POOL April 2012

Page 1

April 2012 | # 22 Indian edition

Supported by

“Too much attachment to one’s work sometimes creates a problem in dealing with criticism but that’s a very integral part of our profession.”

“I am curious and I like discovering things. I have a million interests. I love serendipity, poetry and the idea of love.”

Avirup Basu 27

Kavita Rayirath 32

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

TOY DESIGN Suhasini Paul 14

CALLIGRAPHY Amit Kharsani 16

18

Aman Nath

FASHION Meera Mittal 30 POOL TIMES Gouri Agtey Athale 03

Photographed by Sudhir Sharma

CRAFT Anand Prakash 04

AWARDS Rebrand 08

PHOTOGRAPHER Nidhi Singhvi 24



Advisors

Top Driver

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 Designer / Strategist, Ideo, USA

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

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 sudhir@indidesign.in

Finance Kuldeep Harit Deepak Gautam

Copy Editor Ashvina Vakil

Art & Design Pradeep Goswami Swapnil Gaikwad Sayali Lonkar

Design Coordinator Shriya Nagi Research Team Rajlaxmi Datta rajlaxmi@indidesign.in Vaibhav Mohite Triveni Sutar Layout & Production Pradeep Arora Satyajeet Harpude Subscription & Logistics Seema Sharma subscribe@poolmagazine.in

Sudhir at the IIID Showcase, Mumbai

Almost always you can judge the importance of a design project by knowing who the design team is interacting with at the client’s end. The outcome of any project shows the talent of the design team, but it also reflects the clarity of the client team. In one way or the other every project outcome is what the client is. Decision makers at the client’s end are as important as designers in the design team. Once a project is out in the public for people to experience, it spells out the client’s taste, his judgements, and of course, impacts his business. Designers don’t get to choose these decision makers. And we all know that these decision makers have other priorities. Budgets, timelines, bosses, office politics, personal limitations and many more things weigh on their mind.. I am sure almost all designers land up teaching the design process to their client teams. If they were not part of the team that decided to work with you, they may actually doubt your competence. It is always a difficult task to get selected by one team, get briefed by another team, and then get judged by yet another team. This invariably puts more pressure on design teams and obviously takes longer to execute projects. Designers need to create their own systems to deal with this variance from clients. Perhaps it is important to have a briefing from the team that will be involved in decision making too. It is important to create ownership of projects within client teams. You are lucky if you get to work with CEOs or decision makers directly. Working with CEOs has its own advantages – they rarely accept mediocre output, and they can twist and allocate resources that may be crucial for the success of the project. Most importantly, when they learn something better they are open to you modifying their briefs. Moreover, you can be assured that the client team is not lapping up all the good luck that a successful project generates. Focus on doing good projects with good teams. The client team is as important as your own team; invest time and resources in them. A successful project will always take you a step higher if not many together. Your conduct, attitude and behavior will play a major role in creating equations with the client team. A good design team will get rewarded with more jobs and perhaps better jobs, and a better reputation. A good client team will get rewarded with a good reputation and promotions. The design team is only one half of a successful project…a good client team is the other half. Sudhir Sharma Editor in Chief sudhir@indidesign.in Publisher INDI Design Pvt Ltd www.indidesign.in

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.

Digital Manish Kori Marianna Korniienko Aboli Kanade Marketing Arjun Samaddar arjun@indidesign.in Tarun Thakkar Assistants Yamanappa Dodamani Shailesh Angre Pranil Gaikwad

April 2012 | # 22 Indian Edition

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E

April 2012

POOL TIMES

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Gouri Agtey Athale takes a brief look at news beyond design! (Currently a freelance journalist, Gouri has

worked with leading publications for over 25 years.)

CRICKET takes centre-stage March came in with a roar and what a roar that was! First, the cricket-mad country went crazy over Rahul `The Wall’ Dravid’s decision to call it a day. This was followed in quick succession by Sachin Tendulkar hitting his 100th century in international cricket. Both news stories sent the country into its usual cricket frenzy. Remember, cricket is a huge money spinner, be it from television broadcast rights (which alone are worth over Rs. 32 crore per match!)

GDP TO RISE The Economic Survey 2012, spelling out the direction of the national economy, had some surprises, claiming a growth in GDP for the next two years. This surprise, which declared hopes of spring after a wintry three fiscal quarters, registering a fall in actual GDP numbers, received a tepid response. Given that the earlier GDP growth figures had gone hugely awry, this was no surprise, because everyone’s becoming skeptical of numbers that the government puts out. An annual document, the Economic Survey is tabled a day before the

to endorsements to merchandise. Rahul Dravid’s retirement means the end of an era and Tendulkar’s 100th century only ensures his presence in the international cricket hall of fame, if such a thing exists. Such is Tendulkar’s standing that he quickly swamped the news, blanking out events such as the sordid political drama with a political party chief calling for the head of a party colleague, namely the union railway minister. Union Budget for the next fiscal and has come to be regarded as a policy indicator on the government’s direction on key policy issues.

The Economic Survey 2011-12 stated that GDP growth will be 7.6% and 8.6% in the next two years, something that the stock market does not believe since the BSE sensitive index, or Sensex, fell 243 points after the government revealed this document. The Survey also stressed that services would be the key driver of the economy, build up forex reserves, check rupee volatility, and raise tax-GDP ratio to 13% in the next four years from current levels of 10.5%.

Lining up for ‘Luxury’

While pundits agonized over the hikes in service and excise duties, global luxury goods makers continued to bet on the Indian rich. Among the latest was Robert Cavalli, the Italian fashion house, which announced that rich young Indians were its targeted segment. While this segment is being targeted in the metros of Mumbai and Delhi, global luxury goods makers are also expected to hold road shows in smaller metros where there is an untapped but hungry market for such goods and services.

India’s luxury goods market is variously estimated at being worth Euro 0.8 billion last year, by an association of the Italian luxury goods industry, to over US $4.76 billion (`21,712 crore) by an Indian consultancy in 2010.

BLAND BUDGET Along with the Economic Survey came the Union Railway budget, which talked of a growth path for this critical infrastructure sector. However, the excitement was short lived; the question was whether the railways, a backbone of the economy, had a future since the government decided to roll back proposed fare hikes. These passenger fare hikes came after a period of no fare hikes and were needed to put in place critical safety features. The fare hikes would help growth in the most heavily used segments of the rail network.

The day after the Railway Budget is the presentation of the Union Budget, a document that spells government policy for the next fiscal. This year, as in the previous year, there was no path breaking move, especially to curb non-productive subsidies. In fact, the much anticipated fuel subsidy regime, under which diesel enjoys a substantial subsidy, remained untouched. Prices of all goods and services however, have risen thanks to the announcement of a 2% increase in excise duties and a widening of the service tax, bringing in more services within the tax net.

OFFSHORE TAX ONUS

The government’s plan to tax offshore deals retrospectively along with a proposed General AntiAvoidance Rule (GAAR) continues to make waves. As part of GAAR, foreign financial institutions, or FIIs, are reported to be considering shifting base from Mauritius to Singapore or similar locations where government-to-government norms on taxation are clearly laid down. At the root of the move is the government’s aim to collect tax on deals where the underlying assets are physically located in India.

More in the offing

FILM FOCUS

It is not just global high end retailers who are looking at the Indian market: Indian retailers in the mass segment are also reviewing their footprint. Some, like the Aditya Birla group’s More, which had initially rolled out a large number of stores and then closed down a substantial number, is now reviewing its plans. News reports suggest that it will come back with a bang. The Future group, regarded as the country’s premier multi brand retailer, is also looking at financial viability, for which it is in talks with global financial partners, who can help it retire some of its debt.

