“Design should be timeless and not bound to any particular typology, a sensibility we imbibe in all our work, be it architecture or product design. Ideas come from everywhere, of one is open to receive them and the most inspiring is the abstract called life. So, after having been designing environments (that is buildings and interior spaces), we progressed naturally into designing the elements within the environments (ie:products). Now the overall experience is complete. Does not mean it ends here?”, says Amitha Madan/Agrim Singhal of Magari Designers
Your collection is a true amalgamation of community-based handcrafted design that evokes the fluidity of the Tamil script-interesting. Can you tell us on this as that connects with both history and heritage.
The connection that we have created is from the place, its community and their everyday practices. Their language and daily practices are key features with which we have conceptualized the whole range.
As a collection, we are creating a symbolic connection between timelessness of community-based crafts & practices of universal and its potential for reinvention and co-existence with modern day practices.
Aayutha letter – can you explain about this.
The Aayutha letter (aayatham) is the triple dotted letter, which in its capacity behaves as a chameleon letter for foreign sounds to be integrated into the alphabet. The occurrence of the ‘Aayutha’ letter involves finer grammar rules of adjoining two words, thus symbolising co-existence with other cultures and societies.
Do you think design is about solving problems, or a rigorous beautification of our built environments? Explain.
We feel design has a great ability to solve problems and the past has proven that and beautification of built environment. And both can coexist or be independent. The idea of design is a show of need for something that hasn’t been explored yet. And that need can be physical or emotional. For example, in today’s world, designing products is about how sustainably we can use our materials to manufacture products or how can we meet packaging requirements to cut costs and materials, etc. These aspects are problems that a design can solve without forgetting a good sense of aesthetics.
What is the one product that you are particularly proud of?
The molded plywood chairs that Charles and Ray Eames had designed in 1946. They developed a new way of looking at a material which inspires us to do the same even today.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Our sources of inspiration are mostly our memories, places that we have visited, cultures and practices that we have experienced combined with the idea of a challenge to create something new.
Tell us about yourself in detail and what made you come into this industry?
‘I did my architecture degree at BMSCE, Bangalore and then practised with a local firm before the commencement of Treelight design in 2015 and Magari in 2016. To me, design should be timeless and not be bound to any particular typology; a sensibility I imbibe in all my work, be it architecture or product design. Ideas come from everywhere if you are open to receive them and the most inspiring is the abstract called life. So, after having been designing environments (that is buildings and interior spaces) I progressed naturally into designing the elements within the environments (products). Now the overall experience is complete. Does not mean it ends here’, says Amitha Madan, Principal Designer, Magari and Treelight Design.
Agrim Singhal, the lead Product Designer at Magari adds ‘I completed my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts and Design Practices from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology. With over half a decade of experience in the industry, I have worked on collaboration projects with renowned Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven. I have displayed some of my work at the Fuorisalone during the Milan design week in 2017 while working with the Prestige group of companies before joining Magari in 2018. As a product designer, I aspire to solving the smallest of problems through design. Design has always proven to change an individual’s experience of a product or anything else for that matter and has led me to believe that there are endless opportunities in creating this experience. With these changing times, my design approach is driven by taking conscious decisions towards functionality and practicality through user research while paying close attention to the most minute details and developing an intriguing new form’.
Trends and long-lasting design – how do you build a sustainable bridge between these?
Don’t really believe in trends as they are short lived. We believe more in style. We try to create most things that will last the test of time or age gracefully. We believe inanimate object have life in them as long as they are in constant contact with a living being. Sustainable will never work without aesthetics, functionality and commercial viability.
How would you define your approach to design?
Like telling a story… A beginning, a middle and an end. May be a Cliché but works for us. And all three are equally important.
What do you think a room that feels right will be like ten years from now?
A bag full of stories.
Do you think good design can shift and change human behaviour and create new social conditions, cross-pollinate ideas, materials, behaviours, aesthetics and language from one typology to the other?
Most certainly design has the power to transform human behaviour affecting social conditions. For example, the small yet significant design of traffic symbols. How they speak a common language throughout the world.
Are your designs influenced by the past or are you solely focused on that which is modern?
Our designs are about re-inventing practices of the past into new products with the help of modern-day materials and practices. We allow ourselves to imagine the past in a new intriguing form.
Can you explain the thinking behind the minimalist designs of yours?
We have always tried to keeps things simple and focus more on adding details that brings the collection or concept together rather than adding unnecessary components and features. This naturally comes from how we would like to set our own home with the most essential objects and not crowd the whole space up.
You clearly appreciate vibrancy. How do you think vibrant colours translate in design?
Colour for us is the emotional connect to the product. It is very subjection, moody and exudes tremendous amount of personality. It holds good for neutrals as well. Colour can make you perceive a shape different by that we don’t mean think of fat. We like to use colour both to bring out the form of a product and develop the form based on the colour choices.
Your work shapes the feeling of home for many people – What is home for you both?
Home for us is non affectatious. It should have some character though reflecting the personality of the person residing in it. Personally, for us interaction with nature is very important.