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Vibhor Sogani sees the light

The Delhi-based artist and designer takes three new bespoke collections to the Light + Building 2018 fair in Frankfurt

A closer view of Vibhor Sogani’s ‘Casa’ collection’s piece. Photo: Shailan Parker
A closer view of Vibhor Sogani’s ‘Casa’ collection’s piece. Photo: Shailan Parker

One of the most photographed designs at the ongoing Light + Building 2018, in Frankfurt, is The Nest by artist and designer Vibhor Sogani. Thousands of stainless-steel balls come together to mimic the complex and intricate design of a weaver bird’s home.

The Delhi-based artist and designer is displaying 14 pieces at the biennial show, which is the world’s leading trade fair in lighting and building services, with over 2,700 participants and over 210,000 visitors from around the world. “We are now the first Indian design brand to showcase in the high-end modern design lighting segment of the show," says Sogani on the phone from Frankfurt.

In this exhibition, he has also tried to showcase his evolution over 25 years as a designer with several acclaimed installations to his name, including the famous Sprouts—India’s largest public art installation, spread over 6 acres of greens, near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences flyover in Delhi.

Vibhor Sogani’s ‘Casa’ collection Photo: Shailan Parker

The designer talks about the three bespoke collections—Fold, Casa and Palm—that he has created especially for the fair. While each presents a unique viewing experience, the underlying thread through the three is his belief in “less is more". “Sometimes simple can be beautiful. For instance, in Fold, one has tried to achieve interesting forms by simply creating paper-like folds with stainless steel," says Sogani.

The Palm line, with its prism-like surfaces, presents facets of origami to create visuals of sunny days, a warm breeze, and sunlight filtering through the palm leaves. There are three products within the Palm collection, including a wall and a floor piece. Casa too features three lines inspired by the fluid and elegant designs of a shell, the weaver bird’s nest, and a fabric drape. In some ways, one can also see the influences of the Sheesh Mahal, a common feature in palaces across Rajasthan, where Sogani grew up. “You walk in with one candle and see nearly 10,000 glass pieces reflecting the light. My design plays with that convexity," he says. For him, a light installation has two lives—one, when it’s switched on, and the other, when it’s switched off. In the day, the form needs to look pleasing, and at night, it needs to turn into a performer of sorts. It is this balance between form and functionality that he tries to achieve in his designs.

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