For the week ending March 24, Indians proved their love for their own brands, going by the box office receipts for movies. Three of the top five grossers were Hindi (the compilation included only Hindi and English movies). The five top grossing films were `Kahaani’, having collected `17.66 crore since release; `Paan Singh Tomar’ with `6.27 crore; ‘Tere Naam Love Ho Gaya’ at Rs. 5.84 crore; `John Carter’ at `4 crore; and `This Means War’ at fifth place with ` 51.82 lakh.

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Crafts

the

TRAIL Self-taught designer and entrepreneur Anand Prakash creates functional works of art from paper and metal across the globe; who design limited editions of papers for us. How does paper inspire you? AP: Paper is my first love and I have now been working with it for the last 10 years. I start from the raw materials that go into making the paper and go right up to the final product. I love the versatility of handmade paper and I have experimented with a variety of raw-materials that go into making our beautiful papers. I have also researched it and know the strengths and weaknesses of it. I have also consciously used recycled handmade paper for the last 10 years; having spent 12 years in the hills of Mussoorie, eco-friendliness was something that was ingrained in me a part of life. I use a variety of paper and have very strong paper units that work on my whims and fancies. I have launched spice paper, a paper with cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf; papers with cow-dung and a variety of natural fibers and raw materials. We now have over 200 varieties of paper from across the world. In the many years that I have been working, I have forged alliances with many artists and designers

I have now moved beyond paper to metal, which is my second love. My family business is in metal and as a child I worked with this medium at our factory workshop in the school holidays. Lately my love for metal is on the rise and I am devoting a lot of time to it. I particularly like working with brass, steel and aluminum. I have developed a hugely successful business in this medium too and my intricately-cut bookmarks can be found across the globe. You are a self-taught designer… AP: I belong to Daltonganj, a small nondescript town in Jharkhand, and studied at Wynberg Allen, a boarding school in Mussoorie. Teachers at the school encouraged the best in us; the mantra was all-round development and slowly I realized my knack and potential for craft and design. Even though art and design was a big nono back home, I was encouraged by the teachers to do it on the side. I came down to Delhi to do my economics honors but it did not interest me and I started out with making bookmarks and cards for friends. This humble beginning with a sheet of paper and a pair of scissors was the turning point in my life. I applied to NID but was rejected because my age was over the prescribed limit. I

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then progressed to making cards by night and trying to sell them during the day. After many refusals from shopkeepers the owner of Full Circle Bookstore bought some of my work and encouraged me to sell through her store. I was still an amateur and needed to learn the finer nuances of design and manufacturing. I worked at night and during the day I sat in the bookstore reading books on art, craft and design as I could not afford to buy them. I soaked in as much as I could and tried the techniques back at home at night. When did you set up your own studio? AP: I wanted to be different and bring new concepts and ideas to everyday products. Initially I made everything on my own and this went on for a year. Slowly albeit steadily the expats took a liking to my work and come Christmas it started flying of the shelves. I hired a domestic helper who doubled-up as my assistant and we both made lots of paper products. With time I visited a printing press owned by a friend’s cousin and learnt the basics of manufacturing. In a few years my family got to know of my secret enterprise - all along I had been telling them that I was preparing for an MBA! My father then sat me down and said, “Ok if this is what you want to do then do it the right way!” He helped me start my company and to register with all the required government agencies and I formally shifted to a new address


with a set of employees. By now my work was progressing well because I came up with out of the box ideas and concepts and quality was something I never compromised. My aim was to do something different from what was already in the market. I wanted to create a market for myself and even today I am competing only with myself. My uniqueness is my USP, be it my art or the way I do business. What do you create in your studio? AP: My studio is my prayer hall, where I devotedly work on a number of products and ranges. I have consciously decided to specialize in stationery and lifestyle products. I patiently take days, months and years to see them through. I am a hands-on designer and it’s a joy to create something with them. Lately I have adopted technology in terms of tablets, workstations, multi functions, tools, dyes and software. I look for new ideas and concepts to bring to existing products and to make them more fun, informative and enjoyable. When I look at a design, it’s a quick decision if I like it or not and this hunch has stood me in good stead. I now employ a variety of techniques and research to come to the same conclusion because now my work has grown and people have huge expectations. Every range or design that I work on does not see the light of day because eventually what matters is if the product passes my stringent tests of quality and if at all it can be a successful product. Half our designs are rejected because they cannot be manufactured on a larger scale and are not feasible in terms of costs. It is very easy to develop a design and concept but the difficulty and success lies in its execution, fabrication and our manufacturing ability. Each product has to be perfect in every form.

that’s helped me grow exponentially. I work for 14 hours some days but I enjoy every bit of it as I am passionate about what I am doing. What has been the biggest challenge in setting up your own studio? AP: The biggest challenge was acceptance; nobody thought when I started as a 22-year-old that I was serious about what I was doing. Setting up base in Delhi without anything was itself a challenge and then there was the lack of information on how to go about doing business. Another problem was getting people to notice my work, which itself was new and different. Acceptance came slowly as I was consistent in my work and designs. It is difficult for creative entrepreneurs to get their first break. A lack of ecosystem in India for creative entrepreneurs makes things difficult. I did not have a peer group where I could get help and support. What is your work set-up? AP: My employees are like family - they are all relatives of employees working at my family business in Jharkhand. Some were rickshaw pullers and daily wage laborers and I have trained them over the years. Most of my employees don’t work for only money but also out of respect and the challenges that come up regularly due to my unorthodox designs and madness for perfection. It is ingrained in our employees to do quality work; if anything goes wrong they are not penalized but asked to put away

the damaged pieces. I believe that it is human to err. This in turn raises my cost of production and eventually the cost of the product. But when I bring innovative designs and concepts to the market, selling is never a problem. My suppliers too are like an extended family; I have a policy of working with one supplier in each field. I carefully choose the people I want to work with. I forge relationships for the long term and also take it as my responsibility to be by them in their time of need. Last year a lot of my paper suppliers did not have work and I placed orders for papers that I did not immediately need. It is my responsibility to take care of them in their times of need and in return I expect and demand the highest quality of work. I do not compromise on quality - materials of inferior quality are retuned without batting an eyelid and it is here that again my cost of production increases. I pay extra for everything that comes to us because good quality does not come cheap. How do you sell your work? AP: Having to start from scratch I toyed with every idea conceivable - selfpromotion of work, exhibitions, trade fairs, fancy boutiques, etc. Though initially my products were not selling I did not give up. I believe perseverance is very important for entrepreneurs. One should not give up when the going gets tough you never know what the future holds for you. My target market has now grown from niche expats to people of all ages across the world. My focus market is now the whole of India to which I cater through a

I am a fanatical perfectionist and for me presentation, packaging, distribution and branding are as important as the product itself. I have never cut corners in my work and

