With a Swedish master’s in Industrial Design, and after eight months of wasted time, his chair that combines work with rest went viral at Milan Design Week 2019. Today, he manufactures his product in Sweden – sustainably and with high quality.
Snehan Chakravarthi was born and raised in rural India. Ever since he was little, he has always liked to create and to be inspired by designers and engineers who together create unique products. After graduating in Information Technology in 2018, he moved to Sweden to pursue an education in design. And even though he didn’t have what it took to apply for a master’s in Industrial Design, he was still accepted to Lund University thanks to his portfolio.
After the university, Snehan started his own company to continue chasing the dream of becoming a recognized designer. His latest product is a chair intended for both work and rest. It is a result of projects he did together with Ikea during his studies. But that idea was not born out of thin air.
– After spending endless of hours sketching a new piece of furniture, I had zero inspiration. I was unhappy with just about every single one of my ideas, so I turned off the computer, gathered all my sketches into a pile, and took a mental break. As I sat there with my eyes closed, it dawned on me – I needed a transformable piece of furniture that could allow stressed workers, like myself, to take a break, says Snehan.
– When the prototype was shown at Milano Design Week 2019, it went viral. It was only then that I could really see the commercial potential of the idea.
But the journey to a finished product was anything but smooth.
– I was perhaps a little too ambitious when I started off by devoting eight months to designing the finest work and rest chair ever. Because when it was time to manufacture the furniture, it turned out that the production cost and the selling price would not match, making it impossible to run it as a business.
After eight seemingly wasted months, Snehan could not afford to keep the company afloat. He then decided to start the process over again with a completely new design. Due to the great interest in the first prototype, he was able to secure both pre-orders and investment in the new design. Since then, he has worked together with several companies in product development to create an affordable and commercial quality version of his furniture.
And the reason for the production to end up in Sweden was no coincidence.
– Entrepreneurs in Sweden have access to a wide range of resources that help grow and expand companies. It is an exciting journey to develop a product from scratch in a country like Sweden. A journey that is good for the company in terms of sustainability, quality, and marketing.
Snehan’s biggest drive as an industrial designer is to contribute to society with his ideas. And it was a particular design that made him realize just that. At a time when he was working as a volunteer in home care, he saw the problem of smoothly moving a patient from his wheelchair to the bed. The result was an aid that made lifting easier.
– Designers are among the best problem solvers in the world. We combine knowledge from engineers as well as artists, manufacturers, and customers. That results in new products that contribute to something.
If you had to walk a day in a celebrity’s shoes, who would that be and why?
– I would love to be Mark Zuckerberg for a day to see how someone in his position uses his talent to create engaging digital experiences for people around the world. But if I can’t be Mark for a day, I would ”settle” for Gautama Buddha.
What, or who, inspires you the most?
– There is nothing I find as inspiring as seeing Elon Musk revolutionize the rocket industry and silence all the naysayers.
If you could have been the designer to any product in the world, which one and why?
– Then I would like to be the creator of the most advanced AI-powered robots. Robots that evolve to become superior to us humans. I would like to see that they show both the good and bad virtues of man, but that they learn to imitate the good.