Hit by a personal loss, designer Munawwar Sgarif channeled his artistic energy into his design piece titled, ‘It’s OK to slow down’.
At the Kala Ghoda Festival this year, there was one installation that stood out from the rest. This one installation connected with hundreds and thousands of attendees who flocked the artistic lanes of Kala Ghoda during the festival.
It was designer Munawwar Sharif’s brainchild, called ‘It’s OK to Slow Down’. Inspired by the experiences and journey of his life, and those around him, ‘It’s OK to Slow Down’ is a design piece extremely personal to him.
“I recently lost someone very close to me,” begins Munawwar. “It broke me down to the extent that I felt misunderstood and completely lost. Following this, picking up the broken pieces wasn’t all that easy. I was constantly looking for answers within, trying to get a grasp on my self-expressions,” he says as he opens up about the mental hurdles he had to face.
This is where the inspiration for the installation comes from. Munawwar explains that the design behind the inspiration comes in the spirit of unwinding. “When all this was happening, I felt like my life is brimming with chaos — there was so much happening that the burnout started affecting my productivity, my body of work. And such is the situation with everyone. Each and every person you come across has unpleasant things going on. But every once in a while, we should know to take a step back and analyse the situation,” he says.
‘It’s OK to Slow Down’ is Munawwar’s message for anyone who has felt life move too fast for them to grasp. But when Munawwar isn’t channelling his creative energy into designing motivational installations, he works on designs for spaces through his design company, Design Company India. The designer has several feathers in his hat. From segments of hotel, residence, retail, exhibition to office, clinics and industrial spaces, Munawwar has designed it all. “We have a studio that works eccentrically yet disciplined to let each one pour out their talents,” he says.
Sharing more about his clients’ requirements and the process behind his work, Munawwar says, “What keeps bringing them back to our design studio is their trust in us. Often, even after several discussions and back and forth with the client, the design on paper is different than the final product — which leaves them spellbound,” he says.
For Munawwar, the word ‘design’ has a simple yet elaborate meaning. “I believe design is an expression of the mind like language. And just like how everyone perceives languages differently, they perceive design and art differently,” he says.
But even with a constantly expanding body of work, Munawwar feels there are several talented people who travel across countries in search of acceptance because India doesn’t offer any. “I hope that my designs, my ideas and I am accepted in the country. I know of several other designers who leave the country for better work prospects,” he laments. “When I am in India, I feel like I am at home. And that is where all the best work happens,” he smiles.