Desmania auto studio
claims it is India’s only state-of-the-art auto studio. You mean there is no one
else in the country?
We are the first ones to build an automotive design studio
outside the OEMs. We launched the studio in 2010. It has been a one-of-a-kind
studio in India which has a clay modeling facility, and has a facility to make
one is to one markups, prototypes and models. The whole studio has been based
on the way things have been done in the western countries where you have a lot
of car design happening. We have come to know that there are some more similar
studios coming up. But this is one fully integrated automotive studio.
What does your work
entail? What is that you exactly do for a client?
We are creative people. We are not design engineers per se.
We have to do two aspects of design. One is styling of the vehicle, and second
is on the usability front of the vehicle i.e. anything that the driver or
passenger feels and touches and is emotionally connected to the vehicle is done
by a designer. We are industrial designers and some people call us car
stylists. But we are not stylists only. We understand what a consumer requires.
We do a consumer insight, which means we go to the users, observe and talk to
them and then decide as to what needs to go in a design.
But the trend in the last 15 years in the automotive
industry is that the design is being done in-house by the OEMs themselves. But
there are small companies that do not have a design in-house, they come to us
for styling and the interiors, etc.
But large OEMs take our support. We provide them a lot of
design support services which includes making a full scale model in clay and
refining a design along with them. We do something like a full-scale mock up,
etc. And these are taken to the consumers for their insight.
There are also new areas that are coming up, like electric
vehicles. A lot of people do not understand what automotive design is. A lot of
EV people are interested in design. Then there are accessories which are
becoming very big in the market. There is a lot of traction happening in
accessories because people want to personalise and customise their cars. Big
OEMS are laying a lot of emphasis on accessorizing their cars. We have done
many projects with very large OEMs here.
Big guys give you big business, because they have bigger
budgets. They have the maturity of understanding each step in the process. So,
to build up a car design you have to actually go through a fairly long process
of quick validation of the design. People start with sketching, then they make
scaled models, then they would go in for full scaled models, the first model
could be made of foam and is called volume model. Then they would make it in
clay for refinement. Then they would
make a hard model. In between they would also make an ergonomic model. There
are several types of models that have to be made. You have to do a whole lot of
Desmania auto studio
has partnered with Mahindra, Renault, Maruti Suzuki, TVS and many more. Tell me
about a prestigious assignment you undertook for one of them.
Maruti Suzuki has been our biggest client. When we started
this studio, we had Maruti Suzuki as our main client. Proximity to the client
is very important. If you look at manufacturing centres in Europe, you will
notice a lot of design studios are situated around its periphery. Maruti Suzuki
has given us several projects. They have a lot of models and they need support
from studios like ours. They have asked us to do colour schemes for cars. We
have a full-fledged paint shop wherein we can paint an entire car. We have done
accessory design for them. The way it is done in Europe and Japan, they
actually do a clay model. Unlike an aftermarket where they can make a part and
simply fit it, they do a clay model that can be refined. It is the last mile of
There is something called class ‘A’ surfacing, the
highlights that you see in a car, they come through a very special technique of
surfacing on the computer. It is a high-end software where you do surfacing to
get that finesse on the surface.
Does this all involve
a lot of software related work too?
Today you cannot separate technology and handmade work. They
go hand in hand. There is a lot of toggling between both. But both are
Do you think, going
ahead the automotive field offers a great opportunity?
I see a very big
opportunity there. But it will take its own sweet time. Things do not happen
rapidly as the way it happens in China. I do see a good opportunity coming up
because of advent of EVs and also because such design is happening in India and
many Indian OEMs believing in Indian design talent. For example, making a big
investment in a clay milling machine is something which I cannot foresee for
another five years in India. A machine
like that costs Rs 5 crore to Rs 6 crore. It does not give an ROI.