to communicate effectively with the set of skilled workers who work for me. Whenever we run into difficulties I am able to analyse the issues at hand and point out to a solution much faster.
Apart from furniture, I have designed products such as an interactive robot, a helmet, medical equipment and sports equipment. I also managed to design a racket for my much-loved sport – Table Tennis, which I handed over to one of the players in our college (he played pretty well with it and won several matches, which got me plenty of kudos!).
In the future I want to spend more time designing other products, but for now I am enjoying furniture. The one legged chair which I recently designed derives its inspiration from a Popsicle (American version of a gola). If you are on a trek, the one legged chair proves to be an ideal companion – just pin the narrow end down in the soil and take a break enjoying your cuppa.
The Perspective, which has been nicknamed the ‘Radiator’ or the ‘Harmonica’ by friends thanks to its unique looks, is an acupressure bench. When one takes a look at it, the feeling is, ‘nah!’ that doesn’t look comfortable’; but it is only when one sits on it that he/she will experience comfort.
The KBH was conceived in Copenhagen/København and is one of its kind double – cantilevered seat which doubles up as a coffee table when turned upside down.
The products that I create is a confluence of sorts; born and brought up in Mumbai and educated in the West I like to believe that I incorporate the best of both these worlds. That also pretty much explains why I chose to name my store ‘Confluence Elite – The Concept Store’. It is not just a store where you get to see products designed by me, but you can also avail an excellent collection of Indian and International home décor items that compliment my work. My goal is to develop a space where one can find country non-specific products geared towards the global Indian.