Vibhor Sogani, one of India’s first international award-winning lighting designers, rang in his 25 years in the industry in style—by flooring a discerning audience in Germany’s prestigious Light + Building 2018 at Frankfurt this week. Not just that, his is the first Indian design brand to make its presence felt at the world’s leading trade fair for decorative lights and bespoke light installations that took place between March 18 to March 23.
Sogani unveiled three unique collections at the fair—Casa, Fold and Palm, each with their distinct design arithmetic and personality. While Casa is inspired by nature, the pieces capture the essence of life. Fluid curves combine with the create a shape that enticed observers to come closer and within.
The products under Fold, inspired by geometrical abstracts, have been crafted from single sheets of metal. “But each individual fold is the result of deliberate and meticulous thought,” explains the ace designer.
Palm is all about sunny days, warm breeze and sunlight dappling through fingered palm leaves. “The prism like surface radiates a light that gently draws you into the folds of its golden aura,” Sogani says.
Our eyes drift towards a massive steel installation resembling a flame. The undulations on the structure is minutely close to the original, and they catch the light of the surroundings to glamorously shine. Then there is the giant branch with each segment holding a globe that glows with blue and orange light.
“I love working with scale. It gives the products a larger than life aura. For instance, if you see Kalpavriksha—the wish fulfilling tree, a 30-ft installation at a golf course in Ahmedabad, you notice, how it matches the expanse of the landscape. That it is humongous adds to the appeal. Even at Light + Building the audience appreciated that character,” Sogani adds.
There is a curious abstract nature to his works, which are even sometimes borrowed from the specifics of geometry and nature. For instance, his gigantic lotus leaves in steel, sport the intricacies of the real plant but when viewed aerially they appear as dots on an expansive and verdant patch of land. But if you have a small, pretty fish pond at home, adorn them with the smaller steel lotus leaves. They lend that edgy chic in décor.
Crashing cube, when deconstructed is a formation of small steel spheres and wires put together with the precision of a mathematician. It’s as if the cube has suddenly fallen on the glass surface and smashed its perfect structure. “What is design without a bit, actually, lots of drama,” chortles the designer.
“Good designs can only be relevant if they are functional and they follow the rules of sound technical detailing. For example, look at this light. It looks fancy, but if the light emanating out of it is not balanced to the correct degree, it will fail in the parameters of great design,” says Sogani, pointing to a lamp that looks like it is folded paper and was also showcased in Frankfurt.
Known for light and metal installations that are larger-than-life, Sogani honed his product designing skills at NID, Ahmedabad, after growing up in Jaipur in a setting where he often found himself on the field with his geophysicist father. The processes of mining and the technicalities somewhat imbued in him the love for metals.
It is his sound technical background that has marked his products with a stamp of fabulous aesthetics, accuracy and solid engineering. And these are the very qualities that garnered him acclaim on German soil.