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When Design Beckons!

When Design Beckons!

Product designing is an art: an art that encapsulates science, skills and a vision. Functionality is prime, so is essentialism; and where for some, sustainability leads the way, for others it is aestheticism and individuality that matters. A product engages, inspires and makes life easier. It becomes a medium for self-expression and storytelling. Thanks to innovation in product designing, smarter, sustainable and durable products are devised which are not only visually attractive in its form but also in its function. Furthermore, it has become a source for generating new products in the market and has also helped in revival of age-old crafts which were dwindling away.

These product designers are spin-offs of their own invention. We prod and find out what inspires them, how deep does innovation run in their veins as they share their personal experiences and their take on innovation in product designing.

 

The Experimentalist

AvniSejpal, Studio Avni

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Mumbai based Studio Avni, founded by AvniSejpal, is a multi-disciplinary studio that focuses on the design and production of bespoke lighting, textiles, statement furniture, installation environments and objets d’art. The studio explores design innovations through experimental research and deep investigation of traditional and unconventional materials. Her designs include many handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces which employs a range of local crafts with modern manufacturing processes. Prior to founding her studio in 2011, Avni worked with renowned architects and designers such as Rajiv Saini (Mumbai), Paul Loebach (New York) among others, where she discovered her love for spaces, furniture and products.

 

Avni Sejpal Studio

Which were the first products you ever designed?

My first collection was the faceted tactile lighting series.

What is the role of design in daily life?

Design for me is about communicating an idea or an emotion which has an impact in all aspects of our lives. Good design is something which is interactive and communicative and can positively influence our lives to the extent of moulding our behavioural patterns. Design gives me an opportunity to narrate stories, make objects with soul that gives you a glimpse of another culture. I love the mix of dynamic complexity and sociological associations that a design can bring to a product. I enjoy applying a variety of disciplines to each project and strive to create experiences that captivate and connect with the end users.

Design to you is… 

Sustainable, Functional, Intuitive, Simplified and Playful

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New materials to experiment with: 

Lately I have been experimenting with cork, rubber, silicon and concrete.

Your most critically acclaimed designs

Faceted tactile series, Samsara Cosmic series and Upcycled textile pieces.

Avni Sejpal Studio

Role of innovation in product design…

The need of the hour is designing smart objects in sustainable ways – products that harness fully ones cultural references, artisanal heritage and weave it together into a high quality product, considering the impact of the same products on the environment vis-a-vis their shelf life and longevity. For me that is innovation.

 

The Design Diva

Lekha Washington, Ajji- The Odd Product Company

Multi-talented Lekha Washington founded “Ajji- The Odd Product Company” in the year 2013, which is constantly ideating, innovating and bringing to life pieces that are absolutely unique. At the young age of 17 years, self-taught sculptor and innovator Washington began her experimentation with materials like fabric-infused resin in her creations. Armed with a dual degree in lifestyle product design and film direction, she holds a graduate with honors from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Her maiden collection includes an unusual line of furniture. Currently, the multi-talented designer is working on her second collection “Bent Light,” which includes unusual lighting and lighting forms.

Which were the first products you ever designed?

I designed a toy when I was about five years old. It was a silly game on a wooden block that I had made up but I remember this event and my excitement distinctly.

What is the role of design in daily life?

Intrinsic.  Too many assume that design is surface ornamentation, separate from the way we live our lives. In reality, the systems we practice, every object we hold, our homes, our cars, our roads and our lives are all constantly affected by design whether consciously or not.

Design to you is… 

Integral, Essential, Fundamental and Liberating

New materials to experiment with

There are always new and different ways one can play with material or materials in combination with each other. My old favourite is glass clear resin and dental alginate.

Your most critically acclaimed designs

That’s something you should tell me! Though I must admit, my Red Dot chair has gone much further than I imagined, just on the strength of its form alone.

