CHAT Mahendra Chauhan, winner of the Red Dot Design Award, shares his design philosophy
Born and brought up in Bhilai in a family of engineers, Mahendra Chauhan, with his artistic bent of mind, always stood out. It steered him towards a course in architecture, after which he took up a consultancy job for a few years. He soon realised however that his interest lay in product detailing, and a degree at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, followed.
It was here that he developed a keen interest in the notion of time and timekeeping devices, which won him a ‘Rado Design Excellence’ award. “All products around you, from a refrigerator to a pen, everything has a design story behind it. Product design is all about creating products which can be mass manufactured. It’s all about fusing form and function with a twist of emotion and innovation,” he says.
Chauhan, now working with Titan, recently won the Red Dot Design Award. Considered to be the ‘Oscars of the design world’, the Red Dot is an international prize awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany, and is awarded in three categories: Product Design, Communication Design and Design Concept. Chauhan is a rare Indian recipient in the Product Design category. The product in question is Skeletal Edge that Chauhan and his design team at Titan conceptualised. It is an update of the Titan Edge, launched in 2002, famed for its slimness. The new Edge knocks the remaining fat out of its previous avatar. At 36 grams, it is the slimmest and lightest watch available.
“We have developed a movement which is 1.1 mm thick. The whole design objective behind the creation of this watch was to celebrate this movement. I have created a form which is very modern and contemporary, and what I’ve done is, taken two sapphire glasses, and this movement is sandwiched between the glasses. It’s a see through watch construction. It symbolically defines lightness, light physically and visually. The whole watch is just 4 mm thick, crafted in titanium, a tough but light material,” Chauhan says.
The timeline of watch creation, from concept to execution, spans eight to 10 months, he says. Prior to watches, Chauhan designed bicycles. Which does he find easier to design? “Actually, because I studied architecture I realised all these creative fields are very strongly connected. I enjoy creating spaces as much as creating a watch or a bicycle. As long as the end product is good and people appreciate it, it gives me immense pleasure,” he says.