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Introduction to LOTA: LOTA, as a product of anonymous design from India is an iconic design which dates back for its origin to the early civilization from the subcontinent. Originally classified into the family of utensils/vessels, it shares characteristics with the other typical utensils used in India.

Definition: A LOTA is a metal (usually brass/copper) pot used in daily life activities related and sufficing the need of retrieving, carrying, storing, and pouring water.[1] Explained plainly, it is an Urdu and Hindi word for a small, usually spherical water vessel of brass or copper used in parts of South Asia.[2]

Uses: It is commonly used to store or transfer small amounts of liquids like milk or water. It is also used in religious activities like Hindu poojas or for purposes of ablution. When used for Hindu worships, it is often decorated with sindoor and/or turmeric powder. In the Indian sub-continent, where cleaning with water is the usual method for maintaining personal hygiene after defecation or urination, a Lota with a spout is widely used as a container for this purpose. Due to the hygienic requirements of ritual ablution, or Wudu and Ghusl in Islam adhered to by many Muslims, the use of a Lota has become prevalent throughout the Muslim world, where it is considered to provide a more thorough cleaning than simply using toilet paper. Generally speaking, a Lota, thus usually has 3 distinct versions, like most Hindu families have in India: 1. A stainless steel jar used daily for drinking water, pouring water. 2. A copper version, used by elders for daily “Pooja”. (A Hindu ritual for worshiping the Gods.) This variation is known as “Kalash”. 3. A Silver Kalash is the one used for Pooja during special occasions like; Diwali, Dasara, Ganesh Chaturthi or Gudi padwa. Silver one also makes a good gift for the newly weds family, as it is highly auspicious and considered a symbol of wealth.

Another much prevalent and extended use of a specialized Lota, called, Neti Lota, is a specially designed pot for nasal irrigation, used in the practice of Hatha Yoga, aiding in the practice of Pranayama, Asana and Meditation. Its use to clear the sinuses is believed to prevent respiratory disease, reduce post-nasal drip, and normalize the pressure of the inner ear.[3]


The hypothesis on its origin : Drawing the difference between its first owners it is typically an example of stable civilized people originally from the subcontinent called as Dravidians, unlike the other mobile tribes who invaded in the subcontinent in the ancient history. The difference is drawn between their specific needs, for the later their primal need is for a ‘container’ which is a very basic need. The reason for which could be drawn to the fact that their mobile lifestyle could only allow them to satisfy very basic needs for life and that it could be easily be restricted to the need for a container. Unlike in stationery tribes which inhabit somewhere to claim a stable civilization and its living, thereby producing its artifacts which could be more elaborate, both in their form and their function. Notes on the origins of its form: Archaeological site excavations reveal the presence of Lota in India before Muslim invasions. Many Lota’s are ridged or fluted like melons and it is assumed that it was exactly those fruit, hollowed out, which formed the earliest water vessels. This botanical form determined for some time the shape of the Lota, and also of the Huqqa (base for a water pipe), an object that evolved from the lota in the seventeenth century. [4] The Hypothesis Equation: Ghara + Kalash = Lota


Notes on its form : (compare lota to a human body form, say vaastu purush) Defining its form: Lota has a voluptuously rounded profile with its body divided analogous to a human body. A face/neck, ‘mukh’; a body/torso, ‘sharir’; and a base/legs, ‘pair’, thereby, assigning it importance in equivalence of a human body. To discover this, not as a concept from the Western Renaissance where all arts and thus the man-made objects were compared and equated to the human body and its form, but from the Indian history of aesthetics and forms (Indology) where the concept of Vaastu-purush guides the making of everything in the Hindu world and its relation made to his body. Significant in this artifact is the profile/outline of its form in its peculiar proportion. The dimensional parameters allow it to hold maximum amount of liquid compared to its other variants. Thereby proving its functionality to a maxim attained with a very concise and elaborate profile of the whole form. Keywords on its form features: Voluptuously rounded flared neck tapers upwards and then widens to a flat rim minimally flattened base but originally rounded

Form Resemblances: Flower Lotus - the water lily (a personalized ghara, containing water sufficient for any activity of day or life, drinking/shitting/watering or using it as a utensil) (compare its holding capacity in litres as compared to other utensils wrt to their dimensions, as an interesting exercise to prove the point.) (also draw the attention towars the dual character of lota drawn in sync with the singular use of a ghara and a kalash, representing domestic and religious functions they are put to.) (essential is to understand that it is not the product that is designed first with one single use defined for it in the beginning but the multiplicity of the uses or functions that the product is put to and the versatility of the product that it functions well in all situations and circumstances.)

