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Elsie Nanji celebrates four decades of Advertising, Design & Art Direction

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Elsie Nanji celebrates four decades of Advertising, Design & Art Direction

Elsie Nanji, Managing Partner Red Lion Publicis, is celebrating her work across four decades with her exhibition called ‘Retrospective’ in Mumbai on the 5th, 6th and 7th of August. 

‘Retrospective’ promises to be a visual feast of design, advertising and artwork from the 80s until today. From photography, illustration and print processes created painstakingly from analog photographs, film reels, type foundries, metal blocks and 4 colour positives to a I5 inch computer screen. Working within a cultural and social context over the last 40 years, Nanji has created ideas and images with a unique aesthetic, that have blurred the line between art and commerce. She feels fortunate to have worked, and to continue working, with some of the greatest minds in photography, film, creative writing, art and architecture. Hers is a journey constantly leading to new ideas, executions and installations for major brands, corporate offices and homes. This exhibition is a celebration of work that has stood the test of time, as inspiring today, as the day it was released.

“A recent exhibition of my advertising work at Sir JJ School of Art turned out to be a big success and inspired me to recreate the experience. I have put together a retrospective of 4 decades of my life in advertising, design, art direction, and more recently, interiors.  I have a super line up of stars long before they were stars, 25 years ago. You will be surprised to see Aishwarya Rai, Bipasha Basu, Milind Soman, Madhu Sapre and Lisa Ray, Malaika Arora and Arjun Rampal, even John Abraham and Kareena Kapoor on film all around 25 years ago, when they walked into my office as students of architecture, as athletes in an athletic camp (Madhu) and lots more. I was lucky to be around at the right time!” said Nanji.

Nanji’s four decade long career has seen her craft her own unique aesthetic in the world of advertising and design.

She is a multiple award winner at both Indian and international award shows, including the Clio Awards, Cannes Lions, D&AD and The One Show. At 30, she was a founding partner at Ambience, an advertising agency where she created some of the most memorable work of that time. She was invited to be a speaker at 'Design Indaba' in Cape Town in 2004, where she interacted with designers from varying disciplines, and was lured by pure design. Ambience was sold to Publicis Worldwide in 2004 and Nanji accepted the network’s offer to head a specialised design unit Red Lion within the agency.

Nanji has also represented India as a returning jury member in several international award shows, including Cannes, D&AD, the Clio Awards, AdFest and has been appointed chairperson at design juries in Spikes Asia , Goa Fest and was on the Design Jury for Cannes 2016.

Her foray into designing spaces was a result of her exploration into her own design practise. These experimentations led her to designing spaces, ranging from relatively small projects to designing an entire restaurant like the well-known rooftop Aer Bar at the Four Seasons in Mumbai. The Aer Bar was voted by the Conde Nast Group’s Architectural Digest as the world’s best rooftop bar with a view.

She is currently a design consultant to some of the biggest corporate houses in the country, working on branding ideas for their corporate offices, constantly updating the design and selection of art and installations. Last month, she was awarded the ‘Hall of Fame’ award from the Communications Art Guild with an exhibition of her work.


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