A Display of Mettle

Drawing inspiration from the Deccan landscape, metal maverick Mukul Goel showcases his latest creations
Mukul Goel
Mukul Goel

Product designer Mukul Goel views the completion of his latest works of home decor—The Deccan Collection—not as an end, but a beginning. Inspired by nature, he believes that the line adds to his ever-evolving design lexicon.

The idea for the range struck him during a recent rock climbing expedition. As Goel navigated the expansive boulders, he was enraptured by their formidable strength and beauty. “Sitting atop one of them, gazing at the sky, I was overtaken by a sense of awe. This raw connection to the natural world has since become an integral part of my life,” says the Gurugram-based, 58-year-old director and principal designer at Designwise India Pvt Ltd.

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The console from the collection is one of his finest works. Made of cast brass it’s suitable for both outdoor and indoor spaces. The metal bench, one the other hand, is his simplest yet unique design with its distressed finish. The mirror set is imaginatively conceived and brings out the craggy topography of the Deccan plateau. These can be placed individually or in clusters to form attractive compositions.

The pendant lamp, fashioned from cast brass, complete with a finish of polished brass and verdigris, embodies a striking contrast to the rest of the products. The design mimics the flow of lava from beneath the earth’s surface. “Articulating the orange light, reminiscent of molten lava, emanating through the lamp’s grainy texture, posed a challenge. Nevertheless, we successfully found a way to do justice to the product’s look,” he says.

The accent table crafted in brass was inspired by the precarious balance maintained by the gigantic boulders scattered across the Plateau. “Ensuring the stability of the tabletop on its slender legs required an understanding of intricate technicalities such as weight distribution and material strength,” says the designer, who works primarily with metal, specifically brass and stainless steel.

“These materials are not only integral to The Deccan Collection, but feature prominently across all our work. We have a deep appreciation for natural textures and modern finishes, as well as the diverse patination possibilities of brass. The array of colours and hues that the metal can exhibit is particularly fascinating to us and we enjoy experimenting with it,” he says.

His fascination with the material goes back to his early years as a designer when he had the opportunity to visit various craftspeople and collaborate with them on a wide range of metal crafts. He met thateras (beaters) and dhalayas (casting craftsmen) and grew more interested in the medium. “Despite its toughness, the challenge has always been to infuse it with life. Now, after over 25 years of working in metal, I can confidently say that my passion for it can never diminish,” says the designer.

While nature has been a significant source of inspiration, his parents have also played a crucial role in shaping his endeavours. Goel always saw his father, an engineer, tinkering around the house, utilising his ingenious skills to create solutions from odds and ends found in his junk box.

“He was a master of jugaad, embodying the spirit of resourcefulness in crafting things. Meanwhile, my mother excelled in various home crafts, from stitching to cooking. Both of them imparted valuable lessons in the art of creation and ingenuity,” he says, adding, “I am equally indebted to the countless artisans and craftsmen who have shared their knowledge and skills with me.”

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As he moves forward, he envisions a future where people can look beyond the tactility of home products, “and immerse themselves in the sensory delight of a physical space”. He also views the pervasive reliance on Google or Pinterest for inspiration as potentially detrimental to the creative process. “Relying solely on these platforms risks homogenising design and stifling originality. I encourage designers to reconnect with their surroundings, drawing inspiration from their own experiences and perspectives,” he says. Step outside, reconnect within and let the creative energy flow.

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