Role of innovation in product design…

Again, essential

 

The Curious Artificer

Abhimanyu Nowhar, Kiba Designs

A Graduate in Product Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Abhimanyu Nowhar founded Kiba Design in the year 2005 in New Delhi.  The studio drives strategy-led design innovation in varied sectors like consumer goods, electronics, heavy industry, retail and exhibitions, education, culture, media and technology . Besides, Nowhar has partnered with numerous organisations on design-led innovation, like X-Prize Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Mozilla and has also worked as an Expert Advisor on Design Innovation at the National Innovation Council (2012-2014), Planning Commission, Government of India. He has also spoken at numerous national and international conferences on various aspects of design.

Which were the first products you ever designed?

Well, technically I started out designing aeronautical equipment and automobiles in 2002. But before that there was a long experimental phase in which I designed smart phone prototypes, water purification devices, helmets for cycling and generally fooled around the workshops at NID creating all sorts of useful and useless objects.

What is the role of design in daily life?

We all live in a world that has at once been designed by us and for us. Be it your bedsheet, toothbrush or the knife you cut your fruits with, the interior of your car, or any of the other objects, that you take for granted. Every day of your life, you are surrounded by design. But design isn’t just about things or environments, but about a type of thinking, a mode of problem solving, and a way of dreaming.

Describe in five words, design to you is… 

My lens to the world

New materials to experiment with

We’ve been working with lost wax casting in various metals to make functional art objects based on radiolarians. We recently designed an art installation for a corporate building lobby in wood, veneer and steel that we called ‘Mountain Wind’. Our popular jungle-y lamps are made of handmade paper, cloth and bamboo. For an upcoming exhibition space for children, we’ve used a variety of materials including Bastari iron and hand-painted ceramics.

Your most critically acclaimed designs

Window display and visual merchandising for Louis Vuitton, Jungle-y lamps, Gaia planter, Bamboo pen and design strategy work we’ve done for the Government.

Role of innovation in product design …

In a fast moving and fast changing world, innovative design thinking keeps companies and brands relevant and connected to changing consumer habits and profiles. As we continue to look for answers for problems ranging from designing cookware with heat shielding handles for everyday kitchen safety to the monumental challenges around climate change, innovation is key. Product design would be dead without innovation. Innovation is its life blood.

 

The functional designers 

Parul and MooshirVahanvati, Rayden Designs

Rayden Design- a multi-disciplinary studio founded by husband and wife duo Parul and MooshirVahanvati in Pune work towards the intersection of art, design and technology. Using inspiration from material, processes, experiences, context and people, the studio creates objects and experiences which lean towards minimal aesthetics, emotionally evoking and use precisely engineered construction.  For Parul and Mooshir design is a way of life. With an educational background in industrial designing which was Parul’s second preference for a profession (after an undergraduate stint with architecture), it suits her to work in smaller scale. On the other hand, Mooshir started his educational journey as an Engineer, only to end up as an artist. In between this transition he realised his love for design as well as for all things creative.

Which were the first products you ever designed?

Soon after graduating from the design school, I and Mooshir worked on a very interesting project. It was to design monkey proof dustbins for public spaces in Matheran.

What is the role of design in daily life?
Design exists to make us happy! We surround ourselves with objects, some functional some aesthetic, they all should make us happy. What joy it gives when objects behave themselves!

Design to you is…
A beautifully functional object with an emotional connect

New materials to experiment with…
In the home environment, some materials we are working with are steel, concrete, different metals. How to make such rigid architectural materials homely has been our challenge.

Your most critically acclaimed designs
The Urban Tweeter Series has been very well accepted and has done well in the design circles as well as with the buyers.

Role of innovation in product design …
To us, innovation is looking at things differently. In product design it could mean use of new technology, new materials, addressing a problem in a new manner or changing the way you interact with an object.

