Ahmedabad-based artist-designer duo interprets emotions on rock for ‘Design Miami’

‘Emotional Rocks’, an art installation by Apical Reform Studio, was showcased at ‘Design Miami’, an annual international design fair

What happens when rocks get emotional? Ahmedabad-based Apical Reforms Studio explores this idea in its art installation exhibited at the 17th edition of “ Design Miami”, held recently at Miami Beach, USA. The only Indian design studio to showcase its works at the art-design fair this year, artists and co-founders of Apical Reform, Darshan Soni and Amrish Patel say the event was an opportunity to understand and appreciate global design trends.

Design Miami, an annual design fair held in Miami, Florida, exhibits works of collectors, gallerists, designers, curators, and critics from around the world. The idea of the fair is to celebrate design culture and commerce by collecting, exhibiting, discussing, and creating collectible designs at the venue. Featuring over 35 gallery and curio exhibits, the theme for this year’s exhibits was ‘Human Kind’. Some of the artists featured at the show are British visual artist David Shrigley, American multimedia artist Alex Israel and British painter Jadé Fadojutimi, and New York-based artist and sculptor Hugh Hayden.

Tangible emotions

“Our work, ‘Emotional Rocks’ interprets intangible emotions on hard objects. Emotions are forces capable of impacting individual or collective lives. They provide a sense of quality and meaning to existence. This art installation perceives emotions as powerful forces that can soften even the toughest,” says Darshan, who is also an architect.

Conceived and executed by Darshan and Amrish, the work comprises benches with reflective surfaces and glossy pebble-like forms, some of which seem to be melting. “As artists, we have tried to express these collective emotions through ‘Emotional Rocks’. How we as humans are constantly changing and how our perspective of life is changing,” Darshan adds.

‘Emotional Rocks’, an art installation by Apical Reform Studio 

Collectible design often combines art and functionality. “Occupying a tenuous space between fine art and day-to-day activities, functional art refers to aesthetic objects that serve utilitarian purposes. This genre is remarkably inclusive; it encompasses everything from furniture, lighting, staircases, to a lot more. Through a thorough understanding of materials, environment and purpose, amalgamated with sound aesthetic sensibilities, we have designed works that are pleasing, comforting and efficient in their function,” says Darshan.

Evolving design culture

While the design culture, on a global level, is tapping into technological advancement and material exploration, India still has a long way to go, observes Darshan. “The design environment is evolving in India. The internet has made it easy to reach, learn, and be aware of what is happening worldwide. But many more materials and technologies are not yet accessible to designers in India,” he adds.

Apical Reform is gearing to showcase its kinetic artworks in Geneva early next year. It would also showcase one of its functional artworks in Paris, which will continue in Japan for another nine months at three different locations.

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