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Saif Faisal

Saif is a Bangalore based designer. He completed his training as an Architect from the RV School of Architecture while parallely being active in Formula SAE-Racing, where he acquired his diverse experience in design.

Poetry in products

Saif’s practice highlights the essential, while eliminating the rest. His products draw heavily from his fascination for geometry.

Experiments with Casting

They arrived at ‘selective oxidation’ after experimenting with the 700-year-old-craft in an attempt to revisit Bidriware and the existing technique. The patterns that appear across the series borrow from Saif’s fascination with nature and fractals.

Bringing the Qaiser Series to life

After his conversation with Patricia Urquiola, Saif knew he wanted to go back to Bidar and explore Bidriware, trying to find a way to incorporate the craft in a contemporary setting.

Snowflake Coasters

No two snowflakes are same in the whole collection, thereby representing Saif’s fascination for nature and borrowing from its motifs. The selective oxidation technique allows the snowflake patterns to shine while leaving the rest of the surface oxidized, creating a magical sheen.

Poise Lamp

Poise is a playful and versatile lamp which can be used as a floor lamp or a desk lamp since the illumination piece moves freely along the vertical shaft. The lamp’s main element is crafted from a single piece of wood.

Minimalism meets essentialism

With an essentialist approach, Saif focuses on sensitive, thoughtful and meaningful design. While sustainable aesthetics are important to his craft, he also ensures to use minimal materials in order to make the most of the existing resources.

Versatile in form and function

The illumination piece moves freely along the wooden column, allowing light to be intensified or diffused, thereby serving multiple purposes from desk lighting to ambience lighting.

Fuse Casting

Since their work with Bidriware, they’ve been experimenting with casting of different metals in a single sand casting mould.

Scope for more

Like most creative people, Saif too believes there is a lot of scope for improvement. Each product is another stepping stone in lessons to be learnt.

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Workspace 28 Sep 2017

Saif Faisal’s design practice meets at the crossroads of Minimalism and Essentialism

In a world that is increasingly enamoured by frills and embellishments, Saif Faisal’s essentialist design comes as a whiff of fresh air. Since focusing on the ‘essential’ is at the helm of his practice, his products manage to remain minimalistic and impeccably designed. Intrigued to know more about his multi-disciplinary approach, CQ delves into his process and products.

When Saif Faisal realised he could pursue design as a career, he enrolled in an architectural undergraduate program, since it was the closest option available in Bangalore; this was as a foundation to pursue an education in automation design. During his time at R.V College of Architecture, Bangalore he became a part of the Mechanical Engineering department’s Formula Student Racing team. The rest was serendipity.

Saif Faisal

Saif is a Bangalore based designer. He completed his training as an Architect from the RV School of Architecture while parallely being active in Formula SAE-Racing, where he acquired his diverse experience in design.

Years later, Saif continues to apply the lessons he learnt there which include highlighting the essential and eliminating the rest. “I focus on sensitive, thoughtful and meaningful design,” he says. 

Function and performance are of utmost importance in racing; Saif extends this understanding to his own designs. However, given Saif’s inclination towards a multidisciplinary approach, he believes in looking beyond the material. Often, that results in a harmonious collusion harnessing technology, craft and concepts adopted from sociology and philosophy.

Poetry in products

Saif’s practice highlights the essential, while eliminating the rest. His products draw heavily from his fascination for geometry.

“I focus on sensitive, thoughtful and meaningful design.”

Crafting the ‘Qaiser Series’

Saif knew he had to go back home to Bidar to pursue the art of Bidriware in a contemporary direction after a conversation with Patricia Urquiola, who was a speaker at India Design 2015. He says, “We were talking about how there’s a rich heritage of craft but designers don’t tap into it enough.”

Experiments with Casting

They arrived at ‘selective oxidation’ after experimenting with the 700-year-old-craft in an attempt to revisit Bidriware and the existing technique. The patterns that appear across the series borrow from Saif’s fascination with nature and fractals.

