Monday, April 30, 2018

For the love of everyday objects

By Deepika Srivastava
Photography: Courtesy Sandip Paul
Read Time: 3 mins
"neon tetra designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Neon tetra  

“The motivation to innovate is yet to see its high in India,” opines Paul Sandip. With a coveted portfolio to his credit, the industrial designer in a candid tête-à-tête with IAnD…

Ex-cartoonist and currently an international award-winning product designer, Sandip Paul, as a trained industrial designer, believes in the power of mass manufactured objects as a major influencer of lifestyles in general. His design of the bulb holder is now a trade-standard in both, India and China. His portfolio includes products like Toto, a furniture piece which allows one to sit in two different styles, an angular multi-plug, switch plates, power cords, even washing machines, air-conditioners… among a multitude of other diverse products. 

The cartoonist in him identifies latent needs, the innovator in him visualizes the solutions and the artist in him gives shape to the ideas. Excerpts from the interview…

"Asterix Multi axis charging adaptor designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Asterix multi-axis charging adaptor
"volcano speakers designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
volcano speakers

IAnD: You have been considered as a designer of products “to improve life”. What triggers the mundane and what inspires you?
Sandip Paul: Understanding the user’s expectations and his psyche help me design effortlessly and create unique and easy-to-use products. Also, everyday products allow the smooth functioning of our lives, both in utilitarian and aspirational terms. They are all-pervasive; yet go unnoticed and are often taken for granted. 
Why does your soap dish look the way it looks? And why do you hold a spoon the way you do? You probably wouldn’t have lost any sleep over these questions, not even when they didn’t work right. Design, to my understanding, is about having an eye for such details and bringing back life to mundane objects. Observation is a necessary tool to design useful products.

IAnD: Does the idea come first or the need (from a manufacturer)?
SP: I am offered a business challenge (which most often is economic profit for the client) and have to come up with ideas that are “out-of-the-box” yet commercially viable. So, I identify the latent needs and desires of the target consumers and design the product aesthetics around it. 

"TOTO ride ur way designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
"India Glory Ceiling Fan designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
India Glory ceiling fan

IAnD: What according to you is the first and last step in the design process?
SP: Good design is good business. The first step is to understand the client’s business requirement; then tailor one’s approach to address particular problems, identify the right resources and finally deliver a commercially viable idea with all the accurate production details to ease the mass-manufacturing process. Last but not the least, the idea must be derived from empathy, and strike a chord with the end user.

IAnD: What is your definition of innovation?
SP: A slight but impactful improvement in any product or process is what I feel differentiates innovation from invention.

"concept sketch angular multiplug for GM designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Concept sketch and angular multi-plug for GM
"orient cooler original idea sketch designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Orient cooler original idea sketch

IAnD: What is the one thread that ties together the design language of the range of products that you design? 
SP: I prefer not to impose a “fit-to-all” aesthetic language to my projects; however, the common thread is the utility that I add that brings the wow factor to the user. 

"Bulb holder sketches by designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Bulb holder sketches
"Batten bulb holder designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Batten bulb holder
"Angle bulb holder design drawing by designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Angle bulb holder design drawing

IAnD: Which are some of the other day-to-day problems that you would like to develop products for?  
SP: Whenever I spot an opportunity I build a solution and ensure it reaches out to the masses; either directly through me as a producer of limited-edition objects, or else through a mass manufacturing company. I am currently working on many innovative ideas but shall not be able to disclose much as the projects are confidential.

"designer paul sandip indiaartndesign"
Paul Sandip

1) Good design is... empathetic.
2) Success is... having ample “me time” for “doing nothing”.
3) The difference between a need and want is... very contextual.
4) Designing an aesthetic product requires... an artistic bent of mind.
5) The most striking characteristic of my designs is... simplicity, honesty and common sense.

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