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November 2011 | # 17 Indian edition “In general we all are facing a difficult time in this world, but the creative sector is doing well.” Hans Robertus 09

“There are many languages, many gods and many different religions unlike in my country. ” Cagri Cankaya 03

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 Animator Nina Paley


Rising Star Preeti Wanchoo


Fashion Gaurav Jai Gupta


Prasoon Pandey

Blogger Meena Kadri

IDW 2011 04


Design Xymposium

Photographed by Sudhir Sharma


Projector Friday 10

Neha Ramaiya 16

MANIT Dept. of Architecture 30



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 Principal, NID, India

M P Ranjan India

Anna Muoio Social Innovation, US

Prasoon Pandey Corcoise Films, India

Anuj Sharma Designer, India

Rajesh Kejriwal Kyoorius Exchange, India

Aradhana Goel Director, IDEO, Mumbai

Rodney 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

We always have the choice of sitting shy...

Julia Chiu Executive Director, JIDPO, Japan

William Drentell Winterhouse, USA

That is the second law.

Kieu Pham Haki Brand, Vietnam

William Herald Wong WHW Design, Malaysia

Editor in Chief Sudhir Sharma Copy Editor Ashvina Vakil Research & Design Coordinators Shriya Nagi, Maitreyi Doshi-Joshi Layout & Production Pradeep Arora, Satyajeet Harpude Subscription & Logistics Seema Sharma Finance Kuldeep Harit Deepak Gautam Art & Design Pradeep Goswami, Swapnil Giakwad Digital Manish Kori, Manish Kumar

At World’s oldest (reconstructed) Olive Oil plant at Izmir, Turkey

How do you think different? I admired Steve Jobs for this one quality that changed the world for us designers and I don’t just mean designers who use his machines (though they have profoundly affected my own professional life over the last 15 years). He changed the way products are to be conceptualized, produced and launched. Jobs didn’t just work on ‘a product’, but a whole product ecology, and often reinvented practices that ended up changing our environment and behavior. The basis of that lay in another basic law of success: Question. Don’t take anything for granted. Be curious and ask questions. And then consider the answers. The moment we ask a question we form a relationship, and this is the foundation of creativity. Students feel shy to ask questions; professionals also feel shy to ask questions. We are afraid of being ridiculed over showing our ignorance…so much so that it becomes a habit to assume and move on. Assumptions are perhaps the enemy of creativity. The best thing a teacher can teach his students is to be fearless about asking questions; the more questions you ask, the more you will have to seek. ‘Why, How, When, Where, Who’ are perhaps a complete design process by themselves. Almost any biography that I read tells me that inspired and successful people start asking questions very early and very earnestly. What makes them successful is this quest for answers. Apply this to your simple desk life with people around you, with things you do everyday and see how life changes. Or we can ask a question. Sudhir Sharma Editor in Chief

Marketing Arjun Samaddar, Tarun Thakkar Assistants Yamanappa Dodamani, Shailesh Angre, Pranil Gaikwad 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

November 2011 | # 17 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. International Design Media Network Participant 1




POOL Annual 1 • Compilation of first 12 issues of Pool Magazine • Hard bound 400 Pages • Design Showcases, Success Stories, Experiences and a lot more on design • It’s a melange of ideas and inspiration

DESIGN•INNOVATION•CREATIVITY India’s First International Design Magazine

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Around the World

P: O T S T X NE NEthe Road’ Cagri Cankaya PU people igner on le ‘Des nforgettab u e m o s s r f his encounte Pune leg o e th n o s e c n and experie orld ound the w journey ar

Salute to POOL readers! In this issue I will tell you about the second stop during my road trip INDI Design, located in Pune, and maybe one of the most important destinations on my route. INDI Design was the first company to invite me to work with it, and I stayed there for more than four weeks, learning a lot on the way. The first thing I did was to find new ideas for the government’s ‘Incredible India’ tourism campaign. Then, with Sudhir Sharma, I created a leaflet featuring 17 design laws for designers. I was present at many meetings, created short films, and thought of ideas for a motor bike company’s showroom. I also did some indoor graphics for an Indian leather shoe brand. But this is only the work side. Actually we did much more at INDI! I feel the people of INDI are specially chosen; they are all very

kind and warm and friendly. There is not a single grumpy person. They all acted like I am their best friend and they helped me with everything. We partied a lot, engaged in many activities and designed together for many of the projects. INDI is a highly multi-disciplined company. I haven’t seen anything like this before. You can see people working together in every project coming from different disciplines. The environment at INDI was interesting for me. As a graphic designer and illustrator it was a good experience to work with architects, animators, and web developers. I am really missing the people at INDI. It’s hard to find such a lovely team in this industry. I would like to work there full time but unfortunately, Indian food is definitely not my type of food! I am not good with spicy and vegetables. Maybe the most important thing about India is the lovely people. I recognized that Indians mostly don’t care too much about money issues. It was a huge surprise for me because I was expecting people in a country like India to care

about money. But no - for them money is just a tool for enjoying life. It was a huge culture shock for me in every way. India has a huge culture with incredible history. There are many languages, many gods and many different religions unlike in my country. All these elements combine to create a huge unique country called India. Everyone respects each other’s beliefs and way of life. Some people say India is not developed. I understand what they mean, but the economy is not everything, right? Look at it from the other angle. India is very well developed when it comes to being human. And that’s much more important then money issues to achieve a peaceful, lovely country. My next stop is Goa. I will work there in an interactive web agency for some weeks. It’s also my last stop in India. Hope to meet you in these pages in the next issue. I love you, India and Indian people! Thanks for making me a better person. 3


ISTANBUL DESIGN WEEK CONCLUDES The Istanbul Design Week (IDW), held from September 28 to October 2, saw a gathering of the most remarkable names in the design world within and outside Turkey. Held on the Old Galata Bridge, it featured the newest projects, exhibitions and workshops related to design, trends, science, architecture and technology. Organized by dDf with the project partnership of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and ISTAV (Istanbul Art Promotion and Research Foundation), IDW, now in its sixth year, was attended by leading fashion designers and industrial designers from across the world. IDW presented a host of well known speakers including trend designer Lidewij Edekoort, architects Amanda Levete and Melkan Tabanlioglu, industrial product designer Tomoko Azumi, specialist trend consultant Zuzanna Skalaska, brand designers Paul Van Ravestein and Monique Mulder (Mattmo), and IF Design Awards President Ralph Wiegman, among others.

