On the sofa with
Spandana Gopal is the founder and creative director of Tiipoi, a London-based brand with a vision to create a new relationship between the UK and India through modern design. Tiipoi’s products are inspired by good materials and the simplistic and utilitarian forms of daily life in the Indian household, where nothing is wasted.
What was the inspiration behind Tiipoi?
I was brought up in Bangalore, and moved to London to study Fine Art at Central St Martins. After completing a Masters in Contemporary Art at the Sotheby’s Institute, I worked for a few galleries and a private collector, but travelled back to India often.
I’ve always felt that design is something that’s embedded into the fabric of daily life in India, and is often invisible to the eye, as good design should be. I decided to create Tiipoi design studio to reinterpret the gems of daily life in India through modern design – the name is derived from ‘tiinpai’, a 3-legged stool from the British Raj in the late 1800’s. We launched our first collection during London Design Festival ’14.
What does London Design Festival ‘18 have in store for you?
On Friday 21st September, I’ll be participating in the talk ‘Design from Adversity’ at designjunction chaired by Suzanne Trocme, and Tiipoi has collaborated with Design by Nature to transform the windows of Clutch Café on Great Portland Street.
The highlight of the festival will be the launch of Tiipoi’s new architecturally inspired concrete collection, Siment. It will be included in the Edit 18 exhibition at twentytwentyone on River Street in Clerkenwell which explores material, process and form, and will appear in an immersive window display at twentytwentyone on Upper Street in Islington where it will also be available to buy.
Tell us more about the Siment collection
Siment is a collection of three mini concrete planters based on Indian water towers, and two concrete vases based on the metro flyovers that dominate the landscape. The pieces represent the blurring of function and decoration that is synonymous with India – architectural features like pipework, ladders, and stairs are rendered into decorative elements. The vases and planters were 3D printed, silicone moulds were made from the prints, and then cast in concrete.
Is your home in London inspired by Indian design?
It’s a family flat which we redid completely with architects Nissen Richards Studio over two years. We had to reorientate the layout so it complied with Vaastu Shastra, Indian principles of architecture that link points of the compass to where you sleep and eat.
It was important to me to create a space where I could mix old and new, and my life in India and London. I’m obsessed with Indian household and kitchen objects which I collect, and I have lots of design and art from Japan as my father used to travel there often for work. I like to display a mix of gifts, found and bought objects, and art. My bedroom walls are panelled in teak and rosewood which remind me of my grandfather’s library, and I have a fan, more for the familiar noise it makes than to keep me cool.