Handmade journals in indigo dyed cotton

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Headline variety of retail boutiques and lifestyle stores spread across all the major cities. I am also using e-commerce to reach the world directly. Now we sell mostly through retail stores, our e-commerce portal, exhibitions, advertisements and word-of-mouth. The other important market is the foreign tourist who wants to take back an Indian souvenir which is of good quality, design and workmanship. Our pieces fit the bill perfectly and hence are successfully being retailed from airports, boutique hotels and tourist hubs. We also work with many corporates across the country. We have dedicated services for them wherein we customize gifts and products as per their specifications, branding and packaging. What would you say are your strengths? AP: I believe innovation is very important for creative entrepreneurs. I try new concepts and products; I want my products to symbolize something and to have a story behind them. Spice paper, which is a niche product in the hospitality industry, is an example of this. One other aspect that helped me was coming from a business family; I did everything by the book when I started. I got my brand registered, went through all the necessary office work and went about doing things in a systematic way. How do you see your craft evolving? AP: I am moving ahead faster than I can imagine. I believe in doing things the right way and with priority being given to design and innovative concepts, I think the future beckons. I see myself opening standalone Anand Prakash stores where we can share the experience with our customers because it’s not only the product that matters but also the presentation, idea and the story. The customer too has become more receptive to art

compared to some time back and is open to experimenting and spending on things that interest him. I will be working with many more mediums and materials and I will bring them to life with my style and innovation. I also hope to set up a niche hobby school for paper craft, where everything is thought off - right from the pencils that participants use to the detailed craft kits, exclusive tools and raw materials. I want to start a design studio for bespoke stationery and lifestyle products; and a branded Anand Prakash boutique where people can come and experience our products, right from the variety of materials we use to the techniques that go into making them. I hope to hold regular workshops and creative art projects from the same venue. How does your work make a difference to your life? AP: When I work I am detached from all worldly problems and attachments. The sheer joy of not thinking about anything other than what’s there in front of you is ecstasy. I love that I can make a difference in people’s lives, right from my employees and network of suppliers to customers. I am happy to be able to give back to society, especially through my eco-friendly products crafted from handmade paper. Every single day I come to work is a new day with new happenings and projects and I love every moment of it so much that I have to pull myself away every evening. I love the fact that I have complete freedom to work when I want to and with the people I choose. My inspiration is the simple smile on a customer’s face. www.anandprakash.com

HONORARY FELLOWSHIP FOR IISc PROFESSOR

Dr. Amaresh Chakrabarti, a professor at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has been elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Institution of Engineering Designers, UK. Established in 1945 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 2012, the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) is the only organization in the UK that represents those working in the many fields of engineering (and product) design. The highest honor bestowed by the Institution on any individual, for outstanding contribution to the area of engineering design and its education, the Honorary Fellowship has been given to 24 individuals over the past 67 years. Prof. Chakrabarti received this honor for his outstanding contribution to design education in the UK and India, and is the first person based outside the Europe or North America to have done so. He received the certificate from HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, at a felicitation function held at St James Palace, London on 23 February 2012. Prof. Chakrabarti has a BE in Mechanical Engineering from University of Calcutta (Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur); ME in Mechanical Systems Design from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; and PhD in Engineering Design from University of Cambridge, UK. After completing his PhD, Dr. Chakrabarti led for ten years the design synthesis team at the Engineering Design Centre (EDC) at the Department of Engineering of University of Cambridge, before joining IISc. Prof. Chakrabarti has done pioneering work in the area of design research. He founded IDeASLab – the first laboratory in India for research into design creativity, sustainability and product innovation. He is a member of several prestigious organizations and is associated in an editorial capacity with well known journals. He has authored/edited six books, over 220 papers in international journals, conferences and book-chapters, and has five patents and two software copyrights granted/pending. content@poolmagazine.in

Hindi letter range

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Awards

After

PRIZEWINNING

RE POSITIONING This year’s REBRAND 100® Global Awards honored diverse companies from across the world for their excellent brand transformations

www.rebrand.com

1. AVIGNONESI [winner] Country Base: Italy In today’s competitive business scenario, companies across the board find the need to reposition themselves in order to remain financially viable, and in the game. Keeping track of such activities is REBRAND™, the world’s leading resource for case studies on effective brand transformations: the repositioning, revitalizing and redesign of existing brand assets to meet business goals. REBRAND™ is the world’s leading resource for effective brand transformations. The REBRAND 100 Global Awards is the first and most respected recognition for repositioned brands. Featured in such media as The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, various magazines and books, the annual competition has entry deadlines in late September. For the last three years the REBRAND 100 Global Awards have been awarded for the most effective rebranding among companies ranging from multi-national firms to nonprofit organizations, and regional, and local small businesses. Considered to be the highest recognition for excellence in brand repositioning, the REBRAND 100® Global Awards are the first and only such worldwide competition so far. Among the best rebranding efforts this year are:

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Avignonesi is a well-known Vino Nobile di Montepulciano estate in Tuscany, producing Vin Santo - one of the most famous wines in Italy. When Belgian businesswoman Virginie Saverys bought the estate, she completely reorganized Avignonesi, turning it into a biodynamics-driven vineyard and significantly raising the quality of all the wines. She wanted her ideas on respecting the genuineness of the Montepulciano terroir to reflect in all Avignonesi communications. Brand Strategists Duval Guillaume Corporate developed the communication idea that ‘genuineness’ is central to Avignonesi. Underlining the concept was the idea that Avignonesi is a wine that will give great rewards to those willing to invest themselves (producers as well as wine lovers). This idea was ‘translated’ into a brand book and into a range of communication materials: new wine labels and packaging, signs on the barrels, website, mobile devices, etc. The new wines in their totally revised packaging were very well-received by wholesalers, selling out in no time. The brand story, with its focus on respect for the land, has been clearly understood and appreciated by wine lovers worldwide.

Kyoorius Designyatra Ever toyed with the idea of launching a product brand? Read our feature in Kyoorius Magazine to find out what 6 start-up brands did right 8 POOL | 4.12 | #22


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2. COOPER VISION [winner] Country Base: USA US-based CooperVision is the third largest contact lens manufacturer in the world. Despite offering a full range of high-quality contact lenses, it was still thought of as a provider of specialty lenses. It was imperative to build brand awareness and recognition with wearers, as well as practitioners. Brand Strategists Siegel+Gale developed an external brand promise - A Refreshing Perspective. They also developed a statement of organizational purpose - We help improve the way people see each day. CooperVision’s new identity was a success, and the company is well on its way to redefining its role in the contact lens industry.

3. NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE [winner]

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Country Base: Canada The Cantos Music Foundation in Canada was looking to create a new cultural institution called the National Music Centre. The 80,000-square-foot facility would integrate the Cantos Music Collection, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection, recording studios, education and public programming, performance space, public radio broadcasting space, and more. A fresh and all-encompassing brand for the National Music Centre was required. Brand Strategists Cossette created a visual identity for the staff – the five lines that represent the most basic framework of all music. Since launch, the National Music Centre has garnered significant financial and other support.

Hilary Alexander They last long in New Zealand fashion.Just about to see

84year old milliner Lindsay Kennett’s hat show at Dunedin Fashion Week

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4. THE ONE FOUNDATION GLOBAL ETHICS LTD [winner] Country Base: UK Duncan Goose, CEO of The One Foundation – Global Ethics Ltd. took on the task of launching ‘One’, a bottled water with all profits going to provide clean water in Africa. Distribution was a key issue for ‘One’. In 2010 the brand was re-launched with the aim of turning a ‘charity’ brand into a credible consumer brand; drive distribution with major retailers; and ultimately be an ethical brand of choice, positively changing millions of lives.

The re-launch surpassed all expectations: ‘One’ water has already raised £6.2 million to help 1.5 million people: following the brand re-launch, that life-changing impact can now be transferred to new markets and multiplied many times over. Logo - After

Brand Strategists Start J G worked on promoting achievable behavior change with the ‘Do one good thing’ tagline, harnessing the power of everyday purchases. ‘One Pure Water’ was relaunched with the copy: “Natural refreshment for you means new water pumps for Africa. That’s because 100% of our profit helps to fund clean water projects.”

