Photography: Udita Chaturvedi & Vibhor Sogani
|Lighting Designer Vibhor Sogani|
When he talks, it is evident that while his mind lies in lighting, Vibhor’s heart truly lies in art. Dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a sporty T-shirt, he dwells at large on how he believes in simplicity and how designing is his way of life…
Not too long ago, then chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit urged Vibhor Sogani to recreate a work of art she particularly admired, for the AIIMS crossing in New Delhi. What made the silver bulbs even more significant was Vibhor’s analogy - while a child has a definite growth ratio, a democratic nation takes its own time to grow or ‘sprout’.
Soulful musings driven by design is second nature for NID alumnus Vibhor Sogani, an expert in lighting and art pieces, who has been conferred the Icon of the Year at the Camera, Catwalk, Canvas event in Singapore earlier this year. However, the seriousness of his ideas is in complete contrast with his jovial personality.
Inspired by nature and words of wisdom, Vibhor is as passionate about his art titled ‘In search’ that awaits patronage as it can command only a white 40 x 40 wall; as he is about every light fitting he has created, including the Cascade lights that were drawn from Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater building in Pennsylvania. His literary repertoire includes the likes of Korean sculptor Young-Deok Seo, Indian installation artist Anish Kapoor, American designer Charles Eames and Israeli artist/architect Ron Arad.
From walking into an airport, or sitting in a movie theatre to visiting his ancestral home, Vibhor cannot help but notice the little details of art and lighting around him. The Lotus Temple in Delhi is a “piece of art” that he wishes he had designed, simply because design has been so intricately blended with architecture that the place does not need artificial lighting till late evening.
IAnD connects with the renowned lighting designer to delve a little into his personal life and understand his choices and ideologies.
What is your favourite material?
I like working with steel, brass, aluminium and copper. But I particularly love working with stone. My late grandfather, a chemical engineer by profession, had once made a washbasin for the house; it remained just a functional item for several years, until one day I noticed the great design aesthetics of the basin made of cement chips.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
That’s when am designing. Somebody has said that if you love what you do, you don’t have to ‘go to’ work everyday. But if I get a chance to do nothing at all and be alone, I find 24 hours too little. I can be alone for days - but my wife cannot know this (he chuckles)!
If you could invite five people, living or dead, to a formal sit-down dinner, who would you like to invite and what would the topics of discussion be?
That’s a tough one. Mahatma Gandhi, because he was a great thinker. Even at his age, he could spin the nation. He was simple but cunning; American architect and interior designer Frank Lloyd Wright because he had a great architecture style. Barack Obama, because he thinks differently. He says and does small but powerful things - like his simple “Yes, we can” slogan. Anish Kapoor because he makes interesting installations. And Madhubala, because there has to be one beautiful woman. There’s no one topic that I would discuss with them but rather talk about their areas of expertise.
What are the five things that you would want if you’re stranded on a deserted island?
A book, a sketch pad with my tool and my phone to listen to music. That’s all I need.
What is your favourite quote in life?
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”