Discovery of Lota : In the Indian design history Lota was rediscovered again in the 1960s when Charles and Ray Eames understood this to be a typically iconic Indian design which proves its timelessness and its multiplicity with its versatile nature of use it is put to, i.e. the function, and the form it embodies. Though their observation was more related to the form of the artifact, certainly not undermining the functional aspect of the design, but that came into emergence as an aspect of design derived from the study of its form and aesthetics. Nonetheless, it proved the eternal character of this artifact where it functions with the aspect of multiplicity, understood to be conventionally as an essential Indian design character. Noteworthy is the fact that Indian designs are studied always with the objectives of their functionality in primal importance and then the evolved form that the function needs. Thus in this context, the essential aspect of study from the Indian design point of view is the variety of functions that this artifact is put to and it satisfying for each role with one single variant of a


form. The versatility of the artifact in such multiplicity situations/uses is the essential design character of a Lota. Charles Eames and the Lota Charles Eames was fascinated by the Lota and considered it significant because it has become, over its evolution, exactly right. In his The India Report, he expressed a great admiration for the Lota and had the following to say about its design:[5]

“ Of all the objects we have seen and admired during our visit to India, the Lota, that simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful. The village women have a process which, with the use of tamarind and ash, each day turns this brass into gold. But how would one go about designing a Lota? First one would have to shut out all preconceived ideas on the subject and then begin to consider factor after factor: ●The optimum amount of liquid to be fetched, carried, poured and stored in a prescribed set of circumstances. ●The size and strength and gender of the hands (if hands) that would manipulate it. ●The way it is to be transported – head, hip, hand, basket or cart. ●The balance, the center of gravity, when empty, when full, its balance when rotated for pouring. ●The fluid dynamics of the problem not only when pouring but when filling and cleaning, and under the complicated motions of head carrying – slow and fast. ●Its sculpture as it fits the palm of the hand, the curve of the hip. ●Its sculpture as compliment to the rhythmic motion of walking or a static post at the well. ●The relation of opening to volume in terms of storage uses – and objects other than liquid. ●The size of the opening and inner contour in terms of cleaning. ●The texture inside and out in terms of cleaning and feeling? ………………………………………………….”

The relation of the object form with respect to the precise function it is put to, can be understood by the following equation:

Function

intricacies/elaborateness in the form

References : 1. Demetrios, Eames (February 9, 2002). "An Eames Primer (http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue /topics/147/Eames-Demetrios-An-Eames-Primer-page01.html#post13) ". Universe Publishing. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 2. "Definition of Lota (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/lota) ". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 3. "Yoga in Daily Life (http://www.yogaindailylife.org.au/news/yoganews/archive/7_02/page5.htm) ". Yoga in Daily Life. Retrieved on 2008-09-11. 4. Zebrowski, M.: Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, London 1997, page 207 5. "Eames' India Report (http://www.nid.edu/aboutus_eamesreport.htm) ". National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Retrieved on 2007-03-22.

Re-design brief : The form of the artifact is unquestionably and unarguably an evolved form in Indian design that to change or modify its form could also mean deforming it. Thus the exploration should be


made in the other arenas than form. Even if undertaken then a slight change based on the changed functionality or changed use in the changed life of people should draw the guideline for the modified form. Otherwise it will be wise to experiment with its material or its making/construction in the light of newer changed context of life, especially urban life. Urban life, where the idea of sophistication is on rise. Where the texturality and surface / touch aspect of any object is loosing importance by taking a glossy and a slippery surface finish. Thus the nature to hold the lota from its neck is a scene difficult to be seen while incorporationg it in our urban lives, where more and more we are loosing the use of such artifacts. From a simple example of bathing where it has been replaced by shower technology, of cooking where a jug replaces due to attached sophisticated handle. Other activities like watering a plant (tulsi) etc are not anymore Indian urban life activities. In daily cooking activities it the jug which has replaced the lota which essentially integrates a handle to hold which is further defined by a tubular form allowing less surface area to touch and an increased sophistication assuring greater cleanliness and supporting the idea of better hygiene, with least touch as possible attitude and its expression of handle for many objects. The context : present day urban life: Information technology, computer , internet, information age, knowledge and connectivity, connections, network, integration of services into one object, miniaturization, compact and small objects, intelligent objects, In our urban life where do we demand intelligence for any daily activity? Breakfast –milk- its temperature.

