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 aged materials but still remained contemporary and 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 fighting sculptures and turned the studio into his new lighting atelier, Paul Matter. ‘ Founded in 2016, our studio’s original and custom lamps for residential and commercial settings takes cue from mid-century Modernism, the Industrial Age and my own minimal aesthetic. The pieces draw from a luxe material palette that includes age brass, copper, stone, leather and mouth blown glass,’ says Nikhil.
While in Italy, working with Giulio Ceppi, Total Tool and Alessi introduced him to the nuances of product design. When he realized his need to understand the aspects 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 element of mass-production is essential to their brand strategies,’ says Nikhil. Perhaps this understanding is what piqued his interest in all things simple, artisanal and handcrafted.
Each piece form his debut collection Tango was put together by hand with painstaking attention to detail and finesse. Nikhil’s penchant for minimalism and geometry shines through this range of illuminators that sports low hung lights in brass and glass, along with an innovative candle stand called Satellite. The lights come in two versions - buff brass and etched glass - with articulating elbows and adjustable arms that are completely customizable so they can be arranged in a cluster to form bespoke chandeliers. The candle holder with a metal sphere is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. While speaking of his inspiration, Nikhil adds, ‘For the lamps we were looking at geometric forms, sculptures floating in space. That’s what satellites are - a sculptural object when light isn't present, and its function begins with its transformation towards delivering light.’ The brass shades are hand-beaten and patinated, which when put together emits ‘soft pools of light.’ The effortlessly sleek series with its low-hanging sculptures drew its name from Tango, a Latin ballroom dance that’s characterized by ‘marked rhythms, postures and abrupt pauses.’ ‘Our design process is reductive and iterative. We go through process of subtraction until we capture the essence of what is left as we take away the excess and purify the product into what it becomes. We believe in the longevity of the design, not only interns of the material, but also the visual language. The design needs to survive time. The materials from our palette get better with time and use. They can be used in their truest form while revealing its layers - Brass shows us beauty in its mirror like perfection when buffed and aged perfection when patinated,’ sums up Nikhil.
Take a look at Nikhil's work here.
Text Ritupriya Basu