Sandeep Sangaru is the founder of Sangaru Design Studio, established in 2004. The studio has a particular focus on the craft sector, working with local materials and artisans to produce contemporary design products. In 2009 their "Truss Me" bamboo furniture system (below) won a red dot design award, voted "bets of the best". With "Truss Me" Sangaru has taken the humblest of materials, bamboo and used its inherent property of high tensile strength to create a sophisticated series of furniture based on the triangular bamboo 'truss'. Last year Sandeep set up Sangaru Design Objects to produce and manufacture their designs and was awarded a gold prize at the Design for Asia Awards in the Homewares section. We caught up with Sandeep who shared with us some of his thoughts about design and some fabulous new images of the "Truss Me" pieces he's now manufacturing.
What led you to pursue a career in design?
Subconsciously my journey as a designer started as kid, looking back for where I am today. I was always a hands-on person tinkering with every day objects.
Pre-internet era accesses to information were limited, I was only aware of Architecture and Fashion design, the popular ones. One of those days I fumbled across some architecture and interior magazine, which talked about the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad a multi-disciplinary design school and then decided I have to be here and subsequently got selected to pursue Furniture Design.
Describe a typical day at the office.
Typical day? My work schedule is very organic in nature I tend work from anywhere and everywhere home, studio, traveling. Travel takes me to different parts of India on various projects working with local crafts, documenting diverse traditions and cultures through photography and films also teach at various design and craft schools.
As a multi-disciplinary designer, how would you describe your design philosophy?
Being in a multi-disciplinary environment for almost 3 years as a student and 2 more years as a teacher, allowed me to experiment and explore all possible ventures I could lay my hands on. And when I started my design studio I wanted put all these experience.
If I have to describe my design philosophy it would be something like this:
To design is to come up with a better solution for a circumstance within a context. There is always a complex set of factors acting upon each other with in this context.Being multi-disciplinary I tend observe and record from different perspective at the same time. Which, allows me to simplify the outcome, it is much easier to a deduct and cancel out factors than add new ones and this for me some how holds good, be it working on developing new ways to design with traditional methods using craft or using sophisticated tools when working with the industry, Teaching design or guiding an artisan to understand design methods, documenting or making films.
Could you tell us a little about contemporary design culture in India?
Design is very young in India it’s been only 50 years since the first Design School was established which is NID. India consists of a very small design community and its culture is also as diverse as India’s culture and it’s society. Designers over the years have worked and contributed in the areas of social issues, education, crafts & traditional practices other than the mainstream commercial design.
Design in India has been active all these years in their respective areas, but now they are all surfacing in various sectors and the world is noticing them. I hope to see it grow, find its place and make a definite impact on the world in a positive way.
What inspires you?
“The stillness encompassing the chaos inspires me”
Who has influenced you?
Everything and Everyone I have come across has influenced to think and act in certain way, good or bad.
What have been your most rewarding achievements?
The first one would be getting selected for NID to study design. Second is ‘Truss Me’ the bamboo story.
Your ‘Truss Me’ Bamboo furniture system won a red dot design award in 2009, voted ‘best of the best’. How has this impacted upon your career?
I do not know how much impact red dot did on my career; I’m still doing the same things as I was doing before. People started see my work and did put me on the world map of design somewhere. And maybe I started seeing the potential of my work and pushed more for the world to see them.
Are the "Truss Me" pieces in production?
Yes, I established a new company last year in 2010 ‘Sangaru Design Objects’ to manufacture our designs. The launch collection for the company is ‘Truss Me’ range of bamboo furniture.
I’m also happy to share with you; the first year of establishing, Sangaru Design Objects were voted winners for the ‘Grand award’ at the Hong Kong Design Centre Awards –Design For Asia awards 2011 along with‘Gold award’ for ‘Product and Industrial –Homeware’ for ‘Truss Me’.
Tell us about your role as a design educator? What do you enjoy about teaching and does it inform your studio work?
It happened by chance and I took the opportunity to be a full time design teacher at NID between 2002-04. Since then along with my work I have been teaching at various design schools in India as a visiting faculty.
What I enjoy about teaching is the process of designing module, an assignment and intuitively evolving over the course of it. Trying to improvise and accommodate individuals and dynamics within a group in a class. Enjoy, choreographing a group to accomplish an objective, where every individual is like a different instrument.
At the end one comes out rejuvenated.
What’s next? Anything you’re excited about?
My new business is what I’m occupied with now. Excited about being my own client and multitasking!
Right now I’m giving some finishing touches to the ‘Truss Me’ collection with some additional products for Kids. Simultaneously developing a straightforward and very simple range of bamboo furniture ‘Bamboo Basics’ hope people would like them too. Got a few ideas in my mind for the ‘next’, which I’m exited about.
How do you want your work to be remembered?
I would be very happy if my work is remembered and remembered in a good way.
Visit Sangaru Design Studio to learn more.
Posted by Lauren Evans