MASTER PROGRAMME PSSD Product Service System Design HISTORY OF DESIGN Academic Year 2008/2009

Prof. Arch. Matteo Vercelloni Tutor. Arch. Michelangelo Giombini Student. Avnish Mehta 737034


The re-design brief : Lota has gone into antiquity in the present day urban life and thus the essential design features that it still hold relevance with have been lost. The re-design attempt will look into bringing the Lota to the urban life of people, modified into ther present day needs. But the essential character of the Lota where it serves as a highly individualized and personalized water pot will remain the same in the re-design. Thus that character has been after realization, kept honored and relevance to the present day need is expressed with the addition of some features in it. Context: The present social structure of societies and the urbanity is the relevant context where the re-designed object will find it presence. The Lota will acquire use in the context of a single person’s life. The emergence of single status for people in their lives is more prominent now, and single people – single men/ single women have their specified needs in daily urban life. Thus the re-design will look into providing them with one object with multiplicity options to use it for variety of functions, keeping the same spirit of personalization sacred and upheld. Functions: Thus the re-designed object ‘Lota’ will serve for personalized one-person cooking besides the usual functions of retrieving, carrying, storing, and pouring water. A single person will use it now (after re-design) to cook, retrieve, carry, store and pour water. He/She can use it now to cook inside and then use the same vessel to eat, so as to avoid using another vessel and its tensions of washing….. One can now cook and eat in the same vessel and would need to clean only one vessel instead of 2 vessels!! Thus in this way the re-designed object saves time, effort and tensions while it fits into the original body of ‘Lota’ as an attachment, making lives simpler for single people.

Redesign of


Archaeological site excavations reveal the presence of Lota in India before Muslim invasions. Many Lota’s are ridged or fluted like melons and it is assumed that it was exactly those fruit, hollowed out, which formed the earliest water vessels. This botanical form determined for some time the shape of the Lota, and also of the Huqqa (base for a water pipe), an object that evolved from the lota in the seventeenth century. [4]

Notes on the origins of its form:

which could be more elaborate, both in their form and their function.

Drawing the difference between its first owners it is typically an example of stable civilized people originally from the subcontinent called as Dravidians, unlike the other mobile tribes who invaded in the subcontinent in the ancient history. The difference is drawn between their specific needs, for the later their primal need is for a ‘container’ which is a very basic need. The reason for which could be drawn to the fact that their mobile lifestyle could only allow them to satisfy very basic needs for life and that it could be easily be restricted to the need for a container. Unlike in stationery tribes which inhabit somewhere to claim a stable civilization and its living, thereby producing its artifacts

The hypothesis on its origin :

Discovery of Lota : In the Indian design history Lota was rediscovered again in the 1960s when Charles and Ray Eames understood this to be a typically iconic Indian design which proves its timelessness and its multiplicity with its versatile nature of use it is put to, i.e. the function, and the form it embodies. Though their observation was more related to the form of the artifact, certainly not undermining the functional aspect of the design, but that came into emergence as an aspect of design derived from the study of its form and aesthetics. Nonetheless, it proved the eternal character of this artifact where it functions with the aspect of multiplicity, understood to be conventionally as an essential Indian design character. Noteworthy is the fact that Indian designs are studied always with the objectives of their functionality in primal importance and then the evolved form that the function needs. Thus in this context, the essential aspect of study from the Indian design point of view is the variety of functions that this artifact is put to and it satisfying for each role with one single variant of a form. The versatility of the artifact in such multiplicity situations/uses is the essential design character of a Lota. Charles Eames and the Lota

Charles Eames was fascinated by the Lota and considered it significant because it has become, over its evolution, exactly right. In his The India Report, he expressed a great admiration for the Lota and had the following to say about its design:[5] “ Of all the objects we have seen and admired during our visit to India, the Lota, that simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful. The village women have a process which, with the use of tamarind and ash, each day turns this brass into gold. But how would one go about designing a Lota? First one would have to shut out all preconceived ideas on the subject and then begin to consider factor after factor: ●The optimum amount of liquid to be fetched, carried, poured and stored in a prescribed set of circumstances. ●The size and strength and gender of the hands (if hands) that would manipulate it. ●The way it is to be transported – head, hip, hand, basket or cart. ●The balance, the center of gravity, when empty, when full, its balance when rotated for pouring. ●The fluid dynamics of the problem not only when pouring but when filling and cleaning, and under the complicated motions of head carrying – slow and fast. ●Its sculpture as it fits the palm of the hand, the curve of the hip. ●Its sculpture as compliment to the rhythmic motion of walking or a static post at the well. ●The relation of opening to volume in terms of storage uses – and objects other than liquid. ●The texture inside and out in terms of cleaning and feeling? ………………………………………………….”

