Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth© HelloIndia

Prateek Jain And Gautam Seth On Their Inspirations And Aspirations

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Priya Kumari Rana

Take a walk around Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth’s spartan, minimalist atelier for their award-winning lighting installation brand Klove Studio, in New Delhi’s Green Park neighbourhood, and a sense of wellbeing and tranquility surrounds you.

In each corner, you will find colourful hanging light installations. The design duo’s sculptural giant glass pieces — a juxtaposition of handblown borosilicate glass, often coated with real gold, creating its unmistakable shine—have become iconic and instantly recognisable, spurring a host of copycats in the lighting industry.

The duo lives a floor below, in close proximity to Prateek’s parents, in a space that’s recently been renovated in bold colours and textures. Plush leather sofas, a unique shivling-inspired, hollow Klove glass light that hovers above their dining table, and a delightful baby blue nursery, created especially for the latest member of their family, their 11-month-old son, Neel Ambar Jain.

Gautam Seth and Prateek Jain©HelloIndia

Dressed casually in a black-and-white cotton suit by Abraham & Thakore (one of the duo’s go-to designers), Prateek speaks of his mother’s infatuation with Neel Ambar. “Ever since he came into our lives, my mom is with him 24/7,” he says. Despite the retinue of nannies who look after the baby, he’s closest to his grandmother.

As we tuck into avocado and egg open sandwiches prepared with love by his cooks, Mia the golden retriever comes snooping around, no doubt attracted by the delightful aromas.

Cherishing The Present

With their age-defying looks, and new age philosophies, Prateek and Gautam are very much living in the moment, for the moment, and on the cusp of international stardom — what with a showing at the Armory Building in New York, a gushing profile in the New York Times T Magazine praising their Native American-inspired Totem series, and representation by Studio 27 in New York, with worldwide rights (except India and the Middle East).

They have been creating masterpieces in handblown glass since 2005, with their works currently seen in farmhouses, Bollywood star homes, restaurants, and now, public spaces. Their grandest upcoming project is the new Terminal 2 airport in Bengaluru, with giant glass trees adorning both the Domestic and International lounges (designed in collaboration with concept designer Payal Khanna of Aura Dezyne, Mumbai). Most recently, the world saw the pendant-like lights from their Stupa series covering the entire ceiling of the drawing room of 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence, where he held bilateral talks with leaders like US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “Even we had not seen the final result at the PM’s residence,” says Prateek. “It was a real surprise to see it on television.”

Prateek Jain©HelloIndia

“Once we get involved in a project, that becomes our existence, our passion,” he explains. “We are in that moment, whether it’s work, yoga or travel, and don’t focus on what we don’t want. We are motivated by love.”

Gautam, who was once a fashion model in the Capital, has often gone for days without going through magazines or Pinterest, just because he wants to maintain that laser-sharp focus. “There’s so much noise around us, as a society, it’s important to focus on the nicer aspects and what works for you. Prateek and I, we are involved in our own world, our life is about that.”

Partners In Life And Business

Although neither of them is formally trained in design — Gautam painted for 15 years as a child growing up in Ambala — both of them decided against joining their fathers’ businesses (coincidentally, both Prateek and Gautam’s fathers are into construction, completely unrelated), and instead embarked on a more creative pursuit. “We actually met in a shady club in Delhi,” laughs Prateek. “I didn’t know whether I should go up to (Gautam) or not!” The rest, they say, is design history.

What drew Gautam and Prateek to each other was a love of aesthetics and a creative exploration of objects, from materials like glass, wood and stone — made in organic or geometric shapes, inspired by nature, culture, energy and talismans. They had access to clusters of people in Ambala, and in New Delhi, who worked with these materials. “Glass resonated with us, and the market responded to it,” reveals Prateek, pointing out that their entry into lighting design was a result of their initial venture into crafting glass accessories. Today they have come full circle with the launch of a store in Dhan Mill, New Delhi, to house their Collektklove pieces (smaller pieces for gifting and collectibles).

Gautam Seth©HelloIndia

They’re grateful to have been mentored by so many great designers, each of whom has significantly influenced them, from Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna to Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta, Rohit Bal and Manish Arora. “They taught us to create our image and scale our work,” says Prateek. “Sabyasachi’s thought process always influenced me, as he’s a close friend of mine,” says Gautam. “Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla taught us how to think and create big, how to push our creativity and not hold ourselves back.” Sunil Sethi, head of the Fashion Design Council of India, was crucial in ensuring their brand’s presence in the Conran Shop in the UK a few years ago.

Craving Novel Adventures

One would think that Prateek and Gautam’s worlds are limited to the glitterati, but “a lot of my friends are not from this world of fashion,” says Gautam, “They are healers, acupuncturists. I love learning about the human body and make friendships accordingly.” Gautam has been learning and practicing healing therapies for around a decade, while Prateek has been practicing yoga for two decades.

While Prateek loves the adrenaline boost of music festivals like Boom in Portugal (he loves trance and techno, but also retro and classical, except modern Bollywood) and large-scale gatherings like Burning Man in Nevada (“I get my spirituality from the expressive and artistic nature of Burning Man,” says Prateek), Gautam loves to delve within, exploring a world of sounds with binaural beats, and energy healing, to help people. Inveterate travellers, both have been blown away by the beauty of Iceland’s circular Golden Circle (a scenic drive from capital Reykjavic) and the lions of Masai Mara (a pride of lions casually descended upon the tarmac as their baggage was being unloaded from the plane).

With their explosive talent and calm demeanour, these gentle men are ready to take on the world.

Photos: Anil Chawla, Creative Direction & Styling: Amber Tikari

This interview has been adapted for the web from our February 2024 issue. Grab your copy here.