LDF22: Meet Khyati Trehan and the Pirouette Coat Stand

The next in our digital dream team line-up for London Design Festival 2022 is Khyati Trehan, who reinvents our Pirouette Coat Stand for Meet Me in the Metaverse, our immersive installation in collaboration with It’s Nice That.

Originally from New Delhi, India, Khyati is an independent graphic designer and 3D visual artist. Her work is textural, playful, emotive and driven by an ache to make the intangible. Khyati’s career has seen her work across disciplines, drawing inspiration from the context of the work and often exploring the edges of all things visual for the likes of the Oscars, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Deepmind, Warner Music, Apple, Adobe, Absolut, Instagram and Snap Inc. “A large part of working in 3D is about borrowing and learning from the real world,” the designer says, “and the real world is imperfect. Textures help me bring this imperfection to my renders.”

Khyati has undertaken the challenge of reimagining The Conran Shop’s Pirouette Coat Stand, our own-brand spin on the household staple with an instantly captivating pirouetted design. Refreshed with a sculptural aluminium collar, the Portuguese-made Pirouette champions Sir Terence Conran’s philosophy of ‘plain, simple, useful’ design. The core ideas driving her concept are a dance in four acts with two partners, using organic and tactile textures.

Read Khyati's interview below, to learn more about her work and inspiration.

1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Khyati! Please could you tell our readers all about you?

I’m somewhere between a graphic designer and a 3D visual artist, living in New Delhi, India and working everywhere. My art practice sees textural and emotive work, drawing heavily from the context of the brief and a deep study of the world I'm designing for.

2. How did your relationship with It’s Nice That begin?

My relationship with It's Nice That began with a lovely feature on my body of work, where I shared how important it is for me to incorporate new things in my design practice. Because I've long felt that the platform makes space for and writes about the best work on the planet, seeing my work up there was unreal. Our second date was an email exchange about this very project, and here we are!

3. Please take us through your journey in reimagining our Pirouette Coat Stand for Meet Me in the Metaverse; what was your favourite part of the process?

I took up reimagining the Pirouette in a digital setting as a playful exercise in future casting, slipping in provocations for how the piece's form and use might evolve with time. Unlike most projects that begin with a problem to be solved, this one lent itself more to exploration.

The narrative for the animation came to mind the minute I learnt the coat stand was called ‘Pirouette.’ There were two core ideas driving the concept; the first was drawn from the name of the piece, which is why the animation was likened to a dance in four acts. I thought the coat hanger could use a dance partner. The second part of the concept focused on the two halves that the dance is between; the structural building blocks that come together to make the Pirouette, and the textural and organic artefacts (coats, scarves, textiles, buttons) that the coat stand is destined to interact with.

I loved that I got to play with an object that exists in the real world. Getting to see the piece in person someday is going to feel like meeting a character from your favourite movie.

4. What does the Metaverse mean to you?

At this point, the metaverse is a fuzzy picture of our changing relationship to technology and the way we use and experience it. The term’s meaning changes depending on who you ask because the concept is too new to be clearly defined. A way that I bring some tangibility for myself to this fuzz is by imagining a future where we attach the same value (both monetarily and emotionally) to virtual objects and experiences as we do to physical ones.

5. As we celebrate the 20th London Design Festival, what is the importance of such events for artists and designers?

Events like these build culture. They play matchmaker between a diverse set of designers and artists with something to say, and a hungry audience that’s all ears.

6. Finally, what does the future hold for you?

I'm a year into my independent practice. Every project is unlike the one preceding it, which allows me to flex the variety of skill sets I've collected over a career spanning 8 years. I've found the sweet spot between the freelancer life and a full-time job; it's the projects built on relationships that set me up for working 'with' the client rather than 'for' them. I hope the future holds many more.

Meet Me in the Metaverse may be over, but you can still shop the LDF22 edit today.