Art was something I grew up with. I moved past it hanging on the walls of my home and flipped through it when my mom jotted down memories on vacation with her paintbrush. I saw it in the sculptural figurines picked up on our adventures and the antique furniture elements contrasting against the ‘gober-lep’ (cow dung) walls of our study.
My mother being an artist and my father supporting and appreciating her creativity got me interested in art and design at a young age. The atmosphere at home was far from the traditional pressures of Indian parents for perusing a ‘safe’ option as a career for their children. When the time came to pick my career path, I was encouraged to follow my creative sensibilities and that led me to major in product design.
I liked the idea of creating things with my hands and thus after being given access to work with a number of different mediums and machines, I was able to translate my ideas into tangible products during college. The importance of sustainability came into focus at that time and started taking shape in the way I approached my design process.
Taking my love for creating and hands on approach to woodworking I translated my passion into my career. A few years after graduating from Parsons New School of Design, New York I came back to
India to give rise to Differniture – an alternative furniture and lighting design studio that focused on merging the sculptural aspect of art with the functional sensibilities of design into a sustainably conceived product.
Sustainability plays an important role in every phase of the designing of a product at Differniture. The acquirement of the raw material is important; sourcing reclaimed and salvaged wood, creating zero waste designs and using non-toxic oils and waxes are a few ways in which we can create a reduced impact on our environment at the production phase.
As a designer, I believe it is our duty to create environmentally conscious products and that can only be done with a sustainable design process.
I am inspired primarily by nature. I like the fluidity in nature and try and translate that into my designs. Curves and layers are a major part of most of the products in this collection.
A lot of pieces have been translated from topography that I find fascinating. The undulations on the Earth’s surface are an inspiring area for Differniture’s recent collection.The Topography collection focuses on using the layers in nature and translating them into furniture pieces. The topographic coffee table was one of the first pieces I created.
The zero waste design of the table mimics the step farms seen in Northern India. The ripple table has been inspired by the ripples made in water and that fluidity has been transferred into a rigid material like wood quite mesmerizingly.
The outdoor furniture collection accentuates the live edge of trees; the wood for this collection was specially sourced from trees that had fallen in storms. The integrity of the tree has been showcased along with giving it a function in the Y bench.
The premise behind Differniture is to constantly push the boundaries of design through the intricate art of woodworking and focusing on a sustainable outlook.
Text By Aakriti Kumar