If you’ve opened any decent Interiors magazine recently, chances are you’ve already come across Bend Goods, a small-ish-but-mighty furniture design company based in Los Angeles, and founded by Gaurav Nanda. Their intricate ironwork is unique and at home both indoors and out. I sat down with Nanda for a little chat to find out more about his company.
Hi – How are you? What are your plans for the day?
Doing quite well thank you. Today my team and I are working on the graphic design of our new catalog. We have spent the last few months shooting and compiling our selects and it’s almost time to send it off to the printer. It’s always exciting and stressful when you get to this point in the process.
What prompted you to start Bend Goods?
I started Bend for two reasons really. First I had worked in a very corporate environment for a good number of years at General Motors. I was a sculptor there in the interiors department. I really enjoyed my time there and learned a lot about design, form and how all of that works with the functionality of an object. In the end I really just wanted to work for myself and strike out on my own.
Second, having been a fan of interior design and design in general for as long as I can remember, I saw a need for an update. I had spent time as a child in the warm Palm Springs sun, escaping the cold Michigan winters with my family. I carried with me a love for mid-century modern design, especially wire frame furniture. I decided that I wanted to take a stab at updating that style and bring it into a more modern era. My goal was to make something completely new but still keep the nostalgia that the original styles gave me each time I saw them.
When did you realize you wanted to showcase your designs in a house rather than in a more traditional showroom set up?
My team and I went back and forth on the idea of a showroom for a long time. I started the company as an e-commerce platform out of the living room in a loft in Marina Del Rey. As my team grew the idea of needing more space grew as well. We decided that renovating a house and making Bend a full design lifestyle experience was the way to go. It’s great being able to have meetings with clients around a dining room table over a conference table. A house just brings a sense of comfort that you don’t get from a showroom or office. Everyone tends to relax a little more and the conversation gets much more casual and creative which is where we always want to be.
Tell me more about the design / manufacturing process.
All of our design work comes from in-house. My team and I are responsible for everything that Bend manufactures. Authenticity and originality are very important to me. I want to make sure that everything that has the Bend name on it is unique and innovative. In terms of manufacturing we have worked with a few different factories since the beginning. One of them is over seas and they do the more high volume work and there are a few here locally in Los Angeles that we do more bespoke and custom work with. We also have an in-house upholsterer who does all of our seat pads across the board and a powder-coating facility in the valley who does a lot of our custom color work. We have been lucky to have found exceptional people to work with in many different regards. We always aim to be surrounded by the most creative people that we possibly can.
What are some of your biggest inspirations? How do you translate these into designs?
Inspiration can come from many different places for me. It can be from the beat of a song or the shadows that a tree branch casts over the sidewalk. For me it’s a lot about patterns and repetition. Having an East Indian background and making a number of trips to India throughout my life had a big impact as well. The patterns and bright colors in the culture as it relates to design there is always very inspiring. There is also the mid-century modern era as well. There is just nothing like that time from a design standpoint. It’s just a feeling that the furniture and lifestyle exude still today that will always inspire me.
Do you have any interiors advice for my readers?
Design for yourself and your life. I think that many of the clients that we work with are trying to follow trends or emulate something that they have seen in a magazine or online. Inspiration is important and essential to any creative process but take the time to figure out what is inspiring you. Is it the rug or the pattern in the rug or even just the color palette? Taking the time to pick apart your thought process will save you from buying the wrong piece and putting them in your space only to not be happy and regret the purchase. It will also lead to a more fine tuned design that is specific to exactly you and your needs.
Who are some of your favorite LA based artists and makers?
There are so many that I don’t even know where to start. We actually used interiors from many of our maker friends in our Pointy House showroom. There is lighting from Cerno out of Laguna Beach. Wood furniture and accessories from Boyce Studio, who we have also collaborated with on an accessory to one of the pieces in our line. We got fabric from Wolfum to make custom curtains and acrylic neon cactus art work from Nobel Truong. It was really exciting getting to work with such great friends on the space. It made everything so much more personal and fun.
Favorite restaurants in LA?
That is another really hard question. There are so many great restaurants in this city. I’m a big sushi fan so Sugar Fish and Kiriko Sushi are always great. When I’m on the west side, I love the Tasting Kitchen and Gjelina in Venice. In West Hollywood Jon & Vinny, Son of a Gun and Trois Mec. East side and downtown Bottega Louie, Masa, Manuela, and Bestia. I could really go on all day. That is one really great thing about this city. There is always something new to try or some strip mall sushi to change your life. It’s the land of culinary opportunity for any foodie. Right now my friend and I are on a French onion soup tour. We are trying to the find the best one in Los Angeles.