Man of steel

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DIPTI
Published Dec 18, 2016, 12:29 am IST
Updated Dec 18, 2016, 6:55 am IST
Product designer Alex Davis uses stainless steel to create contemporary pieces of modern design.
STOP sign from Alex’s Dented and Painted  collection
 STOP sign from Alex’s Dented and Painted collection

While stainless steel is known for its shiny, sturdy quality, Alex Davis makes the metal appear softer. Think nature-driven forms like creepers, huge yet delicate leaves of water lilies, roses, a bamboo grove, knobbly yet slender branches of a small champa tree. For Alex Davis, working with steel continues to be fascinating. The designer is known for creating home décor products, furniture and installation, with a fusion of traditional forms with modern design. “I love working with different kinds of metals. It is creatively satisfying when I let the metal take its own course.”

RoseRose

 

The designer takes anytime between six months to two years to complete a project. “I like to call my creations design-art collections,” shares Alex, who wants to showcase a poetic nature of the element. Alex has majored in Industrial Design from Domus Academy, Milan where he worked with international master designers like Andrea Branzi, Massimo Morozzi and Mario Trimarchi among others. Even though his work reflects his commitment to impeccable craftsmanship and irreverent luxury, Alex sees to it that his work appears natural and makes one think about stainless steel in an entirely new way.

Marigold Marigold

“Steel is challenging to work with but that’s why I chose it as a medium for my work,” he explains. “I also wanted to break down the stereotype of stainless steel as a sharp, almost surgical element and show its soft, delicate and poetic side. Most of my collections are nature-driven because I grew up in the lap of nature back home in Kerala. I spent lots of time in the forests and on the beaches, so the influence of nature is immense.”

Bamboo grove Bamboo grove

Right from his mechanical engineering days, it was clear that he would veer his interests towards product designing. He recalls, “As a child I used to create, break, mould, bend and rebuild a lot of stuff. So when after my engineering, I told my parents that I wanted to pursue a career in the product-designing field, they weren’t surprised at all. I think they had always had a clue that I’ll get into the creative field since they had always watched me create stuff. Having a background in Mechanical Engineering has perhaps given me an advantage, when it comes to working with materials like stainless steel.”

Champa treeChampa tree

Alex’s glossy sculptures and installations also include metals like copper and brass. He says, “Occasionally, I may model or test materials like copper, brass, even foam, paper or thinner sheets of metal to see the outcome.” In case of a few, specific projects, he also uses computer generated three-dimensional modelling to understand the final product. “However, most often my techniques involve hand-bending the metal and laser cutting. There is no fixed set of techniques that I employ — it varies from project to project.”

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