When Nikhil Paul moved into a new studio space in Delhi, he couldn’t find the sort of utilitarian yet elegant lighting that he had in mind. When his search for lighting solutions that combined age-tested material but still remained contemporaryand minimal went in vain, he decided to try his hand at it. After a series of experiments, he came up with his debut range of sculptures and turned the studio into his new lighting atelier, Paul Matter. ‘Founded in 2016, our studio’s originaland custom lamps for residential and commercial settings takes cue from mid-denture Modernism, the Industrial Age and my own minimal aesthetic. The pieces draw from a luxematerial palette that includes age brass, copper, stone, leatherand mouth blown glass,’ says Nikhil.
While in Italy, working with Giulio Ceppi, Total Tool, Alessi and Truism di and Italia introduced him to the nuances of product design. When he realized his need to understand theaspects of business in design, he decided to pursue Business and Design Strategy at Domus Academy. ‘Domus exposed me to the Made-in-Italy model—the business model of some of the most iconic Italian brands that make things to order. Being able to design products while side-stepping the elementof mass-production is essential to their brand strategies,’says Nikhil.
Each piece from his debut collection, Tango, was put together by hand with painstaking attention to detail andfinesse. Nikhil’s penchant for minimalism and geometryshines through this range of illuminators that includes low-hung lights in brass and glass, along with an innovative candlestand called Satellite. The lights come in two versions—buff brass and etched glass—with articulating elbows andadjustable arms that are completely customizable so they canbe arranged in a cluster to form chandeliers. ‘For the lampswe were looking at geometric forms and sculptures floating in space. That’s what a satellite is—a sculptural object whenlight isn’t present, and its function begins with its transformationtowards delivering light.’ The brass shades are hand-beatenand patinated, which when put together emit softpools of light. ‘Our design process is reductive and iterative.We go through process of subtraction until we capture theessence of what is left as we take away the excess and purifythe product into what it becomes. We believe in the longevityof the design, not only in terms of the material, but alsothe visual language. The design needs to survive time,’ he sums up.
Work is underway for the second series that is slated to release in the coming quarter. It will see fresh materials like stone and leather, coupled with elements from Indian craft.
Find more about the designer here.
Text Ritupriya Basu
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