A Journey of Innovation and Creativity in Industrial Design!

Paul Sandip explains the story behind Paul Studio's inception, his design philosophy, and the challenges and triumphs that have shaped them.
Volcano Levitating Speaker
Volcano Levitating Speaker

The journey of finding one's true calling is often filled with twists and turns, and Paul Sandip's story is no exception. From the structured world of engineering to the dynamic realm of industrial design, Paul Sandip the founder of Paul Studio has carved a niche for himself by following his passion and staying true to his creative instincts. In this exclusive interview, Paul recounts the founding of Paul Studio, articulates his design ethos, and shares the significant hurdles and victories that have shaped his professional journey.

Volcano Levitating Speaker
Volcano Levitating Speaker
Q

Hi, can you share the story behind Paul Studio's inception and what inspired you to pursue industrial design?

A

During my third year of engineering studies, I had made up my mind that I would not pursue a career in the field of engineering. The reason was pretty simple. I could not find any practical application of whatever I was being taught in college. Theoretical concepts taught in engineering classes often seemed disconnected from real-world applications. Solving complex mathematical problems and reading theories with no real-life examples left me feeling disengaged and disinterested. Most of my queries were left unanswered and many times I was asked to leave the classroom as I asked too many questions which made my professors feel uncomfortable. The pressure to pursue a field of study that did not align with my interests became increasingly burdensome. I realised that I was a misfit.

LG Refrigerator
LG Refrigerator

Choosing a career path is a pivotal moment in one's life, however, the decision to pursue engineering is more often not theirs but their parents, as it seems like a promising and logical choice leading towards a secure future. Mine too was no different. While engineering offers a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving, I found myself yearning for a field that allows for more creativity and personal expression. I craved a field where I could see the immediate impact of my efforts and contribute to societal progress more tangibly. The rigid nature of engineering studies seemed to stifle my desire for a more dynamic and fluid environment. I was constantly looking for an escape route from the world of engineering studies but did not know where to begin.

Therefore, my experience in engineering studies was marked by a sense of dissatisfaction and a realisation that it may not be the right fit for me.

From a young age, I was always captivated by the shapes, forms and functionalities of everyday objects. Growing up, I often found myself dismantling household items to understand how they worked, which sparked my curiosity and passion for design. This innate interest in the mechanics and aesthetics of objects laid the groundwork for my future career.

LG Washing Machine
LG Washing Machine

After completing my B.E. in Electrical Engineering, my formal journey into industrial design began at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India. At NID, I was immersed in an environment that encouraged creativity and critical thinking. The comprehensive curriculum and exposure to diverse design philosophies helped me refine my skills and develop a unique design perspective. The rigorous training and hands-on projects during my time at NID were crucial in shaping my approach to design.

I gained valuable experience working with LG Design Centre in India and Seoul where I was actively involved in New Product Developments for nearly a decade. Before that, I had created the iconic “utility drawer” a dry storage space at the bottom of Single door Refrigerators for Whirlpool and my stint with GM Modular where I was fortunate to get a chance to change some of the industry standards of the electrical accessory trade while creating the innovative 90° rotatable switch-plates, the angular multiplug and the iconic bulb holders amongst several other “first of its kind” electrical products. These experiences allowed me to understand the practical aspects of industrial design and the importance of blending aesthetics with functionality. However, I felt a growing urge to start my own design consultancy where I could express my design philosophy in different categories of products as well.

Over the past two decades, Paul Studio has catered to 121 product categories from various industry verticals and helped 200+ clients from 20+ countries to build commercially successful products!

Orient Knight 70
Orient Knight 70Air Cooler
Q

Your approach to design, 'Innovation by Observation' is intriguing. Could you elaborate on how this concept guides your creative process?

A

Why does your soap dish look the way it looks? And why do you hold a spoon the way you do? You probably wouldn’t have lost any sleep over these questions, not even when they didn’t work right.

Everyday products are so numerous and ubiquitous. They form the material framework of our existence, enabling it to function, not only in practical or utilitarian terms but also in ways that give pleasure, meaning and significance to our lives. But why don’t we notice them? Most of us travel by the same route every day, do similar tasks every day, go to the same places and although we are awake and seeing things around us we are not looking at them consciously. Hence, such products are frequently taken for granted. Design, to my understanding, is much about having an eye for such details and bringing back life to mundane objects. I would like to emphasise the act of "Observation" as a necessary tool to design useful products.

My designs are guided by user expectations, which are often felt but never fulfilled. Peeling down to the heart of the (sub) conscious human behaviour helps me reveal the magic of effortlessness with design, creating comprehensible, delightful and character-full products.

Sparkle Water Purifier
Sparkle Water Purifier
Q

Designing innovative products often comes with its own set of challenges. Can you share some of the most significant challenges you face in the product design process?

