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Avni Sejpal - StudioavniBy Andrew Chyne
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The talented architect and product designer Avni Sejpal, comes from a textile family. A post graduate in Environmental Design (Majors in Furniture, Public Art and Graphics), from Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, she came back to India in 2011 to start her venture Studio Avni.
With more than 8 years of domestic as well as international design experience behind her, she has made her mark in the world of Interiors, Furniture, Fashion and Graphic Design.
Here is our conversation with Avni Sejpal, the Principal Designer of Studioavni.
What inspires you to be a Designer?
Coming from a textile based family, I had an early exposure to design. I always knew that I wanted to make my own stuff – outfits, furniture, jewelry to designing flyers and design portfolios for friends and family. But overall, it oscillated from being an Architect, to Textile designer to a Product designer.
While I would study architecture at Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute Of Architecture (KRVIA), Mumbai, I would be traveling for various textile and design shows with my father. Post that, I went to London for a Masters in Environmental design with focus on furniture design and public art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Post London, in eight years before opening my studio, I had the opportunity to work in different design disciplines domestically and internationally. During this time I gained experience in architecture, interiors, furniture design, textiles, fashion, and graphic design. My experiences and experiments with design culminated in opening of my own design studio in 2011.
Where is your studio based at?
Studio Avni is based in Mumbai.
Are you planning to expand beyond Mumbai?
I started my studio in Mumbai, because Mumbai is my home although some of the crafts work gets done in Gujarat & Rajasthan. But, yes we are open for creative collaborations.
Can you tell us something about your design and your new collections?
While designing the Fin Series, I was drawn by exploring rhythmic patterns and geometry, something that can be controlled by altering and modulating the algorithms be it by parametric design or can be controlled by hand. Geometry is all around us in nature, from chambered nautilus, hexagonal beehive cells to galaxy and everything in between. Architectural studies also emphasized sacred geometry. It’s the most recognizable pattern occurring in nature.
The Fin series were inspired by biomorphic architecture and randomness in organic forms and geometry. The ethereal light sculptures generated are reminiscent of scaly marine creatures such as sea anemone and jellyfishes displaying forms that have a physical and mathematical basis.
Faceted Tactile Light Series:
The Faceted series started off as an exploration of geometrical structural modules that can behave like a cell, which allows for the construction of larger structure. I tried to explore these further by experimenting with crafts such as origami & kirigami, which are traditionally practiced on paper. Hence it was fun translating the same on non-traditional origami material like metal. The results were fascinating!
How many days does it take to create a typical design?
There are a total of 10 design models in the new collection – Fin Cloud Series. The entire process took around 6 months from sketch to a functional prototype.
What is the USP of your designs?
We live in a world of contradictions and paradoxes and I try to maintain a balance by existing somewhere in the grey area between the two. It’s an optimum blend of parametric and handmade, soft and hard materials (textiles and metals), green approach to industrial products and weaving these together in a cultural context.
If you look at the Indian textile industry, the method of weaving has shifted from traditional method to modern method, by the use of machines. Can you share your opinion in this matter?
I think we need to find a balance and harmony between the old and new - designs that blend contemporary visual influences, technology and traditional craftsmanship to create pieces that are unique, contextual and timeless.
Whether that is achieved by handmade product or machine made product is secondary but how does it impact our individual lifestyles and our planet should be of a greater concern.
Smart and wise use of materials is extremely important in the times we live. Optimization of material and process is something that eliminates from our lives redundant objects and creates lesser trash. Cradle to cradle life cycle of a product should be the most important factor while designing any product.
I love the mix of dynamic unpredictable complexity and sociological associations that a design can bring to a product; it just makes the product so much richer.
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