The world is concentrated with a bunch of eclecticists; everyone is in need of the best from a variety of the best. While the choice of being eclectic is an Urban India praxis, we do the same by priding on our roots. A case study would be that of Krsna Mehta, the man behind India Circus, a major part of whose graphic work represents the Mumbai we breathe every day—busy, vibrant and colourful (in that order).
Growing up at Napean Sea Road at a time when Malabar Hills was home to just about four to five mansions, he tells us how the city has evolved. “As a child, I would do what was the classic South Bombay regular: playing tennis at Bombay Gymkhana and jogging at Priyadarshini Park. The city has changed dramatically, in a good way though. There used to be a time when there were about five restaurants, and now there are 5,000.”
The creative streak
Mehta explains what led to him delving into the design space, “While interning at my father’s store, I designed something, which an international buyer picked up for several dollars. So, yes, I always knew this was what I wanted to get into.” Despite moving to New York to study design, post his schooling at Cathedral and John Connon School, a part of his creation has always been Mumbai-related. “I did ‘The Bombay Project’ with Sangita Jindal, to give a little of India to people from other parts of the world. Later, I also collaborated with Bachi Karkaria on a book titled Mumbai Masti. Another interesting project of mine was a take on the art deco of the city.”
His label India Circus (an online store stocking everything for a living space, fashion and jewellery and will soon design stoneware) was a thought that was drilled into him by, in his words, “a nagging friend” who made him evaluate and create his own brand. What is behind the quirky name? Mehta shares, “India will always be this craziness of activity. Most of my designs are India-inspired and I contemporise it. There is so much here, the inspiration will never die.”
Mehta also creates custom-made family portraits, which are also “extremely Bombay-centric.”
Ask him where he sees India on the global design map and he says, “India is recognised, but in pockets.” He explains, “We manufacture for the best of brands in the world and are a resource but not well-known as a design destination.” Mehta plans to launch a luxury label soon, till then he “aims to be the most celebrated design brand by the end of next year.”
When not scribbling a design on paper or being stressed about work, he tags himself as “boring”, saying, “I spend my day playing tennis or being with friends.”