 

The Unconventional Duo 

Paul Sandip and Suhasini Paul, Paul Studio/ pink elefant

Another interesting pair of product designers from the prestigious National Institute of Design (NID), Paul Sandip and Suhasini Paul founded their respective design studios – Paul Studio (2013) and Pink Elephant (2009). From being a winner of Red Dot Award (twice) Paul Sandip who is also an electrical engineer and cartoonist, specialises in multiple divisions of design including product innovation, consumer insight and strategy, colour trends, styling, product graphics, brand Identity and creative methods. On the other hand, Suhasini who is also an electrical engineer specialises in toys and children products. Besides, Suhasini loves exploring new materials and has spent months in factories and bamboo/rubber wood forests in China and Thailand. Also she has worked extensively on rubber wood toys, new designs of which are launched every year at various Toy Fairs across the globe.

 

Which were the first products you ever designed?

Paul Sandip:  The first product I ever imagined before becoming a designer was a newspaper dispenser for the paper delivery boys.

Suhasini: When i was a student at NID, I have designed a very unique, simple and Innovative Roti maker – “Chakla”, which is manual with no mechanism. More than half a billion households in India use chakla-belan to make roti. The product developed by me is meant for efficient ‘roti’ making keeping in mind the simplification of rotary motion. Its unique shape helps initiate rotary motion in it due to circular to and fro motion of the ‘belan’ over it.

What is the role of design in daily life?

P:  Everyday products form the material framework of our existence, enabling it to function, not only in practical or utilitarian terms, but also in ways that give pleasure, meaning and significance to our lives. But why don’t we notice them? Most of us travel by the same route every day, do similar tasks every day, go to same places and although we are awake and seeing things around us we are not actually looking at them consciously. Hence, such products are frequently taken for granted. Industrial Design, to my understanding, is much about having an eye for such details and bringing back life to mundane objects. In the past 11 years of my design practice, I have experienced designing 121 different categories of products in various materials and manufacturing processes, yet each day I find something new to explore! That’s the beauty in design of everyday objects!

S: Design is the way of life for me. Being married to a very creative and talented product designer Paul Sandip, both my work life and personal life revolves around design. So products are not lifeless things for us, they are very much part of our everyday life, they are our family and the ones that we have designed are our babies.

Design to you is… 

P: A way to touch a million lives.

S: A child-like imagination, free-spirited, pure and innocent.

New materials to experiment with

P: I am experimenting with 3D printing these days. A lot of customisation is possible as well as reduction in production time and almost banishing the concept of keeping stock of finished products. With 3D printing, once a buyer places an order, the product is printed and couriered.

S: All kinds. I haven’t stuck to one particular one.  I started with paper products, i.e, designing educational puzzles and board games, then moved to plastics and injection moulded toys.  Also, I’ve designed a neon gas-infused glass lamp and experimented with wood – My Lilliput Army, contemporizing the traditional technique of turning wood.

Your most critically acclaimed designs

P: In the context of interior design objects, I can clearly say “Sweetheart”- Lovers chair is the most talked about. Next, would be Toto – A youthful piece of monolithic furniture for creative/casual spaces which allows two different styles to sit on: Pillion and Rider and Zero – a seat without a seat designed and produced for Merck, a German pigment company.

S:Doodle table and chair set, Bloom Bugs- wall mounted play modules,  Eco Hive- first wall mounted doll house,  Utsav- Crafted Lifestyle Objects in stainless steel, UFO ~ Bedside table

Role of innovation in product design

P+S: Innovation is the backbone of product design.

 

The Charismatic Craftsman

RanjanBordoloi, Studio Bordoloi

RanjanBordoloi, a young designer from North-East grew up in a community, where using handicraft and handloom to make objects of daily use was a way of life. Issues like importance of individual cultures in a globalised world, sustainable future, traditional craftsmanship and modern design holds a special place in his heart. At an early stage of his career, Bordoloi got interested in making high quality products in collaboration with companies that values design and craftsmanship. After graduating from IIT Guwahati (Industrial design), he has been practicing design from his studio – Studio Bordoloi (2016) in Assam. Besides, his award winning Pitoloi chair was offered to be a part of the project “Cappellini Next 2015” at the Salone Internazionale Del Mobile, Milano.

Which were the first products you ever designed?

My degree furniture collection including Pitoloi Chair which was showcased at Cappellini booth at Milan Furniture Fair 2015. I was trying to use the potential of local craft practices of Assam to make contemporary products and the chair has been made of hammered brass shell and rattan legs.