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POOL co-organizes


AT Nirman 2011

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Jointly organized by the Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects (GICEA) and AkarInfoMedia Pvt. Ltd. (AIM), Nirman 2011 was hosted at the state-of-the-art Gujarat University Exhibition Centre in Ahmedabad from September 23 to 25. Over the last 25 years Nirman has emerged as Gujarat’s biggest platform for builders, architects, interior designers, urban planners, project managers and end-users. The 26th edition of this popular event also featured three concurrent design Xymposiums where topics such as Sustainable Heritage, Design in Architecture, and Interior Projects and Design Lab were discussed and debated. POOL and Designindia co-organized ‘Design in Architectural and Interior Projects’, one of the Xymposiums. The panel included prominent designers like Subrata Bhowmick - Subrata Bhowmick Design, Ahmedabad; Sumit Patel - Director Leaf Design, Mumbai; Nidhi Mehta – Head Freedom Tree Design, Mumbai; Anthony Lopez - Lopez Design, New Delhi; Chandrashekhar Bheda - Textile Designer, Spider Design, New Delhi; and Sudhir Sharma, INDI Design, Pune. The designers presented interesting insights into designing for architecture and interiors at this spectacular cross-disciplinary design event. 7

8 POOL | 11.11 | #17



Indian Presence on Jury

The Dutch Design Awards are presented annually on the opening day of the Dutch Design Week. This year the best design talent from the Netherlands was recognized at a festive awards show held on October 22 at Muziekgebouw in Eindhoven.

Sudhir Sharma, Editor in Chief of POOL, was on the jury for the Dutch Design Awards this year. A graduate of the National Institute of Design (NID) and now creative Chairman of INDI, an international brand innovation consulting firm based in Pune, Sudhir’s Jury journey started in 2008, when he was invited to be a juror for the inaugural design awards at the Cannes Advertising Festival. Since then he has played the role of juror at several prestigious events. “Indian perspectives on objects are now very crucial for the judging of awards,” says Sudhir.

Chosen by a professional jury, these internationally renowned annual prizes celebrate the best in the field of Dutch design available during the period of assessment. The awards show was the culmination of a competition for which designers submitted entries in the Communication, Product, and Spatial categories.

Hans Robertus, Director of the Dutch Design Week, speaks to POOL… Why are design awards important for a country? HR: If you do it the right way, if you have a proper process and a good professional [international] jury, then you build up a story, you have a medium and platform to show how important it is to implement design thinking in your process. So it is a platform to start a discussion. Have the Dutch Design Awards benefited the Dutch economy in any tangible way? HR: In general we all are facing a difficult time in this world, but the creative sector is doing well. I really believe, and that’s not just me thinking, the world is changing from a commodity economy to an experience economy. We are not just talking about styling only but designers are far more

involved in the total process of product development and service development. They are far more involved in talking to the higher level management on strategic issues – and really thinking about why and for whom they are making a certain product or service. The Dutch Design Awards are reflecting that. Have you had any participation from Indian designers or companies in the past? HR: I had the honor to work with Satyendra Pakhale while he worked for Philips Design – at that time he was a very young Indian guy who had already shown and radiated that he wanted to change the world.

If I think about Indian people I see him as an icon for Indian mentality and spirit. I really appreciated what he did at that time and what he is doing now. He has made his mark. But I am ashamed to say I have never been to India… but I know it will happen soon. 9

Screening Many path breaking creative projects are born out of collaboration between likeminded people. The difficult thing is to find and connect such people. Thanks to an interesting initiative by Flying Cursor, a digital branding agency based in Mumbai, creative people now have the opportunity to meet and interact with others on the same wavelength. ‘Projector Friday’ is a platform for such creative people to present their ideas or projects they’re involved in with the aim of collaborating with other creative individuals. The idea is to build a community of artists, designers, writers, tech developers, entrepreneurs and thinkers, all of whom will bring in their unique skill sets to initiate and evolve exciting creative projects. Currently operating as a free and open platform, Projector Friday has featured presentations on topics as varied as film, travel, music, astronomy, street art and more in formats ranging from PowerPoint presentations and slideshows to films and performance pieces. The initiative is open to any topic that encourages creative collaboration as long as presenters avoid delving into anything too political, religious or otherwise inflammatory. While most presentations have been held on a terrace in Mumbai, Projector Friday hopes in time to move to public spaces, and presenters are encouraged to identify such venues. There is no hard and fast rule about presentations being on Friday, though the weekend is more convenient for most.


