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June 2011 | # 12 Indian edition

Supported by

“We value the opportunity to work on diversified ventures to come up with new piece of work.”

“Everything cannot and should not be controlled by the market. There is something beyond the market...”

Dirty hands 20

Cover story; Kumar Vyas 10


India’s First International Design Magazine D E S I G N • I N N OVAT I O N • C R E AT I V I T Y


0 Design Impact Omar Vulpinari 05

Business of Design Rabia Gupta 26

Kumar Vyas

Social Design Vijay Sharma 15

Photographed for POOL by Sudhir Sharma


Rising Stars


Out of the box


Transmedia Artist

wearabout 06

Nobody Else 9

An Eye for India 18

Raw Color 23

Ribbonesia 28

Kavita Singh Kale 30


A year after!

Abhijit Bansod Studio ABD, India

Kigge Hevid CEO, Index Awards, Denmark

Adil Darukhanawala Editor, Economic Times, Zigwheels, India

Kishor Singh Business Editor, India

Dr. Inyoung Albert Choi Professor, Hanyang University, Korea

Kohei Nishiyama Founder, Elephant Design, Japan

Anaezi Modu Rebrand, USA

Madhukar Kamath Managing Director and CEO, Mudra Group, India

Prof. Anil Sinha Head, Visual Communications, NID, India

M P Ranjan Professor, NID, India

Anna Muoio Principal, Social Innovation, Continuum, US

Prasoon Pandey Corcoise Films, India

Anuj Sharma Designer, India

Rajesh Kejriwal Kyoorius Exchange, India

Aradhana Goel Designer / Strategist, Ideo, USA

Rodney Fitch CEO, Fitch, UK

Cathy Huang President, China Bridge Shanghai

Shilpa Das Head, Publications, NID, India

Craig Branigan Chairperson, Landor, CEO, B to D Group, USA

Dr Soumitra R Pathare Psychiatrist, India

Christopher Charles Benninger Architect, Studio CCBA, India

Shrikant Nivasarkar Founder, Nivasarkar Consultants, India

David Berman David Berman Communications, Canada

Subrata Bhowmik Subrata Bhowmik Design, India

Deepika Jindal Managing Director, Artdinox, India

Sudhir Sharma Designindia, India

Essam Abu Awad MIDAS, Jordan

Suresh Venkat CNBC, India

Hrridaysh Deshpande Innoastra, India

Uday Dandavate Sonicrim, USA

Jos Oberdof NPK Design, Netherland

Umesh Shukla Auryn, LA, USA

Julia Chiu Executive Director, JIDPO, Japan

William Drentell Winterhouse, USA

Kieu Pham Haki Brand, Vietnam

William Herald Wong WHW Design, Malaysia

Editor in Chief Sudhir Sharma Executive Editor Gina Krishnan Copy Editor Ashvina Vakil Editorial Coordinator Sonalee Tomar Research & Design Coordinator Preethi Bayya Layout & Production Pradeep Arora Subscription & Logistics Seema Sharma Finance Kuldeep Harit

Picture by Marryanna Kornienko

Your perspective about a project changes the minute you are involved in it. As an outsider you have views, opinions, and expectations about everything. When you are actually involved in the project, and perhaps responsible for delivering those expectations, you are hampered by constraints, contexts, limitations, distractions and excuses. Invariably the version from inside is different from what others see, and this is quite natural. During the last year we have received comments, feedback and help in various ways from many people. Through this issue we attempt to let you know that we have been listening to everything you have told us. A very small but extremely sharp and sensitive team at INDI has been trying to balance the content in POOL with the expectations of readers. Since the entire team that works on POOL comprises designers we invariably get into discussions and arguments over the content; we all have different perspectives. Sometimes this discussion carries on outside the office with our partners and clients and I often find myself introducing the ideas at various institutions and conferences too. This, in a way, enhances the excitement of working on POOL. POOL is not in a hurry to prove anything; it is largely a showcase of the discussions that happen on DESIGNINDIA. In my view POOL has a very long way to go to become a significant medium, or voice, or even a proper business. We did not set out to achieve any mark, and in that sense I am very happy with the good wishes and response that POOL has received. I was aware of the need for such a resource, but didn’t realize the intensity with which it was needed. So much more needs to be done, and POOL will do it. With such great backing from the global design community, industry and the team at INDI, I don’t doubt that we will continue to match expectations with resources. Keep writing to us. Sudhir Sharma Editor in Chief

Art & Design Pradeep Goswami, Sayali Sancheti Illustrator Santosh Waragade Assistants Yamanappa Dodamani Publisher INDI Design Pvt Ltd Address India Indi Design Pvt Ltd C-1, Unit No 503-504, Saudamini Commercial Complex, Bhusari ColonyRight, Paud Road, Pune 411038 Phones: +91 20 2528 1433 Vietnam Haki Advertising Ltd, 142 Le Duan Street, Hanoi, Vietnam

Icograda International Design Media Network Participant

June 2011 | # 12 Indian Edition Designindia was founded in 2002. It was started as a platform for interaction for the design community in India and abroad. Over the years it has grown into a forum spread over many social and professional networking domains, linking design professionals into an active, interactive and thought leading community. POOL printed on

Paper by 1

Letters to the Editor

It’s been a year!

POOL has had the support of a large number of people since the first issue came out twelve months ago. Here’s what they have to say about an initiative that was as path breaking for its creators as it has proved to be for its wide ranging audience in India and abroad…

Luis Arnal Insitum, Sao Paulo POOL is a role model for the rest of the world. I wish other growing economies could learn from it and follow what the people behind POOL have done to disseminate the value of design. Congratulations on what is achieved so far. You are doing a great job - never stop.

Anna Muoio Continuum, Boston You never know where each issue of POOL will take you: to the frontlines of design in India to what design is doing in countries like Vietnam, Turkey, Korea; from the redesign of everyday things through the eyes of Indian talent to the radical and landmark design of the rupee symbol;

from the introduction of young designers pushing the edges of what design and innovation can be to the compelling use of design to see old social problems in new ways. Over the past year, POOL has led us through exciting worlds and showcased important ideas. I look forward to another year of design adventures.

William Drenttel Design Observer, US Looking at design from the United States, we often have a limited view of the exciting progress, innovative projects and inspirational stories that happen in other lands around the world. I am so pleased to

see POOL magazine champion Indian design, and spread the word globally. We are all beneficiaries of the new, innovative work happening in India, and flowing out of India to the rest of the world. Congratulations on twelve issues that provoke and delight.

Craig Branigan Chairperson, Landor; CEO B to D group As CEO of a company with offices in India, I find POOL provides me valuable insights into the state of the business in this growing and dynamic market as well as an understanding of the talented individuals contributing to its success. 2 POOL | 6.11 | #12

Subrata Bhowmik Subrata Bhowmik Design India I never learnt how to swim in the Ganga because I was afraid of drowning. Now I am learning how to swim in a well designed POOL of knowledge and enjoying it!

