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Reinvent: Paul Matter patinas, deconstructs and reduces to create new minimal products:Brass and finish find a way to complement each other in wholly unexpected ways in Paul Matter’s distinctive products that add another layer to the art of lighting design.

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Lab 10 Jan 2017

Reinvent: Paul Matter designs lighting with brass and unexpected finishes

Brass and surface finish complement each other in unexpected ways as New Delhi’s Nikhil Paul adds another layer to the art of lighting design with his distinctive products.

Pushing the boundaries of creativity, experimenting with design, stepping out of the comfort zone and reinventing one’s aesthetic. They are the touchstones of a designer’s ability to be flexible—and courageous—to stay ahead of the curve and evolve a new design language. Architectural Digest India and Asian Paints join forces to give 10 creative professionals from the world of design a unique opportunity to do just that, with Asian Paints Reinvent. Using finishes, wallpapers and textures from the brand’s three iconic collections— Royale Play from the International Designer Collection, Woodtech Insignia and Nilaya—the designers reimagine existing products, create new pieces and refurbish studio or showroom spaces.

The excitement lay in the challenge, really. In venturing into unknown territory and doing something never done before—in the case of Nikhil Paul, trying out unique finishes for his lighting. The New Delhi-based studio is known for its minimalist, industrial influenced product and lighting designs. “We keep editing till we get the essence of the product,” he says. This collaboration with Asian Paints was the opposite of his core aesthetic. While he usually works with brass, a material that patinas beautifully, this time the interaction was different. Paul now had the challenge of applying a finish over it, which in itself is a special material. 

Reinvent: Paul Matter patinas, deconstructs and reduces to create new minimal products:Brass and finish find a way to complement each other in wholly unexpected ways in Paul Matter’s distinctive products that add another layer to the art of lighting design.

“Reinvention for me is the way I interpret things. It could be a process, a technique, the way I use material.” In this case, it lay in responding to choosing a finish that would offset the chosen material, which is brass. The products selected for the experiment were a table lamp and a versatile light sculpture. Paul chose the Woodtech Insignia ‘Stringy’ effect for the table lamp and the Woodtech Insignia ‘Marble’ effect for the other. “We chose these finishes because more than just an application, we wanted to do a deconstruction,” explains Paul.

The concept was to apply a finish that would expose the patina of the surface. In essence, work backwards to bring out the beauty of brass, as well as highlight the finesse of the finish. In the case of the ‘Marble’ effect, the stain was applied, followed by a thinner, which ate up the layer of pigment and revealed the material. For the second piece, the ‘Stringy’ effect was applied on the brass surface. The strings were then manually removed one at a time. It wasn’t about the application alone, but in fact it was a reversal of the effect to allow the brass to emerge under the strings.

The result? Unexpected. And for Paul, something worth exploring. “They have added another dimension to the material. I am excited to see how people react to this.” If these products are anything to go by, then he can expect some frenzied demand for similarly designed — and finished — creations.


A version of this article was published in AD India’s Nov-Dec.’16 ART ISSUE. To catch all the action and watch the videos where the designers went about creating, transforming and reinventing, just log on to www.architecturaldigest.in/reinvent. Email colourpro@asianpaints.com to start your reinvention.