If you would like to be part of Projector Friday, email: or check out for further details.



umairh Never confuse what you’ve earned with what you’ve made. 10 POOL | 11.11 | #17

Projector Friday is a unique initiative that brings together creative individuals seeking to collaborate with each other

Matt Adnate

Parag G., Founder

Dr. Emmanuel 11


TELLING SITA’S STORY Nina Paley is the creator of the animated musical feature film ‘Sita Sings the Blues’, which has screened in over 150 film festivals and won over 35 international awards. A ‘proud college drop-out’, this New York based animator, artist, cartoonist, writer, and free culture advocate tells POOL what inspired her to make a film about ‘the greatest break-up story ever told’! Tell us a little about your journey as an animator. NP: Prior to becoming an animator I was a syndicated cartoonist. I started animating while I was burning out of syndicated comic strips. I started with a friend’s Super-8 camera, shooting stop-motion clay animation on a dining room table. I just got hooked from there, and made little low-budget ‘festival films’ for the next several years. What is your film ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ about? NP: It’s my first (and so far only) feature-length film. It’s a musical, very personal interpretation of the Ramayana, set to old jazz and blues songs recorded by Annette Hanshaw in the 1920s. Why the Ramayana? NP: I moved to Trivandrum in 2002, following my then-husband who had a job there. That’s where I first encountered the Ramayana, initially as Amar Chitra Katha comic books, but soon as any text I could get my hands on. When my marriage dissolved my Ramayana obsession only grew. I was fascinated by Sita as a martyr to Love. If throwing myself on a funeral pyre had been a viable option for me, I would have done it myself, but the idea of women killing themselves for love is frowned upon in modern America. Still, I felt like it, and I imagine many other women do too, which is why the story is so powerful. Sita’s story is difficult – how can this powerful goddess sacrifice herself for a man who rejects her? But it speaks to the human condition. I was also inspired by the 1920s blues songs of Annette Hanshaw, which tell pretty much the same story - ‘Ain’t no man worth the salt of my tears’ - but we cry them anyway. Have you always been inspired by Indian mythology? NP: Somewhat. I grew up in Urbana, Illinois, on the campus of the University of Illinois. There were

freegeek Mumbai here i come i come i come i (@ Bengaluru International Airport (BLR)) 12 POOL | 11.11 | #17

a lot of Asian faculty there, as well as hippies, which meant a market for import stores carrying Indian goods. I always admired the fabrics, cards, posters, and statuettes those stores carried. Indian popular art was my point of entry; I learned about some of the associated mythology later. What was the most challenging part of creating ‘Sita Sings the Blues’? NP: I’d say sticking with it, except this wasn’t a challenge because I was totally committed. I even bought a ‘commitment ring’ which I still wear. I basically married the film. There were lots of challenges of course – finding money, finding voice actors, finding musicians, solving problems.... but I had faith things would come together, and just worked on whatever was in front of me at the time. That’s how I look back on it from today; at the time, I’m sure I felt a lot more challenged! What was the most exciting part of creating the film? NP: I don’t know about ‘exciting’, but it was certainly gratifying to slowly watch it come together, to slowly transition from an idea into a real thing. Certain points were therapeutic. When I animated the last scene, in which Sita returns to Mother Earth, I saw it as ‘killing my Inner Sita’. I created all these characters in effigy, and then enacted their drama. It gave me a sense of control I didn’t have in my real life, and it was very cathartic. It also took five years. How much research did the film involve? NP: I did a ton of research for ‘Sita Sings the Blues,’ because of the subject matter. I’ve read dozens of versions of the Ramayana (my favorite being Arshia Sattar’s Penguin India Sanskrit-to-English translation of Valmiki) and scholarly commentaries on it, watched countless hours of films and TV shows, visited museums, immersed myself in books of Indian art, engaged in as many conversations as possible with people who grew up with the Ramayana story, etc. 13

Come, Participate & Experience! How can design help innovation & sustainability? How can social innovation help bridge the gap between people, society & business? Is there any framework that can help accelerate social innovation? What can design & designers do to trigger and direct social innovation? Is there any social innovation framework speciiic to design and designers? How can a designer conceive and develop favorable context and enable solutions? How can a designer conceive and develop favorable context and enable solutions? & Experience Auroville first hand!




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Of course I also had to figure out how to make a film, which included watching a lot of old American musicals as well as Bollywood films. Because I was working with old music, I did a ton of research into copyright issues, which is how I became a copyright abolitionist. In fact, my adventures through the copyright system led me to copyLeft my film! Of course, all the research I put into SSTB is irrelevant to its critics, who still accuse me of ‘not reading Ramayana’. Apparently they’ve never read Valmiki, or are unaware how many Ramayana traditions there are. Do you follow a specific process while creating your animations? NP: I need to be inspired to create. I’ve been in a fallow period lately, waiting to receive instructions from my Muse. When I get those instructions, watch out! I turn into an animation-making machine. But I can’t say exactly how I do it. I just get a really compelling idea, and then I execute it by any means necessary. When I hit a wall and can’t solve a problem, I take a nap or just lie on the sofa with my cat and stare into space, or I take a shower. A few hours later or the next day, a solution usually comes. If I see myself as a servant to my Muse, it all works. Working for money, doing ‘jobs’, doesn’t work so well, because money is not my God.

What does it take to be a successful animator? NP: An ability to focus on animation to the exclusion of everything else! That’s why I do it – it’s a wonderful outlet for my control issues, and an escape. Do you dabble in any other forms of art? NP: Sure. I’m cartooning again, and my new daily strip, ‘Mimi & Eunice’, is as minimalist as SSTB is maximalist. I also experimented with quilting for six months this year (I had never quilted before in my life). Who are your inspirations? NP: At the moment I’m trying to cultivate openness and humility, so I’m inspired by others who demonstrate those qualities. I’m inspired by small acts of kindness and dignity in this crazy world, which anyone can display. Most recently I was inspired by the lady who sat next to me on the subway to Queens, who smiled and looked me in the eye and said, “Good morning.” I’d like to be more like that, more often. What career advice would you give young animators? NP: Follow your bliss What does the future hold for you? NP: I don’t know – it’s up to my Muse. One day at a time.

VisheshBhavsar Haha..! Yes...! You can say that when 70 bucks is a problem statement between 10 people... RT @Karthik: Month end is here on us. 15





Studio potter Neha Ramaiya started YellowSpiders Potter’s Club in Mumbai to introduce others to a craft she perfected at the National Institute of Design, where she studied Industrial Design, Ceramics and Glass Design. In the process she discovered a new vocation – teaching!

