Suman describes Mangrove as her passion: ‘crazy and chaotic’, the unpredictable nature of work here is what gives her absolute joy. While days can be stressful, she says she’s ‘wired all the time’, for her, working with the team huddled together in Mangrove’s beautiful studio workshop erases most signs of tension. These moments, allow her to thrive amongst the multitude of ideas that emerge. “…design should allow people to feel connected and at the same time have a sense of belonging with what they produce” she says.
Kullu is a man of few words. His colleagues unanimously describe him as someone who speaks only to communicate deep meaning in very few syllables. Its perhaps fitting that he then describes his design philosophy as inseparable from learning. “The best part of my job is the translation of 2D thinking into 3D objects, which requires the challenge of balancing aesthetic aspiration, locally available skills, efficiency and consistency in quality ” he says. To make this happen, Kullu works around what he considers Mangrove’s core pillars: collaboration & teamwork, purity of thought, uncompromising quality, and a high attention to detail – along with the ‘little extra’ that it takes. When Kullu is not perfecting his art of merging industrial processes with tactile finishes, he enjoys going on long runs.
For Vedika, joy can be derived from the small things in life, such as a warm glass of water, or spending a few days amongst trees in a forest. This inclination towards the simple and the pure reflects in her design philosophy as well: at Mangrove, she dedicates her thinking towards precision and detailing, while also trying to ensure that the entire process of making is ethical and beautiful. This is part and parcel of her larger goal and hope for the future of design: to simplify by throwing light on the understated, and thus, live in a more sustainable world. For her, the Shunya Lamp is truly representative of Mangrove’s ethos, because it reflects the perfect synthesis between craft and technology, craftsperson and designer.
Part of the founding team and Chief Mentor at Mangrove, Ambrish finds fulfillment in “bringing out the best in people”. He envisions Mangrove as a collective, a rich tapestry made out of “several slices of genius”. He hopes to see it break boundaries between blue and white collar – the creation of the artisan-designer or the designer-artisan working symbiotically, learning and growing together. “The ethics within the work space need to be impeccable” he says.
When Ambrish is not mentoring entrepreneurs or designing buildings, he can be found surfing or trekking with his twin boys, or training for his next triathlon. His main work, he says, is “working upon myself; each time there is a problem outside, I try and shine the torch inwards”. His work too reflects the same philosophy - it needs to be in dialogue with the what’s around at all times, locally and globally, and become “as much about the process as the product”.