After graduating from Purdue and studying animation in Vancouver, my early career years were spent worked as a sculptor/designer for an automotive company. I learned a lot about form and line quality, which set the stage for working with wire. In 2008, I took an opportunity to work with my sister on her invention, Clocky, the runaway alarm clock that gets you out of bed. After a couple of years it became time to start my own venture. I moved to Los Angeles and pursued my interest with California life. California has so much to offer with every beach, deserts, mountains and interesting cities like Palm Springs filled with mid century modern homes.
I recently stumbled upon the furniture line and product studio, Bend Seating. I adore the pieces, which are made through a hand crafted method of shaping and spot welding. I had to find out more about the line and the creator, Gaurav Nanda. If Gaurav’s name sounds familiar that’s because he worked with his sister Gauri Nanda, the founder of the brilliant Clocky, the alarm clock that runs away from you. (LOVE) Lucky for us, Gaurav has agreed to answer a few questions about himself and Bend Seating. I’m in awe, his answers are so inspiring!
TR: Gaurav, tell us a little bit about yourself?
GN: I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Those early years I found myself building, joining, or bending something, whether it be constructing a teepee, painting with oils, or throwing pots. Once, I made a screen printing machine, where I built a frame, stencil, and got a squeegee to pass paint thru. It was to mark the beginning of my t-shirt printing business. Those early creative impulses were to prove instrumental in my professional life as a sculptor, designer, and entrepreneur.
TR: I understand you hand a hand in Clocky, the alarm clock that runs away from you and forces you to wake up. How did you make the transition from product design to furniture design?
GN: In the beginning I spent two years developing my line and took cues from 1950’s sculptor Harry Bertoia’s metal rod chairs. I set out to find a way to update the concept and offer something different and edgier and lot more intricate and comfortable.Inspiration comes from everywhere but music plays a crucial role in my process. New songs and artists are constantly playing in the workshop, which makes for a lively and happier work environment too. I also take cues from the work of Buckminster Fuller, who created the geodesic dome, movie maker Wes Anderson, and my mother’s handmade macramé plant-holders. In a way the patterns used in my work can be traced to my Indian heritage, as an homage of sorts to my thriving culture.
TR: How long does the design process take, from conception to completion?
GN: Usually an idea sits in my head for a few months before I even sketch something out. On an average it takes 6-12 months to get something to market.
TR: Tell us a bit about the chairs and ottomans. Are they indoor only, or can they be used outdoors as well? Can they be custom colored?
GN: Our chairs are designed and produced for both indoor and outdoor environments. Made of iron, we have taken every measure to prevent corrosion. Our products go through a galvanization process and are then powder coated to withstand the elements. In addition, all our chairs are outfitted with glides to prevent friction with the ground.
We passed BIFMA 2012 standards, a formal test conducted by an independent third party to review construction and weight capacity. Our chairs are contract grade and will perform well in high traffic areas.
TR: When you hit a road block, what helps you push forward?
GN: When I hit a road block, I usually work on something else and come back to it. Things usually get resolved after you take a break from it.
TR:What’s next for you, and for Bend Seating?
GN: We have a lots of things in the works. Launching new animal head trophy heads called “WildLife” in May, new website, product videos, trade shows this summer – ICFF and NYNOW and we are designing new products. We designed a special collection for West Elm that came out this summer. It is exciting to see our ideas evolve and where we want our story to go.
Thanks, Gaurav, for sharing with us! I really like the idea of taking a break from something when you hit a road block. It’s a great solution to avoid frustration. I’m excited to see the new West Elm collection and what’s new at ICFF!