What do you do at YellowSpider’s Pottery Club? NR: YellowSpiders Pottery Club provides arts and crafts courses for adults and children, specializing in pottery, art, drawing and painting. We provide classes and courses to suit all levels of skill and experience, ranging from the complete beginner through to exhibitor standard. Why did you choose the name ‘Yellow Spiders’? NR: I simply love spiders! Spiders are some of nature’s best weavers. Weaving often uses geometric shapes to create beautiful patterns. Look at the webs that different kinds of spiders make - do they all have the same pattern to them? I had begun a study of Golden Proportion Geometry while I was developing my art and, though I sensed the influence, I didn’t immediately incorporate what I was learning into the pictures. It was there, of course, but wasn’t a conscious tool until I began working with the spider’s web form. The impact was startling as the work gained clarity and amplified energy. It was supposed to be ‘red spiders’ but when I was thinking about it, back when I was studying at Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai, ‘Yellow Submarine’ by the Beatles was playing in the background and I immediately knew that was the name I would use when I started something of my own! What makes YellowSpiders unique? NR: After working with clay for 12 years, it does not seem sufficient to say ‘I like to touch things’! It’s time for an intellectual response! We take pride in being different by taking the whole idea of clay and ceramics to the healing level. We take clay therapy very seriously; I am getting involved in research that will help me work with special children, women’s empowerment, and psychological disorders.

s4sukhdeep RT @brainstuck 1 part selective coloring,2 parts vignetting,2.5 parts sepia,a dash of bokeh & VOiLA!

You are new age wedding photographer.

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Tell us more about your craft, and the material you use. NR: Clay is a low-tier material that deserves much more recognition. Clay is abundant, and clay from every region has its own unique attributes. For example, China possesses the best clay body for teapots; this porous clay preserves the rich taste, and is dense enough to maintain the heat, flavor and color of tea overnight. It is said that clay is at the bottom of the art-hierarchy, but I beg to differ. Clay can be made to look like anything. Let’s take clay painting, for example; a clay canvas can be manipulated and incorporated into the drawing. Real shadows can be used in conjunction with painted shadows, which create more depth. Clay has much more variation in surfaces. Ceramicists should take pride in their medium, because conquering the process is respectable. Clay is definitely a powerful material. Mountains are made through collision of two slabs. Scorched earth is created through rapid drying and lack of compression. Lava rocks are made out

of dried out reclaims. Because of clay’s complex process, it has much more possibility, thus making it a more versatile material than any other. A world without painting, photography, or animation wouldn’t be much different, but without clay?

producing unique items or pottery in small quantities, typically with all stages of manufacture carried out by one individual. Much studio pottery is table ware or cook ware but an increasing number of studio potters produce non-functional or sculptural items.

At whom is your work targeted? NR: Our work is mostly custom based for interior projects and exhibitions; retail may be an option in future. The idea is to create a rich experience for people; I am yet to learn the nuances of business. We get a lot of walk-ins - people who want to learn pottery. I concentrate more on teaching, as that’s something I intend to do full time with research on the healings. I think I have found my calling in teaching pottery. My desire to teach comes from my experience as a communicator; I have learned to find and stimulate the artist in us all, regardless of our experience of art. By 2012-13, I plan to go to the UK to do an MA in Ceramics.

How would you like to see your craft evolve in the next few years? NR: As a ceramicist, I work in three dimensions but reproductions of the work are only circulated in two dimensions, reflecting the limitations of print reproduction and the conventional methods of digital imaging. A system which could capture and produce three dimensional models of such work would greatly facilitate lecturing and dissemination of work. Digital models can be moved and animated in ways that a fragile ceramic piece cannot, allowing viewers to gain a much more ‘mobile’ view of the work than could be achieved in a standard gallery setting. Access to three dimensional models would help students to understand and visualize the pieces.

What is studio pottery? NR: Studio pottery is made by modern artists working alone or in small groups,

lakshmipratury After two weeks of travel, am glad to be back in Bangalore 17

Rising Stars




Ek Karkhana is a striking line of apparel, accessories and furnishings created, quite appropriately, in a little workshop!

When Preeti Wanchoo, a post graduate in apparel design from National Institute of Design, and two of her friends began searching for a workshop for their joint venture, they stumbled upon an “unusual, strikingly odd yet warm space near a strange palm tree in the middle of a chaotic market in Mumbai”. It was perfect for what they had in mind – a space to create a label that appealed to their common design sensibilities. “While giving directions to people who wanted to locate us we couldn’t help but say ‘ek karkhana nariyal ke jhaad ke paas’ (a workshop near the palm tree),” says Preeti. “It became almost like our identity! We put together an enthusiastic team of craftsmen who have the same drive as us and call this space or karkhana their own. And we adopted the name naturally.” The Ek Karkhana label stands for ‘individualistic, contemporary and finely crafted design expression, inspired by the use of Indian crafts and textiles in modern sensibilities’. Preeti and her partners create a wide and colorful array of products ranging from garments to accessories and home furnishings, all of them displaying strong Indian, and often tribal inspired, motifs. “Ek Karkhana is the center point of our ideas, where we get together to create a product line which we truly believe in,” says Preeti. “We are inspired by travel, movies, art, Indian crafts and textiles...people from various walks of life that we interact with and their inspiring stories. It all comes together and is very inspiring. We love what we are doing and emphasize on good craftsmanship in our design.” While Ek Karkhana products are currently available through exhibitions, the idea is to reach out to high end stores. The line may originate in a little workshop but it’s destined for a much wider market. For the passionate young designers, it’s the unfolding of a dream they first saw as fledgling students. “And this is just the beginning,” they say, perhaps prophetically.