What is the role of design in daily life?

Design is a way of life.

Design to you is… 

Good Design is like good Music.

New materials to experiment with

Aluminium, Bio composite and Silk

Your most critically acclaimed designs

Pitoloi Chair

Role of innovation in product design…

I think innovation is an essential part of design process. It’s very important to push the limit in terms of usability, typology, use of material and production processes through research and development.

 

The Aesthetes  / The Artistic Duo

SumanKanodia and Ashish Bajoria – Scarlet Splendour

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Scarlet Splendour – a luxury design label co-founded by the team of siblings Ashish Bajoria and SumanKanodia, that appeals to an international clientele, emerged when they were doing up the interiors of their house in the year 2013. The brother-sister duo has been fascinated by eclectic patterns and extra ordinary figures and they have conceptualised the brand on the idea — extraordinary is every day.  The brand showcases handpicked interior products and collections from around the world and even offer complete design solutions in the luxury segment.  The designs under the label promises to offer unique, skillfully crafted and timeless products. Recently the duo has come up with their collection which includes Dark Angel and Fool’s Gold Collection.

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Which were the first products you ever designed?

Suman and Ashish: Our first products were the Woman in Paris and the Circus from the Vanilla Noir collection which was designed by Matteo Cibic for our label.

What is the role of design in daily life?

S: Design determines style and comfort in every sphere of life

A: Design touches every sphere of my life. May it be the toothbrush I use, car I drive or house I live in, an artistic yet functional design is what appeals to me.

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Design to you is…

S: The essence of better living

A:  A way of life

New materials to experiment with

S + A: Metal and polymers

DA Curio House

Your most critically acclaimed designs

S: The General

A: Vanilla Noir collection

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What is the role of innovation in product design?

S: Innovation takes a product beyond the rudimentary. It improves function and possibly adds style or trend statements to a product

A:  Innovation is integral to product design. A product needs to be designed with careful consideration of materials, aesthetics, ergonomics and functionality all at the same time.

 

The Wood Wizard

Anushri Jain, High on Design

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An interior designer and graduate in B.Sc. (Information systems management) Anushri Jain realised her passion for design while working under a renowned architect of Chennai for almost two and a half years. It was during her work there she figured out her design style which is eclectic and eccentric and with an urge to explore the field on her own she began with freelancing and took projects under her brand name – High on Design, which was started in the year 2010. Further in year 2012, Anushri went to Florence, Italy for a furniture design course, which was a kick to her venture into customisation of furniture for clients mostly for the ones that she was doing interiors for. Be it for interior spaces or products, Anushri likes to design them both with a raw edginess, quirkiness, and making it one of a kind.

Which were the first products you ever designed?

The first product I designed was a chaise lounge made of burma teak of about 5 ft height for a holiday home.

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What is the role of design in daily life?

There is design in everything. It is something that everyone does every day consciously or unconsciously. There is design everywhere right from macro to micro level – nature, planning a city, a house or a car. It is what contributes to making our living spaces more enjoyable, to creating harmonious atmospheres and make us feel good by simplifying our lives. Design has a higher purpose that goes well beyond creating something that is pretty to look at and it also helps people come together and enhances the significance of a place, or even an object.

Describe in five words, design to you is… 

A way to liberate myself

New materials to experiment with

More than a particular material, I am rather more interested and intrigued to use the new technology that could give a boost to designing products such as 3D Printers.

Your most critically acclaimed designs

A furniture piece called “Angeled Seater” that won me a runner-up and an honourable recipient award by two International award franchises – Milan and Los Angeles, respectively.

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Role of innovation in product design …

Innovation is the process to create something new or capture existing in a new way with ever improving technological advancements and societal needs. A product has to every now and then be innovated and improved for it to not just be a good design but also become best-selling product and this can only be achieved when design intersects massively with innovation. Therefore, when the intersection happens at one or many points it results in the ability to think about creative and unexpected solutions to our problems, resulting in improving quality of our lives, in every aspect.