References :

Otherwise mentioned it isa work of development of content from the author. 1. Demetrios, Eames (February 9, 2002). “An Eames Primer (http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue /topics/147/Eames-Demetrios-An-Eames-Primer-page01.html#post13) “. Universe Publishing. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 2. “Definition of Lota (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/lota) “. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. Retrieved on 2007-03-22. 3. “Yoga in Daily Life (http://www.yogaindailylife.org.au/news/yoganews/archive/7_02/page5.htm) “. Yoga in Daily Life. Retrieved on 2008-09-11. 4. Zebrowski, M.: Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, London 1997, page 207 5. “Eames’ India Report (http://www.nid.edu/aboutus_eamesreport.htm) “. National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Retrieved on 2007-03-22.


Notes on its form : Defining its form: Lota has a voluptuously rounded profile with its body divided analogous to a human body. A face/neck, ‘mukh’; a body/torso, ‘sharir’; and a base/legs, ‘pair’, thereby, assigning it importance in equivalence of a human body. To discover this, not as a concept from the Western Renaissance where all arts and thus the manmade objects were compared and equated to the human body and its form, but from the Indian history of aesthetics and forms (Indology) where the concept of Vaastu-purush guides the making of everything in the Hindu world and its relation made to his body. Significant in this artifact is the profile/outline of its form in its peculiar proportion. The dimensional parameters allow it to hold maximum amount of liquid compared to its other variants. Thereby proving its functionality to a maxim attained with a very concise and elaborate profile of the whole form.

737034 Avnish Mehta

LOTA, as a product of anonymous design from India is an iconic design which dates back for its origin to the early civilization from the subcontinent. Originally classified into the family of utensils/vessels, it shares characteristics with the other typical utensils used in India.

Design Icon from India

The Hypothesis Equation:

Introduction to LOTA:

LOTA - A traditional Water Vessel

Keywords on its form features: Voluptuously rounded flared neck tapers upwards and then widens to a flat rim minimally flattened base but originally rounded Form Resemblance: Flower Lotus - the water lily

Definition:

Uses:

A LOTA is a metal (usually brass/copper) pot used in daily life activities related and sufficing the need of retrieving, carrying, storing, and pouring water.[1] Explained plainly, it is an Urdu and Hindi word for a small, usually spherical water vessel of brass or copper used in parts of South Asia.[2]

It is commonly used to store or transfer small amounts of liquids like milk or water. It is also used in religious activities like Hindu poojas or for purposes of ablution. When used for Hindu worships, it is often decorated with sindoor and/ or turmeric powder. In the Indian sub-continent, where cleaning with water is the usual method for maintaining personal hygiene after defecation or urination, a Lota with a spout is widely used as a container for this purpose. Due to the hygienic requirements of ritual ablution, or Wudu and Ghusl in Islam adhered to by many Muslims, the use of a Lota has become prevalent throughout the Muslim world, where it is considered to provide a more thorough cleaning than simply using toilet paper. Generally speaking, a Lota, thus usually has 3 distinct versions, like most Hindu families have in India: 1. A stainless steel jar used daily for drinking water, pouring water. 2. A copper version, used by elders for daily “Pooja”. (A Hindu ritual for worshiping the Gods.) This variation is known as “Kalash”. 3. A Silver Kalash is the one used for Pooja during special occasions like; Diwali, Dasara, Ganesh Chaturthi or Gudi padwa. Silver one also makes a good gift for the newly weds family, as it is highly auspicious and considered a symbol of wealth. Another much prevalent and extended use of a specialized Lota, called, Neti Lota, is a specially designed pot for nasal irrigation, used in the practice of Hatha Yoga, aiding in the practice of Pranayama, Asana and Meditation. Its use to clear the sinuses is believed to prevent respiratory disease, reduce post-nasal drip, and normalize the pressure of the inner ear.[3]


Lota Design  

A very dear exercise made during History and Theory of Design course - to redesign an Iconic Indian Design object, where I took 'LOTA' to be...

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