atulkasbekar Love this poster! ‘The Dirty Picture’ I wanna watch...!” 18 POOL | 10.11 | #16 19

Prasoon Pandey, Director, Corcoise Films, is known for his famous ‘One Black Coffee’ advertising film for Sony Ericsson. In the first part of a free-wheeling chat with POOL, the world famous, and India’s most awarded, ad filmmaker tells us why he is no fan of mobile phones, and why he would pay money to make films!

calamur the point of a maun vrat is inward contemplation & communication with the paramatman. not dumb charades on new media to audiences. 20 POOL | 11.11 | #17


Cover Story

FILMS! Why did you shift from print design, which you studied at the National Institute of Design, to filmmaking? PP: Everyone has some sort of inclination. Even before I went to NID, I was designing things for people - logos, brochures, letter heads, etc. I did this without realizing there was a science behind it. I was also doing a lot of theater, and I was interested in architecture and music. When I went to NID I realized that one part of that - called Graphic Design - was given to me in a holistic way. At some point of time I realized in films I could satisfy all my interests. Theater can be joined to films, Graphic Design can be utilized in it as well, and architecture can be used in designing, say for example, an art deco set. I just got drawn into films. When I graduated from NID I did not realize I would become a filmmaker. I started working for Lintas, and started writing copy for advertising films.

What was it like working at Lintas? PP: Lintas came for a placement interview at NID, and they offered me a job. When I read the details of the letter I realized the job was in Mumbai. I did not want to go there - I was very clear I wanted to stay in Delhi. I told them I did not want the job, and started applying to other ad agencies. Meanwhile, Sonal Dabral (another NID alumnus) called me from Lintas Delhi and said, “I have to do a film in Rajasthan. Can you come and help us brainstorm the soundtrack for the film?” So I went to Lintas, and started jamming with Sonal. One thing led to the other; they really liked the way Sonal and I worked together and asked me if I could join them. So I became ‘kind of a copy guy’ because I started writing purely for films; I never wrote copy for print. What work do you remember from your time in Delhi? PP: There was a film I wrote for Monte Carlo, to the George Benson track ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You’. The film turned out very good and Alyque Padamsee asked me to come down to Mumbai and work for Lintas there. I was married by then, and told Lintas they would need to give me a house and a car. So, they had to upgrade my position and I came to Mumbai as a Creative Director. How does Mumbai’s advertising culture differ from Delhi’s? PP: Mumbai even then was the Mecca of Advertising. In the two years that I was in Lintas Delhi, I spent almost a year in Mumbai, shooting films. In Delhi it was more about the business of advertising, how many accounts you were winning; whereas Mumbai was fantastic! The brightest people in advertising had to come and shine in Mumbai. Here you pursued creativity right till the end. It did not matter if you won the account or not. What counted was if you were making something fantastic at the end or not.

How long were you in Lintas before you became a fullfledged filmmaker? PP: I was in Lintas for seven years. When they brought me to Mumbai they did not know what exactly to do with me. I was the Creative Director for Special Projects. So, I did not work on one specific brand, I worked on films for everybody, for all the Lintas offices. They used to ask me to write the film script first and then create print ads based on that. I used to work on a lot of freaky and mad stuff, such as TATA Estate with Roshan Seth, where he turns out to be a driver.

I also worked for Bajaj Sunny, which ended up being my first film. It’s about how some African tribals notice the Sunny and they think it is an animal, so they want to hunt it down, kill it and eat it. When one of the tribals jumps on the bike, it kick-starts and he ends up riding it. He becomes the leader of the team, as the others feel he has tamed the bike! I narrated it to Rajiv (Bajaj), and he loved the idea. He asked me who was going to direct it, and I told him I would find someone who was excited about it. He said, “You will not find anyone who is as excited as you were when you narrated it. So will you direct it?” I agreed. That became my first film as a director. That was in 1993, and it kick-started my career as a film director. I was still a part of Lintas but wasn’t sure if I wanted to become an independent director. At the IAFPA (Indian Advertising Film Producers Association) Awards, it won awards for Best Debut Director, Best Director, Best Script, Best Sound Design, Best Film, and Best Cinematography. In one shot it propelled my career. I started getting calls from other agencies to make films. So that was the time I decided to quit. What happened after you quit? PP: I did not quit that easily! I told Lintas I wanted to quit and start directing. Lintas asked me why I didn’t direct films for them. I felt that such a tie-up would be working towards mediocrity rather than excellence since all of the Lintas films would come to me. Besides, even Lintas would be tied down they would have to give all their films to me. It was not an ideal arrangement; yes, we both may excel but the comfort would kill us both. I wanted to be in a business where I am only as good as my last film. So, I said I need to go, and they asked me to give them only four days in a month, while keeping my house, salary and car. I felt very good that I did not have to worry about not making money as they were giving me everything. We had this arrangement for a year. And that really helped me get started.

paavani finally gonna download ios 5! Hoping a speedy download because everyone is done :D 21

What is the most exciting part of filmmaking? PP: I enjoy every part. I am so glad we are getting to do what we love to do and someone is paying us to do it. Because it’s such fun, I would pay money to do it. I enjoy every part - I don’t like missing out on anything. When I go to the set I enjoy the set building part. The boys have to remind me I have to leave for a meeting. When I go to a sound recording studio, it’s fantastic - it’s such a gorgeous day, you’re creating music, and of course dealing with actors. In cinematic style I like emotions, I like performances, and of course humor. Little demented is my style. I like things which are mad. I don’t like to do things with a lot of special effects. I don’t think I have done too much of post-heavy films.

