interview :: bend goods

Katie | September 20, 2016

Los Angeles based sculptor and designer Gaurav Nanda left a corporate job at General Motors to establish Bend Goods in 2010, to fulfil his ambition to design and make functional yet sculptural objects. He credits childhood summers spent in Palm Springs with immersing him in the Mid-Century Modern architecture, design and lifestyle that would come to inspire his work. We caught up with him to find out more about what makes him tick…

What's the most important thing to know about you?

I think the most important thing to know about Bend is that we truly love design. We are in this business to leave a legacy of innovative, playful and quality products. We love what we do and the field that we work in and hope that comes across in everything that we do.

interview :: bend goods

What do ideas come from?

We have many inspirations – originally mid-century modern classics from the likes of Harry Bertoia and Charles and Ray Eames, architecture from greats like Richard Neutra and really the whole lifestyle from that era. We currently draw inspiration from things like textiles and patterns. Art is also a big influence for us, like pottery and macrame. We draw inspiration from shapes and repetition and then find ways to bring those things together and make them into functional yet still very beautiful furniture.

interview :: bend goods

Tell me about the current collection.

After launching the line with a very tight collection of five pieces just about six years ago, we spent the following years adding to that collection little by little. Earlier this year we decided to release our second full collection. With a number of pieces spanning different categories, we decided to give each one its own moment in the spotlight and have been releasing one piece a month for this entire calendar year. What makes this collection important for us is that it includes categories that are new for us. For example we just launched our first dining option in the form of a Bistro Table last month. Another exciting piece is our take on the iconic Peacock Chair that has been getting a lot of attention so far.

interview :: bend goods

Talk me through the design and making process from initial idea to final product.

Our design process can be hard to explain because there is no standard to the process. Each product seems to come about and be inspired in its own way. We typically find a need or want for a product in our own lives and find a way to fill that void with something different from what is available on the market. The product will typically start with a casual brainstorm meeting and then I will start designing. I have a few junior designers and model makers who help with that process after I take the first stab at it. The design will go from a digital rendering to a cardboard model and then eventually make its way to a wire sample. From there it will get anywhere from 2-200 updates before we finally decide that it’s ready for market. Some products go quickly and some take years.

interview :: bend goods

Which part of the process do you enjoy most?

Getting samples back from the powder-coater is the most enjoyable part of the process. Seeing a sample in raw wire and then seeing it with a finish on it can be really transformative. It makes the whole design really come to life and feel like a soul has been brought to life.

interview :: bend goods

What was the biggest challenge you have overcome?

Knowing when to stop designing and just let a design be complete. It’s hard to walk away and not see even the tiniest of changes that you want to make. It really is the hardest part of the design process for me.

interview :: bend goods

What defines good design?

For me and my team, good design is unique and original. The line between inspiration and plain old knocking-off is getting thinner and thinner every day. As I mentioned above, one of my original inspirations was the Bertoia Chair. It very much inspired me to design Lucy, our most popular dining chair, but if you put the two of them next to each other, there is no comparison. They are completely different designs. Everyone draws inspiration from somewhere but it’s important to take what inspires you and make it unique, original and frankly completely different.

interview :: bend goods

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my team and how far we have come in such a short amount of time. We work really hard but have just as much fun doing what we do. It makes me really proud that I have been able to assemble such a passionate team that is looking to push boundaries and take our product line and brand in such a unique and innovative direction.

interview :: bend goods

What advice would you give to a new designer?

Never stop trying. This industry can be tough and you really have to push hard and then push even harder when you think you have nothing left to give to make it. When you have passion for what you do though it’s all worth it and makes the whole process exciting.

interview :: bend goods

And finally, what's your favourite colour?

Today it’s the metallic emerald green from our new collection of finishes we call the Gem Tones. It seriously can’t get enough of this colour. It’s stunning!

interview :: bend goods

Bend Goods will be at the London Design Fair 22 – 25 September 2016. Register for your tickets here.

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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