5. NAB PRIVATE WEALTH

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[winner]

Country Base: Australia NAB Private Wealth is one of Australia’s leading private banks supporting. Australians with complex financial needs. The NAB Private Wealth brand identity was deemed to lack edge, and not appeal to the new wealth market. A solution was needed that suggested NAB Private Wealth was more than a private bank; that it had the resources and expertise to be a trusted wealth partner. A new brand identity was created based around the idea of “an exclusive network of connections”. It is a simple and powerful identity with a positive and confident tone that successfully suggests that NAB Private Wealth provides access to a network, not just a bank.

S Bee I like poetry, though mostly the one that has melody to it & it’s hard to

hear the words from all the electrical guitars, bass and drums.”

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After

Campaign


Awards 6. ADATA [distinction] Country Base: USA Based in Taiwan (ROC), ADATA is the world’s second-largest DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) module manufacturer. The company competes in the global market against companies like SanDisk and Kingston, and has yearly revenues of over USD 1 billion.Over the past eight years, ADATA developed a complex brand architecture that included seven sub-brands and two logotypes. It was found that visual inconsistency diluted the brand and weakened the visual identity, reducing brand value and recognition among consumers.

brand spirit, ensured high levels of visual impact at retail, and helped unify the brand behind one coherent identity. The new visual identity increased confidence in the brand and interest from distributors. ADATA’s sales in emerging markets jumped and profit margins rose from 6% to over 11%. Logo - After

After

To build stronger name recognition, the focus moved back to ADATA, eliminating the sub-brands. Brand Strategists, DDG worked on replacing the two previous logotypes with a single neutral one that spoke to a range of audiences, while ensuring simplicity and easy application across all marketing materials. The strong, colorful hummingbird motif captured the

7. BITDIFENDER [distinction] Country Base: Romania Romanian-originated Bitdefender was ranked as the best anti-virus product by major testing organizations worldwide this year, thus taking it into the international arena. This prompted the need for a modern Bitdefender brand. Brand Strategists, Brandient tried to build a powerful, international brand but with a strong hint of the company’s national origins. A mix of ancient values with present relevance was also brought to the game. The legendary Dragon-Wolf guarded the Dacian (old Romanian) people in their wars and has come to stand for resilient defense. A modern interpretation of the ancient symbol makes the brand relevant to the digital society, while the new brand slogan ‘Awake’ completes the idea of continuing protection. The symbol was given two shapes: a 3D avatar, for establishing a bond with the consumers’ minds, and a highly abstractive symbol for representing the new chapter in the

history of the Bitdefender organization. The rebranding exercise took almost two years and was a profound process, both with the Bitdefender team, and across the globe; it received an enthusiastic response on social media sites. Logo - After

After

Mid Day Infomedia Warning: Mumbai and Delhi may soon

become no-fly zones for Kingfisher Airlines

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8. ACTELION [distinction]

After

Country Base: Switzerland Actelion is a fast growing biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of small-molecule drugs to serve high unmet medical needs. It has affiliates in more than 25 countries and is preparing for the next growth cycle. Based on the concept “From medical industry to medical magic”, a new visual identity was developed based on the smallest possible units – the digital molecules. The goal was for innovative design for a company that sustains the world with innovations. The new visual identity has been brought to life with the publication of the 2010 annual report, the redesigned website, event collateral, opening of new business center, and various internal media.

9. O BOTICÁRIO [distinction] Country Base: Brazil O Boticário is the third largest perfume and cosmetics brand in Brazil, with a nationwide presence in Brazil and ten other countries, and a total of almost 3,000. To drive its growth and expansion, O Boticário saw the need to invest in strengthening its brand. Inspired by the Greek meaning of the word calligraphy— which is to write beautifully—the brand’s monogram was designed. With an updated positioning in tune with its audience’s desires and needs, and a new visual identity, the O Boticário brand is ready to win over and charm more and more consumers every day. After

12 POOL | 4.12 | #22

Logo - After


Awards 10. DULUX [merit] Country Base: The Netherlands AkzoNobel is the largest paint manufacturer in the world. It’s Dulux paints brand, formerly owned by ICI Paints, is the market leader in the UK and several other markets. It works towards aligning 14 existing premium paint brands, spanning 54 markets, behind a new global positioning along with delivering a global paint brand with benefits such as common communication, innovation and design platforms. The new identity must be sympathetic to the equities of existing brands while differentiating and competing strongly against all other brands. The identity must deliver authority and passion for color keeping in mind the cultural sensitivity of the use of colour around the world. The Agency leveraged an international network from worldwide offices for a truly global solution

and qualitative research was commissioned in 14 markets. The research confirmed the identity delivers authority and passion for color across all markets and fully captures the Brand’s call to action. The global roll-out will be fully launched by 2013 in all 54 markets.

11. MAPRO [merit] Country Base: India Fifty years ago Mapro started out as a small cottage industry to manufacture jams and jellies from hand-picked fruit, and has today grown to be one of the largest fruit-processing industries in Western India. The entry of multinational players had Mapro sensing the need to revitalize its brand into a modern, dynamic identity to keep pace with the changing preferences of its target profile - the affluent urban Indian, that comprise 5-10% of the overall population.

grown 70%, significantly higher than the market average of 20-30%. Having raised their prices after the launch of the new packaging, Mapro has been able to maintain this higher pricing, even with a drop in the price of raw material, improving both their top and bottom lines. Logo - After

Brand Strategists, Changing Sky Team worked on making the brand identity and persona ‘friendly’ with bright, fruit colors that made a strong visual impact. A consistent brand experience was extended across all customer and employee touchpoints, and the product portfolio was categorized into user-centric sub-categories. The result of this exercise was considerable and immediate. Mapro has

MTV India Happy Birthday Lady Gaga! You’ve got the ”it” factor but most importantly, you’ve got the ”meat” factor. www.poolmagazine.in 13


Toy Design

more than

CHILD'S

PLAY

Suhasini Paul’s Pink Elefant is India’s first dedicated toy design studio. The awardwinning toy design consultant talks to POOL about a career in a still fledgling industry… Froggy - Monster Hugs

What inspired you to become a toy designer? SP: As a child I used to create my own toys and games. I remember making a personalized hexagonal carom board to accommodate more friends! I used to spend a lot of time with my maternal grandmother, who taught me different stitching techniques, paper folding, and chalk sculpting. We used to do a lot of creative stuff together. My mom was very encouraging and used to source all the raw material I wanted from junk. My dad is a creative person himself and used to design stuff in his free time and I used to help him. I found an inclination towards creative things while pursuing a B.E. in Electrical Engineering. I started a company called ‘Dreamz Decorations’, creating window displays and organizing birthday parties for kids in my free time. I always wanted to do something for children and gradually discovered the lacuna in the toy industry. In 2002 National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad started a new discipline in industrial design – Toy Design and Development. I enrolled in 2003 and did my post-graduation in toy design.

