His designs are as appealing and as bold as the eclectic glasses he sports. His ethnic -chic designs with a contemporary twist celebrate the spirit of India.
We present to you the guardian of the dwindling Indian aesthetic – Artist and Designer, Krsna Mehta.
Having studied Surface Design at Parsons and Display Graphics at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Krsna made his mark in the design world by working with brands like Godrej Interio, Good Earth and The Bombay Store.
Krsna’s very first design venture “India Circus” for his own label seeks to introduce modern sensibilities to Indian aesthetic traditions. India Circus is a curation of diverse and distinct moods and tones that Krsna identifies as his vision of contemporary India.
His artwork too captures the essence of the country, as he reinvents the forgotten elements using silk screens on canvas, digital photography, paint and embroidery. Krsna strikes the perfect representation of today’s India with his artwork, full of bright colours and bold style.
So enjoy this ‘funky’ cultural ride with Krsna Mehta.
Disclaimer: Don’t put on your rose tinted glasses for this journey. You won’t need them!
When did you realise design was your true calling?
It was at a very early age I realised that this is something I wanted to do. It was, probably in my early teens that I had this notion and by the time I was 16, I had made my first cushion cover design. Since I was a child, patterns, prints and designs had always caught my attention. In a way, design and art have always been part of who I am.
You bring out the ‘blink and miss’ nuances of India in your designs, how do you manage to assimilate these ideas?
I tend to notice the little things and the little details within them, without losing sight of the big picture. That is where I draw my inspiration from. It comes to me as I look at the world around me. It comes in a flash of a moment or after some contemplation. I try not to dismiss things I see, hear, feel or notice. Then I build and develop those moments of inspiration and evolve them into designs.
The reinterpreted India you show in your designs is a notional vision of the country. From a designer’s perspective what do you think the Indian design landscape lacks and what would be the best way to promote it’s rich cultural heritage?
The landscape lacks more people and designers using India as inspiration and coming up with contemporary Indian designs that are of a high standard.
A way to promote it is to do more contemporary art events at cultural events and locations. Promotion at such events is key to getting Indian culture out there. But it has to be done well and tastefully.
Tell us about one good and one not-so-good experience with a client?
Good: I had a great experience with Macy’s in the United States when they felicitated me for my achievement. It was at their “Imagine India” event.
Bad: There is one funny event actually. I was supposed to have a meeting with a client in Bangalore and at the scheduled time I got a call saying “we are all here, when are you reaching?” and I was still in Mumbai! I had totally forgotten about the meeting! It took some charming on my part to sort that one out.
A medium you wish to explore in your designs in the future…
I want to explore pottery and stoneware as a medium for the future. It is a medium I haven’t yet ventured into, and it has been on my mind for some time now. It is a fascinating medium to work with and maybe in the near future I just might.
Tell us something about your latest venture India Circus and what are your future plans for the brand?
India Circus offers contemporary-chic, sophisticated, and affordable style for various areas of your life, from home décor to personal accessories. With an all-Indian palette we draw our inspiration from both Mughal royalty as well as roadside chai. We offer a diverse and distinct array of moods and tones, which we feel represents India.
I wish to make India Circus an international success by the end of next year. That is my immediate goal and plans as of now. I want to see it grow and really become grand in both scale and reputation.
A product/design by another designer that you like and why?
Paul Smith’s laptop accessories are something that I really like. I really admire Paul Smith’s work. He is one of my favourite designer and one of the few people who have truly revolutionised design. His design philosophy is something that I can really identify with.
A design tool that you always need at hand…
I like to have a pad and pencil with me. That is where I write/draw my inspirations down and where the magic begins.
According to you what are the three design essentials in a home and what are the best ways to achieve it?
Walls have to be built in a way that they create dimension. However, do not compromise the integrity of the house.
It is essential to have a guest bathroom, if feasible.
An Indian influence should be there in every home… be it in a contemporary way or a traditional way.
Your products enjoy an extensive global presence and your work has been acknowledged by international publications, do you think Indian designers are finally seeing a breakthrough in the international scene?
Indian designers are definitely enjoying breakthroughs. We have started seeing global recognition in various design fields from fashion and clothes to car design and home decor. What is specially being noticed is when there is Indian cultural influence in the designs.
Even though we are being noticed and appreciated, currently there are only a few of us. Very few people are doing or creating designs that are being noticed at an international level. I wish there were more of us doing it at the quality and scale that the world can see and appreciate.
Your pictorial book Mumbai Masti exploring your signature visual narrative was very well received; do you plan to work on another book in the future?
I really enjoyed working on Mumbai Masti. It was a whole new experience for me. Working on it with Bachi Karkaria was such a pleasure. There were many nights of dinner and champagne spent discussing the city in great details. We went through hundreds of photographs of Mumbai from various sources and lots of idea generation was done till we found the right balance for the book. It was all superb fun from start to finish.
I definitely plan on working on another book soon. There are plans in the pipeline and I am really looking forward to getting to it. Ideas are being thrown around about the direction the book will take. I am actually quite excited about it.
When you are out of the design zone what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy good company. I usually spend time with my friends. And I also love to travel in my downtime. What I do really enjoy is a good Gin-and-Tonic.