 

The Versatile Designer

Saket Sethi, Archilogics

Founder and owner of Archilogics- Saket Sethi started his architecture and interior design firm in Mumbai. The Studio focuses on the invisible logic of design with contextual R&D thereby creating innovative solutions for a strong and diverse portfolio of clients.  With an impressive educational background, Saket holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Woodbury University, Los Angeles; and has studied Digital Design at University of California, Berkeley, USA, and Interior Design at New York University after beginning his education at RachnaSansad, Mumbai. Apart from being a full time architect, Saket has also been a model and an artist. Besides he has also been involved in various teaching and judging capacities at Sir JJ Academy of Architecture and recently with RachnaSansad’s School of Interior Design. Recently the interior designer architect has launched its state-of-the art 3D printed furniture, which marks his venture in the product designing segment.

Which were the first products you ever designed?

The first products I ever designed happened very late and that were the 3D printed Crochet table and a set of other products that included flat- pack chairs, coffee tables and works tables, much after our work in interior design and architecture had been established.

What is the role of design in daily life?

Design is just everywhere. Every single product you see around you has been designed by someone for some specific purpose. From the most commonplace to the most essential to the most aspirational products all are created by a rigorous design process to create the best possible design result. Design must therefore be regarded as fundamental to life itself.

Design to you is…

Intense, exciting, rewarding, essential and intentional

New materials to experiment with

Carbon Fibre, Composites,  Nylon and ABS for 3D printing and recyclable waste products

Your most critically acclaimed designs

Our first furniture product itself was the winner in the furniture category and was critically appreciated as well.

Role of innovation in product design ..

If you are looking to design a good product; say something new – where you are redefining its attributes to create something better, you cannot do it without some research. R&D defines the innovative aspect of what is new and ‘better’ in a product so it is essential to innovative to create good products.

 

The Artistic Duo

Sachin Bandukwala and Melissa Smith, banduksmithstudio

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Melissa Smith, having completed her Master of Architecture and Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and Sachin Bandukwala, his Bachelor of Architecture from CEPT University came together to found the BandukwalaSmithStudio in 2010. It is an architecture, urban design and research practice. The practice works at many scales, taking on projects of furniture and object design, interiors.  For them, Various at Dhobi Talao is a way to explore making in ways that architectural practice doesn’t offer. Here they work closely to innovate with artisans—carpenters, fabricators, metalsmiths and others—accepting only the best, with no limitation from the client. In food, they explore processes of making with a similar regard for perfection and a commitment to quality and traditional knowledge. And happenings allow initiatives to discuss these processes with others engaged in them, to develop a dialogue among a cohort, and to reflect on processes, rather than simply produce.

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Which were the first products you ever designed?

Couples – a double-sided ceramic cup. This product Sachin designed almost two decades ago, but its avatar is actually going into production just now!

What is the role of design in daily life?

Design is everywhere! Just about everything we use is designed, and as designers we think about it a lot. We notice clever details that take care to remove water beautifully, or platforms that mask a height difference while creating a place to sit. The fun is to see things that are so well considered, but often overlooked!

 

Design to you is… 

Observation and innovation in response

New materials to experiment with

We are always interested in new materials, but also in recycled objects, like the sheets used to cover the ends of rolls of shipped aluminium sheets, or burner blocks from kilns. To imagine a new purpose for an existing object is always exciting.

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Your most critically acclaimed designs

The reed chair has received a lot of attention, along with an installation based on the same concept: various wetlands. In both of these we use the inherent dynamics of slender brass rods and pipes to create a responsive back support for seating, inserted simply into a shaped wooden base. These pieces also uphold our ethic of simplicity and smartness in design, where we assemble joints between different materials, and keep the mechanisms as transparent and simple as possible.

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  1. Caleb

    Another great article by team iDecorama. Really loved the work of Studio Avni and The Artistic Duo. Great job guys.. Keep it up!

    • Thank you for kind words @Caleb. Keep supporting us like this and we promise to bring more amazing works from across the globe for you.

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