Raksha Thakur, Student, Rishi Vally POOL has been an incredible eye opener for me, and I’d like to share what I like about it with you. I had seen my friend’s copies of the magazine, and found it really interesting. At home, during the vacations, I often used to leaf through Art India magazine and wish for a magazine which was not as pretentious, wider in the subjects it covered, and dedicated solely to design and related disciplines.When I saw

a copy of POOL I found it quite hard to believe that such a magazine had been launched. It blew me! I am thinking quite seriously about a career in the field of design.Thanks to my mother’s vocation being centred around history and restoration (she is a Conservation Architect), I have had some exposure to Art History, etc. My father and sister are both Landscape Architects as well as Urban Designers. I am also quite drawn to aspects of design that I have grown up around, but taken for granted and never bothered to understand. My interest in design is pretty recent. However, my thirst to familiarize myself with, understand and appreciate design is something I am slowly trying to figure out. POOL has offered me much insight, and has helped me Ashvina Vakil Copy Editor, POOL It hardly seems like more than a year has passed since Sudhir first mentioned to me his intention to bring out a design magazine. POOL has come a long way since then, and from my position on the sidelines I’ve watched its journey with interest. It was an ambitious

its technology. I personally wanted to prove myself. POOL was a challenging task in terms of timely delivery and printing quality. We had to deliver the best to prove ourselves and the result was miraculous. We are lucky to be associated with Sudhir sir who showed trust in us to be a part of POOL. This anniversary issue makes me proud also because of the Ashwini Deshpande reason POOL touching soaring Vinayak Arts, Pune heights in terms of popularity, We are proud to be a part innovation and creativity; it of POOL. The magazine is makes me immensely proud very dear & special to me in and confident as we are a many ways. Firstly because this was one of the first kinds part of this success story. We wish POOL and everybody to be printed at our end, it needed a lot of technical know associated to it lots of success and popularity. how in terms of printing and

become acquainted with my curiosity for design, in general. It is well presented, simple and does not assume the reader to be intellectually challenged, nor does it spout jargon, striking the ideal balance. The articles are extremely interesting and the diversity of media covered makes it very informative in a wider sense. For youngsters like me, it is this simplicity and diversity in the magazine that makes it superb. I was delighted to find that POOL has been experimenting with different textures, which I think is a great example of practising the sort of innovation the magazine presents. I am sure it has helped other aspiring, clueless but nonetheless inquisitive young enthusiasts like me. Wishing POOL success in the years to come.

Abhijit Bhansod ABD Studio, India I am very proud that you have started this magazine, Sudhir. I am sure it will reach great heights with every passing issue. I have been following Brand Equity for years and have noticed that five to six usual suspects feature in almost every issue. Perhaps you could try to introduce a collaborative ET-POOL page in the paper: it would be good for you and the design community. All the best!

concept to begin with and I have to laud the people behind the magazine for the way they have managed to focus on the faces behind design, both Indian and International, and ranging from well known personalities to emerging talent. Congratulations to Sudhir and the team…and may your pool of ideas never dry up!

Anuj Sharma, Fashion Designer It’s been my privilege to be a part of POOL in many capacities and thank you for the same. Design in India has been waiting for the right time to flourish. It’s the youth of today and experience of yesterday that will take us a long way. POOL is truly in sync with the need of the hour. It is a great mix of young talented India, and old majestic cultural thoughts. I wish POOL a never-ending happy journey.

Kieu Pham Haki Brand, Vietnam Pride – POOL is pure Asian. We feel proud and confident of what Asian (especially developing Asian) designers have done, are doing and will do. Professional – POOL is about design, not just good design, but good products too. Power – POOL gives us strength to believe that design can change life positively. Practical – POOL is an information source that inspires, and makes us want to become innovators. People – POOL is published for everyone; it’s like a mirror. It helps us learn from each other. 3

Anaezi Modu Rebrand, New York Oh the joy of the printed treasure of POOL in our digital age! Stories of renowned and rising design talent in India and beyond are done with a fresh, insightful approach. The interviews have been a wonderful opportunity to

Anil Sinha, Principal Designer, NID, Ahmedabad Each passing day requires us to look at things with new insight, thereby challenging the existing opinions. Now is the time to understand the new insights ruling design. It remains a quest with most designers to give utmost comfort, confer ultra esthetic appeal, and create a thing of beauty. But, behold! Design reaches its zenith by

A Balasubramaniam January Design, Delhi POOL is an idea that was long overdue. Till this magazine arrived last year, design magazines were run for an audience that had only an appetite for pretty things. Since POOL was floated by a designer, it changed the way audience looked at designers and their work. POOL featured iconic designers and upstart start-ups with equal ease. It showcased portfolios

eliminating the pain of the masses rather than sticking to these former attributes. The theory rests on the fact that the happiness quotient and cause varies from person to person all over the world. But, the grounds for pain are almost the same universally. Happiness can be known in ways as diverse as the drops of rain but the pounces of pain are limited. Therefore, the vision in design has to be pain-

with class and creativity. It featured known and unknown faces with equal elan. But that became a repetitive leitmotif. Of course we want to see interesting work but we also want to know people, their opinions, some discussions, some controversy. The magazine needs to spice up. There is also a requirement for critique. Work has to be evaluated and seen in context. It would also be nice to have descriptive essays about designers and their work rather than a questionanswer session. You have a swell idea and one can imagine how difficult it is to sustain it. You have achieved this much in a short time. Now the magazine can grow: bigger and better. You have reason to celebrate. So, savour the moment.

Shilpa Das, NID Ahmedabad POOL, in my opinion, has traversed a vast distance in just one year. The gamut of people and the variety of projects it has featured, is fantastic. The design and the quality of the writing are both impressive. The articles

learn from new and old friends on the inspiration behind their business success. The gift of the interview with Founder of NID, Mr. Dashrath Patel, has been the crown jewel thus far. What a pioneer indeed! Many of us would not have known of him without POOL. The tributes from

eliminating rather than comfortgiving. Stick to it and comfort will automatically find its terrain. We, the members of the design community, henceforth, stand for reducing pain. We applaud POOL for eliminating the pain of being away from the masses and instead providing a platform for designers to extend their ideas and design globally through the magazine.

Sagarmoy Paul Thoughtscape, Delhi Indian design, with its ancient traditions and modern innovations, has remained virtually hidden to the world. Even within peers, not much was shared or known about the great amount of exciting work being generated across design disciplines in the country. And then arrives POOL and stirs things up a bit, creates buzz and inspires a new generation of designers. Finally, a long felt void has been filled. POOL couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Our National Design

manage to strike a delicate balance between being stiffly formal on one hand, and being precociously familiar on the other. One has the impression that there is a high degree of alertness to the goings on in the world of design in India and also

those he taught and mentored, in honor of his passing, revealed even more about his impact and influence in the world of design that will surely continue. It is an honor to be included among POOL’s extended family. Thank you for having the inspiration and drive to realize the vision.

Policy has been announced, leading to formation of the India Design Council. Four new NIDs are coming up across the country. Indian design professionals have got together to form the Association of Indian Designers. Suddenly, the world has started taking notice of Indian Design. Respected international portals and blogs are covering Indian design like never before. POOL may have acted as a catalyst in creating visibility of design at home and the world. As it celebrates its first anniversary, I congratulate the POOL team for doing admirable work. But design is a cutting edge profession without any scope for contentment. From showcasing, promoting and celebrating design, POOL will have to move up to the next level – influencing, benchmarking and showing directions to tomorrow’s Indian design. Cheers!

capturing the moment and also an unhurried (but careful) pace that is maintained to slowly let the magazine grow and develop instead of seeking to dazzle with a bang, which is appreciable. I wish the magazine every success in the years to come.

