Q&A with Tania Singh Khosla and Sandeep Khosla
Three years ago Bharat Floorings, the company that dresses up historic establishments and homes with its iconic tiles found themselves with a unique problem. They regularly collaborated with various architects and interior designers on bespoke tile collections, but had a pile of stencils on their factory floor they could never use again.
Thus they launched BFT+ to commission contemporary artists and designers from various fields to create tile designs that would end up within their vast catalogue. Problem solver and vice chairman Firdaus Variava, who is leading them in the new direction calls it heritage of the future.
For their latest collection DashDashDot, they collaborated with graphic designer Tania Singh Khosla and architect Sandeep Khosla. We caught up with the couple and long time collaborators to learn more about it.
What is DashDashDot?
DashDashDot is a collection of tiles constructed from lines or dashes and circles or dots inspired by simple geometry.
The collection comprises a kit of parts – 4 basic tile units that can be composed in infinite ways to create a huge variety of textures and patterns. Each tile unit can be used individually as a repeat pattern, or in any combination with one or more of the other tiles. This allows the user to really have fun customising their floor or wall surface. The beauty of this collection lies in its immense versatility. In terms of colour, as of now we have four colour palettes: Black on White, White on Dark Grey, Dusky Rose with Grey and Chocolate and Black with Blue Lagoon, Terracotta Red and Sunshine Yellow.
Have you both collaborated together on projects before?
Sandeep and I have often collaborated on projects where he’s needed graphic intervention to enhance a space or if I’ve worked on the branding of a space he has designed. Sometimes the boundaries between interior and graphic design have blurred, leading to exciting, often unexpected outcomes.
The first such project we collaborated was the MTV office in Bangalore 20 years ago. More recently we’ve worked on Tower Kitchen, a fine dining restaurant where a contemporary mid-century inspired space is juxtaposed with a stunning screen, in which we transformed utilitarian kitchen utensils into an art installation.
How did the project with BFT come about?
We have for a while been toying with the idea of creating our own range of lifestyle products – furniture, accessories, etc, bringing both our strengths and sensibilities together.
The idea of designing tiles for Bharat Floorings came about over a conversation with Firdaus who was already pushing the boundaries and innovating with other designers. This seemed like an exciting and natural extension of our idea to collaborate on products. Sandeep has been using terrazzo tiles for several projects and has even designed a range of his own for the Library House. We both love the natural materiality of this traditional, handmade technique. Sandeep has a great understanding of what would look beautiful and be versatile in an interior space and I’m good with patterns, colour and surface graphics. The pieces all fit together.
What was the process of designing the collection?
The process started out very organically, discussing ideas, sharing image references. We created initial sketches together and researched what else is out there. Once we hit upon two basic principles: One that we wanted to work with simple paired down geometry of lines and dots and really see how far we could push this idea. And two, that we wanted to create a versatile collection that could be composed in many different ways, then the roles got divided.
What were each of your roles in designing the collection?
I along with my team worked on various designs, from simple to complex. Sandeep would get involved in helping visualise how the compositions worked over a large surface, adding and subtracting elements to create balance. Sandeep has a really astute sense of what will work in a space, how a tile design can adapt from a floor to a wall space, as well as what will appeal to a certain kind of end user. My strength is in creating exciting visual patterns, and playing with form. I’m very sensitised to colour, putting nuanced combinations together and his is to make sure that the colours work in an interior space.
There was a fair amount of back and forth where we had to alter our design a little to work with what was possible in the mould such as altering the line thickness of the pattern. But having said that, we are thrilled with the outcome. Also, as a graphic designer, when you work in print, you are seeking absolute perfection. Here, the beauty likes in the imperfections and the wabi-sabi which is a natural outcome of the making process. This is the most beautiful aspect of the tiles which we love.
What was the most important thing to achieve from the finished collection?
We wanted to create a collection that was distinct, and had a sense of whimsy and playfulness. A versatile design that could work in a verandah or a statement powder room, or with nostalgic colonial furniture or timeless mid-century design. The simplicity of elements that make up each tile, the carefully created colour palettes from 2 to 4 colours in each collection allows for all of this. The real challenge however, was to create a collection that would look balanced and interesting no matter what combination of tiles you chose to use.
Tania Singh Khosla has a Masters of Fine Art in Graphic Design from Yale University and runs a branding and graphic design firm, tsk Design. Follow them on instagram at @tskdesignindia.
Sandeep Khosla studied architecture at Pratt Institute, New York and is the founder and principal of architecture and interior design firm, Khosla Associates.
Photography by Shamanth Patil
We're excited to introduce Bharat Floorings as a Friend of LOVER.
Earlier this year, we launched Friends - our community partnerships program. If you’d like to know more or become one, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org