Engineer-designer Mukul Goyal, the creator of Tattva art hardware and the eponymous Mukul Goyal range of artware, believes the time has arrived for signature hardware designs. “When societies evolve, people start appreciating design. This is happening in India. We see consumers being discerning about designer clothes and accessories, home interiors and fixtures. They are now looking for bespoke signature designs in hardware.”
An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, NID Ahmedabad and Domus Academy Milan, Goyal (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been exporting his creations since 1998. “Our products have sold under the Tattva and Mukul Goyal brands at the best Indian and international home décor and gift stores.”
Recently Goyal established the first Tattva retail outlet and experience centre that displays his entire collection of hardware and artware.
It is my firm conviction that design shouldn’t be for design’s sake. The foremost requirement from any product is functionality; design is a given. While design may never compromise functionality, the product should always be thoughtfully designed.
This approach can be seen in the Tattva and Mukul Goyal ranges of hardware and artware. In our curtain rod series, the same end bracket can accommodate pipes of diameter ranging from 0.75 inch to 1.25 inch. The curtain hardware is exceptionally versatile; it can meet any site requirement given that we do not have standard door and window sizes.
All our signage plates have concealed mounting; no screws are visible from the front. Their alphabets and digits are modular, also with concealed mounting. Knob handles, which are mounted on a single screw, have a built-in 2-pin lock to prevent them from twisting and coming loose. The texture on the pull handles extends all the way to the hidden back surface, which is only felt by the hand when pulling the handle. What the eye sees, the hand gets to feel!
In artware too design supports functionality. The Circumstance wall clock is an excellent representation of this thought. Every movement of the three hands of the clock reveals a new body stance while telling the time. I could go on about this. So I always suggest that anyone interested should visit our store to get firsthand experience of what design thinking is all about.
I believe that we are breaking several conventions in the hardware line. This, perhaps, has to do with our ability to keep customer interest foremost down to the micro detail, which most mass manufacturers are unable to do.
For instance, in our mortise handles, the turn button for the cylinder is supplied in matching design and finish, unlike the general practice of all handle designs having a universal turn button. The same goes for our specially designed tower bolts, peep eyes and flush handles.
I can also confidently say that we have mastered the art of sand casting. Traditionally, sand casting has been the craft of Aligarh and Moradabad, from where hardware and artware have been sold across the world. We have not only nurtured this craft but have taken it forward in terms of quality and finesse.
You see, the brass alloy behaves differently than steel. While it’s easy to cast and mould brass, it’s not so simple when it comes to bending or shaping a brass plate. You can see our mastery in some of the very intricate large pull handles we’ve designed, and how we have managed to buff and polish the folded plate from inside. Not many would take the pains to finish the insides as we do.
Consider our retail outlet and experience centre at M G Road. It is quite unlike any hardware store you may have seen. The ambience is that of a boutique jewellery store, very relaxing and allowing the customers to sit and admire the products.
After all, our products are no less than pieces of jewellery. But it’s not what we think. The store design is determined by our clientele, and how we want them to feel when they come shopping for home improvement stuff.
You will observe that the store’s displays are exhaustive, yet without clutter. When a customer wants to view a particular theme separately, we bring out the thematic panels and place them on the inclined ladders on wheels. We have designed these specially to enhance the customer experience. Design should go beyond the product; its placement is equally important.
We have a unit at Gurugram where we design and make all our products, and this gives us complete control over quality.
But quality is more than a statement with us; it permeates everything we do from production to packaging to our display. Everything has to be top-notch at Tattva. If ever a defective piece reaches a customer and our dealer brings it back to us, we replace it, no questions asked.
Sometimes the defect may have been caused by the carpenter during installation, such as when he has hammered a screw instead of using the screwdriver and dented the product in the process. Even then, we would rather replace than waste time arguing.
You see, you have to be a bit mad about quality if you want to give a stellar experience to your customers. Quality doesn’t come easy.
We have developed a retail model that is scalable and sustainable. At the 750-sft Tattva store on M G Road in New Delhi, we have validated our idea of branded decorative hardware. The Tattva brand offers a comprehensive range of door and furniture hardware, from mortise and pull handles to knobs, tower bolts, peep eyes, bathroom accessories, drapery hardware, signage, lighting and decorative mirror frames.
These are available in over 60 thematic designs, all of which are based on Indian motifs and original concepts. We offer six sizes and six standard finishes for all our designs. This gives us an unbeatable collection that we believe would satisfy the most discerning customer.
The Mukul Goyal range of artware adds another dimension to the business. The range consists of desktop stationery, tableware, barware, decor products, clocks, etc. Many of the products under this banner are coordinated with the Tattva collections, to ensure that the interiors of our customers are always in sync. Of course, the combination of hardware and artware is interesting from the point of retail as well, since the customer and her buying timeframe for both are the same.
We are conceptualising our proposal for channel partners so that the Tattva and Mukul Goyal brands can be taken to multiple locations in a standardised retail format. Our proposal would be based on firm commitments towards quality and customer satisfaction. It is said that the packaging is the product. So we have developed exquisite packaging, and each product is packed in these fine boxes along with literature about the brand, the product and care instructions.
We are already working with over 200 hardware dealers across the country, which are the finest counters in terms of quality and professionalism. Though Tattva has been around for more than twenty years, we’ve never really marketed it through media or advertisements. All our marketing has been through word of mouth, and we have let our products speak for themselves.
Now since our range is growing, it needs more shelf space. Therefore I believe the time has come to launch the Tattva branded outlet.