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June 24, 2024

This is how Sequel and CinCin make their food look good

Muskaan Thakur

Ware Innovations, a ceramic and marble tableware brand has been transforming the way food is presented with their sculptural and functional designs. Their wares can be found at top restaurants such as Bayroute Sequel and CinCin in the country and are also available for personal consumption.
LuxeBook interviews Yogita Agrawal Nahar, Founder of Ware Innovations, to know more about the brand and the disruption they are bringing to tableware design.
Yogita Agrawal Nahar, Founder, Ware Innovations
Yogita Agrawal Nahar, Founder, Ware Innovations
What inspired you to start Ware Innovations?
I am a product designer. I graduated from Parson’s School of Design, New York in 2015. When I moved back to Mumbai, I knew I wanted to start a design studio that explores different materials and one that has a very hands-on approach to creating products that can enhance people’s everyday experiences. The real picking point for my ceramic ware collection was that I am a pretty average chef. I like cooking simple food, but I like my food to look beautiful. I think the best meals are the ones we eat with joy. So I wanted to design plates that make simple food look good and bring a smile to your face when you’re about to eat it. This is what we do at Ware Innovations. Our ceramic collection is an example of the moment of delight that a simple product can add to your life and that’s how we got started.Read: Kaunteya, a new luxury tableware brand brings 24-carat gold-laced Indian folk arts right on to your plate

Tell us a little more about your offbeat designs and how it is crafted.
Most of the plates with patterns and prints don’t really put the focus on the food. Instead, they take over the attention. So we design our plates in such a way that they highlight the food placed on it. First, I sketch out my idea and then create a prototype using a 3D software. We always prototype it using either farm materials, paper or any hands-on prototyping technique to make a simple model. This way, we are not too attached to the idea and we are open to editing and modifying it till it reaches the best version of itself.
We then create a master and then cast it into a plaster mould. We use the process of slip casting instead of a potter’s wheel to create our ceramic products. As for the marble pieces, we prototype everything and then hand it over to the kaarigar to craft the final piece. We provide him with a very tight technical drawing and our prototype in order to explain to him what we want. Then the kaarigar goes ahead and hand carves the pieces.

What made you choose handmade over machine-made?
I chose handmade over machine made for one specific intention: It gives us more control over the design process. If I would mass manufacture a design, I would have a minimum order quantity of 5,000 or 10,000 pieces hanging on my head, which means I have to sell them whether I like them or not and whether the consumer likes them or not. So, then it’s not really about product design anymore. Whereas the handmade approach really gives us room for change, to accommodate feedback and to keep making tiny edits to the design until it feels good. Also, the turnaround for a handmade product in terms of execution is much faster. Read: From stuffed panda to rope delivery, restaurants get quirky to maintain social distancing

Crafting such unique designs can be a task. How do you deal with a creative block?
This is a really good question. It’s human nature to have creative blocks. For me, usually, when I’m stuck in a position where I’m uninspired, I watch a lot of different Ted Talks or YouTube videos of the designers that I look up to. 
Another way to get over the creative block is to just get started. So pick up a project, set a challenge for yourself such as designing a soup bowl that doesn’t let the soup cool down quickly. Set a simple constrain and just start sketching. The first 10 ideas might suck, but when you get to the 20th idea, it’s will be good. t’s just a matter of warming yourself up and letting yourself embrace your ideas till you get to the good ones.
Which restaurants use your products?
One of the first restaurants that we worked with was Sequel in Bandra. CinCin uses our soup bowls, Bayroute uses our Tara Plates, Hyphens and Droplets. Almost all the crockery at Dome Pizzeria in Surat has been designed by us. Get Social in Raipur also uses our ware. An upcoming restaurant in Pune, whose name is not yet decided, is going to use our crockery as well.

How has the pandemic impacted your work?
The studio being closed due to the pandemic has actually led us to figure out creative ways to work while sitting at home. I thought it would really affect our business because people can no longer walk into the store, touch and feel the product, but that has not been the case. We actually managed to substitute sales through our online store. Also, we’ve learnt a lot of ways in which we can make our website more interactive and explanatory.
Another challenge is to coordinate with the whole team. We are embracing it and are connecting over software like Trello and Slack. Our team coordination has been good even in the lockdown.
What are your immediate goals?
I think the biggest challenge that new businesses face is how to retain quality when one is scaling up. We are going to brainstorm and improve all of our systems to make them more efficient to help us scale-out. So, when we go from 10 orders to 100 orders a day, we’ll still be able to manage.
Another goal is to switch to more sustainable packaging options because ceramics, being a fragile product requires bubble wrap or foam to wrap it. I really want to move to something which can decompose easily.

Kannav Chaudhary


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