AntarYaami #AtThisMoment If your number of followers represented bytes, then I have 1 KB of followers. 4 POOL | 6.11 | #12

Design Impact

Design with a Conscience Fabrica, The Benetton Group Communications Research Center in Italy, is an applied creativity laboratory in which young artists from all over the world develop innovative projects and explore new directions in varied areas of communication, ranging from design, music and film to photography, publishing and the Internet. Omar Vulpinari, head of its Visual Communication Area, and also vice president of Icograda, tells POOL how Fabrica’s unique multidisciplinary approach will help create design for social impact.

Tell us a little about your association with Fabrica. Since 1998 I have been head of the Visual Communication Area at Fabrica and was recently nominated Director of Expanded Media. During this time I have directed projects for UNWHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, The World Bank, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, The New Yorker Magazine, Design Issues – MIT Journal, Cult TV Fox International. I am also responsible for the center’s transdisciplinary Environmental, Social, Relational workshop program. In 2004 I was creative director of ‘Fabrica 10: From Chaos to Order and Back’ for Electa. The book was awarded by AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and selected for the Rare Books and Manuscripts permanent collection of the Butler Library at the Columbia University in New York, and the AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum. How is education at Fabrica better aligned to global standards? Fabrica is a unique hybrid of education, practice and research based on a full grant scheme totally supported by Benetton. Fabrica is actually an alternative to standard post-graduate opportunities. Fabrica does not require fees, and exams but offers a practice research learning-by-doing method based on multidisciplinary world class projects, lecturers, workshop leaders, department heads and facilities.

Which specific areas within design are you looking to concentrate on? Communication design for social impact and non-conventional communication (interaction based, online, viral, participative, guerilla, etc.). What do you look for in students applying to Fabrica’s program? Special talent, great passion, commitment, perseverance, empathic relational capacity, plus excellent and broad design skills. But mostly, great curiosity for the future, the permanent ‘what if?’ research attitude and the desire to dedicate creativity to social impact. In your opinion which student project has had a major impact? That would be ‘United People’ in 2005, the first instore social network deployed in United Colors of Benetton stores. What has been a landmark moment for Fabrica? Colors magazine – ‘Teenagers’ issue was the first magazine to adopt augmented reality in 2009. Tell us about a recent Fabrica project for Benetton. Benetton and Centro Cultural Scuola Italiana in Santiago (Chile) have organized an exhibition on the Colors magazine current issue ‘Superheros’, which was shown in the Centro Cultural as well as in some selected Benetton stores. The exhibition will move to Colombia and Mexico in June 2011.

What is your vision for the future? Thanks to today’s technology we can do and make anything we want. Progress will continue to accelerate very rapidly and numerous changes will deeply affect our societies and markets. Just look at how social media (Facebook, Twitter) were at the heart of the revolutions in the Arab world. My greatest hope is that design and technology will very soon find effective alternatives to non renewable energy resources. What major trends in design and design education do you foresee for the future? • Designers will need to embrace complexity, not confront it; so, problem solving will become problem framing. • Designers will address complex systems much more and simple objects much less. • Communication will become a manyto-many conversation. And design will become co-creation with the end-user. • Designers will need strong crosscultural design skills for global market conversation, without losing respect and interest for regional diversity. • Concern and responsibility for social issues and environmental sustainability will be key. • Design will be more influenced by the new level of information and social consciousness of the consumer. • Design education will be central in dealing with new technologies and smart materials. 5


The real thing Mumbai-based freelance photographer and occasional designer, Manou showcases street fashion in his blog. From bags and scarves to sunglasses and umbrellas, and men in sequins to monks in robes, this fashion design graduate from NIFT has his eye on what really works in the bewildering world of fashion.

When and how was ‘wearabout’ conceived? Manou: The first blogs of any kind I saw were the Sartorialist and Face Hunter, and that’s when I was already three months into documenting streets and fashion in Dharamsala (Aug 2009 to Nov 2009). I didn’t understand them much. I got inspired much later when I saw some photocopied pages of Shoichi Aoki’s FRUiTS (documenting Harajuku fashion in Tokyo in the mid ’90s) which was absolutely amazing. That’s when I thought I’d love to do something like that when I got back to Mumbai. Post getting back to Mumbai, I started extensively going through fashion blogs and realized there weren’t any in India. Plus I had all these street fashion I started the blog in February 2010. What’s the story behind the name? Manou: I had about 20 + options for the name, like ‘Street Style India’ and some really random ones like ‘Tomatoes’ and ‘Space Oddity’. I already had loads of street fashion photos, so I knew what I

wanted to do was take more street photos and build something up around that. I wasn’t too happy with the name ‘Street Style’. I didn’t want the blog to be only about street style photos of a particular city as I knew I’d travel and already had photos from Dharamsala and Pushkar. So I brainstormed with some people. And a friend, Kismet, suggested ‘wearabouts’. I removed the ‘s’. What is street-fashion in your words? Manou: It’s honest. It’s beautiful. Inspiring. Un-inspiring. Mixed up. It’s born on the streets and ends up being in people’s wardrobes and fashion magazines. It’s basic, very regular, and irreverent at times. Sometimes overdone and sometimes understated. Overall, I think it’s amazing, and I’m glad to be documenting it in my part of the world. What do you look for when you shoot pictures for your blog? Manou: I am not looking for anything in particular when I go out to shoot. Usually

arpitd I like @FashionandYou. Great shopping experience on the web. 6 POOL | 6.11 | #12

when I am looking I don’t find much compared to when I am not looking. I take photos of anything that appeals to me. How did people discover your streetstyle blog? Manou: Mostly through word of mouth. And then Facebook, which is such an important tool and acts just like word of mouth, only that one doesn’t have to speak but click on the ‘like’ button. What, in your opinion, makes a good blogger? Manou: I’d say a good blog layout and photography (if a photo blog) is a must as those would be the first things that anybody would see once the page loads. Once that’s taken care of, I’d say relevant and engaging copy. I don’t consider myself a good writer so I am not saying that about my blog but this is how I look at blogs, and I can imagine others looking at mine in the same way. Also, I agree with what the fashion critic Cathy Horyn says: ‘Be original. Be a reporter, and not a re-blogger’.

Which other blogs/bloggers do you admire? Manou: Indian fashion blogger - Lesly of Lazymanxcat. And I have started to like Tavi Gevinson of thestylerookie - she makes me wonder/realize how useless my life was when I was 13. When did you first put together a look and shoot for the blog? Manou: It was on a friend (Kismet) for a friend (Karan Berry) who designs shoes. I take all the photos for the blog but I don’t photograph myself. Where do you see your blog going? Manou: It would be difficult to say, considering I often find myself highly uninspired and de-motivated. This is the longest I’ve focused on something and continued working on it. If I continue working on it sincerely, I’d say surprisingly far! Do you see any emerging trends in the fashion-blogger-space? Manou: Yes, many. You have to check all these personal style bloggers to get a whiff

of the emerging trends. Minimalism. Color blocking. Over accessorizing. But I might be wrong as I am not really following/ studying trends. Also, from what I’ve noticed, many of the personal-style fashion bloggers are not pro trends. It’s more about what looks good on you as an individual, mixing/matching high fashion with high street, experimenting and trying new things out, and getting feedback from other bloggers on certain looks/styles they put up on the blogs. Do you see yourself designing clothes ever? Manou: I’m not sure. Maybe. I used to custom-make my own clothes occasionally but then I stopped because I had no time and had a job. Now I have time and no job so I’m getting back to doing that again, but so far it’s for myself. And it’s not much of’s copying, adapting, altering. How much new could one create in clothes anyway? I plan to start customizing/ designing bags in collaboration with a street shoe/bag maker in Rajasthan.

