User experience, practicality and rationality – Vikram Vishwanath

Inspired by a “design technology” course in school, Vikram Vishwanath saw a connection between the real world and design. He decided to study the subject in order to find better ways to process data and information and to make them visually accessible.

Contrary to most of our featured creators, who usually hold a bachelor and a master degree in different subjects, Vikram has both his BA and MA in Industrial Design. According to him, while his BA allows for more trial and error, his master’s degree encourages critical and independent thinking.

When we asked him which country he liked best, Vikram answered, “the three cities that have had the biggest influence on my life in terms of cultural, professional and international exposure are Singapore, New York and London. These cities have shown me the most cultures within one dense environment mixing and surviving together in one of the most competitive environments where wealth and luxury are all within arm’s length and are only accessible to the individuals that are truly hungry”

“Professionalism and skill are high in these areas and in order to achieve anything, you have to always strive for the best in every scenario. Living in those locations have been an invaluable experience and factors in shaping me as a designer and person,” he added.

His design, Percolation Range uses one of the most popular drinks in the world – coffee ground, to make furniture. Without actually consuming the beverage, users can have their energy levels raised by simply smelling the furniture.

“While I was working on my coffee furniture project, I drank nearly 8 cups a day. Of course this isn’t a good thing and I wouldn’t advise it to anyone, however it was necessary to fully immerse myself in the addiction that many people have,” he said.

“Coffee in itself has no effect on me, however it’s the rituals and processes involved in making a cup of coffee that are significant. I won’t say that caffeine has no effect on the body, because it does, but I will say that it’s healthier and more effective to smell it and simulate the drinking action with another hot beverage to avoid the negative come down effects.”

While smellable furniture, especially if it smells of high-end coffee ground, sounds amazing, Garde Magazine dared to ask Vikram a potentially scary question: what if the furniture loses its scent after a while?

“No offense taken, I’m glad people ask this question because it is completely relevant to this project. Yes, the smell does fade, but over the one and a half years I have been doing this project, even my earliest test samples still hold a fairly strong scent of the coffee used,” he said.

“In any case, this furniture once matured will aim to hold a luxurious feel but be more accessible to the user. This means that they are intended to change after a medium term of usage. Don’t get the concept wrong, as it is in no way going to be Ikea-esque in the way they are disposal furniture, but rather much more like the way one updates the fabric on their sofa.”

Combining the three elements he emphasised on: user experience, practicality and rationality, Vikram concluded with his design signature.

“My signature I would say is emotion and possibilities through the manifestation of desire through bold and user-centred ideals. I want my designs to appeal to the child in the user, the innocence and playful nature of their inner being. Whether it is mechanical or electronic or just a service orientated design, simplicity is the focus. If your idea can be described effectively within three phrases, it is a good idea. Without desire or curiosity there is no design or at least no design that is worth showing.”

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