Saurabh Nimsarkar, holding dual master’s degrees in transportation design from the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, has offered his expertise to high-profile clients such as Godrej and Boyce, Honda R&D, KittyHawk, the Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles, Urban Movement Labs, and Michael Neumayr Design.
Transitioning from engineering, Nimsarkar evolved into a ‘Physical and Digital Experience Designer’, integrating a deep understanding of diverse cultures. Committed to exploring alternative experiences and possibilities, he challenges conventional thinking while considering societal, cultural, and environmental impacts. His work spans various scales, from molecules to entire cities, and includes projects on Hyperloop, autonomous cars, flying cars, and urban planning for Los Angeles. Employing a range of methodologies and engaging tactics, Nimsarkar dives deep into individuals’ aspirations and challenges, crafting solutions that are not only inclusive but also resonate meaningfully with the users.
Nimsarkar’s creativity, nurtured since childhood through adventures and sketching, forms the foundation of his problem-solving prowess in design. “Childhood escapades shaped my ethos as a designer, igniting a lifelong curiosity and drive to excel,” he reflects.
In 2018, he garnered the Good Design Award,India Design Mark for devising innovative Work-Lounge Active Seating Solutions for Godrej Interio, thereby redefining perceptions of office lounge furniture. He emphasizes the importance of recontextualizing objects for inspiration, showcasing a blend of aesthetics and functionality in his celebrated designs that aim to enhance wellness and productivity.
Nimsarkar’s innovative project, ModLiv, received accolades when spotlighted in the esteemed Wallpaper magazine. In a landscape dynamically altered by swift technological advances and a societal tilt towards minimalism and flexibility, ModLiv stands out as a timely invention. This autonomous home on wheels is a beacon for those who deliberately opt for a life unbound by traditional living spaces. Nimsarkar observes, “ModLiv epitomizes a generation that values experiences while mindfully adopting a lifestyle marked by minimalism and flexibility.”
His innovative work with the Speculative Toolkit ‘ACTIFY’ has secured him invitations to prominent events like the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography and Austria’s Navigating the City, showcasing the widespread impact of visionary toolkit. Actify, a hallmark in Nimsarkar’s career, embraces a philosophy from “Speculative Everything” by Dunne and Raby: “Help people construct compasses rather than maps.” Standing apart from limiting tools like Google Maps, Actify champions the essence of exploration and journey. Nimsarkar expresses, “It’s about cherishing the journey and empowering individuals to shape their own futures.”
Nimsarkar significantly contributed to the Los Angeles First Transportation Technology Innovation Zone project in 2020 working with Urban Movement Labs, advancing transportation technology testing. This initiative metamorphosed the Warner Center into a nexus for mobility innovation, spotlighting the vital role of design in community outreach. He stated, “The project underscores design’s role in driving community-focused innovation in transportation.”
Moreover, during his tenure at the Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles, Saurabh Nimsarkar joined forces with the World Economic Forum to conceptualize and depict a crucial document on the Principles of Urban Sky. Beyond conducting stakeholder interviews to draft the piece, Nimsarkar created intricate data visualizations, such as those representing sound profiles, which are featured prominently on the WEF website, underscoring his valuable input and artistic contribution to the initiative.
“We shouldn’t initiate the design process with a predetermined solution as it narrows our exploration and inclines us towards technological determinism,” asserts Nimsarkar. “A people-first methodology is essential, delving into individuals’ future visions, understanding their values and aspirations. This process requires posing disruptive questions that challenge established norms, paving the way for solutions that are innovative, equitable, and accessible.”
Advocating for a synergistic model, he envisions a balanced relationship among individuals, the urban spaces they inhabit, and the fundamental forces of technology and economics influencing dwelling and place-making. “Such a holistic approach,” Nimsarkar notes, “not only advances our civic future technologically but also ensures it embodies the values and addresses the needs of its residents.”
Crediting three foundational principles for his accomplishments, Nimsarkar first champions the ‘Beginner’s Mind’ in design, embracing a youthful curiosity ensuring adaptability and avoiding stagnation. Next, he recognizes the rigorous dedication required for design mastery. Finally, he encourages a diverse skill set over fixating on one design approach, enabling well-rounded decisions. He elucidates, “Nurturing childlike curiosity aids adaptability in the ever-evolving design realm, whereas true mastery demands persistent commitment and the agility to learn and adapt continually.”