Indian student Surabhi Mittal comments on her experience of studying in the capital
For Indian student Surabhi Mittal, her passion for design lead her to London to study at University of the Art’s Central Saint Martins. Shortlisted for the inaugural International Student Innovation Award for her Paper Mache Tea Set, Surabhi spoke to Study London about her inspiration.
Commenting on her motivation for design, Surabhi said: “I come from a land which was once called the ‘Golden Bird’. Having lived in India, a vibrant country, I was exposed to immensely diverse and distinctively rich customs, religions, languages and people. I was influenced by my weekly family excursions to the numerous heritage monuments in New Delhi, various art and design galleries and museums and, of course, the ancient temples. The fine details, the variety of designs and the vibrant colours made me feel alive and enthralled me, and planted the seed for a career in the creative field.”
Surabhi was also inspired by the traditional skills and traditions in Kashmir, as she explains: “The source of inspiration and the development of my project evolved in Kashmir. Learning the local skills and traditions involved in the process of paper mache helped me to design a product that brings together two generations. The support from Kashmir helped not only in innovating a new identity but also both helped the product and process meet socially sustainable aims.”
Picking up on the tradition of tea drinking, Surabhi focused on the social ties linked with this popular British pastime. She said: “My concept evolved around tradition in Britain. British tea culture is an elegant and timeless ritual which deserves to be preserved. Considering traditional social ties – the value of handcrafted and intergenerational ties – left me with the question of how handcrafted items can become more valued through design. Through my Paper Mache Tea Set design I achieved that.”
Commenting on the appeal of London, Surabhi said: “London helps you translate your dreams into reality. It makes you able to achieve goals that you have set for yourself. London allows a lot of scope for self-expression and originality, which helped to strengthen my creative skills.”
Surabhi added that her London education has transformed her life. “Design is one thing that never tires me, rather it gives me the zest to live life with full flair. London, being the most important platform in my career, has helped me channel my creative ability. I feel blessed to be a part of the education system where I could see and learn such beautiful art and design forms. I am constantly experimenting with new ways to express my ideas through design.”