Siddharth Sirohi, Designer and Co-Founder of Baro Design, writes about putting humans above design and creating simple, playful products that make one fully aware and alive
“What is it about the human mind that makes it impossible for us to sit still? We are perpetually in a state of flux, frantically shuffling from one task to the other. Even after doing an incredible lot more than we did as a peasant economy, fulfilment still evades us. Our experiences and interactions have been reduced to verbose fabrications. We say we wish to eat the best food in the world, we lose taste by the second bite. We want to experience heaven without having to die.
There is a sensation that time seems to slow down when we are present in the very moment. There are no distractions and there is no desire to be elsewhere. It is when each bite flavourful, every note hits the right chord, and every word of the story touches us. This, to me, is what being alive is all about: for each moment to reach its full potential.
From where I stand as a designer, design is an extremely powerful tool for making human lives better. So, how can we use design to help people gravitate towards a lifestyle grounded in the present? To begin with, we must place people before design. When we comprehend universal human aspects, we must develop an astute awareness of individual differences and celebrate those differences. It can no longer be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each element in our immediate space needs to be an extension of us.
We live in a world where people are often treated like furniture. I’m talking about a shift where furniture is treated like people. It’s not animism per se, but a state in which the human aspect of the maker seeps into the grains of the object, in turn, making it a little alive. This is, perhaps, why we are more drawn to hand-made things rather than machine-made.
A skillfully crafted chair is like soulful music if compared with the noise of utilitarian objects that surround us. At the end of a long day, that chair becomes your refuge, gently cradling you. Like an old, beautiful watch. We wear it because it speaks to us as it embodies a human spirit that we cherish. It tells us stories about the pursuit for refinement and perfection, of skill, of design and most of all, of passion. Things crafted with passion will always sing, and this song can draw us back into the present. All we must do is listen.
At Baro design, we try and bring this awareness into all that we do. The heart of every piece is in the emotional intelligence of the design process – a sensitive understanding of human behaviour and the emotional response to something that lives in your space with you. Our work is built on the foundation of finding balance. As creators, we seek balance in all we do. Balance between nature and our ability to create; between material, proportions, and scale, to put primacy on function, but without compromising on form, and find balance between need and desire.
Balance is the resting point where things become weightless. We call this the ‘lightness of being’. It is the state in which all that is superfluous is shed away and what remains is the distillate of the essential. We look for ‘playfulness in simplicity’. To be able to discover things differently, to find the playfulness of juxtaposing a traditional weave pattern on the purity of mid-century forms, and to expose a joint because we are not afraid to show it. It is, for us, the fun, self-assured state, nestled between veneration and irreverence.
Above all, we strive for sustainability, to be able to extend this temporal shift into a self-sustaining cycle. Each piece is crafted using well-seasoned, reclaimed teak, which is finished using a combination of linseed oil and beeswax that smells of honey. It found us a way out of our dilemma, between the love for trees and that of ripe, rich wood.”