@zeldman Friday night. Looking up divorce related bank records while my daughter watches Cinderella. 7

Celebrating 1st Anniversary

“Ek bar jo humne commitment kar di... uske baad to hum... apni bhi nahi sunte”

Sudhir Sharma • Seema Sharma • Kuldeep Harit • Sonalee Tomar • Trupti Martin • Rajas Rane • Martin Alex Thomas • Aakanksha Malpani • R.Venkatesh Krishnan • Arjun Samaddar Pradeep Goswami • Vaibhav Mohite • Tarun Thakkar • Deepak Gautam • Manish Kori • Pradeep Arora • Waragade Santosh • Rohini Shitole • Shraddha Trivedi • Preethi Bayya Atul Uday Gokhale • Anupam Prasang Khare • Manasi Kothari • Sachin B. Shende • Prashant Agashe • Komal Chhoriya Priyanka • Sayali Sancheti • Aniruddh Banerjee Kanika Mathur • Adwait Shashikant Phadnis • Nikhil Mayur • Chaitanya Bist • Manish Kumar • Akash Thorat • Anil Burte • Yammanappa Dodamani

Nobody does it like them

Rising Stars

Mangesh and Leena Todkar’s Nagpur-based design firm ‘Nobodyelse’ creates innovative products that you aren’t likely to see anywhere else

Quirky clocks are the cornerstone of this design firm. “Clocks are the most neglected, or routine part of interiors. A clock is also a gadget which we keep turning to, all day through,” says Mangesh Todkar, one half of design firm Nobodyelse. “Our clock design inspiration comes from the day to day activities of urban life…things like a newspaper, an autorickshaw, footwear, or common desi conversations. Our clocks are funny, wacky and cool, and designed keeping in mind the Indian youth who cherish the desi essence behind the design.”

and craft, and innovation is their buzzword. While interior design is part of their portfolio, the firm also makes art clocks, wall murals, hanging bells, tea light candle holders, and funky jewelry. “Interacting with people has always been exciting and awakening for us,” informs Mangesh. “We participate in exhibitions throughout India, where people from all walks of life comment on our designs. It’s always exciting for us to see a mother buy a clock that says ‘Wake up u can sleep in class’ for her children, or someone buying a clock that says ‘Late as usual’ for the office.”

Mangesh, who studied at Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts in Mumbai met his ‘soulmate’ Leena when he returned home to Nagpur after five years. “I was working for local interior designers when I met Leena, an architect. We realized we both wanted to do something extraordinary. Our minds clicked and ‘ Nobodyelse’ was born six years ago,” he reveals. Nobodyelse deals with different facets of art

When older people complained that it was very hard to read the time in their clocks, the duo designed a clock that said ‘approximately’! “The autorickshaw (tuktuk) clock is very dear to our clients,” adds Mangesh. “Suddenly the simple autorickshaw has become something like a desi superstar to be proud of, especially when we see foreigners buying it as a souvenir representing India.” There’s no limit to what inspires Nobodyelse

to create a clock. At the recently held Kala Ghoda Exhibition in Mumbai, it occurred to Mangesh and Leena that they didn’t have a clock for the toilet area, where the gadget is most required. “We have already started working on this requirement,” laughs Mangesh, “and you will soon see a new clock, with some wacky message!” While wacky clocks seem to be their hallmark, Nobodyelse also makes ‘pleasing colorful clocks to suit interiors’. “Our aim has always been to use day to day things and present it with a lot of fun and freshness,” exclaim the couple. “All our products are handmade with ecofriendly acrylic colors. We wish to grow more in the coming years with more and varied designs, and hope to start our own concept store ‘ nobodyelse’ in Nagpur, which will display our line of products, and cater to all those people who are young at heart and mind alike.” It’s only a matter of time before that happens!

santumisra craving for ice-tea (especially the dlf art house one) #want 9

Cover Story

Prof. H Kumar Vyas joined the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad in 1962 to start its Faculty of Industrial Design. Over his 30-year association with the venerable institute he has left an indelible mark on the minds of students and colleagues alike. He has since been associated with the School of Interior Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and played an active role in setting up the MIT Institute of Design in Pune. Prof. Vyas was recently awarded the Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education, a fitting tribute to his contribution to the field. On the first anniversary of POOL, he engages in a free-wheeling chat about his chance introduction to design and the eventful journey since‌

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What attracted you to design? KV: It’s a long story! I was born in Uganda and grew up there. I did my secondary education in India, finishing my Senior Cambridge in Kampala, Uganda. In the early 1950s there were very few colleges and no universities for further education in Uganda, so most of the people would look towards either India or England, since Uganda was still a British colony. I thought I would do electrical engineering; one reason for that was I wanted to return to Uganda where they had just started a very interesting hydroelectric scheme on the banks of the River Nile. They were building a dam at the point where the Nile, which originates from Lake Victoria, becomes a river. It had been a dream of Winston Churchill to harness the water of the Nile and produce electricity. It was a huge scheme, and all the people were quite excited. Meanwhile I had applied to the Faraday House College of Engineering in London and on the strength of my good Senior Cambridge marks, they granted me admission but there was a slightly strange stipulation. They said they could not offer me the seat immediately as they were busy taking in the young people demobilized from the Front, returning to Britain. This was in 1949 and while they did say my seat was secure, I would have to wait. That must have been disappointing? KV: Yes, it was. I thought meanwhile I should do something related to electrical engineering and joined an apprenticeship scheme with the same hydroelectric project. I started at the ‘bottom’ with the power plant and trained with various workshops and departments till I ended up in a place of my interest, the electric appliance repair workshop, where we were expected to repair all kinds of appliances; toasters, cookers, refrigerators, the lot. Though the word design was not even thought of, I had a very vague idea that it would be nice if I could learn some way to make these things better. In 1952 I was informed that I could go to London and in the beginning of 1953, I started my program at the School of Engineering. While at the school one day I found some of my classmates going to the nearby building of the Central School of Art and Design. This was because, lunches were much cheaper there! So I joined them

and at the design school I happened to meet some students of industrial design. They would talk of what they were doing and were kind enough to take me around the studios. I realized this was exactly what I wanted to be doing! I made an important decision to switch over from engineering to industrial design and applied to the school. Fortunately they accepted me and that is how I ended up learning design. I studied industrial design for three years. It was a good program on the whole, even though in the beginning it seemed to be a strange way of learning; certainly different from engineering! Also there were some good teachers - one was Prof.Douglas Scott in whose office I was to eventually start working; another was Prof.Bruce Archer who later was to author one of most definitive studies of the design process, Systematic Method for Designers. We also had Dr.Rayner Banham with his rather unorthodox approach to design history. How did the move to India happen? After finishing my education I joined Douglas Scott’s design consultancy office. While doing my diploma in the final year at the School, I had become interested in what was happening in India especially in the area of design. I used to wonder what the scope of design was in a newly emerging nation and an evolving economy. I used to visit the Indian High Commission to keep me acquainted with what was happening in India, especially in the field of design. And that is how I learnt in 1962 that the Government of India was thinking of starting a school of design. A friend told me that the Ahmedabad-based school was going to be headed by someone called Sarabhai, and Charles Eames was going to propose how it should be done. That indeed was exciting news! The only Sarabhai I had heard of was Vikram Sarabhai the scientist, who was well known even in the West. I wrote to him about my interest and he passed on my letter to his brother Gautam who was to head the new Institute. Gautam wrote back, saying mine was the kind of background and experience the Institute was looking for and he would like to know more about me. He said he was going to visit London in the spring of 1962 and would like to see me. I met him, he offered me a position at the National Institute of Design, and the rest is history!

