Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth, partners who run the trendy Klove Studio, are quintessential examples of Generation Now. Freedom, they believe, is about the individual.
Seth, 28, a chemical engineer from Ambala, and Jain, a business administration graduate from Delhi, have been family friends for a long time. They started Klove Studio because both were looking for an opportunity to experiment. “Being able to do what you want to and pushing yourself to do the best in that is how I think young Indians define freedom today. I am no different,” says Seth. “For me, freedom is not what our parents, grandparents or even the artisans whom we work with define it as. It’s not about India and the Raj, but about individual growth and expression.”
Jain and Seth discuss what freedom means. Photograph: Madhu Kapparath / Mint
So, don’t expect them to sell their designs to an international design house without their label. “Our label defines us, it is how we express ourselves. If you like what we make, you have to take it with our branding,” says Jain, 30. And if that means fewer sales it’s okay; after four and a half years of working to establish their identity, they will not have it any other way.
At our first meeting in mid-July, the duo (neither has any training in design) talk about the challenges of being product designers. “Explaining concepts to artisans who don’t want to try anything new, watching them stay content with designs they have worked on for centuries has been frustrating,” says Jain.
Gold mine: Crescendo, a glass installation with flower forms, symbolizes the choice to die as a bud or bloom into a beautiful flower. Photograph: Madhu Kapparath / Mint
Klove Studio is known for its glass installations—in which the duo uses modern materials such as concrete tiles, fur and lacquer paint to make old, often baroque shapes—as well as their lights and chandeliers. Though they are currently working with brass telescopes, when we approached them with our brief, they decided that they would create a glass work. Jain says that although they have worked with stone and metal, they way they can shape glass and use it to express what they want is not possible with any other medium.
We meet at their studio-cum-residence in south Delhi where they brainstorm for a freedom-inspired installation. First, they juggle with The Leap, using glass tubes to depict the concept of growth, of someone poised to jump. Seth translates the idea on paper—he’s the one who usually sketches and watercolours their concepts before execution. But two days later, before Jain leaves for a week-long vacation to New Zealand, they call to say they have changed the concept. “ The Leap did not blend in with our idea of freedom, which is about individual growth,” says Seth.
The reflection of trees on the golden ball makes the work complete. Photograph: Madhu Kapparath / Mint
The completed installation, Crescendo , which took them two weeks to complete, is a grouping of three flower-forms in glass. “Flowers are a symbol of fruition, and each flower in this installation is like a stage in an individual’s life cycle. We visualized the final stage with a golden hue—it represents an individual who has reached a point in his life when he is free to pursue his chosen path,” says Seth.
Just like they are.
The works of Delhi-based Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth can be viewed at www.klovestudio.com.