Another Dimension
POOL|POOL 85

After many years spent sharing his knowledge with students at some of the country’s top design schools, Chandra Vijai Singh is now in the process of setting up his own furniture studio

Chandra Vijai Singh

The NID influence

What made me choose design as a career? I had drawing and painting as a subject at school, Mayo College, which had a strong Fine Arts department. Another creative aspect which began to emerge was drawing cartoons. This was also the time when I developed an interest in the work done in the school’s wood and metal workshop. By the time I finished school, NID had started its under graduate program and my painting teacher Mr. Penkar advised me to apply to the institute as design had wider scope than fine arts.

When I joined NID, the craft of block printing was reemerging in Jaipur, my hometown. Some people I knew were setting up block printing units and so I was advised to pursue textile design. However, during the foundation year my interest in textile design began to wane. Graphics and Furniture Design began to look interesting. As creating something in three dimensions was very appealing, I chose Furniture Design as a specialization. Geometric understanding helped me to think in three dimensions. What gave me the best results and most satisfaction was designing and making folding furniture, as one not only had to understand the kinetics and design, one had to make a prototype too. Having good workshop skills helped in making prototypes of good quality.

The foundation program at NID was critical; not only did it hone our skills, it made us learn to think and look at things from a different point of view. We had to design the products, and make their prototypes too. Courses in Form and Geometry made one very versatile and the conceptual thinking courses in the foundation year broadened our thinking. When designing furniture the hardware too had to be designed and made. One developed the confidence to handle materials, machines and tools along with demonstrating them when needed. This helped me build a good rapport with workers and craftsmen in later years.

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