What was the position? KV: He said I would be working as a designer and also be a member of the faculty. I told him I had never taught or thought about teaching anybody anything. He replied to the effect not to worry, as it would come to me. When I met him at his house in London, he asked me if I would mind if he visited my office, and he came and had a long talk with Douglas Scott, saw what I was working on, and seemed to like what I had been doing. You are known more as a faculty member than a designer. Tell us more about your early work as a designer. KV: When I began working with Scott in 1956, the entire office was engaged in redesigning the famous double decker London bus, the Routemaster. We were designing not just the body, but also the interior spaces, the passengers’ seats and the driver’s cab. At the time of my joining we were working on the final details, which in itself was quite an experience. After that I worked on various products for a client, the Ideal Standard which had their works in Britain, Italy and Holland. I worked on their bathroom ceramics and accessories. And then for the same client, a space heater and a series of vending machines that vend out insurance forms at airports or postage stamps at post offices. There were also a series of slide viewers and a projector for a company called Paterson. These are the important ones that I remember. What were the early projects you did in India at that time? KV: I joined NID in August 1962. A few days later Gira Sarabhai asked me if I would like to work on a very small object for Sarabhai Chemicals - a tablet dispenser for saccharine. And so, that was the first product I worked on. It was tiny but quite interesting. At that time NID was setting itself up on the ‘attic floor’ of the Corbusier Museum and there was not much of a workshop really, but the craftsmen were absolutely superb in their skills. I still remember the names - Haribhai, Chaturbhai and Ratibhai. Haribhai helped me make the working model for the dispenser wherein you could press a lever and only one tablet would come out. I was quite delighted. But Haribhai was even happier as he had for the first time made a prototype in plastic! I was able to build a special relationship with the craftsmen and was always amazed at

uditnc To Innovate, You Need the Courage to Step Backward | Co.Design 11

Cover Story

the way they adapted themselves to new materials and skills. Basically they were all carpenters but with a fantastic eye for minute details and could transfer their skill into ‘alien’ materials like metal and plastic with great ease. The next couple of projects referred to NID were from machine tool manufacturers, one of which was a facing machine for Cooper Engineering in Pune.

sometimes and all kinds of questions would be posed, starting with simple things like what is education and how does one learn, and how does one learn design, and can design be ever taught. This really churned our minds and we would all get ideas. The basic building blocks of NID’s philosophy and ethos and educational methodology were laid during these meetings.

What are your early memories of NID? KV: Dashrath Patel had joined NID two months before I did. We took a tremendous liking to each other. This was not just friendship but more like comradeship or companionship and it lasted all these years till he passed away. We were to work on several projects, small and huge, together. In the early days of NID, a closely knit group of us would brainstorm regularly. This included Gautam, his sister Gira, Dashrath, James Pristini from Berkley University’s School of Environmental Design, and I. Senior professors from IIM Ahmadabad, which had just started, would join us

What role did you see a designer playing in the development of the country at that time? Was industry the focus then? KV: Right from the beginning, real life projects of national and social relevance were accepted as one of the three ‘tools’ for education; the other two being studio assignments and small production runs at NID workshops. Industry would naturally be included in the ambit. In his India Report, Eames too had stressed on real life projects and had given a few examples. It was also agreed that NID would have to do it in its own way; no one could

describe and dictate how to go about it. Eames wrote a brilliant proposal but we would have to do our own homework and evolve our own tools for education. Did you interact with Eames on this? KV: Yes, a couple of times. When Eames brought his team for the Nehru exhibition in 1964 he suggested we work along with his team. ‘That is one way to inspire you to evolve your program,’ he would say. When he came to India again in 1969 he had a long conversation with us as we had already begun the faculty training program. The first program to start was graphic design and photography followed by product design, which became my responsibility. In between I had been to the Ulm School of Design in Germany not only to observe their product design program but also to get some idea of their Foundation Program (Grundlehre). On my return I selected 12 graduates to begin the faculty training program for product design; similarly faculty training programs for textile

rameshsrivats But for this minor issue of nationality, the WICB would have picked Nannes for the ODIs. And

replaced him midway with Gayle. Tested formula.

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design, furniture design and ceramic design were initiated. By the time Eames came, most of these programs were operating, so he had a good idea of what was going on. While he expressed his satisfaction on the whole, he also had some suggestions to make. He was quite impressed by the kind of projects the faculty trainees for product design were doing, and suggested that they be properly recorded. What kind of projects were these? KV: One of these was related to agriculture, a seed drill; another one, electric drill design for small-scale industry; one was the design of a hospital trolley, and another, prefabricated toilet facility for an urban slum. There were also a letter sorting system for post offices and furniture system for primary schools. The projects were apparently relevant to what was happening around us. Also this was the first time when, following Eames’s suggestion, we introduced the idea of systematic documentation of students’ projects. Among the memorable projects are those on which I worked with Dashrath. One was for the India ’72 exhibition; it was related to the overall progress of the Indian nation with emphasis on various activities of governmental sectors. We worked on the main pavilion that provided the visitors with a huge interactive audiovisual experience. The second was also with Dashrath, the AgriExpo 77. For us it was a great opportunity to learn about all aspects of agriculture and proved to be a fantastic experience. Yet another memorable project entrusted to me was the exhibition, ‘Design in India’ for the India Festival in Britain, 1982. It later travelled to various design schools in Britain. You sowed the seed for industrial design in India, and it has since grown significantly, with several colleges now offering the course and various specializations. KV: I am not at all sure about my contribution, but it certainly is quite exciting the way it has grown. We see many new disciplines of design in light of post-liberalization developments in the 1990s and after the introduction of information technology. These have had a tremendous impact and made design known to the corporate sector; whether they understand it the way it

should be is still a question but designers are in demand one way or another. The first ever ‘undergraduate’ or Professional Education Program in design began at NID in 1970. I remember talking to the first batch of 30 students on their first day at the Institute. I told them that this happened to be the first time ever, not just for them but also for the Institute and for the country; so we as faculty would be sharing our knowledge in the spirit of experiment and they would be the guinea pigs for these experiments! Two students objected to the idea of being treated as guinea pigs and dropped out. The remaining 28 stayed till the end. Not surprisingly, it was this batch that was to be a role model during the initial years for those who followed! In 1973 NID suddenly found itself in a big crisis. As both Gautam and Gira Sarabhai had decided to resign, we were left without a chairman and a director. So a core group of senior faculty members called the Internal Management Board had to carry on, and act as a steering committee. The students had heard rumors that the government was planning to close down the institute. They sought a meeting with Dashrath and me and we assured them that so far as we were concerned, NID was not going to be closed. Some of the students said that even if the institute closed, they would still come and learn from us under the tree. In a strange way, this rather naïve but touching faith in the Institute’s education also made us feel that things could not be that bad after all. When the guinea pig batch got their diplomas, they just went out and fended for themselves. Some of them teamed up and did their own little thing and some got jobs, while others had difficulties finding a foothold. There was a regular intake of students after that and that also gave us support for what we were doing. Things did change after liberalization in the 1990s. New types of IT based courses were introduced. Today they all call themselves user centric, as if they’ve found a user for the first time! But, with all this the quality of education also got affected. While the computer has revolutionized the ways of solving problems, we are also losing some of our very essential inherent skills, mainly those of the hand, what I would call the ‘intelligence of figertips’.