How is toy design different from other design fields? SP: Toy design is multidisciplinary in nature. It revolves around elements of product design, animation, and human psychology. As a profession, toy design is in its nascent stage. The Indian toy industry is budding and untapped, and it needs more toy designers. The skills needed in this field are a creative bent of mind, a sense of humor and fantasy, strategic design thinking, and a strong inclination towards play. In the past six years I have been actively involved in spreading awareness about toy design by giving lectures in design schools like IILM School of Design, NIFT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, and NID. I am often invited by NDTV for a chat show called ‘Bringing up Baby’ to share the perspective of a toy designer on choosing and buying appropriate toys for children. How did Pink Elefant come about? SP: I began my journey as a design entrepreneur in 2005, hunting for opportunities for design intervention in the toy sector. I founded Pink Elefant Design Studio in Noida-NCR and over the

past six years I have been able to design for quite a number of industries, helping them accelerate their business growth. My clients include Disney, Hape (Germany), Kinder Joy (Italy), Royal King (Thailand), Esselte Corp. (USA), Nokia, Plan Strategies (UK), Frank (India), Playgro (India), and Ediots (India). What types of toys do you design? SP: I have worked on adding play value to various children’s products, such as lunch boxes, water bottles, and pencil boxes. I have created sports toys for Disney; infant and baby products such as teethers, pacifiers, rattles, bowls, spoons, and bottles. I have worked on educational board games and puzzles; wooden toys, bamboo doll houses; plush toys, etc. What does toy designing involve? SP: It begins with observation and need identification through in-depth research, which leads to analysis and a conclusion about what has to be done. It could be a board game, puzzle, toy, or any plaything - it should be informative, educative and fun filled. I am inspired by the behavior and experiences of children - physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural.

Bhavya Siddappa Life has so much to offer.. Its all about acceptance and enjoying the ride :-)

who says its complicated.. Its we who make it

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For example, while designing a board game called ‘Water Cycle’, I interacted with teachers, parents and children. While observing children, I was amazed by how they perceived things and depicted them through their drawings. As part of my user survey I asked 25-30 children of different age groups to draw a rainy day; I found my key elements in their drawings, which I took as inspiration for my board game elements. At Pink Elefant, we work closely with our customers at both ends - manufacturer and user. With a focus on target users and using observation as a tool, we do in-depth task analysis. Genuine needs are seldom spoken - we dig out latent needs and desires and address them through our concepts. We validate the concepts using quick models, and prototypes and then refine and create final design specifications. We combine in-depth research, user understanding, and technology to create a customized design process which results in truly innovative and cost effective designs for our clients with the understanding of material, process and optimized costing. We believe in completing the cycle of designing all the way from concepts to end product to packaging to catalogue. What materials do you prefer to work with? SP: Different materials have different applications according to the age group

of children, and I love exploring them all. I started with paper products - designing educational puzzles and board games – and then moved to plastics and injection molded toys. I have also designed a neon gas-infused glass lamp, and designed and produced wooden products.

heart. I designed it in 2005, and it is still selling successfully in 14 countries. It has also been much appreciated by teachers in India for its role in imparting playful learning of Environmental Basics. Basically I love everything about toy design, especially my users – kids!

I have been to various client locations to understand their work flow and material understanding. For example, I worked in the dense bamboo jungles of China to design toys made of bamboo. I spent a month there to understand how the material behaves and designed a bamboo doll house keeping in mind the material properties. Now I’m working in fleece - the safest material for soft toys – to make my own line of products called Monster Hugs.

Do you think there is a market for toys in India? SP: India has become one of the largest consumers worldwide in terms of volume when it comes to toys, board games and educational puzzles. The country has a strong competency in board and paper, plastic and textiles, which means that good quality educational board games and puzzles, toys, and plush toys are manufactured locally. Unfortunately, there is very little awareness here about toy designing.

What has been the most memorable project you have worked on? SP: My current favorite is my own toy collection – Monster Hugs – which got huge appreciation at the Ambiente Fair in Frankfurt in 2011. I enjoy designing board games the most. As a game designer, making strategies for board games while imparting knowledge is a challenge, as I have to play the game from both the ends. ‘Water Cycle’, the first board game designed by me, is very close to my

What does toy design hold for you in the future? SP: I would like to bring creativity into any job or scenario for the results to be extraordinary. I am currently involved not only in the discovery of new ideas or concepts, but also new associations of talents and businesses, fueled by sheer creativity. I’m also looking for collaborations in diverse fields. And after having designed all kinds of toys, I would now like to work on furniture for kids! pinkelefant.in

Girl with ‘Angel’

Girl with ‘Tia’

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Calligraphy

Calligrapher Amit Kharsani finds music and meditation in his art...

CHARACTERARTIST How did you get drawn to calligraphy? AK: I was born and brought up in a theater environment. My father had his own theater group and as a child I started helping him with various backstage activities like theater bookings, props, creating logos for the play, advertising, ticket printing, sign board making, etc. Perhaps it was art in my genes that led me to make good letterforms for theater at a very young age. My father was a master signboard painter before he started his theater. After school, I studied Applied Arts and calligraphy was one of the subjects. I must admit that I was an average student. After completion of my studies I was confused about what to do; should I join theater or should I plan on a career as a designer? In those days it was very hard to survive on theater. I got a job at the National Institute of Design (NID) and started my career as a graphic designer. Benoy Sarkar (the graphic designer who designed Air India and other well known brands) had left NID and I was given his cupboard to use. He had left behind some unwanted stuff, among which I found his calligraphy practice portfolio. I studied it, copied some of the sheets and put that up on my soft board. It was very well appreciation by everybody at NID, so I started changing the calligraphy sheets once a week and people came to see the updates. This encouraged me to continue practicing calligraphy. In the Fine Arts course we were taught only regional

scripts as a subject; here I was learning Latin from Mr. Sarkar’s portfolio. Why does calligraphy appeal to you? AK: By nature I am shy and introverted and I express myself through calligraphy - it has helped me showcase myself. For me calligraphy is music, dance, meditation, and prayer. It evokes the purity inside me. My only drawback is that I am doing calligraphy like a street singer! I may make new compositions everyday but I do not keep records of my past performance so I don’t have any work to showcase and trace my journey. Who influenced your art? AK: I was practicing calligraphy in a corner somewhere in the dark and reveling in the joy of being able to express myself. In 1986 IDC (Industrial Design Centre) of IIT Mumbai, announced ‘Aksharyoga’, the first international calligraphy workshop at Mumbai. Vikas Satwalekar, my professional guru, suggested I join the workshop. I was thrilled to meet people like R. K. Joshi on such an important platform. I saw demonstrations by different calligraphers and was very impressed by Prof. Werner Schneider from Germany and Karina Mester from the Netherlands, as well as the Indian scripts of R. K. Joshi. I learnt to make calligraphy tools from Prof. Werner Schneider. My relationship with him was like

Eklavya’s – I haven’t ever had a dialogue with him, but my calligraphy tools are influenced by him. I learnt passion for the subject from Karina Mester. My religious guru, the former acharya of Shri Swaminarayan sect, Shri Tejendraprasadji Pande, personally criticized my work; his advice to be pure always has helped me to improve my performance. How was your experience working with R.K. Joshi? AK: After the ‘Aksharyoga’ workshop another workshop was announced at Triveni, Delhi with RK heading it. I wrote to him, asking to participate in it and he replied, “I have seen your performance in the Aksharyoga workshop; you are invited as a calligrapher to demonstrate Gujarati script.” This was my initiation as a calligrapher…almost like a rebirth! My confidence got a real boost from him. After this we did many workshops together. He gave me lots of tips and taught me lyrical calligraphy. He always quoted poetry and explained how one could refer to literature to understand the essence of calligraphy better. I will never forget his encouragement and support throughout my life.

Prabhat Handoo Unfollow the people you don’t like. Instead that you wait till you hate them.

Says a lot about you.

