Friday Five with Gaurav Nanda

Michigan-born Gaurav Nanda founded Los Angeles-based Bend Goods in 2010 and has combining his love of sculpture and design ever since. The brand continues their success with the steady release of new and dynamic furniture and objects that are both functional and sculptural in their signature bent wire style. Nanda’s childhood vacations to mid-century mecca, Palm Springs, led to his decision to leave corporate America, after working as a interior model sculptor for GM vehicles. Those early design influences extend to the work that Bend Goods produces today with their geometric shapes and perky colors. Let’s see what Nanda selects for his five picks in this week’s Friday Five.

Photo by Gaurav Nanda

1. Self Growth & Discovery
Everyone comes from different experiences growing up. I find those experiences are usually met with challenges in life. Over the last couple of years I have been on a journey of self discovery and growth. Answer these questions, why are you who you are? What shaped you? What is holding you back from what you want? I know this sounds all kind of like a self-help book, but it all comes down to building relationships with the people around you. When building your own company, it’s so important to be able to communicate with your team your needs and expectations. You want your team to be inspired, be creative and it is important that we all continue to grow together.

Photo by Gaurav Nanda

2. Exploration
Sometimes I live in a bubble and I need to step out of my surroundings to get a different perspective. Traveling opens my eyes and reminds me there is so much to learn from others. Recently I took a trip to Iceland and it is almost like a different planet with the black sand beaches, beautiful rock formations, and the Blue Lagoon. At times I felt like I was in a James Bond movie captured by the evil villain but for every reason happy to be there. I guess that might not make sense until you visit Iceland for yourself. I can tell that it had an impact on me creatively. I think it’s really important that we get out there and learn about the planet that we inhabit and the other people that we share it with. We all have a deep impact on each other and need to learn from each other.

Photo by Bend Goods Team

3. Living by the Desert, the Beach and Sunshine
Living in Los Angeles we have many great natural environments that are easily accessible. I am very lucky to be able to call Southern California my home. From Joshua Tree to Catalina Island and the beaches of Malibu, all we really have to do is drive a couple hours in any direction and it can change your entire perspective. Southern California is really a magical place for that reason. For someone in any creative field it can be a playground for brainstorming and the growth of ideas.

Photos by Raimund Koch

4. Architecture
One of my major loves is architecture. In terms of my design aesthetic, I love when old meets new in an architecture project. In Europe especially, you often find an old brick building with a crazy modern glass structure affixed to the top of it – I absolutely love that. I just spent the last 6 months renovating a new office studio for Bend Goods. It’s an old house built in the 1920’s, which had not been updated for decades. It was a really fun project to break down walls, raise ceilings, add skylights and put in some really interesting ceiling treatments. Often ceilings get left behind, but I really feel they can create visual interest. This picture above is a great architectural inspiration to me. It’s a renovation project by Fuster + Partners Architects of a existing single-family structure located on a small lot in Puerto Rico.

Sufjan Stevens onstage, 2006 \\\ Photo by FGN/LFI

5. Music
Music is definitely inspirational and plays a crucial role in my process of designing and just keeping me motivated. New songs and artists are constantly playing in the workshop, which makes for a lively and happier work environment. We play music from the electrical sounds of Caribou to folk sounds of Sufjan Stevens, or country sounds of Dolly Parton and everything in-between. I have always been fascinated how a song can come on and just change your entire mood. I love that music has such a deep impact on our minds and thoughts. I don’t think that my design process would be half as productive if I didn’t start it by setting the mood with music.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.