An experience designer who puts magic into your elevator ride

An experience designer who puts magic into your elevator ride

Pradeep Kumar is a master at making an emotional impact with light, color and visual imagination. His latest creation is a Diwali theme for one of KONE’s immersive elevator cars, designed to lift the festive mood during India’s festival of light.

Published Nov-21-2023

Around this time every year, over a billion people across the world celebrate Diwali. The five-day festival of light is visible everywhere especially in India – and now even in elevators, thanks to a new multi-sensory experience created by designer Pradeep Kumar.

Pradeep has been an experience designer at KONE India for ten years. Blending physical and digital solutions, he creates multi-sensory user experiences, as well as immersive experiences in extended reality. Or, in less technical terms, he is an illusionist who puts magic in your elevator ride.

Pradeep’s latest content design is a Diwali theme for the interior of the KONE Mirror Display car, which incorporates a huge 4K display of up to 98 inches, an illuminated handrail and animated ambient lights which extend the screen content to side walls. The result for passengers is a powerfully immersive ride that can be tailored to any occasion.

The Diwali design adopts the classic colors of red, gold, and vibrant magenta. The elevator doors open to the hypnotic image of a spinning rangoli, an ornate floral pattern that is traditionally made from sand, edibles and colorful powders. In a visual climax that is both festive and meditative, the words “Happy Diwali” emerge in multiple languages across the rear of the car in glimmering shades of magenta and gold.

Tailored solutions build emotional connection with users

Diwali theme for the KONE Mirror Display car.

The Mirror Display Car is one of the KONE Digital Experience family of elevators, which use high-quality displays, animated lights and dynamic sound to create captivating and fully customizable passenger journeys. The content can be used for digital placemaking, brand-strengthening, commercial messages or to provide building information.

A themed elevator interior can be used to bring local culture or common celebrations into the built environment, incorporating a meaningful and unifying moment into a building’s people flow. KONE’s design team have previously created similar themes for the Lunar New Year, Halloween, the festive season and Finland’s Independence Day.

Pradeep sees the Diwali theme as an effective way to build a connection between KONE elevators and the many users for whom “Diwali provides both cultural relevance and emotional impact.”

Cultural studies and color symbolism behind design decisions

Once Pradeep had settled on the Diwali theme, the design journey continued with in-depth user research.

“Every project begins with understanding the user. It’s important to gain proper insights to make informed decisions that genuinely cater to user needs,” explains Pradeep.

Diwali is a time of lavish decorations, and Pradeep visited malls and public spaces in several regions of India to study the colors of typical decorations.

“Having grown up celebrating the Diwali tradition, I immersed myself in the local environment to understand the ambiance of the space." He then delved into researching the symbolic significance of specific hues.

“Based on my on-site observations and color studies, I brainstormed several concepts to create a memorable festive environment in our elevator space.”

KONE Digital Experience Car with blue color theme on digital displays and light panels.
The fully customizable interior of KONE's Mirror Display Car can evoke different moods, mark special occasions or provide building information to passengers.

Eye on future trends

Pradeep describes his decade working at KONE as a creatively inspiring experience.

“This job is anything but repetitive. I have freedom to experiment and explore. I truly value the way KONE is committed to innovation,” he says.

“But perhaps the best thing about working here is the great support I receive from my manager and the opportunity to collaborate closely across different regions, sharing experiences, knowledge, perspectives and ideas with my colleagues.”

Based on his team’s recent study of evolving user behaviors, Pradeep predicts that increased personalization and empathetic AI-based interaction will be major design trends of the near future.

“User expectations are changing in step with evolving technology and social change,” he says. “Users are likely to expect more services and products that adapt to their immediate needs.”

"But, as technology evolves, there will also be users who emphasize the importance of nature, seeking a harmonious balance between the digital and natural worlds. I love the idea of looking into revolutionary ways to integrate nature into the next-generation elevator experience,” Pradeep adds. “With the mindset that everything is possible!”

Pradeep Kumar

I brainstormed several concepts to create a memorable festive environment in our elevator space.
Pradeep Kumar, experience designer at KONE India.
Why do you love what you do?

I have the freedom to create something new all the time.

How do you unwind?

By spending time with my family – I have a three-year-daughter. I also love trekking and exploring places where there’s a connection to nature.

Life lesson?

Do what you love. Life is full of memories; I always try to build more beautiful memories.