16 POOL | 4.12 | #22


that the pictorial scripts demand a certain amount of knowledge of calligraphy makes this a part of learning for everyone. Chinese calligraphy is considered a very high art form and the artists are highly honored in society. There is a spiritual aspect to calligraphy in these countries. I feel amazed by the thought that calligraphy is so many centuries old. I have no words to describe the art but can only quote Stanley-Baker: “Calligraphy is sheer life experienced through energy in motion that is registered as traces on silk or paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space its main ingredients.” The ink brush, ink, paper, and inkstone are essential implements of East Asian calligraphy; they are known together as the four treasures or four friends of the study. My only regret is that I haven’t had the chance to learn Chinese calligraphy. But who knows, maybe someday! What is the difference between calligraphy and typography? AK: Once calligraphy is done, it is done. There is no chance to modify it. Nowadays it may be corrected digitally but then it will no longer be calligraphy. Typography can be drawn or digitally created and both can be used for expressive writing, but calligraphy has its own personalized charm. Why is it important to teach calligraphy as an art form in this growing digital age? AK: For me it is a very essential subject for every individual even in this digital age. In calligraphy, the heart, mind and hand work together with great harmony. It is a personalized experience. The mind works faster than the computer but we can’t produce 100% desired results. I have thus also managed to get good control of digital tools and achieved positive results. What is the basic process you follow? AK: I sit quietly for a few seconds, taking deep breaths, and praying to god to maintain the purity of my heart and help me to reflect myself through my work. I love to work with photo retouching colors on paper; these are special, locally made colors. I play with different grays too. I like natural dyes. What are your inspirations? AK: I am totally fascinated by Chinese, Korean and Japanese calligraphy. The fact

Is calligraphy a skill that can be taught or does it come naturally? AK: For me everyone can do calligraphy, because it is a pure art of expression. Any person who is willing to learn and has enthusiasm can do calligraphy. This was practiced in Patna during a calligraphy workshop; unlettered tribes were invited to attend and they had made tools from locally available wood and learnt the alphabet and calligraphy together. What does it take to be a good calligrapher? AK: Start pursuing things from nature. Be pure hearted, put your heart and soul together and let your hand reflect yourself. It is music, it is devotion, but it needs continuous practice and the more effort you put in, the more joy it will bring you…as it has for me. Is calligraphy a full time pursuit? AK: I am actually a graphic designer, currently working with National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad as a Design Consultant in the Publication and Research Department. I also teach at NID; National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar; School of Interior Design (SID), Ahmedabad; Indubhai Parekh School of Architects (IPSA), Rajkot; and Indian Institute of Craft and Design (IICD), Jaipur. amitkharsani@gmail.com

Jiz Lee ”You burn so much energy when you don’t know what

you’re doing.” - Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed, Rocky)

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RESURRECTING INDIAN DESIGN As co-founder and co-chairman of the spectacular and much lauded Neemrana ‘non-hotel’ Hotels, Aman Nath is synonymous with the concept of architectural restorationfor-reuse in India. In fact, the word ‘Neemranification’ has come to symbolize viable and sustainable heritage tourism involving local communities. Aman Nath is also a historian, poet, graphic designer, traveler, copywriter and award-winning writer. There’s more…he is the youngest founder member of INTACH, and has been the curator of Art Today, a contemporary art gallery. POOL discovers more about the graphic designer avatar of this multi-faceted personality…

18 POOL | 4.12 | #22


Cover Story

Why is history important, especially for designers? AN: History is both the foundation and the roots, spreading deeper, backwards. It remains our physical reference. It is also memory – both good and bad – and it holds many lessons. Reading history carefully teaches caution, but one must not learn vengeance from it! For designers it holds out their identity. It could be odd if suddenly Eskimo design appeared from Rajasthan or Japanese designs from Gujarat, which honors intricacy rather than simplicity. I also think that beyond simply geography, today rural designs worldwide continue to still mirror this difference, while urban design is sadly becoming more uniform and globalized. How did you get interested in history? AN: Almost by default, by a process of rejection! I had placed third in India in the school exams, and economics was the natural, first choice of the bright kids those days. But it wasn’t so much my nature, as English was. Everyone said to me, “Do you want to become a teacher after this?” So I thought of history - at least one could take the competitive exams. But this led me instead to advertising, and then architecture. We push open our own doors, thanks to our aptitude and some coincidences that people broadly call destiny.

What is your involvement in the design aspect of the Neemrana properties? AN: Neemrana Hotels result from the restoration of India’s lesser-known architectural ruins. We turn India’s waste into its assets. My involvement is total. Co-founder and co-chairman, Francis Wacziarg and I scout, dream, conceive, plan and execute all our projects in a very hands-on manner. Since our work has spread to be pan-Indian, somehow an automatic geographic demarcation has taken place. He looks after the South India projects while I concentrate more on the North India ones. But we continue to inform, consult, share and offer design solutions to each other. This keeps the simplicity of the Neemrana design ethic intact: always simple and under, rather than over! Currently I am busy with the Tijara Fort-Palace in Rajasthan - its seven-tiered hanging gardens are already drawing comparisons with Babylon and Machu Pichu. Its location, scale and simplicity are utterly dazzling. Is there a dream property that you would like to add to the Neemrana list? AN: There is no limit to dreaming up futures for ruins – and India is just strewn with them everywhere you go. Meri zindagi ek musalsil safar hai jo manzil pe pahunchey to manzil barha de. (My life is a continuous journey. When it reaches a destination, it extends the destination.)

What inspires you? AN: Poetry and geometry….perhaps the two together become architecture. Who knows? When you see how people drive on Indian roads, how they navigate a traffic circle, you know why they build so badly. We have no sense of parallelism, to carry one thing along with the other: the past with the present, design with simplicity. When we get into one thing we unbalance the other by overdoing it. Look at our flag: the 24 spokes of the Ashoka Chakra compared to the red sun on the white Japanese flag. Restraint is not our forte. While your association with Neemrana is very well known, not many know about your graphic design work… AN: Before and after I had taught briefly at the Doon School, I was in advertising. Although I was hired as a copywriter, I couldn’t help but also do the visualizing, and drawing, since I was a painter at school. My poetry helped with the choice of words, compacting complicated thoughts and briefs into haiku – headlines and clipped copy with punch. I remember in my first week at Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA, now JWT) I wrote out copy for Rosy Pelican beer. I wrote a booklet for Haryana Breweries on beer drinking etiquette and it became Delhi’s largest selling beer. Actually it was only one rupee cheaper! And for Pan

angad chowdhry kick the night out. but make me breakfast. I think you ate enough of my dignity

to last you a week. computers on, phone on, back to work.

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I did a host of logos – I remember Biotique cosmetics and Vasant Valley School. I have several little trunks full of that work. I did work for Air India, the Oberoi Hotel. I didn’t yet know my design passion would take me to architectural restoration – and then the Neemrana Hotels!

Am - the big boss got a telex from USA that said, “Obviously, you’ve got new talent. Congratulations!” I had done a series of posters where the impersonalized destinations were simply made personal. They doubled my stipend salary twice in 10 months – from Rs. 400/- to 1,200/- and some of the old lot became disgruntled.

Then I did a booklet for STC’s leather division and that won a CAG Award. My work seemed ahead of its times, but some clients did buy it. In this case it was Prem Seth, father of Vikram Seth! I was also naturally drawn to graphic design though I had no training. Later,

Gursimran Kaur I want some priority network service. Everytime I call pati,

some woman is telling me I’m on wait.

