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MEET OUR MAKER SYZYGY
Our growing community of like-minded partners extends far across the world to
a New Delhi industrial design company named SYZYGY. Pronounced siz-eh-gee,
SYZYGY collaborates with craftsmen to reinterpret everyday objects in natural
materials like clay. Case in point, these multi-functional, Bauhaus-inspired
Novah ceramic pitchers. We recently caught up with our friend and SYZYGY
founder Ankit Kumar to see how he’s staying strong and optimistic during
lockdown in India.
Launched at the London Design Festival in 2016, SYZYGY combines simple,
functional design with quality materials (including ceramic and metal) to
create strikingly modern objects that are as practical as they are
beautiful. SYZYGY is the natural phenomenon that occurs when the Moon
and Sun are aligned and the gravitational pull between the two solar
beings is at its strongest.
We reached Ankit during quarantine at his home in the outskirts of New Delhi.
What do you see out your window?
April 22nd marked a milestone anniversary for Earth Day. Mankind is more committed than ever to building on the progress of the past while moving toward a sustainable future for all. To quote journalist Emilie Karrick Surrusco of Earthjustice.org, “50 years ago, it wasn’t unusual for rivers to catch fire, for overflowing landfills to seep toxic gases, or for smog-filled skies to dominate our landscapes. While we still have a long way to go toward a healthy, sustainable planet for all, we’ve also come a long way since the first Earth Day brought 20 million Americans into the streets and the modern environmental movement was born.”
What do you see out your window?
Trees, birds and sky.
What’s your biggest challenge as a maker?
The biggest challenge is not being able to work on ideas with physical materials for hands-on conception. A part of my daily activities before the lockdown was to collaborate with the craftsmen to actualize the concepts. The articulation of intangible aspects of design into something physical has become difficult, but this has given me time to do extensive research about the approach and end-use scenarios. I have been sketching generously and spending time illustrating the mood boards for the brand. I am trying everything to seize the moment and be more comprehensive. We at the studio play a lot of classic rock and our playlist is an assortment of everyone’s favourite songs. I have been playing all these songs on the loop to create the mood of the studio at home. Here is the link to the playlist if you would like to know the vibe of our workplace.
We keep discussing the concepts on video calls and e-mails, but not being able to play with physical prototypes keeps me inconclusive. I am also going back to theories and exercises from my design school days and adapting them into the current scheme of things. We have been working on alternative models to transform our business and prepare it for the forthcoming new normal. Once we reopen, we will be pushing for improved systematic thinking in our production facilities to recover the time lost and come out as a stronger company.
How are you staying strong and resilient?
I have been staying positive during this time because this phase arrived at a point where I was looking for a break to reflect upon and plan future strategies. I have been so occupied with daily operations of the studio and the brand from the past couple of years that I could not fully express the creative aspects of my being.
Working on concepts continuously with no time frame and disruptions just keep me very calm. As I also work as a User Interface & Experience designer for selective tech projects, it gives me a steady balance in the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional design processes. But I am completely obsessed with materials and can’t wait to go back to exploring the new concepts as actual. Apart from work, I have been reading and binge-watching a lot of content which just keeps me very objective and stable. I am not very anxious because as a designer I am accustomed to the unknown. I trust that we will find a way guided by our instincts.
"IT HAS GIVEN ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO PAUSE AND THINK ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER."
Where do you find moments of joy? What nourishes you creatively?
I find moments of joy in simple daily chores like cooking and watering the plants. I finally have time to learn and cook the dishes I always enjoyed eating. Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it doesn’t but I believe that it just nourishes me creatively to try things differently in every attempt. Plants inspire and motivate me with their structure & patterns, keeping me and my surroundings fresh and lucid. Tracking their growth just fix up my day with great pleasure and hope. These routine activities simulate all my senses and keep me assured. They essentially make me very organised and distracts me from the stress of uncertainty.
What are you grateful for? Any special silver linings?
I am extremely lucky & grateful to be safe and relaxed at my place of comfort. I also feel blessed that everyone in my family, friend circle and workspace is secure & sane during this pandemic. My family has been very supportive in giving me the courage to live through these times and motivate me every day.
The silver lining is that this break has given me time to think diversely. This has consciously made me monitor my health, time and resources. I have become much more sustainable economically and think in an astute way to take care of my surroundings. This period has become a vigorous exercise in facing reality with gratitude.
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