Have the requirements for being a designer changed over the last 50 years? KV: There are several new ways of working and there is no denying that computers have changed a lot of things. But the designer’s approach to a problem and the problem solving process, to my mind, remains the same. There cannot be a change and the computer cannot help here, since it cannot yet replicate your brain functions. If at all, it may still take some time. Mind is the software of the brain. That is the software you operate and the computer cannot. What happens when you are confronted with a problem is that you immediately begin to work out possible solutions. This is the way the human mind is ‘programmed’ to work; these are what I would call the ‘conjectural solutions’ or design conjectures. They will happen all the time. No computer can reproduce this yet. What you require is a paper and a pencil to put these conjectures down using both words and images. How do you see this changing in the future? KV: I don’t know - it is difficult. One thing, it will become more and more complex, I can see that. The expectations are there but the designer will also have to play a role of sieving through all this. He should be trained to tell the client where exactly or how far he or she can go and what the client can expect from him or her. It’s a question of convincing. Formerly, designers couldn’t have this kind of dialogue but they are much more articulate now and the kind of clients they get also like to talk about design! This is a better, healthier situation. When this kind of dialogue happens, the designer by his or her training will have to be able to draw a line somewhere; for example, everything cannot and should not be controlled by the market. There is something beyond the market, there is society and people and environment and ecology and there is the greater cause of designing for sustainability. That goal may seem pretty far away, but that is something designers will have to aim at, because we know that Earth’s resources are getting depleted. Sustainability is an imperative that cannot be wished away. It is here that the old

aadjemonkeyrock I shared - Users Say They’re More Likely To Buy If A Business Answers Their Question On

Twitter 13

NID adage, ‘design is to improve what exists’ takes on an added significance. You have been involved with several institutions from their initial stages. How is it different starting an institution now compared to 50 years ago? KV: I was associated with the School of Interior Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad almost from the beginning. Krishna Shastri, the Director of SID, knew that I had completed my tenure with NID and she wanted me to help her to evolve some of the course material. I did whatever I could - I am not an interior designer. I also helped them to conduct the basic design programs. With all this I am extremely conscious that I too go on learning and I also evolve. If I have to offer a course, my first concern is not what I am going to ‘teach’ but the kind of experience I have gained which I am going to share further. What am I going to learn from them?

I see myself evolving, most of the time unconsciously, sometimes consciously. This happened with NID and with CEPT, and in a way the same thing happened at MIT Institute of Design in Pune. But at MITID I was also given the task of charting out the ethos and philosophy of the Institute. At the same time I, with my colleagues, worked on the curriculum, course content and also helped in selecting the faculty. I initially offered courses but not anymore. We keep in touch as I meet everybody regularly in the capacity of the Chairman of the Education Council. I am happy that things are progressing as of now. How far have we come in terms of design, design education and design practice in India? KV: I think so far as design education is concerned, there are few institutions in India that are heading in the right direction. During the last decade so many schools of design have come up but among these only some half a dozen that I know of, seem to be charting out their own paths.

They do not seem to have come out from the same mold and they have broken away from the NID mold. For example at the MIT Institute of Design, initially we did look at the NID model as it was bound to happen, and that gave us great impetus. But I also knew that it cannot remain like that, it will have to be broken. Another very good example is that of Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology at Bangalore, which has charted its own direction with vision and dedication. There may be few others and these are all very hopeful signs. What is happening now is that there are very large goals overall and different paths to reach. All the same, it is good to see that each of these institutions seems to have taken the right path. And it will eventually do good for the Indian economy and Indian market, and most important, should contribute to Indian society. In my own way I am quite hopeful. I do think, however small, some good work is happening.

jatin10 Women entrepreneurs seek to inspire GenNext - ‘WE’ Coverage in Times of India 14 POOL | 6.11 | #12



Vijay S harma ’s bamb eco-frie oo bike ndly co takes nveyan ce to ne w levels !

At a time when eco-friendly means of transport are beginning to gain a cachet, Bangalore-based Vijay Sharma’s ‘Bambike’ ought to find many takers. Built of bamboo, which cuts down energy consumption and has better shock absorbing power, the Bambike has interestingly found only six buyers so far – and none of them in India! “People expect it to be cheap because it is made of bamboo,” says Vijay. What they don’t take into account is the effort that has gone into crafting the unusual bike. Born in a carpenter family in Ahmedabad and exposed to carpentry all his life, Vijay became a designer ‘accidentally’. Despite graduating from the School of Interior Design at the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Vijay found he preferred actually making things in the workshop to creating designs for interiors. He started a small company with friends and in 2009 made his first recumbent trike (a three wheel tricycle), followed by a tandem recumbent trike.

When a friend asked if he could make a bike using bamboo, Vijay agreed with alacrity. “And that’s how the first Bambike came about,” he says. “Initially it tended to be too flexible but I overcame that problem in the next prototype.” The first roadworthy prototype of the Bambike was launched at TFN 2009 (India’s longest bike tour), where the president of TI Cycles invited Vijay to conduct a dynamic test at their facility in Chennai. The bike passed the JI (Japanese industrial standard) test, and Vijay went to develop more prototypes for hybrid and mountain bikes. “There was a lot of media publicity and lots of people inquired about the bike, but no one came forward to buy one,” he rues.

I feel a certain material can be used in a way that would complement the material.” Vijay is inspired by things made by non designers. “I feel the difference between a designer and a non designer is esthetics,” he says. “I believe in the words of some designer who said design is 98% common sense and 2% the magic ingredient sometimes called style and sometimes esthetics.” He certainly seems to have found his magic ingredient!

He’s hoping for that situation to change soon but meanwhile he continues to explore non conventional material to make conventional things. “I don’t necessarily do it just because I want it to be different,” he informs, “but sometimes 15



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Mumbai-based photographer Santosh Verma has his eye firmly fixed on the intriguing, colorful and inspiring landscape that is India

How you get into photography? SV: I have a very ‘non-advertising, non-art’ background. Before I got my own camera, I used to paint and draw and sketch. I worked for almost 25 years in an international airline during which I picked up my first camera - and never looked back. It was instantaneous, as if I had found my channel of expression and my medium had found me. Even though I have never learnt art in an art college, or learnt photography in any college of institution, I found the medium very powerful and eloquent in whatever I wanted to capture and express. I used all my off-working hours, weekends, annual leave and travel allowances to travel to offbeat places and shoot. I choose to always travel alone with my camera and document life and things as they happened. I remember casually meeting an editor and showing her my first black and white prints: she immediately featured my work over several pages in the Sunday issue of her

publication. I was invited to hold my first exhibition on children of India, for which I’d worked for eight years at my own cost, documenting children in stations, mental asylums, slums, traffic signals, abandoned homes, etc. - along with my other documentary work on red light districts, and widows. That exhibition, on the theme of ‘Children at Risk’, was also invited to New York and Washington. My documentary work on the theme of ‘Widows’ was also a finalist at the Mother Jones Documentary. What kind of work do you do and for what kind of clients? SV: I do editorial, commercial, and corporate assignments, as well as stock images. My first clients were editorial clients: The New York Times. My style of work has been documentary and photojournalistic - candid, street life and street portraits. Eventually, I did work for magazines and other publications such as Bloomberg, International Herald Tribune, Monocle, and

