In conversation with Paul Sandip of PaulStudio on his latest product, SOLARIS


Paul Sandip of Paul Studio is an internationally acclaimed product designer, innovation consultant and a startup mentor. An alumnus of the National Institute of Design, an electrical engineer and cartoonist, Paul is dedicated to redefining everyday objects. His designs have a consumer-focused approach and a refined sense of style.

Paul has been actively involved in new product developments for LG Electronics in India and Seoul. He has been the recipient of the prestigious Red Dot Award and other international awards. His works have been extensively exhibited and published internationally, including the Triennale Museum in Milan, Ambiente Fair in Frankfurt, Red Dot Award Show in Singapore, Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong, Lite-On Awards Show in Taiwan, Design Korea Exhibition/Design Olympiad in Seoul and Alliance Francaise in Delhi.

In 2005, Paul received the ‘Designpreneur’ award from Mr. Narendra Modi and an award from Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, the President of Taiwan. He also has had the opportunity of being invited by Hewlett Packard as a TED-X speaker in Bangalore. Paul’s work has been recognized in Forbes Life (January 2016 edition) for its simplicity and original design thinking

7Image courtesy: PaulStudio

On this occasion, Volume Zero takes the opportunity of discussing the design process and philosophy behind Solaris, with Paul Sandip.

Volume Zero (VZ): How would you describe Solaris?

Paul Sandip (PS): Solaris is a multi-functional solar powered “led lamp/torch” with flexible intensity and spread of light for acute electricity shortage areas.

6Solaris, the solar powered lamp.  Image courtesy: PaulStudio

VZ: How was the idea for Solaris conceived and what was your design process?

Stage 1 of the design process

1Image courtesy: PaulStudio

Stage 2 of the design process

2Image courtesy: PaulStudio

Stage 3 of the design process

9Image courtesy: PaulStudio

Stage 4 of the design process

3Image courtesy: PaulStudio

Stage 5 of the design process

4Image courtesy: PaulStudio
5An exploded diagram showing the engineering mechanism and design of Solaris
Image courtesy: PaulStudio

VZ: How would you describe Solaris? What were the basic benchmarks that the design process revolved around?

PS: Instapower, a leading name in LED lighting for over a decade, promoted by an alumnus of IIT Delhi, is recognized as an R&D house by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India. They had conceived a patentable technology and were looking to find application of the same for rural India. Our major task was to identify the user scenario, latent user needs and propose concepts and thereafter, develop the proof of concepts and deliver a fully functional engineered product ready for tooling.

VZ: What was your target audience for Solaris?

PS: Rural India: Farmers and other such field workers and their family.

VZ: Now, talking about the aesthetics involved in product design, what were the fundamental criteria for the design of Solaris?

PS: The main challenge was to design a product that would be technologically advanced yet does not look intimidating for the rural user. Hence, the product look has been kept similar to a regular torch with a robust feel. Our major challenge was to define the techno-aesthetics that would not be intimidating.

VZ: How would you describe your design style?

PS: I believe in voluntary simplicity. It is about wanting less. It permits one to spend less time on innovating features (which land up adding clutter) and more time bringing in less-intimidating experiences, fresh insights, and comfortable relationships between the product and the user. It is rather
difficult to say much about my approach towards design, whatever needs I have felt and observed I have tried to translate them into products.

VZ: What inspired you to pursue Product design?

PS: On a sultry afternoon, some twenty six years ago, I was feeling comforted by the ceiling fan hovering above me while I lay still on my bed. I thanked the unknown, who had devised that machine. Thereafter I started wondering how everyday products came into being and wished; someday I would be a creator of products too.

After graduating as an electrical engineer I have worked as a journalist, a socio-cartoonist and designed sets for food festivals until I got selected by NID in 2002 to pursue my post-graduation in Product Design.

VZ: Please share your words of wisdom and motivation for young students and designers.

PS: Being a designer, I am a futurist — I must explore, develop and present concepts and ideas for that which may be, but does not exist yet. I love this unique relationship we as designers share with uncertainty; I push my creativity to build things that do not exist, but can eventually.

fppPaul Sandip & Suhasini Paul

– An interview with VolumeZero

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