From finance to skincare to interior design, and his artistic experiments with brass, Vikram Goyal’s journey has been swift and very successful. On the 15th anniversary of his home decor brand, Viya, Tarun Tahiliani, Goyal’s friend and long-time admirer, ponders his incredible oeuvre.
I first met Vikram Goyal at a dinner in New York over two decades ago, and then subsequently when I moved to Delhi from Mumbai. He was at Morgan Stanley, but soon after, he returned to India and co-founded the luxury Ayurveda brand, Kama. That was before diving in, via an exhibition we did of Thai and Burmese antiques and craft at the Manor Hotel, into his world of brass. A world, he has now elevated to new heights through his design label Viya Home, (that he co-founded with his sister Divya)—just as Subodh Gupta did with stainless steel—as an intellectual conceptualist exploring new forms and mediums.
“When we started Viya, we wanted to work with traditional materials and use traditional Indian references as inspirations for contemporary sculptural interior objects,” Vikram says. “We liked brass for its versatility in being crafted across various forms and textures and because it can be treated to be given a variety of colours.”
Hundred Petal Lotus Sculptures
Floating Lotus Cocktail Tables
The recent show at Bikaner House in the capital, celebrating 15 years of Viya Home, echoed these founding ideas and was a triumph of workmanship. It was a dramatically mounted spectacle; installations, mirrors, wall panels in repose, and exquisite yet functional deco consoles lured me through a labyrinth of galleries across the various rooms of Bikaner House.
Some of my favorites here were the Shaded Graphite Console, and the Persepolis floor lamps, that can also be suspended as giant stalactite like chandeliers, as well wall sconces and sculptures.
Persepolis Floor Lamp
Shaded Graphite Console
While this show took the product to a new scale, it also felt like a retrospective spanning the five major collections in his body of work: India modern, nature, art deco, chinoiserie, and sculptural. He has always been a fan of art deco, which is a recurring theme throughout the show, Indian forms, and of course, nature.
When he looks back on his journey and the radical move from economics to product and interior design, Vikram says, “It takes time to discover one’s passions and I was lucky to do so.”
It feels glorious, especially when I think about all the time and energy Vikram has spent in working with artisans. Imagine over 15 years of trial, error, elevation and consolidation. When given the right environment and contemporary direction, Indian craftsmen are some of the finest, and thereby produce this body of work. It’s a real testament to what is right with India, in our craft heritage, and our love of the handmade, long before it became a modern buzzword. This show will travel to Mumbai later this year, and is an absolute must-see.
PHOTOGRAPH (VIKRAM GOYAL) : NAYANTARA PARIKH
SITTINGS EDITOR : PUJARINI GHOSH
LOCATION COURTESY: BIKANER HOUSE, NEW DELHI
All Clothing and Accessories: Goyal’s own