As Vani Kola - founder of K-Start - bags the Master Patron Kohler Bold Design Award, we go behind the scenes of K-Start and dig deeper into the design.
For years, our fixation with technology has been criticized. Every minute spent staring at a screen, is a minute lost when you didn't feel the breeze skim past your skin. But what happens when a room full of exceptional national and international artists conjure up an immersive space, where technology takes you a step closer to nature?
Re-Space was conceived by Vani Kola, the M.D of Kalaari - a venture capital company - when she invited contemporary artist, Raghava KK and the rising-star Shilo Shiv Suleman to curate a collection of artwork for the office space of K-Start, an incubator for 'hand-picked' start-ups. Vani believes that 'the key ingredient for creativity is an environment that nurtures it'. Artists like Sean Stevens, Netra Srikanth, Heather Stewart, Pallavi Sen and Nikhil More share Vani's belief, who along with Shilo and Raghava turned the 40'x120' office into an arresting 'creative space'.
Christened Re-Space by the same artists who are creating it, this office takes art 'out of galleries and into real spaces'. This is immersive and interactive art, that inspires you to step up and participate. Vani wanted the space to be 'a dynamic museum of artwork that tells the story of re-invention, innovation and collaboration'. 'The theme Re- is all about being bold and daring enough to re-imagine everything, and the future,' she says.
Re-Flect: Mix media on mirror and wood by Shilo Shiv Suleman
Every exhibit is the artists interpretation of the theme of Re-Collective, where they push boundaries to re-imagine the possibilities of the future. Inspired by snippets of their personal experiences and observations, the office is peppered with artworks titled Re-Flect, Re-Form, Re-Imagine, Re-Think and so on. With a hanging moon and brave lotuses carved out of mirror and wood, Shilo emphasizes the importance of taking a moment to reflect. In the words of educational reformer John Dewey: 'We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.' The piece gives you a moment to behold every fleeting second, as its intricate details deepen your breathe and calm your mind.
A metal banyan tree hangs low in one corner. Camouflaged amongst the leaves are breath sensors that make the tree glow brighter the moment someone speaks under it. Named The Sharing Tree, it 'allows us a moment of contemplation, together or alone'.
Re-Form: Acrylic on paper by Raghava K.K
The Re-Collective brings together a beautiful and eclectic amalgamation of styles, mediums and languages of art, as every artist contributes to the other's work. In Re-Imagine and Re-Form, Raghava explores the potential of curiosity in children, and reflects on the latent possibilities that lie within every uncut diamond. He evokes the beauty of a world in which 'we have the opportunity to craft our lives, our selves and our ideas, and tell the story of our life, the way we want it to be told.'
Re-Act, the brainchild of Nikhil More and Sean Stevens creates a living wall mounted with piped and LED lights, which renders the topography of Mount Olympus in Mars, the highest point on the solar system. It signifies the new heights of creativity.
Re-Imagine: Graphite and charcoal on paper by Raghava K.K
Re-St, Shilo and Sean's Bio-feedback installation creates meditation rooms that channel live data for calming forces in nature and connect us with the natural world. In a moment's time, the shadow of a passing cloud catches your breathe as it falls on your shoulder. The sounds and images of lapping waves transfix you as you walk into another room where the gentle turning of the Milky Way encapsulates you in a heady charm. A room down the hall is lit with soil sensors placed in potted plants. If the plants are well watered, the room lights up in an ethereal glow. If not, the ambient light will say it all.
Vani Kola had set out to create 'a dynamic, participatory and beautiful space that has the power to nurture, energies and inspire action'. Along the way, the artists did something much more - they brought us closer to the world we had forgotten we were born from.
Text Ritupriya Basu