20 POOL | 4.12 | #22

I won a competition to design a stamp for the 150 years of Times of India: a sesquicentennial, golden stamp which held the record of having sold a million units in a week. I designed the Indira Gandhi trophy for International Peace and Understanding; Gorbachov was the first to get it. Then I designed the mace for Miss World at Bangalore, for ITC, which was organized by Amitabh Bachchan. I enjoyed a campaign for JK Paper which was never used. That was when I worked


Cover Story

for ASP. I did work for Youth Times of Times of India. I freelanced a lot. DLF Qutab Enclave was seminal for them – and me. They were not selling any of the 2,000 acres they had bought and I was contacted through Madhyam, from K.P. Singh’s office. After a first campaign, I was gleefully and gratefully told by them that they had begun selling for some Rs. 2 crore per week! I then joined my father’s industrial manufacturing company when he pointed out that if I could do prize winning work for Escorts and Cutler Hammer, why not him? I used to model too, for Wanted Jeans, etc. That seems another age now, when the text came by letter press and bromide letters were cut and pasted by hand.

priorities are all muddled up, but at least creative India knows its mind and we can put our best foot forward, irrespective of the politicians and bureaucrats who are still a part of the non-creative, slowdown process. The world recognizes this openly. They know that India is the ‘mother of outsourcing’. We can give then anything they seek – from one-offs to massproduced handicrafts or industrial products. Of the contemporary architects in India, whose work appeals to you? AN: It’s so hard to say. They seem to be pursuing an imported modernism, so to say. I can see the Singaporization of

all our exteriors and interiors! It is as if the huge Indian inferiority complex of being Indian which had seeped in during our colonized period, still plagues the psyche. No, it is difficult to single out one. I really wouldn’t know who would build me a house if I needed external inputs. What should be the focus when educating designers? AN: An innate pride in being Indian, not just a cosmetic dress-over! India is the size of Europe and has a similar, if not richer diversity: 28 states-28 nations in Europe, about 18 languages in both

What do you find fascinating about Indian design? AN: That all the civilizations, almost, have come and left their inputs on our soil – Greek, Roman, Christian (before any other nation in the world, except Palestine), Jewish, Chinese, Mongolian, Central Asian, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Danish, and English. What really would one call Indian design if not a sifting and amalgamation of this potpourri? What is your view about today’s global sentiment about India? AN: The world has turned full cycle. The Golden Age of the Guptas – at least in the sense of creative activity – has returned. Or even the age of Shah Jahan, when the finest craftsmanship was offered at court. All this is being produced privately through private patronage. Our own court’s

Mahesh Murthy I don’t mind Army Chief speaking out, exposing scams. From Bofors to

Tatra the Forces been silent to our corrupt rulers.

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CALL FOR ENTRIES WIN A TRIP TO LOS ANGELES, ADOBE SOFTWARE AND CASH The Awards celebrate innovative students and faculty members from all over the world for their achievements using the dynamic combination of technology and the creative arts. For this year‘s competition, students are encouraged to CREATE YOUR WINGS AND FLY.

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22 POOL | 4.12 | #22 free to enter | www.adobeawards.com | www.facebook.com/adobeawards

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Cover Story

(but some 1,600 dialects!) – so we have enough of a repository within to play with before we step out. I would begin with evoking regional pride before the national and international come in. Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kerala has no equivalent in India and the Bharmour Temple near Chamba in Himachal, as India’s oldest extant architecture, has no equal in the world. No one is even looking at this. Our ikat looms have been ticking away for 1,600 years continuously. We still wear what the Ajanta frescoes show. To shake this and contemporize it is the challenge. In textiles and in art it is happening – but in graphic design and architecture it still has to evolve. The word ‘derivative’ cannot be pejorative in such a rich culture! What would you advise young designers? AN: To begin without any complexes whatsoever. India has nothing to be wary of today. The world is finally ready to give it its extra edge. So why try and design furniture as Scandinavia did in the 1960s and ’70s? At NID they still worship that. Something that comes from their own wellspring is bound to be better than any emulation or evocation of a false or displaced hero for our context.

www.neemranahotels.com

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Photography

A graphic designer by profession, Nidhi Singhvi is a photographer by inclination What often catches the eye in a photograph is the element of drama, and that is not always easy to achieve. For Nidhi Singhvi, a young graphic designer with a flair for photography, that is the most challenging aspect of taking good pictures. “One has to take risks to satisfy their desire to capture that one memorable subject or composition,” she says. “There are temptations like shooting a crocodile from a 3-foot distance or shooting from the edge of a cliff to capture the depth of that splendid valley.” That she doesn’t shy away from the occasional risk is reflected in the dramatic photographs that make up a large part

AN{EYE}FOR IT Prachi Chaudhari Oh there is always that person who initiates An opera sung, flamboyant ‘Maniac’ in my head every single time I pass by them. 24 POOL | 4.12 | #22


of her portfolio. “I love to shoot almost everything that’s natural,” she admits. “Expressions top the list, followed by wildlife and landscapes. All of these are taken care of by my love for travel. I also like to shoot abstract and geometrical compositions. One can tell from my compositions, how fond I am of parallel lines!”

“As a child, I always liked handling the camera while on trips, but I didn’t think I’d be a photographer then. While I was studying Graphic Design, I kept my link with photography going. And ever since I acquired my own camera, my interest and curiosity has only grown.”

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Photography Nidhi was studying for a Graduate Diploma in Communication Design from Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune when she discovered she particularly enjoyed her basic photography lessons. In her day job as graphic designer, the 23-year-old runs Obsessive Compulsive Designers, but the camera beckons regularly. “I pounce on any travel opportunity that I get,” she says. Her precious camera bag always travels with her, and her favorite camera, the 18-55. Taking a lot of pictures helps her hone her skills. “The art of color and composition, and liking for photography, probably come naturally or are acquired over time,” she muses. “But one can always learn a lot from analyzing good photographs.” Not surprisingly, photography finds place in her work as graphic designer as well. “One of the most exciting projects I’ve done is design photographic compositions for eight walls of a yoga center,” she says. “All these walls were visible from a common central garden. My aim was to make these walls look interesting from far as well as near. For the wider view, I assigned each of the walls a color such that all photographs on a single wall were predominantly the same color. For the closer view, each of the walls had a combination of three photographs (with varied subjects and techniques) depicting Simplicity, Rhythm and Balance, respectively.” In an era of computer manipulation, Nidhi prefers to rely on natural lighting, and her dream is to shoot the Northern Lights from Yellowknife in North Canada. Till that happens she is happy to capture on camera different facets of life…the shifting nuances of nature, the fragile moods of a bride, or the heartwarming expressions of a beloved pet. “Photography has made me much more observant and appreciative of little details in things, people, conversations, and everything around me,” she admits. And that is as good a reason as any to pick up the camera!

nidhi@ocdesigners.in

Avinash Iyer That awkward moment when Larry Page goes missing and the

cops keep saying, ”Page not found.”

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Illustrator

Animator-in-the-making, young Avirup Basu is also a budding illustrator and cartoonist whose early penchant for doodling is threatening to turn into a full time profession! When did you realize you wanted to make a living out of drawing? AB: I think it was when I was studying science in class 12 in Kolkata that it dawned on me that engineering was not my cup of tea. Since I used to doodle away anyway I was always thinking of ways of making it my profession. I believed the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad was the best platform to nurture my interest. Strangely, my teachers in school were more bothered about me getting into NID than cracking an engineering exam as I believe they had lost complete faith in me by then. And doodling, which used to be my hobby has become a full time profession!

SEEKING COMEDY IN

How would you define your skills? AB: Coming up with nonsensical ideas, trying to make sense out of them and then attempting to represent them on paper would be my skill set. Personally I have a long way to go in acquiring the huge skill base required to develop into a top class animator. But I’m working on it and I’m trying to get there. While some skills are definitely natural, the learning and the willingness to learn is very important. A good mixture of these is what matters in the end. The most important factor in human drawings is to understand the anatomy. Developing a style of your own after that

KD One Ducati Diavel and one magnificent GS 1200 in my garage please.

