Tell us a little bit about yourselves and how your journey in your respective fields began.
Roshni: I like to describe what I do as “designing dialogues”—interaction between senses and emotions, visuals and perception, objects and people. I’m always interested in the relation between things. Design effects how we feel, how we behave.
It all started with imaginative doodling in my childhood, making its way into my study books. This became a very instinctive habit; an obsession, to translate my observation or thought into something visual. Right from my school days I was always drawn towards imagery, colour and illustrations as opposed to absorbing lengthy textual content. Drawing and making images to me is a way to explore and express something; it satisfies an impulse that words cannot.
I completed my degree in Bachelors of Fine Arts which was the starting point, a sneak peek into the world I wanted to be immersed in. Not knowing where it would lead me professionally, I still knew this is what I wanted to do. You do get to polish your skills at art school, learn different techniques and work with various tools, but to me art/drawing/design was always about a gut feeling, a sense of knowing from within.
Pritpal: Observation, memory, and imagination stand out as the principle aspects of my work. I keep going back to dreamlike images. Creating sculptural forms that express emotion and movement is what I'm drawn to the most.
As a kid, I was always folding paper into fighter jets, illustrating scenes from the stories my mother told me. Fascinated with the activities that filled our home, with my mother constantly keeping herself busy with art projects; from painting patterns on fabric to learning new techniques in weaving and embellishing clothes with colourful motifs. This kept me involved with the art of creating with hands.
Having a background in film-making, animation, intellectual property creation, sculpting and design, it has helped me evolve and nurture ideas into reality.
“It’s hard remember every dream unless you can bring it to life.”
What is the story behind the Midori Collective?
“Nostalgia”. Everyone has that little drawer, shoebox or trunk where they hide away things they most adore. Much like storing valued keepsakes, (old photographs, postcards, lockets, etc.) treasures retrieved from the past hold vivid memories. Certain objects, places, even smells trigger a certain association; they can evoke memories or create references. Other than the functional aspect of design, at Midori Collective we try to create these little finds that encourage people to create their own memory/story or relate to something on an emotional level.
“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.” 2015 Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
Inspired by quirky culture, literature and pop art, almost from a world of their own; the concepts have an otherworldly, dreamlike, magical quality to them where anything is possible. The products lie on a fine line between art and design. Creatively stimulating with a story-telling narrative while being authentic to the process. Every piece is handmade and created in limited quantities.
What was the main inspiration behind the little girl Midori’s story and what was the process behind making it a reality?
Midori is the story of a little girl who lives in a technicolour world of disaffected whimsy. Stashing trinkets and keepsakes she finds, in her little bindle of memories; not so much because of what they are, but what they remind her of. Midori Collective is a curated ensemble of collectable art and design, expressed in different forms and medium. Inspired by sharing the sense of small pleasures and bringing beauty to the everyday.
The core idea was to communicate a concept through the story of Midori, inspired by travel and nostalgia. Each product/piece is an extension of Midori’s story; characters/things she encounters with on her journey or is a part of her surreal world. Everything made in the collection has an emotional connect or is linked to a memory and that’s what makes each piece so special. Each collection is a chapter in Midori’s story. The first collection/chapter is called “Covetable Curiosities” where she discovers her past through who/what she encounters.
What is your creative process like behind making products for the collective?
Observation. Imagination. Execution. It starts with an approach to put the human experience at the beginning of the design process. Artistic spontaneity is momentary and then it is all about analysing and resolving. Scribbling down ideas frequently and sketching help translate thoughts into little visual frames/stories. Other than cramming thoughts into a notebook, what we find most helpful is putting together a mind-map of words/phrases to arrive at a concept. Visual examples or a mood board help in getting clarity of the visual language or direction. Although the finished product is handmade, It goes through a series of steps, from prototyping to testing; multiple rounds of design iterations before the final result is achieved.
Why was it necessary for you to translate visual stories into tangible works of art.
Nothing is more exciting than seeing an idea take shape, transforming into something that can align itself to the end-user. When you can look at something and see it for the process it took and not the end result, you have a deeper appreciation for it. What could be more rewarding than having a piece of your work acknowledged by being a part of someones everyday life. The process of transforming narratives drifting through thoughts into products seen in the collection is not just invigorating, it’s also a glimpse into the creators/makers themselves.
Why have you amusingly incorporated the idea of narrative storytelling to your creations?
Even though a lot of the ideas are born from fictional fragments, it stems from bigger aspects like memories, nostalgia, love and loss. The idea was to transport the viewer into a parallel universe. A place not bogged down by realities, where the consumer connects to or relates with the narrative (on an emotional and intellectual level). Leaving mundane worries behind, even if only for a moment.
How do you visualise the future for the Midori Collective and what projects are you two looking forward to working on personally this year?
We are working on expanding our product catalogue and planning to introduce new materials/substrates and stories to the world of Midori.
L-R: Roshni Merchant and Pritpal Singh