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What difference has technology made to films? PP: The soul of it has not changed, but a hell of a lot has changed! We can do things a lot faster. So many formats have changed since we were in NID, like the beta format, which was fighting with VHS, low band, high band. Then came digital. Full life cycles have changed. And yet, you can only do a few things better, sharper, faster. Some of the better films that are made are very, very simple. Does new technology excite you? PP: Not really. I think I am a guy who accepts new technology very reluctantly. Amongst my friends I was the last to get a cell phone. Even now I don’t like it bothering me. I think 95% of the time it’s on silent mode. I want it to be an instrument where when I need to call someone I can. I don’t want it to be

an instrument where when you need me I am there. I don’t want it to stop my thinking process. Like when I am in the car I am thinking and observing people, things around me - that’s where ideas come from. I think I am the last guy amongst my friends to get on the Internet. I am also the last guy to go digital – I still avoid it because it does not have the latitude. When you are shooting outdoors it can’t deal with the brightness of the sky as well as the shadows. By the time I get into all this I know they will fix all these problems. So I am a bit slow when it comes to technology. Do you find that designers either do very well in advertising or quit because it is not their cup of tea? PP: To each his own. During our NID days, there was an unwritten understanding that good design really

needs to be about development and socially relevant. And I used to beg to differ with that opinion. That should be a personal choice, whether you like it or not. As a design school we should be taught to be the best designers. You should not be ashamed to design for the rich and the famous. Design school should not tell you that designing for the poor is better than designing for the rich. Design school should tell you what good design is. Designers are problem solvers. Both can have problems - the poor and the rich. If there is a problem then the design school should tell you what is the best design solution – and that is the only way they should evaluate it. I remember when I.C. Joseph from L&T came to NID for a talk. He said, “Design is a bit like law and designers are a bit like lawyers. Whoever’s job comes to you, you have to give it your best shot. If the lawyer starts judging if you are good or bad then the whole system will collapse, the case will not reach the judge. So you should take every job with the same fervor and say that you are going to give it your best shot.”

He is a guy who has great belief and he likes doing socially relevant work. And I respect his work. He would find all this very flippant, where we are making ads for undergarments. The premise we are selling also is very flippant, where we have Shahrukh Khan or Salman Khan selling the undergarment. So it’s not what the undergarment can do for you, it’s selling an image. I can understand why he can find it flippant. At the same time I always believe that when people talk about roti, kapda and makkan (food, clothing and shelter), they are missing it. I don’t think that’s all you need. There is an emotional need for entertainment and laughter. If that was not so, why do people dread solitary confinement in a jail? There they are getting all three - roti, kapda and makkan. Why do they go mad? Because they are

not allowed to talk to anyone; they are not able to share a joke. So, I believe that advertising is a necessity, otherwise I would not be in this field. While some people would not be comfortable in it, I thrive in it. People would say ‘how can you tempt a guy with an expensive car when he cannot afford two square meals?’ If the guy wants to get tempted, that’s his choice. If the guy decides to skip one meal, and buy a Cadbury with that money because he liked the ad, that’s his choice. I cannot be held morally responsible for his decision. That is his emotional need. If mankind was happy with roti, kapda and makkan we would still be sitting in caves today. This is what makes mankind different from the rest of the animals. Two million years back the birds were

What happens is that some people like the idea that design should be socially relevant. Those people will never fit into advertising, as advertising is not socially relevant, in fact it’s probably socially irrelevant. So, when they join advertising they feel a little disillusioned. And yet, I think advertising is a very valid career option for designers. I think advertising needs people with those kinds of sensitivities. Do you think that advertising is socially relevant now? PP: It depends on what that person’s psyche is. If you take Sagarmoy Paul for example - he would die in an ad agency. 23



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such incredible designers. They designed intricate nests. But they decided to just be happy with roti, kapda and makkan. But mankind wasn’t happy just living in caves, so we decided to put in a door; then we decided to create hinges, which we could make with brass finish, brush finish and shining metal. Then, we felt hot inside the cave so we decided to install an air conditioner. Now it’s blocking my window so let’s make it a split AC… How has your perception of filmmaking changed since you first began making films? PP: When I am shooting the first shot I am as nervous today as I was then - maybe a little more nervous than I used to be then. There was a youthful bravado then, and you jumped into anything. But now the fear of failure creeps into you; the fear of whether you will be able to deliver. The more you get to know, the more scared you get. Otherwise cinema continues to be as intriguing as it used to be then. I still love watching other people’s films - that student in me has not gone. And I still do those exercises I used to do in NID. If I really like a sequence then I switch off the sound and just look at the visual. Then I switch off the visual and listen to the sound. It’s great fun - you realize what has gone into it. Otherwise it’s such a powerful medium that you are incapable of studying it - it just envelops you and sucks you in and transports you into that time, and you forget that you wanted to study it! You have made 300 films; you have won all the awards that are to be won; you are one of the top 20 filmmakers in the world. What’s next? PP: I have not won an Oscar yet, so that would be one thing left. Feature films are on the cards.

How are feature films different from what you are doing now? PP: A feature film is a larger canvas. It’s a slightly different game. It would be a bit like painting a hoarding vs. painting a miniature. That’s the difference between advertising films and feature films. That does not mean that if you are good at one you will be good at the other. In a commercial you have to be as precise as you can, since you have to somehow communicate the whole story in those 30-50 seconds, which is a very compressed time. Also, you need to be flawless - it’s a piece of cinema that is going to be seen again and again, so you cannot afford to make a mistake. You will get caught.

Obviously I do not want to make the type of feature films that are there today. My script is already written but it’s a different kind of film.

I like to hide something in my advertising films, but if you watch a film 10 times or 40 times you will get bored. I would like to put something in there so that you will not get bored. There has to be enough happening that you may not catch in your first viewing but you do in your next. This does not mean you are making a jigsaw puzzle - you are just hiding some embellishments. The core message should be communicated in the first viewing, otherwise who is going to pay for it? For example in the Ericsson ad ‘One Black Coffee’, when the lady says, “One black coffee, please,” a plate breaks behind her. So many people came to me and said they caught that. There are times when people do not catch little things, which I thought they would. In a feature film you have to make sure you can maintain a story for 90 minutes. You define your characters, you do not pre-define them. You get to know what kind of guy he is by the choices he makes as the film goes on. In advertising you cannot do this in 30 seconds.

nithinkd KD The designer boy who was a slug for a long time has just become super productive..I see the recent breakup has worked well for him :D” 25

Fashion ‘Raw, complex and sincere’ are the words Gaurav Jai Gupta uses to describe his work. Studio Akaaro gives him the opportunity to showcase designs that do tend to fit this description rather well. He uses new and interesting hand woven materials to create contemporary work, enjoying the process of experimenting as much as his clients do the end product. “I have a very open approach when it comes to design,” he says. “With design intervention I am making things relevant to today’s times. One of the main challenges we face in our country today is of stereotyping and encapsulation of crafts and craft led fashion vis-à-vis exploitation in the craft sector in the name of NGOs and rehabilitation. Design intervention is required to a large extent within a contemporary format to re-generate interest and elevate the craft to an iconic platform. The fact that the need to sustain craft skills is as important as developing a contemporary language to develop merchandise around design skills is of vital importance.” His own efforts in that direction are significant. “Akaaro started with a limited edition annual scarves line which has now been extended to seasonal women’s wear and home lines. The word akaaro has its origins in a Sanskrit word that means the letter ‘a’. The philosophy of the brand is to revive appreciation for contemporary hand woven Indian textiles,” explains Gaurav.


BEGINNING Gaurav Jai Gupta of New Delhi based Studio Akaaro uses hand woven fabric to make a subtle if strikingly contemporary statement Sudhir_indi they dont care for Anna or any body… 26 POOL | 11.11 | #17

Even in a country like India with a long tradition of woven textiles, this is not easy. “Woven textiles strongly lack visible innovation in handlooms and have not been exploited to their maximum. The complications and the long process discourage people to take up wovens as their first discipline,” rues the designer. “At Akaaro we make contemporary woven textiles and then transform them into products. My endeavour to experiment with different regional materials alongside unconventional materials has resulted in successful products like the Stainless Steel fabric, which in itself is a demonstration of what can be achieved with handlooms and basic woven techniques. It simply signifies the importance of handcrafting before machines. The fabrics that we weave are all engineered and not trend driven. Primary research is carried out for every collection which then further gets developed into fabric lengths out of the same warp. Our fabrics are experimental in nature and become the starting point for the clothes we make.”

The New Delhi based Akaaro was set up in late 2007. “Before this I worked as a trend forecaster from India for PREVIEW which was commissioned by The Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin’s London,” says Gaurav, who trained in Woven Textiles at Chelsea College of Art and Design London, and attended ANAT Paris for a brief period as a part of exchange program. His debut was at ORIGIN The London Craft Fair in 2007, where he is a regular at now. “I have shown my work at very few shows,” he reveals. “I am very careful about where I show my designs. I have done exhibitions which are curated. The only trade shows I have done are Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in Delhi, and Capsule Paris. I have also shown in Manchester at Great Contemporary Northern Craft Fair, and Wales and Swansea in England. Outside the UK I have shown in Paris and Tokyo.”

Issey Miyake, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Junichi Arai, and Martin Margiela are some of the designers that inspire him. “It’s tough to get inspired. At times I just approach my work in a very methodical way. To set up briefs for yourself in itself is very challenging,” he says. “Things like cinema, urban landscape, and music influence my work…basically I think its sound and vision that inspires me.” Whatever the inspiration, his creations tend to tell a story that will need many more alphabets than the letter ‘a’ to spell!

The young designer’s work is targeted at people with a ‘love for things handmade and textiles’. “I don’t design with any market in mind but I get a very good response from London and have been repeatedly asked to show in Japan,” he admits, “The biggest challenge is to push the idea amongst weavers of making something new without reference to anything, and sustaining the whole economics of running a textiles and fashion label. It was a challenge to develop a physical studio and introduce the concept of studio weaving.” It was Gaurav’s own training as a weaver that helped him remove the fears of insecurity amongst the weavers. “I was able to import a traditional handloom with a master weaver from the naxal areas of west Bengal to Delhi,” he reveals. “The next challenge lay in habilitating the weaver in the urban set-up of Delhi and getting work started, as Delhi is too tough a climate for weaving. After the initial hard work of almost a year we now are a young and thriving design studio which sees visits from patrons of woven textiles from across the world.” He’s justifiably proud today. Of the future, the young designer refuses to make any commitments. “You learn every moment, every day. It’s tough to say how my work will evolve in the next three years. For now I have set up a weave studio at Sushant School of Design which I am heading. I also work a lot with students from NID, Pearl, Srishti, NIFT, and SSD.” 27

Blogger Meena Kadri explores the gamut, from random to specific, through her thought provoking blog What is your background? MK: I have a BA in Anthropology, and Masters in Design from RMIT, Melbourne. Currently I live in Edge of Paradise, New Zealand where I work as a Communications Strategist and run a consultancy called Random Specific. My main client is IDEO – I work as Cross-pollinator on OpenIDEO, which mainly involves community management and framing community behavioral insights for the interaction design team to design for a platform which is constantly in beta. These days I’m often drawn to projects involving ethnography, cultural insights research, and co-creation with an additional focus on Design for Social Innovation. I also have a keen interest in street photography and typography. Plus I take up random, new hobbies from time to time. Why did you start blogging? MK: About three years ago I was feeling unsatisfied with working in advertising so it just started as an outlet for stuff I was thinking about. As I realised there was a resonance for some of what I was writing about, I gained the confidence to set up my own consultancy, bringing together my background in Anthropology and Design. Living out on a limb in New Zealand, blogging was an important way for me to engage global audiences and projects. Why do you call it ‘Random Specific’? MK: I like connecting seemingly opposed concepts. A former colleague of mine had an exhibition design company called ‘Real Façade’, which I always found clever. ‘Random Specific’ also describes the way I’m attracted to projects, topics and obsessions, which might be either highly specific or wildly random – all underpinned by a curiosity which is at times about depth and at others about breadth. You could just call it being deeply shallow! What topics do you tackle on your blog? MK: I’ve set out to explore the intersection of communication, culture and creativity. That gives me the scope to delve into a hell of a lot of things I’ve been

