The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. – Michelangelo
This adage aptly resonates with furniture designer Anjali Mody’s personality, who believes her quest for perfection inspires her every accomplishment.
Anjali Mody graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design. She started Josmo Studio in 2010 with a strong purpose of opening up an entire new world of design to the Indian market.
Josmo, a boutique furniture studio designs customised bespoke furniture that exclusively addresses an individual client’s needs – an approach that allows the end-user to appreciate personalised design in a whole new light. Their designs efficiently marry a unique choice of materials with contemporary new-age ideologies. Anjali believes in pushing the envelope albeit with the design brief as a catalyst. The studio has recently ventured in space design and has several interior and renovation projects under it’s belt.
Afflicted by wanderlust, Anjali asserts travelling helps her ideate and evolve better. In this space, this young designer slash entrepreneur allows us a peek into her burning drive to create non-formulaic intuitive designs.
What according to you is a key to good design?
The simple formula to any well-designed object is to make life easier by interacting with it. Allowing intuitive simplicity makes way for extraordinary results.
Is there a person or a medium (not related to design per se) that has inspired you in some way?
My parents inspire me a lot. They are extremely driven and are the best at what they do. Their constant search for perfection inspires me every day.
Materials play a very big role in my drive to design as well. I’m a hands-on person, so the more I get to interact with materials, the quicker my ideas flow.
What’s the design process when you start working on a new piece?
I spend a lot of time with my clients at first to understand what they want but are unable to articulate. I collect a lot of information through their body language and daily inspirations – this is very important for me.
My process usually starts with hand-drawn sketches where I don’t limit myself within the parameters given to me. I try and test every single possibility that can be discovered within my brief and then take a step back. More often than not, I design for a while and then walk away from it for a few days to evaluate things objectively. I have found that this helps put things into perspective for me.
My explorations continue with identifying materials that can support my idea after which I fine tune and perfect the desired direction with engineered details and 3D models.
There is a marked evolution in how design is perceived in India. Today, the end-user acknowledges the importance of both ergonomics and aesthetics while purchasing furniture. However, is it difficult to convince clients to experiment a little and ditch the conventional path?
Yes and no.
I have been blessed with clients that come to me for my radical work; something I am very grateful for. For more interior-related projects, it is difficult to convince clients to take chances with spaces because those are permanent commitments.
If I find that the client is averse to experimenting, I try to bring in colour or unique pieces of art and sculpture within larger spaces that bring in a little bit of quirk.
I work towards building inherent trust between my client and myself because this makes the entire creative process a free flowing space for ideas. Usually the outcome is a beautiful twist of artistic and useful – a win-win for both.
Your work is more contemporary and displays pure geometry. Do you, at some point, wish to adopt the country’s extensive craft heritage and blend it with your own signature style?
My works actually play against pure geometry. I tend to find immense beauty in irregularity. That being said, I have always wanted to tap into the craft industry of India and integrate it in a new-age mould. When I decide to move towards a certain traditional craft, I will immerse myself in understanding it and finding ways to better the process which would take a lot of my time and energy – a resolution I plan to keep for the coming years.
Josmo’s furniture lines also showcase an eccentric streak – through colour, form and detailing. What inspires these subtle quirks?
It is usually an underlying mood that comes through in my work. I react to a colour one day or a song the next day. It’s extremely intuitive and unplanned. My travels play a very big factor in my design ideas but I would be lying if I said I had a formula.
Is there any one material or technique that you wish to explore in future?
I would love to explore working with resin, bamboo and copper patinas.
Any plans to expand the portfolio and go beyond furniture?
The expansion has already begun! With opening the studio’s services to space design only six months ago, we already have five projects well underway in the interiors space. Our projects currently range from residential projects in East Africa to restaurants and bakeries in Mumbai. You’ll find an interesting mixture of Josmo furniture integrated into our spaces in the coming months. Our bespoke furniture division will continue to create bespoke pieces for private clients.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a renovation project for a 12-cottage Wilderness Lodge in Satpura. The studio has two large residential projects currently starting in Alibaug and two restaurant projects in Mumbai one of which was the Le 15 Patisserie which has recently opened. We also have two residential projects in East Africa as well.
On a lighter note…
When you are out of your design zone what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy travelling a lot. Exploring new spaces where I can get to experience different cultures fascinates me. Many who know me will know that I can’t spend more than two weeks in one place.
Interview by Shweta Salvi