And a garage please.

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is obviously a natural process but initially the understanding of the human form is a very significant factor, and I believe I have a long way to go in attaining this basic understanding of the human anatomy. I know the more I’m clear about it, the more defined my style will be. Do you follow a specific process? AB: The process depends on the kind of work I’m dealing with, and it varies according to the projects. If it’s a poster for a film, then watching it or having a clear idea of the storyline or the genre is important; the same is true for a musical concert poster. If it’s pre-production sketches and storyboards, then initially doodling in my sketchbook, and redrafting the frames according to the mood of the shot is an important factor. If it’s a random sketch then it remains a random sketch! The process changes according to demand. I prefer to use a sketchbook initially for the ideas and the doodles, but a computer helps to give the final look to the finished product. A sketchbook is singularly one of the most important weapons that an artist or a designer should possess; an artist without a sketchbook is like pork chilli fry without the pork! I make quite a few revisions to my work. The ideas and the final representation go through quite a few phases of editing - in the brains, then on paper, and then finally by the person for whom it is created in the first place.

Jo Westwood In Japan that the most unusual houses pop up in pretty average streets. They must have pretty radical planning regs! 28 POOL | 4.12 | #22


Slug Here

Are you open to criticism? AB: A third person’s opinion is sometimes helpful as we tend to be very attached to our work. Too much attachment to one’s work sometimes creates a problem in dealing with criticism but that’s a very integral part of our profession. I do sometimes consult a couple of my very close friends who help me judge my work objectively and are extremely critical when needed. Which has been your most exciting project so far? AB: I worked on a comic strip called ‘Bhotbhoti Maiti’ – that has been one of my most exciting and successful projects till date. Exciting because it was the first time I was baptized into the world of graphic narrative, complete with full storytelling and dialogues and imagery; and successful because I had more or less got the result I wanted in its representation. Everyone managed to understand what exactly I was trying to convey, which ultimately is the defining factor when it comes to storytelling. The journey from developing the concept and going through the initial sketches and then finally editing and redrafting it to make the final comic book in the given time frame was hectic but memorable. I must make a special mention of our guide and teacher, Sekhar Mukherjee, who took us through the entire process of making a comic book and the nuances involved in telling an original story without any baggage. What are you currently engaged in doing? AB: I’m working on a graphic novel restoration project as a research intern.

I had worked as a research intern in Jadavpur University in Kolkata on a project that dealt with the restoration of comic books, mostly in Bengali and a few in Hindi and Malayalam. The project concentrated more on the works of lesser known authors who seemed to have gone into oblivion after their work was published probably once. It dealt with restoring and creating a digital library and interviewing a few of the artists who were still alive. Heading the project was an English Department professor, Arijit Gupta, a comic book buff himself. I am also working on my own film – it’s technically not a film but a short pilot episode that I plan to pitch to television channels. It's a hypothetical project nonetheless but the film is basically an extension of the characters that I had created while working on my comic book. It chronicles the life of the autorickshaw driver ‘Bhotbhoti Maiti’ and his shifting between his parallel reality where he enacts several heroic feats, and his real one where he is a nondescript autorickshaw driver. The story of my comic book is loosely based on a short story by James Thurber called ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. How important is research before you create a story? AB: Controlled research is a very important factor before creating a story. I say controlled because a lack of research will reflect on your project and it might make you look extremely stupid for being completely vague about the way you have dealt with it; but with too much research we wouldn’t know when to stop and then

it just might be only research, no story! Knowing when to stop and then taking your own decisions as a storyteller is the key; I guess that’s how epic and classic films work. Would you like to explore other areas of art? AB: Evolving in my present craft is a priority, but definitely I would want to learn and gain expertise in live action filmmaking. That is a different ball game altogether and it has always fascinated me. I would like to be remembered as a filmmaker, be it an animation or live action filmmaker…a good storyteller, not just an animator. What are your inspirations? AB: My city, Kolkata - its nukkads, its people, and its food - provides a huge inspiration and a lot of elements for my stories. But as I’m growing up the street, the everyday people and life itself is a huge inspiration. Apart from that the regular fascination of Bengalis for Ray and Chaplin remains….and Hitchcock, Tarantino, Art Spiegelman, Miyazaki, classics like Sholay, Ben Hur, and random student films. So, what’s next? AB: No idea…hopefully getting a chance to do what I love doing. A dream project would be the opportunity to make my own films. My dream projects keep changing but currently it’s making a mind blowing yet crazy animation suspense / spy thriller! www.chaoticcomedy.blogspot.in

doctoratlarge Twitter is far better than Facebook, because here we make friends by similarity of thoughts,

rather than the accident of knowing each other

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Fashion

Chainstories Fashion accessories and embroidery designer, Meera Mittal of ‘Meera design & style’ says designing distinctive jewelry is her forte

Agate Stone Bracelet

Village Cuff

What inspired you to become a jewelry/accessory designer? MM: It was a gradual shift away from designing purely garments. I always enjoyed working with fabrics and materials...and working with my hands. Before I knew the term I was on the path to being a ‘fashion designer.’ I did the 3-year diploma in Fashion Design at NIFT, New Delhi - that broadened my horizons to quite a degree and I was a fashion designer in the industry for close to 10 years. But accessories and jewelry began to enthrall me more and more. In my last few places of work, I garnered exposure to the export industry and innovative surface embellishment and embroidery work of a lot of international design houses. At the time the trend was towards a lot of embellished jewelry and accessories. We had to be very creative and create these intriguing pieces of statement necklaces, cuffs, earrings, brooches and more, creating wearable art. I also got a great foundation in innovative embroidery techniques and manufacturing for international buyers. I decided to start my own brand of fashion jewelry and embroidery – Meera design & style. Somehow I just knew that

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in working for myself, I would not want to create a ready-to-wear line of clothing. And although I still do design women’s wear clothing for personal clients, it is fashion jewelry for which I am known and which I produce as a line. What’s the story behind your designs? MM: Each piece has its own origin. Often it is an inexplicable feeling, which gets woven amid the chains and stones. At other times it is a vision, a new manner in which to employ a material, perhaps seen in a dream or in waking hours, which just fires up the imagination and makes one want to make it real. But many a time it is mostly the form and feel of the materials which call for a certain alignment and certain expression. For example, with the Village necklace and cuff, all we had


Padme Cuff

was a technique for putting the beads together and lo and behold! In a matter of hours we had set up a village.

Village Necklace

What materials do you use? MM: I use a variety of silk and cotton fabrics; metal materials ranging from threads and chains to beads and sequins; beads in all shapes and sizes; natural materials like seed beads, shells, threads, wool; Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones such as agates, onyx, amethysts and others; and some natural leather and rexine. What is the process of creation? MM: I never really use a mood-board or color palette when starting out. I just keep creating small stories which eventually fit in with each other, forming larger stories. These I then encapsulate into themes which end up very coherent in how they’ve developed organically.

Padme Necklace

Are you inspired by other cultures? MM: I love tribal and Egyptian style jewelry and sometimes take inspiration from these sources. The final product would embody some aspect of the inspiration but is never very literal. Most of my work ends up looking contemporary. Even the India looks we do have a distinct freshness about them. What do you love most about your work? MM: I enjoy the freedom to create. I can create almost anything and know that somewhere on the planet there are buyers who will buy into that vision. Also very little goes waste and that gives me a sense of comfort. What is the set-up at ