KOK means ‘head’ in Manipuri, and head is the genesis of every idea ever formed. The brainchild of Kenny Ngairangbam and Yanglem Manimohon Singh, KOK is a design studio based in Imphal, showcasing modern contemporary art. The shared passion or fascination for contemporary and minimal art is what brought the talented duo together.
Not all of us get a chance in life to pursue our passions as a career; Kenny is one of the lucky few. He opened the doors to his design studio with friend and partner Manimohon in 2014. They both come from a graphic design background and have worked for various agencies all over India.
All of their work till date focuses on minimal art. Now, you may be wondering what exactly is ‘minimal’ art? It is a form of abstract art which consists primarily of simple geometric forms executed in a simple style. To put it plainly, they go by the ‘Less is More’ philosophy. They make sure that even the simplest of their creations makes sense to people. The culture and traditions of the Northeast are the biggest inspirations behind Kenny’s work. In his own words, ‘I believe that the environment that I exist in has had a big impact on my way of life and thinking’.
Their first project is ‘LAI’ which literally translates to God, but could also mean art. Kenny shares, ‘LAI is a result of the widening gap that we see between communities today. Communities exist together in our society, yet none of us understand each other well. So, we wanted to study the cultures and traditions of each community so that it would reflect in our work in an exciting way. Through this, we hope to influence people in taking an interest in each other’s culture’.
Under their LAI range, they have various products like Paper Dolls, T – Shirts, Tote – Bags (canvas bag), Posters and Post – Cards. Children as well as adults love these paper dolls, which have become a popular decorative household item. Their aim is to come up with new and more innovative merchandise, for which they are doing detailed research. Currently, they are retailing their merchandise from their design studio in Imphal, and they have prospective buyers from Shillong, Guwahati and Kohima.
The team has extensive expansion plans this year, from opening a retail store to linking up with distribution outlets spanning the Northeast and beyond. Kenny summarizes, ‘Design wise, we look ahead to develop a distinct style of work, and collaborate with other artists from different fields. Commercially, we aim to open as many stores and outlets possible in the Northeast first and then move on to other cities of India.’ KOK designs through their work, hopes to bring people of different communities together and imbibe respect for other cultures alien from our own.
Words: Payel Bhattacharjee