TIME magazine, among others. And then, a few art directors saw the potential in using ‘non-advertising’ images. I also began shooting for campaigns such as HarleyDavidson, Hutch, ICICI, State Bank of India, Reliance, The Taj, and others. What inspires your work? SV: Daily life, the way it is ordinarily lived, inspires me. ‘Ordinary’, ‘Everyday’ things inspire me. I find that daily life, as it is lived, though we call it ‘ordinary’, is not so. It is epic in its proportions: your own life is momentous and on an epic scale. I am also inspired by the way things are, the way light and shadows dance and play-hide-and-seek, the way the light ‘paints’ still-life…things are nothing but sheer magic, gifts of grace and light and beauty to us. What are the major lessons you’ve learnt about the creative business? SV: To keep true and faithful to your vision

and your work. I kept to my style of work regardless of what anybody else did. I did not ‘expand’ my work to do fashion, glamour, or studio work. I kept my work simple and without pretense and garnishing. My work became my trademark and my style became my selling point and my ambassador. Most Art Directors remember my work several years later and call me whenever they need ‘your kind of work’ as they express it. This is very touching and satisfying to hear. Who are you favorite photographers? SV: They have to be in the genre of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography: Sebastio Salgado, Willam Albert Allard, Josef Koudelka, David Allen Harvey, etc. Tell us about your ‘An Eye for India’ series. SV: This was in response to the kind of work I did in my travels and in the way I

documented daily life, either for myself of my agent in New York, Frank Meo. The response to my work from designers and art directors was always: ‘You have an eye for India that is unique, distinct, and fresh’… slowly this took on life on its own and became a brand, a signature of my work. What work are you currently engaged in? SV: My current commercial work borrows from and is influenced by my photojournalistic and documentary work - which means I like my photographs and images to have a stamp of authenticity and honesty, which in turn is a great way to speak for any brand. My pictures remain in the realm of the daily life, the possible life, the magical moments in daily life. They are about the surprises that come to us, if we are awake to them, in our daily, ordinary living.

A hands-on attitude

‘Dirty Hands’, an Ahmedabad-based design house, is not afraid to get its hands dirty in the pursuit of solutions that stretch defined boundaries Three years ago, a sensitive architect, Mamta Gautam, met a passionate sculptor, Rajiv Subba at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad where both opted for post graduation in ceramic and glass design. During the academic course of two years, they realized they had complementary skills and collaborated to help each other with their assignments. It was in 2008 that they further collaborated to form ‘Dirty Hands’ at National Design Business Incubation, NID. A design-led initiative, ‘Dirty Hands’ believes in exploring various materials beyond their

conventional definitions to realize new products, forms, function and experience. The design house comprises a team of 15 skilled and specialized architects, designers and artists from diverse walks of life. “Dirty Hands is an intersection of art, design and technology, where we aspire to not only think but also be able to realize our creations in-house,” says Mamta Gautam. “Our commitment is to stretch defined boundaries, challenge the given and provide a holistic solution within given constraints. Working together we have realized that teamwork is the tool

for a common vision, and the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.” At Dirty Hands the team draws inspiration from ‘anything around us, everyday instances, people we meet, color, music, poetry or nature’. The first project they undertook was for Starz Club in Ahmedabad. “The client provided us freedom to add value to the existing amenities such that it becomes an interesting experience for the visitors, encouraging them to visit the place time and again,” says Rajiv Subba “We

@jasonsantamaria Spent the day on the couch sneezing, coughing up a rainbow of colors, and drinking orange juice. Spring has sprung. 20 POOL | 6.11 | #12

Slug Here

visualized an interactive graphic wall with colorful cubes, so that kids and visitors could play, write and interact with it manually. Inspired by a Tibetan praying wheel, the cube rotates on its pivot and can be used to form patterns or write or make a stop motion film. The other installation was visualized as a bed of fluttering butterflies. It provided color and life to an otherwise dead entrance plaza; the butterflies on spring steel sway with the wind breeze.� Zuby Johal, Managing Director of the company says, “Each project that we undertake is our dream project. We value

the opportunity to work on diversified ventures to come up with a new piece of work. We have branched out into various fields which demand design intervention, whether it is working on climate responsive architecture, interiors, lifestyle products, sculptures, tableware, installations, products for special needs, prosthetics, hyper realistic props to even conducting workshops.� With such a hands-on, gung-ho attitude, this innovative design house is certainly poised to go places!

@zeldman Friday night. Looking up divorce related bank records while my daughter watches Cinderella. 21

Spring represents the beginning of the cycle where ideas are planted and, through a meticulous strategic design process, they come to life and we reap their fruits. This Icograda Design Week explored design as a powerful process that transitions ideas into functional realities. Spring 2011 has been a great opportunity for designers, business leaders and government stakeholders to meet, discuss and explore design as a basis for development.

Out of the Box

Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach of Holland-based studio ‘Raw Color’ experiment with vegetable dyes and natural pigments to create a unique visual language that mixes the fields of graphic design and photography. Daniera talks briefly to POOL about this interesting collaboration. 23

What is the story behind Raw Color? DH: Raw Color started in 2007. Our collaboration formed naturally; we never planned it. It arose from our first project when Christoph Brach and I were asked to participate in the exhibition NAT ‘Designing Nature’ for MU in Eindhoven. That was when we worked together for the first time and created the 100%JUICE installation. After this we were asked to participate in several exhibitions where we got the opportunity to deepen our research in colors from vegetables. This exploration part of the project was called ‘Raw Color’ and later became our studio name. Raw Color defines our work very well: ‘Raw’ stands for pure, natural, matter, and ‘Color’ represents the visual language of our work. What has been Raw Color’s most memorable project? DH: This is difficult to say. In general we are very happy with what we are doing. We do self initiated projects and commissioned work. The combination of the two works perfectly and each positively influences the other. Our own work is based on research and material. For this we use photography and graphic design to create our own language. To highlight one project is difficult. Usually what is memorable is the initial moment when a new client approaches us or when we get positive feedback from the public about our work. In such moments you can feel very honored and proud.