Design_Week Loewy consultancies Branded and Williams Murray Hamm have launched collaborative offer Branded at WMH” 28 POOL | 11.11 | #17

interested in, plus to discover new topics I haven’t considered previously. How much time do you spend working on your blog? MK: I used to post weekly but these days, I spend a lot of time intensely online with OpenIDEO, and have been posting a lot less. A girl’s gotta have some balance! I’ve been experimenting with doing quickfire posts called Quick-Pic Tuesdays where I post images I’ve taken, and associated insights. I tend to blog more when I’m in India as there’s just such a wealth of content there and I really try and pack in as much exploration as I can on my annual visits. Were you a published writer before you started your blog? MK: I’d been an occasional writer for lifestyle magazines in Hong Kong, the Guardian, and Monocle magazine, and had done my fair share of academic writing. I’ve got to say I do like having stuff up online (not necessarily only on my blog) as it has a much wider reach than print and hangs around for longer. I really think twice these days when asked to write for publications that only appear in print. I also think that blogging allows you to take deeper explorations to a wider audience than academic publishing, and feel the academic world really needs to take a long hard look at the veil of exclusivity it hides behind.

when I’m cross-pollinating on a number of platforms and use Facebook and Twitter to bring in site visitors. I get hits from folks like Design Observer who I write for and other sites who profile my work. I’m especially grateful to desi bloggers who promote my work – it’s a good feeling to be part of a flourishing desi-blogging scene. Oh – and my mother keeps sending out emails to all her friends! Is your blog an effective marketing tool for you? MK: For sure! People who have interesting projects often find me via my blog or I can prove myself to them by pointing them there. And social media helps. I actually got my job with OpenIDEO through Twitter. What tips would give a budding blogger? MK: Write often, especially when you’re starting out. Check your site stats

to see what’s pulling the most attention and from where. Network with other bloggers – this nurtures your online community. Use social media to both support your blog and to explore what others are blogging about – it’s about talking and listening at the same time. What does the future hold? MK: Living my life in beta! It’s less about having fixed plans as having an adaptive attitude to challenges and opportunities that arise. I’m not keen on being boxed in by a single discipline of expertise – hence the name Random Specific and obscure professional terms like Cross-pollinator. What is your key learning from blogging? MK: You can engage in global conversations and professional pursuits from New Zealand!

Blogs allow you to test engagement with your writing, showcase your style and scope, plus encourage you to build up a body of work. How do you drive traffic to your blog? MK: Wordpress offers pretty effective SEO straight up. I often point to my blog 29


MA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE & PLANNING Brief Overview Established in Bhopal in 1962, and previously known as Maulana Azad College of Technology (MACT), the MA National Institute of Technology (MANIT) was founded by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and named after the famous academician and ex-Education Minister Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. It was one of the eight Regional Engineering Colleges established to bring India together by reserving 50% seats for the home state and 50% for the rest of India. In 2002 MACT was converted into the MA National Institute of Technology (NIT), fully funded by the Central government under the Ministry of Human Resources (MHRD). The Department of Architecture and Planning (DAP) awards degrees in architecture and urban planning. Vision To produce skilled manpower of the highest quality, and meet the challenges of the ever evolving industrial needs of the country. Faculty MITID has a very good mix of senior, middle and junior level faculty, including 35 permanent faculty members from reputed institutes such as NID, IIT, and IDC. Visiting faculty, comprising industry experts, number 60.

Campus The Institute is located on a verdant 650-acre campus on a beautiful plateau in the heart of Bhopal. It has eight hostels with excellent food and lodging facilities and 24-hour security; and a computer centre, energy centre, canteen, workshops, athletic ground, and an open air auditorium. Number of Students MANIT has 2,000 students, of which 380 belong to the DAP. Number of Graduates Over the last 50 years the DAP has produced 1,200 graduates in architecture, working in India and abroad; 50 urban planners; and 12 doctorates. Courses Offered: The DAP offers a 5-year B. Arch degree course in Architecture, MUDP (Master in Urban Development Planning), and Ph.D. programs in Urban Design, Landscape Design, Energy and Environmental Planning, Urban Planning, Transportation Planning, and Regional Planning. Other Activities The DAP conducts regular Design Workshops for students.

Admission Procedure The admission process is in two phases: Admission to the undergraduate course is done exclusively through the All India Entrance Exam for Engineering (AIEEE). Foreign students are admitted through the DASA and the embassies of various countries as per Government of India rules. The notification for the AIEEE is issued in December / January and the exam is conducted in April every year. Qualified candidates are registered for online central counseling in June-end / July for institutions all over India, including MANIT, Bhopal.

ADDRESS: Department of Architecture and Planning, MA National Institute of Technology, Bhopal 462051, India

Contact: Dr. Rekha Jain, Head of Department Phone : (020) 3069 3600, Fax: (020) 3069 3601, Email: |

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FIRST ANNUAL A compilation of 12 POOL Magazine issues, this hard bound, 400-page annual showcases the Indian Design World and More... Details: Log on to

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November POOL 2011  

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