Experiential bespoke collections of A Cube Inc. uphold high standards for craftsmanship with their timeless aesthetic and stand against forces of fast design.
Moving beyond function and visual aesthetics, Anand and Anuj Ambalal of A Cube Inc., strive to offer a holistic sensorial experience through their carefully crafted products. Environmental concerns run in the grain of their design, while also providing a captivating spatial experience through products that showcase contemporary elegance. Anuj Ambalal tells The Inside Track how the studio skilfully induces nuanced subtleties in their bespoke collections.
Tell us about the inception and intent behind A Cube Inc.
A Cube Inc. is an Ahmedabad based design studio that was incorporated in 2004, with the intention of designing and crafting high quality furniture designs with an underlying concept or a thought. We see design as a form of expression to fulfil the functional needs of the society through appealing aesthetics.
Perceptions about design are often restricted to the visual realm, which is only half the picture. Touch is one of the most important and primitive means of sensory perception. It is with a touch that one often forms an opinion of an object. An object has to be felt, not just be seen. Similarly, the fragrance of natural wood or the gentle rustle of a hand caressing a mildly textured surface has certain amount of sensuality about it.
We try to imbibe such subtleties while designing to effectively counter the starkness that often encompasses contemporary interiors. Furniture or lamps are not just interior elements or architectural accessories, but are an integral part of architecture. In fact, we consider them as pivotal elements that define, create or even transform a spatial experience. They are the tools through which one can interpret, alter, control, frame and even transfigure architectural scales.
These were the ambitions that we wished to fulfil when we started and we are still motivated by the same concerns even today.
Though both Anand and you hail from a management background what inspired the shift to design sector?
As management students we were always taught that a business is always independent of an individual. This was something that we could not relate with. We believe that a business has to be an extension of our personal beliefs and personas. Our shift to design was an organic process. It was a field that captured our imagination with its immense possibilities. The room for experimentation was also something that excited us. But if I were to put it in a nutshell, then the shift was intuitive rather than logical.
Tell us about the entire scope of work undertaken by A Cube Inc.
We are a design firm and we like to experiment with the treatment of our designs-may it be furniture, lifestyle products or designing interiors. We like to experiment in all these mediums. The studio also deals with customisation of furniture and products for end users or businesses to cater to their unique or specific requirements.
Take us through the manufacturing process. Are the objects handcrafted in your studio workshop or machine-made?
All our products are meticulously handcrafted in our studio workshop with our in-house artisans
There is a marked evolution in how design is perceived in India. How have the market and the consumer changed over the years since the inception of A Cube Inc.?
In hindsight, I can say that we had set up the studio at the cusp of this change. This was the time when an entire new generation became the decision makers for households. This generation had travelled, was aware of what was happening globally in terms of designs and was willing to experiment with new styling. It was an exciting time for us as there were not too many studios thinking on these lines. Over the past few years this has changed. What was a novelty then now seems to have become a norm. And such a thought process is no longer considered as ‘experimental’.
Your portfolio is suggestively contemporary in nature yet shows the influences of Indian design, in future, would you like to work with India’s extensive craft heritage and blend it with your own signature style?
In the new millennium the world seems to have come closer like never before. The cultural boundaries across the world have begun to smudge. There is also a terrific exchange going on amongst different cultures. In spite of all this, I believe that deep down our core remains the same. The traces of our roots will manifest in a nuanced manner in whatever we do. So there is no point in actually trying to design products with ‘Indian aesthetics’. I believe that we live in the contemporary era and since we are Indians, whatever we design with honesty and conviction, will be true contemporary Indian in its nature. If we make an effort to design it consciously we might actually move away from it.
I think the craft heritage that we have should be adopted for its technical credibility rather than as a means to ‘look more Indian’. There is immense potential if we adapt these techniques and when we do that successfully, will we find a larger global audience. In the past, we have used our crafts wherever there was scope and we will continue to do so in the present as well as the future.
With the alarming increase in environmental hazards, it has become crucial to be responsible while choosing materials and manufacturing products. Does A Cube Inc. take any special measures to counter environmental deterioration?
Environmental issues are a concern that no one can or should take lightly. At our studio 95% of the wood used is recycled wood. And wherever possible, we try to use finishes that are environment friendly.
What are you currently working on and any plan to expand your work portfolio in future?
Diversity in our design pool has always been our USP and parallel to catering orders, there is a team that constantly tries to identify needs and develop new designs to cater to them. Creation of new designs and hence expansion of the portfolio is a constant process.
Where can people buy your products: in-store/online/directly from you?
Apart from our studio in Ahmedabad where one can visit and book their orders, we have an online presence, digital as well as retail collaborations through which one can purchase our products.