What kind of projects are you looking forward to doing? DH: We are very happy how it is at the moment - we like the combination of graphic design, material and photography with the usage of color and we want to continue this handwriting in the future. One of the things we are especially looking forward to in the future is to find a partner to collaborate on textile projects. We are driven by curiosity but are not planning too far in the future. We are open to things that come our way, though we do have some aims we are heading towards. What have you learnt since setting up Raw Color? DH: We are learning new things every day. One of the most important things we have come across is to find your own fascination and working method. It is important to find out what your work is really about. Every day we are still working on defining ourselves and our work. You have to become a universal expert in what you are doing. What inspires you? DH: Many things can inspire us - we love natural things, weird objects, colors, books, photography and other people who are creating nice work. 25

slug here

The Pathbreaker

Why did you choose to be a designer in the first place? RG: It chose me. My involvement with art and design is almost visceral. I’ve been drawing and painting from the age of two. My involvement with design started in my early teens, whilst creating menus/book covers and project reports for seniors in school and working on various freelance projects. What inspired you to start your own practice? RG: In 1996/97 there was really no option. The choices were really limited. Design as a specialist function was just about beginning to get recognized, and design studios were rare - especially in Mumbai. So if you wanted to practice design - you needed to start off on your own. Luckily for me, RGD started off really well and I started getting applications from

college students and trainees within the advertising industry. What was the turning point in your professional life? RG: I don’t think there is any one single turning point in my professional life. There were and continue to be many. For me almost every day brings with it a new discovery, a new understanding of life and design. So there are as many turning points as I choose to make. I think it is particularly important for us as people and designers to be open to life - and be adventurous. The more you experience, the more you grow. How have professional practices changed over the 20 years that you have been practicing design? RG: Whilst I may have been practicing design for almost two decades, I would say that the industry has only just started

Principal designer and founder of Mumbai-based Rabia Gupta Designs, one of India’s leading strategic design companies, Rabia Gupta talks to POOL about a journey that started with studying graphic design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad more than 20 years ago

emerging as a whole. Whilst the landscape has changed considerably within the industry - there are many more design professionals out there, so much more chatter about design, and lots of passion and intent - I still feel we are a disorganized group of individuals pulling in different directions. But this is symptomatic of a young industry growing very fast with considerable impetus provided by technology, wherein quality, sound impactful design, and best practices in design are still the purview of few. I am positive that with time, there will be change, once the industry matures. Professional practice is what you make of it. At our studio we have a design approach that is reflective of the best anywhere, and this approach has been with us since the beginning. Our clients have always recognized this, and time after

hormazdsorabjee Mahindra to launch Reva NXR EV by end of this financial year 26 POOL | 5.11 | #11

time, our professionalism has resulted in our end product - which speaks for itself. Having said this, the issues of contracts/commissions/rejection fees, delayed payments, et al are still manifest within the system, as well as copyright infringement, etc. But these are issues that one will deal with for a long time, as they are rather deep rooted in the system.

sensibility then I would say that I really enjoy working on projects that are specific to Contemporary India and Indian culture. The identity that we did for the retail brand ‘Good Earth’ was very engaging; so are all the wine labels that we continue to do for Sula; along with our self initiated design work that is being retailed under our label - India Everyday™.

Which one designer has made a big impact on your practice? RG: No single designer - but many for many different reasons. As my world is really eclectic, I think I have been influenced by people more for their attitudes/approaches rather than their professions.

What kind of work are you looking forward to doing? RG: Anything that is new/challenging and allows us to break boundaries and create precedents.

Which has been your favorite project so far? RG: There are too many to list but if I categorize my favorites by approach and

How has the journey been so far and what plans do you have for the future? RG: Amazing, and it still continues to be so. My reasons for setting up RGD were very simple - to provide pathbreaking contextual

design solutions, and so as long as I can keep doing that, and keep designing and creating, I am happy. As for the future, I don’t see anything very different from today. I would like to keep up our best practices, keep up our end product and keep pushing the envelope towards creating design that makes India proud. What excites you about the future of design in India? RG: That it is full of potential, and we can make it what we would like it to be: especially since the industry is growing parallel with the country. I would like to tell young design entrepreneurs to follow their heart, be true to their passion and use every opportunity to create pathbreaking work. Money and fame will come, but what really matters is your product.

Competia Trend: gamification, not ‘pointsification‘ #em 27



Japanese artist/illustrator Baku Maeda’s Ribbonesia art project creates striking animal sculptures out of colorful ribbons

Most people would tie a ribbon into a bow and leave it at that. Not Baku Maeda. This young Japanese artist/illustrator sees more potential in wrapping ribbon than that. His creative eye, and undoubtedly deft hands, can turn a piece of ribbon into a little animal sculpture that can be used to enhance otherwise boring gift wrapping. Baku’s ‘Ribbonesia’ art project is an attempt to bring handmade products back into focus in an increasingly digitalized and automated world. He lives in Sapporo, a city known for its rich natural environment, and in part responsible for his interest in wildlife. Though he has been working with pen and brushes on paper and canvas for the past few years, he is finding himself increasingly inclined to creating more

3-dimensional and sculptural works. Animals have fascinated him from childhood, and it seems almost inevitable that they are the inspiration for his little ribbon sculptures. In single colors or an intuitive blend of two, the ribbon creations range from dexterously twisted birds to cows and antlered deer and even a seal balancing a ball on its nose! Each one is different, and each tries to capture ‘the essence of life’. The ‘Ribbonesia’ creative team comprises Baku Maeda (Artist), Toru Yoshikawa (Creative Director), Ryo Ueda (Art Director), Fumiaki Hamagami (Web Designer) and Kei Furuse (Photographer). Together they turn out carefully handcrafted and unusual animal motifs that can make a gift for any occasion truly memorable!

Slug Here

Showcasing Change Transmedia artist, 31-year-old Kavita Singh Kale is inspired by the energy and contrasts of Indian cities to create work that is as thought provoking as it is striking. She uses multiple formats like painting, sculpture and films to great effect and her work stands out for its visual inventiveness and attention to detail. In her own words, she talks about the inevitability of change…and its effect on her artistic sensibilities. 31

Kavita Singh Kale Originally from Himachal Pradesh, I grew academically as an artist with a BFA degree in painting from College of Art, New Delhi (2001) and did post graduation in animation film from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (2004). The design institute opened doors for further possibilities with various media, blending paintings with animation. I am constantly learning and adapting to the changing world, which keeps me evolving as a transmedia artist, and enables me to work in inter-disciplinary areas within visual art and design. As the years pass by, the world around us is getting more transparent day by day. There is a constant marriage between various aspects of the visual world with science and technology. As a transmedia artist, I have always experimented with ideation and technique. This process allows me to safeguard culture specifics,

even while I also address my presence from a global perspective. I believe the greatest challenges as an artist will be to maintain the integrity of the physical nature of analog art while retaining the power of the digital world in the body of work that I will be creating over time. The juxtaposition of contrast and the energy of cities in India inspire me to document people, capturing human behavior and problems they all share. Through my art I question issues related to common people living in metro cities, depicting urban culture and how it affects me as an artist. Being raised in Delhi and relocating to Mumbai opened doors to a new culture which turned out to be my inspiration. My recent ‘People Series’ has works titled ‘His ‘n’ His’, ‘Hers ‘n’ Hers’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Wedding Album’, ‘Living on the Edge’, and ‘Under Extinction’ - it is my interpretation

of India as a developing country with a strong and diverse cultural heritage, and the co-existing contrast in India’s urban environment. The sculpture titled ‘FRAGILE Strings Attached’ done during ‘The WhyNot Place’ art residency in New Delhi in 2010, portrays a state of sudden flux in the economic urban growth that is happening around and within each entity, benefiting some while affecting the others, and causing a domino effect. In ‘Visual Diary’, the solo show at the Visual Arts Gallery in New Delhi in 2009, I let loose the chaos in the mind, by translating day-to-day life in claustrophobic Mumbai city. This in turn churned up spontaneous artistic expression in the form of paintings, sculptures and video art, seamlessly combining different embedded events that have affected my life consciously or subconsciously.

@prolificd Oh wait. Yahoo sold Delicious to Chad Hurley & Co? How did this go under the radar? 32 POOL | 6.11 | #12

RNI-No. MAHENG12606/13/1/2010-TC

Pool 1st Anniversary Issue - June 2011  

Pool - Celebrating 1st Anniversary - Issue 12 - June 2011

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