In conversation with designer extraordinaire Vikram Goyal of Viya Homes
EDIDA Designer of the Year winner (2009), Vikram Goyal likes to create spaces that are glamorous and comfortable, sculpting vignettes that are modern and international with an Indian touch. His sculptural pieces hold the power to amaze. Educating himself in the finer nuances of oriental and occidental styles and shaping a unique design perspective, the designer started his journey into the world of avant-garde design resting on the bold play of mixed materials in 2003, when he started Viya Home with his sister Divya. Commemorating 15 years of Viya, the designer says, “We have long championed for a ‘modern Indian’ design language and our dramatic masterpieces are known to blur the lines between art and design as well as design and utility.” The tenets of Viya Home rest on working with artisans, re-imagining local materials and reviving age-old traditional skills. Unrestrained in their dimensions, each piece is a testimony to form and function where one sees a strong sense of exuberance and willingness to break away from the confines of geometry. In an exclusive conversation with the designerHow would you break down art-meets-design to a layman? We asked him. His response is rather anti-paradoxical. “When a designed object is less functional and more artistic then the lines between art and design get blurred. For example, our Shangri-la piece could be viewed as a screen or room divider but given its scale and sculptural three-dimensionality also as an art installation.” The product and interior design is constantly on the move — for someone who is always enveloped in the process of making and creating, where does he then, find the inspiration to create and innovate? “I draw inspiration from several styles and periods and cultures,” says Vikram, also the co-founder of Kama Ayurveda, an Ayurveda skincare and haircare label. “We started with Indian architectural references moved on to nature then Art Deco and finally work with abstract and sculptural forms. The references reflect abundant travel and reading.” This is evident as the key moulding process of Viya Homes lies in ‘Indianness’. One can celebrate the feeling of ‘Indianness’ through various forms, materials, textures “People have such a huge dictionary of references to choose from,” he says. The interest to explore Indian historical archives and the love for Indian motifs led him to adopt a material of preference — brass. The metal, a lustrous golden hue, ages like fine wine, brass into a polished bronze colour. This made for an easy transition into our next question, If you had to choose a material of your choice other than brass, what would it be and why? “I would like to explore working with textiles,” declares the designer. “First of all, with brass, there is such a legacy of fine craftsmanship and fine design that exists in India today. Secondly, there is a huge choice of materials and styles to work with.”
A global designer — Vikram is affluent with cultural experiences through his timely travels and believes that the only way to put the country on the global map is to develop local talent and raise the standards to a global level — through international education and international collaborations. So what would be this maverick’s favourite design district you would wonder? “The St.Ouen flea market in Paris,” he quips. “From paintings to sculptures to furniture. Antiques, Mid-century to modern. It’s all there! It is my favourite place to browse, shop and be inspired,” he adds.
Read more about Vikram Goyal in our April-May issue which is on stands now!