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May 20, 2011

Let There Be Light!

Text by Malvika Sah. Photograph by Amit Dey

They are young, trendy and very creative. Taking home décor to a brand new level, Gautam Seth and Prateek Jain, talk to Verve about their eclectic designs, maverick lifestyle and exclusive clientele. Verve catches up with the duo in their spacious New Delhi home

“In the end God said, let there be light, and there was light,” quotes the Bible, making the earth a brighter better place. In the 21st century, luminosity acquires a dazzling new avatar, thanks to two young rising design stars and installation artistes, Gautam Seth and Prateek Jain from Delhi, whose highly conceptual and over-the-top glowing installations have been winning them both accolades and elite patrons. “The idea of a light is for it to be in harmony with its surroundings,” says the dynamic duo in unison. No surprise, it is an integral part of their stylishly done-up home and creates the precise flamboyant ambience and mood.

Best buddies for life and now business partners, Seth and Jain met through common friends. While Jain was born and brought up in the capital, Seth grew up in Ambala and Chandigarh. Strutting through various courses and career choices, they finally discovered their calling in interiors and product designing. The by-product of the artistic collaboration is their swanky eclectic label, Klove, launched in 2005 in the posh locales of South Delhi.

Though neither has a degree in design or comes from a designing background, they like to call themselves “creatively charged individuals who know what people want”. Explains Jain, “We both wanted a career in design, so started experimenting with products while renovating our house. One thing led to another and we ended up exhibiting our first collection at the Visual Art Gallery in Delhi.” Adds Seth, about the venture and their personal creative strengths, “The aim is to have the ability to translate vision into reality.” The pair who seem as delighted to be in their studio as Charlie in his chocolate factory, specialises in lifestyle products, furnishings and above all, lights that combine glass, metal and ceramic to construct objects and statement pieces. In their creative quest they are also attempting to revive the traditional art of blown glass pieces curved together to play with light and metal forms bringing in a sleeker modernistic look for each of their unique pieces. As Seth calmly explains, “Glass is a beautiful material. You can mould it in any form or shape and it takes to it beautifully.” What sets the maverick creators and their ingenious creations apart are the bold, innovative products that combine different visual, temporal and textural styles. “Our works encompass every colour in the palette in a mix-and-match strategy, which brings to life new variations,” says Seth.

Their lavish bachelor pad reflects their forte using a number of large and spectacular light installations. Light whether on stage or a film set, adds drama to an exhilarating climax. Interesting colour palettes, thespian lighting and wacky accessories bring their humble abode to life. Jain calls it “classic juxtaposed with modern elements”, clearly translating real spaces into surreal dimensions. Drawing inspiration from the world around them, love, nature and wanderlust visibly stimulate their projects. Themes like the Tree of Life, matrix of existence and serenity are evident in most of their installations which are in bright hues and off-the-wall forms to reflect light, sheen and pure opulence. While working in pairs may be improbable for many creative people, Jain and Seth are like two peas in a pod. With almost identical interests their strength, according to them, lies in working together. “There has to be a thought that clicks for both of us, and that makes an entire collection,” Jain clarifies mischievously.

Their work has been paying off with the numerous national and international awards that they have been bagging with every passing year. In fact, their global style, futuristic designs and the growing exclusive clientele is slowly making them the toast of Delhi’s smart set. They are soon also collaborating with some well-known names in the world of haute décor including Sussanne Roshan and JJ Valaya. The move seems strategic, as Seth quickly makes clear, “It enhances our creativity as we get a chance to learn new things and evolve as designers.”

Of all their work, they personally love their four-feet-tall artichokes and the six-feet blown glass lotus designs they have recently executed for Pune’s Ista hotel. And though not every design translates as delightfully, Seth muses, “Some designs do look better when they come out and some designs disappoint in real.” At present though, it seems like a win-win situation for both of them!

Flagship store
Product designers and installation artists, Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth launched their flagship store Klove recently in New Delhi. Pioneers for having introduced the concept of hand blown glass in India, Klove is the duo’s dream project.

The studio takes you to a mesmerising ambience to the corners of an Indian bungalow from the 19th century painted in shades of grey, white and olive with two predominant shades running throughout the store. The colour and mood of the store is in sync with the new collection, Basra, an Indian jewellery-inspired collection emphasising light installations.

The 3000-square-foot space is designed as an experience centre and is divided into two parts. There is an indoor space with three rooms housing lighting installations and the other, furniture. A 1500-square-foot terrace showcases outdoor lights and furnishings. The store primarily features light installations along with garden furniture and décor pieces.

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