A

The most significant challenge is to fight the fear of the unknown. Every time I work on a new material, process or new category of product, the learning curve is very steep as I venture into the realm of the unknown. I deep dive into it and come out empowered with an idea that will blow away my client’s mind!

Eemax Water Heater
Eemax Water Heater
Q

Your designs are not only aesthetically pleasing but also driven by business objectives. How do you strike a balance between creativity and commercial viability when conceptualising new products?

A

The cost of the product lies at the tip of the pencil. I start with understanding the business objective of the brand that wishes to create a new product. Once there is clarity of purpose, everything else is simply taking care that we hit the nail on its head. I believe that the best designs are those that seamlessly blend into everyday life, making tasks easier without adding unnecessary complexity. I believe in Voluntary Simplicity.

VATASHI.
VATASHI. Creating car air purifiers for better air
Q

Building relationships with clients from around the world requires effective strategies. What approaches have you found most successful in reaching out to and acquiring new clients on a global scale?

A

Having no strategy is our strategy. We believe in building real relationships. Our clients become our brand ambassadors spreading love and appreciation for our work.

Green Demon
Green DemonRC toy car
Q

Global markets can have differing trends and preferences. How does Paul Studio adapt its design strategies to align with changing market demands while staying true to its core values?

A

Our core value is to be a trendsetter, not a trend follower. Hence, we have no pressure to adhere to any trend. We set the path for others to follow. The inception of Paul Studio was driven by my desire to bring innovative and user-centric designs to life. The studio was established with a clear vision: to create products that embody simplicity, elegance, and practicality and these are timeless values which we try to imbibe in our design solutions.

Stainless steel pencil sharpener.
Stainless steel pencil sharpener. Sharpens large and small pencils efficiently
Q

It's been several years since our last interview. In your experience, how have trends in product design evolved over the past decade?

A

Over the past decade, trends in product design have evolved significantly, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer preferences and a growing emphasis on sustainability.

The past decade has seen a strong shift towards sustainable design practices. Consumers and companies alike are more conscious of environmental impact, leading to a rise in eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient products and designs that prioritise recyclability and minimal waste.

Yellow Clip.
Yellow Clip.Innovative recycled plastic clip: slides over line, avoids breakage, rust.

Sustainable design is no longer just a niche market but a mainstream expectation.

Recently I have designed a coffee mug from a new material called Bamboo Plastic Composite (BPC) which is a biocomposite that is made of bamboo and polymer. The use of BPC promises a greener and more sustainable future. This sustainable alternative has outstanding properties for widespread applications with the prospective to make a key impact on the environment as well as the global economy.

Minimalist design, characterised by simplicity and the elimination of unnecessary elements, has become increasingly popular. I see examples of Voluntary Simplicity more often than earlier.

Smart Sensors for Home One Technologies
Smart Sensors for Home One Technologies
Smart Sensors for Home One Technologies
Smart Sensors for Home One Technologies

This trend emphasises clean lines, functional aesthetics and a focus on the essentials. The goal is to create products that are both beautiful and highly functional, without extraneous features.

The integration of smart technology into everyday products has been a major trend. The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled designers to create connected devices that offer enhanced functionality and user experiences. From smart home devices to wearable technology, the seamless incorporation of technology into product design has transformed how users interact with their environment. We have been fortunate to be early adaptors of IoT-driven devices. The Smart Sensors that we designed have now become a huge success in the Home Automation industry.

The rise of digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printing has revolutionised prototyping and slowly getting into the mainstream manufacturing process as well. These technologies allow for rapid iteration, customisation, and small-batch production, making it easier for designers to bring innovative products to market quickly. One of the recent explorations I am doing is with 3D printed Clay to create sustainable lifestyle objects!

Q

Trust is essential in client relationships, especially when working remotely across different time zones. How do you build and maintain trust with international clients throughout the design process?

A

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for building healthy client relationships. All clients are different and each of them needs to be taken care of in a very specific client relationships help build trust with new clients.

Q

As Paul Studio continues to grow its global presence, what are your plans for expanding into new markets or reaching out to potential clients in untapped regions?

A

We were invited by the City Government of Moscow to share our design process and case studies on the impact of design on business. We are looking forward to creating impactful brands and products for the Russian manufacturing industry.

Q

What’s new and happening at Paul Studio?

A

Recently we have ventured into book publishing. Our maiden book is titled “I didn’t say it! – book of humorous observations.” It is a delightful compilation of hand-drawn cartoons by Paul Sandip, that offer a humorous and insightful perspective on the funny aspects of everyday life. The book explores the quirks, absurdities and relatable moments that define our daily experiences through witty illustrations and clever captions. This book is designed to be a conversation starter and a great way to bond with family and friends!

logo
Creative Gaga
www.creativegaga.com