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Minimum resources, maximum effect

india Updated: Sep 06, 2009 00:54 IST
Purva Mehra
Purva Mehra
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Adjectives and superlatives one commonly reserves for people, Ross Lovegrove heaps generously on inanimate objects.

At the inaugural session of the Kyoorius Design Yatra, Lovegrove, a distinguished Welsh industrial designer, held his audience captive on the subject of organic design.

The delegates present at the design conference needed little introduction to Lovegrove, the recipient of the Time Magazine and CNN World Technology Award in 2005.

Dubbed as an evolutionary biologist, Lovegrove is known best for his penchant for organic essentialism in design, both product and architectural.

“It simply means using nothing more or nothing less than is needed. I’m deeply interested in the economy of design. It’s about working with minimum resources to achieve maximum civilising effects,” he explained.

When employed with Frog Design in West Germany in the 80s, Lovegrove’s project designs included walkmans for Sony and computers for Apple. Later in France, he worked as a consultant for companies like Cacharel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes.

Lovegrove soon turned to design that necessarily integrated environmental concerns.

“Today the two are inseparable. I invented my first windmill when I was 16. My school friends thought I was nuts,” said Lovegrove.

“Sustainability should be preached but one has to make environmentalism groovy and sexy to highlight the functionality,” added Lovegrove, who has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Design Museum in London.

In a laptop bag, the 50-year-old carries not a computer but a journal, which abounds in notes and futuristic sketches of products inspired by nature.

“I can’t design on computers. It escapes me how pressing a square box will generate an organic form. But the digital is a great facilitator because it is contingent on math and one can build great languages on that,” Lovegrove said.

The product designer is inspired by art and architecture and is known to push materials like polymer and thermal packaging foam to their limits thus infusing everyday objects with his peculiar poetry.

“Mass consumerism is like Coke. It doesn’t go away, but it means that designers like me are left to search for rarity in design, that subliminal value in objects that are present but few can obtain.”