My inclination towards design started at an early age. Back in 2005 I was more inclined towards sketching and other arts rather than course books.
After schooling I joined Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur where after a year of the foundation course I took up Hard Material Applications as my specialisation, which exposed me to various crafts and materials. What design philosophy I follow today has grown due to the strong design basis which this institute helped me establish.
By the end of the fourth year, I was chosen by Mr. Mukul Goyal, Principal Designer and Head – Designwise India Pvt. Ltd, Gurgaon for my final diploma project. This project proved to be a very important learning phase of my life. I had to come up with a new collection for the brand and it could be anything and using any material. We as designers sometimes get comfortable working within constraints and boundaries; this project led me to break this ideology.
I had to come up with a theme and then work accordingly. Mr. Mukul exposed me to various materials and work processes and gave me the freedom to explore. The end result of the project was the Mystic Collection which is one design that is still very close to me. The form is pure in every manner and is versatile at the same time. This quality allowed me to create a collection of tea-light holders.
After my graduation I joined Mr. Ayush Kasliwal, Head/Designer, Anantaya and AKFD, Jaipur as a junior designer. This was when I learnt that design doesn’t involve just a sketch, but there is a lot more to it. I learnt about the production processes involved, that how a product from sketch level goes into a store shelf.
After working for a year, I applied at NID and enrolled for Lifestyle and Accessory Design. It’s been more than two years now, I explored many unconventional materials, like plastic, various fabrics, etc.
Studying at NID has been really great so far as I have been exposed to an interdisciplinary study environment which has provided me a wholesome learning experience. For my graduation project, I am working on a line of home decor products with Mr. Michael Foley, for their in-house brand.
Along the way, I have designed a few projects including the ushering bowl, which is inspired by the new arrival of the morning. The idea was to merge the concepts of ‘Rangoli’ and ‘Urli’ together in a product which can be used by anyone. The coil work done by hands on the outer walls is to give a more Indian handcrafted look.
The intention of the bubble hooks was to provide a sculptural yet a utility piece on the wall. The form is inspired by the coral fishes and the bubbles act as the hooks for the clothes. The fish and the bubbles have been made out of a single piece of iron.
My design philosophy has evolved from literally nothing. I believe design is just like any other problem solving concept which is user centric in itself. For me, design is pure common sense and it’s up to a designer how he/she aesthetically presents it to the audience.
Another project is Morbido E Ondulato, a floor cushion literally meaning soft and undulating in Italian. This is a humble handcrafted seating for one; a product designed for comfort. From the undulating surface created, this floor cushion would give the space a unique identity while fulfilling its function.
The idea was to highlight the handmade textures of the stone ushering bowl. The hemisphere is tilted to an angle to make it more aesthetically pleasing during the day time as well. The product is carved out of a simple form and the textures are given to highlight the same simplicity.
Being exposed to various materials and craft techniques right from the beginning, I have developed a keen interest in working with unconventional materials, natural fibres, leather, etc. I think these materials would be more acceptable in the future.
I plan to work on another project involving materials for automotive interiors. I feel that materials and colours play a very important role in the automobile industry. Thus I desire to venture into it. Material sciences is also one area which has gained my attention the past one year. Working with an automotive company would give me a threshold to explore more in this area.
Lastly, I do thank a lot of people who were involved directly and indirectly in my journey so far; I feel myself lucky to have been guided by one of the finest teachers in the country. They keep me going!
Text By Vikas Sethi