Their wares have been spotlighted by The Sunday Times, Wallpaper* and more, but Tiipoi’s founder still believes that the best designs sometimes have no designer at all…

Five years after graduating from her BA in Fine Art, Spandana Gopal created Tiipoi, a product design studio committed to challenging conveyor belt consumerism. Inspired by “the design of daily life” in India, Tiipoi’s style is minimal, practical and beautiful in a way only things made to be used can be. “It’s not good enough to make objects without purpose or value today,” Spandana tells me, “we don’t want to add to landfills.”

Today, the studio is home to a team of three: Spandana, founder and creative director, Andre Pereira, Tiipoi’s head of design and Jaya Modi, their design consultant. Production is split between their East London office and Bangalore workshop. “It’s quite a long process,” Spandana says, “with lots of back and forth and things going wrong before going right.” Visiting Bangalore, where Spandana was born, is the first step. She is largely inspired by Indian domesticity and the quiet functionality of design systems used around the home. These are the success stories people forget about. “Most of these objects have evolved through a kind of natural selection process,” Spandana says, “they evolve organically over time without a designer.”

Next come the sketches, and sometime after, the prototypes that will be created in Bangalore. The role of the craftsperson is paramount to Spandana, who doesn’t shy away from the pitfalls of the production chain. “So often the person making your product gets very little,” she says, “As designers I feel it’s in our power and is our job to create a new narrative. The people we work with are at the heart of what we do.”

Despite several features in lofty national titles, all of which she is extremely grateful for, Spandana’s still feels happiest when she sees a picture of a Tiipoi product in use. Any advice for a budding creative eager to start their own business? “Make sure you do plenty of research, focus on one thing and keep going from there. Don’t think about how to make money – the money will follow if you can get that one thing right.”

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