Acing the Versatility with Desi Exuberance!

Acing the Versatility with Desi Exuberance!

From theatre kid to being founder of Aaiba’s Design, Saurabh Chandekar is dominating the bewildering world of brand designs and communication. Take a glimpse into his archetype as we summon the curiosity about his projects and artistic insights!

CG. We read that Aaiba, an interesting brand name, is a combination of “Aai” and “Baba”. Reflective of your family notion, how much does your childhood contribute to your artistic career and Aaiba Design?

Saurabh: I was brought up as a theatre kid. My father is a popular stand-up comedian in Maharashtra and Marathi culture. Having been brought up in a creative environment, I have learn to profess my intuition through arts without masking it. The conventional setup of a theatrical performance has profundity and vibrancy and this is where I source inspiration for my work, whether advertising or visual design. Music is also the primary channel of creativity. Since I am not a prognostic creator, my artwork is quite the spontaneous course of action driven by the subconscious performances in a theatre, music or performing arts.

Illustration for ISUZU Food Festival
Illustration for ISUZU Food Festival

CG. Relating to the cultural context, your designs encapsulate Indian culture to its utmost sensibility of being bold and loud. How do you perceive the lack of Indian designs at the forefront of global platforms against the widely-appreciated minimalism phenomenon?

Saurabh: On a personal note, there are two factors in play here. Firstly, of Minimalism, I define it as a comforter concept of design - something that requires less effort and the artist or designer essentially does not step out of their comfort zone. So, treating it as a default standard of worldly representation is not accurate. 

Secondly, if we are comparing the stance of Indian design against the trending caricatures, Indian design space is richly diversified. The creative interpretations of Indian designers and artists, since the ancient times, is based upon the colour, language, lifestyle, spiritual, geographical and traditional spirit. The embroidered confluence of these elements is characteristic essence of desi design rooms as opposed to the overseas market. We, as artists, must keep this notable essence alive.

CG. Observing the Taalbelia poster, the intricate details combined with your ‘go with the flow’ attitude or stream of consciousness becomes tremendously critical. We are keen to know how you process the conceptually raw draft to the final physical piece?

Saurabh: Whether being an illustrator or creative director, I don’t act upon strategic implementation. It would rather be out of element going with anticipated concepts in my mind before I put pen to paper. My spontaneity has complemented every inch of the designs that I have created so far.

Illustration for Taalbelia
Illustration for Taalbelia

Taalbelia is a Rajasthani folk festival. Strategising to illustrate the authentic cultural spirit of this festival would have not justified the final output. The idea was to start sketching as I observe, without any made-up striptease. 

In a general setup, at Aaiba, we always approach the project briefs with a rational sense of creativity. We plan to crack the core of expected design. We contemplate on understanding the requirements of the project. But, we neither don’t contemplate the execution nor speculate about our final draft. We go with the flow!

CG. Diving into Shemaroo, the concept of reels and wordplay is outstanding. How did you come up with such an interesting presentation? 

Saurabh: Shemaroo is a childhood treasure. The nostalgia rush was, in itself, a catalyst. The project idea was to showcase Shemaroo’s iconic journey of 60 years. The biggest challenge here was to potentially carve the evolution of Shemaroo as an artist as well as a contributor to its journey. 

Again, with this project, I let myself take a flight outside the muse box. I have known Shemaroo from the era of cassettes and video players. And, now, in this digital epoch, I have come across social media, Metaverse and Instagram Reels. The journey of Shemaroo is adjacent to the transformational story of technological progress that we all witnessed together. This is where we derive this ingenious concept to accommodate a classic brand within the digital dimension of the present screen-to-sunscreen era.

CG. In Pune Heritage Festival design, you have created a blend of minimal and maximal design. As an artist, what is the key to finding that introspective nerve of balancing the contrasting elements?

Saurabh: Being honest, as an artist, dynamism is the key to this field. You can not narrow down to a specific style or method of designing. The more you explore, the more you produce designs of diversified tone and expression wavelength. 

Pune Heritage Festival synopsizes the ancient, contemporary and modern history of the city, involving archaeological outlook. 

Aaiba’s biggest challenge was to contain this grand commemoration within a poster series. This campaign put our interpretive grip to test. I was not adjusting my creative lens over whether to choose minimal or maximal design style. It was more of a layman’s approach to sketch a magnificent event within the diminutive walls of a poster, without compromising the soul of fiesta.

Creative Gaga