Fusing

CULTURE, DESIGN & CRAFT

@ Viya Home

MY ROLE: DESIGNER & PROJECT MANAGER

TIME: 3 months TOOLS: Rhinoceros 3D, Photoshop, Illustrator TEAM: One Project Manager/ Designer (me), one Client manager and two Production Coordinators

ABOUT THE BRAND

The Claridges is an award-winning chain of luxury hotels with many properties all over India. The brand is committed to positioning itself as a leader in the luxury hospitality industry.

 

For decades, their properties have narrated India's glorious legacy while offering modern amenities, mixed with warm Indian hospitality. 

 

A new hotel being built at Surajkund, New Delhi needs to illustrate the local culture and heritage with the values of luxury and hospitality which the brand stands for.

Client: Claridge's hotel, Suraj Kund

The spa will be one of the prime highlights and the face of the hotel from a marketing perspective and must suit this purpose.

 

Viya Home, the design agency approached for this project, is known for its ‘unique, India-modern designs’. This original/ customized sculpture was to be handcrafted by skilled artisans in brass employing centuries-old methods. 

Viya Home's India-modern designs

CHALLENGES

- The scale of production. The sculpture is to be ceiling mounted with a 185cm diameter. It was estimated to be approximately 60Kg in weight. 

- High quality and the lowest possible cost was expected from the development 

- The design must illustrate Indian heritage, local culture, and traditions

- The on-site installation of the sculpture was included in the final delivery.

- The sculpture must showcase Claridges’ and Viya Home’s brand values.

MY ROLE

- Client communication, starting from pitch to final delivery, to stay aligned with them on all elements of the project.

- Design conceptualization and prototyping 

- Product lifecycle management from inception, technical design, production, service, delivery, and installation. 

- Project, team and Vendor management 

- Technical problem solving and quality control

KICK OFF

PROJECT OUTLINE

RESEARCH & DISCOVERY

Local art, craft and architecture in Suraj Kund

CONCEPT

The final design was a blend of two sources of inspiration – the Indian thousand petal lotus motif and the ancient Indian baoli or step wells. The thousand petal lotus is considered a sacred symbol in Hindu mythology and relates to pure consciousness. This sculpture is an adaptation of this multi-layered lotus motif. The hotel is located in an area called ‘Surajkund’  where “Suraj” means sun and “Kund” means water. It owes its name to an ancient sun pool amphitheater (step well) dating back to the 10th century, which was the other inspiration behind this collection.

IDEATION

PROTOTYPING

To get a better understanding of the production process and to avoid technical issues on a larger scale, this concept was first tried on smaller products. Production then began in actual required size.

PRODUCTION & DELIVERY

After a few technical glitches and time delays, the production was completed as per requirement. A well-qualified team was assembled for delivery and installation, which consisted of five craftsmen, one technical manager (vendor), one production co-ordinator and one project manager/ client communicator (me). 

IMPACT & AWARDS

The Spa won many awards in the coming years: 

- ‘Best Spa Design’ - Asia Spa India, 2011 and

- ‘Best Lifestyle Spa’ SENSES award, 2011 & 2012

The concept was later expanded to include more products for Viya Home's retail customers and was called the hundred petal lotus collection.

REFLECTIONS

This project was an amazing learning experience for me for several reasons. It was my first large scale project. I detailed out each technical element of the product and process after several discussions with the technical manager (production vendor) and production coordinators and proactively provided technical solutions. It was also my first project as a client communicator, which helped me work on my communication skills. It was a proud moment for me to see a huge billboard with a beautiful image of the Spa sculpture soon after the hotel’s official opening.