A metal handicraft, Bidriware is done with a unique and rare mud found in the unlit areas of Bidar fort, in Karnataka. The traditional technique involves inlaying one metal with another, typically gold and silver and later applying the mud which exclusively oxidizes the Bidri alloy. However, in a quest to innovate and experiment with the 700-year-old craft, they arrived at ‘selective oxidation’. This technique involves using heat resistant laminate to mask certain areas, thereby allowing oxidization of only the exposed areas, leaving the rest shiny while also creating ethereal patterns.

Bringing the Qaiser Series to life

After his conversation with Patricia Urquiola, Saif knew he wanted to go back to Bidar and explore Bidriware, trying to find a way to incorporate the craft in a contemporary setting.

A concoction of borrowed elements

Bidriware remains the highlight of the series, borrowing the name of its inventor Abdullah bin Kaiser, it reaffirms Saif’s attention to so many details. The patterns that appear across the series borrow from two different places. While the snowflake motifs reflect Saif’s fascination with chaos theory, nature and fractals, the other motif explores zillij, a form of Islamic art characteristic of Moroccan architecture. The construction of the table too is intriguing as it appears to be resting on a tip, almost defying gravity.

Snowflake Coasters

No two snowflakes are same in the whole collection, thereby representing Saif’s fascination for nature and borrowing from its motifs. The selective oxidation technique allows the snowflake patterns to shine while leaving the rest of the surface oxidized, creating a magical sheen.

The amalgamation of such elements in the work is synchronous with his inspirations that span the globe. He elaborates, “We have an innate appreciation for traditional Japanese aesthetics, Italian expression and Scandinavian softness.” Translating this line of thought into work, his techniques often draw from Japanese woodwork, while his honesty to materials reflects Scandinavian design principles. There also lies a peculiar similarity to design in Italy in his love for magnified geometry.

“We were talking about how there’s a rich heritage of craft but designers don’t tap into it enough.”

Creating products that have Poise 

Browsing through his website, it becomes clear that each product has a defined language. We were particularly captivated by the Poise Lamp - a seemingly mellifluous combination of play and power. Versatile in utility, the lamp can be used as a floor or table lamp.

Poise Lamp

Poise is a playful and versatile lamp which can be used as a floor lamp or a desk lamp since the illumination piece moves freely along the vertical shaft. The lamp’s main element is crafted from a single piece of wood.

Minimalism meets essentialism

With an essentialist approach, Saif focuses on sensitive, thoughtful and meaningful design. While sustainable aesthetics are important to his craft, he also ensures to use minimal materials in order to make the most of the existing resources.

 

The main element, crafted from a single piece of wood comes in two different sizes. The brass or aluminium disc base and locking knob on top elucidate the soft sculpted wood. What adds to its adaptability is the pivoting mechanism that allows the illumination piece to move freely along the wooden column, allowing light to be intensified or diffused. The lamp went on to receive multiple awards including the Elle Decor International Design Awards 2016 and the TRENDS Awards 2016 Commendation.

Versatile in form and function

The illumination piece moves freely along the wooden column, allowing light to be intensified or diffused, thereby serving multiple purposes from desk lighting to ambience lighting.

 

Using this prototype he plans on refining the structure and design of the Poise Lamp with a slighter, bigger diameter base and perhaps also implement a fabric wire. There is so much more to come from Saif Faisal’s workshop, though he’s already achieved a fair bit of acclaim in the recent years; but like all creative people, he believes there is scope for improvement. Given the diverse ambit of his work – across architecture, cars and even including  jewellery – we eagerly await his upcoming experiments and ventures.

Fuse Casting

Since their work with Bidriware, they’ve been experimenting with casting of different metals in a single sand casting mould.

Scope for more

Like most creative people, Saif too believes there is a lot of scope for improvement. Each product is another stepping stone in lessons to be learnt.

 

Follow Saif Faisal’s journey and browse through his other works here. You can also follow him on Facebook for updates.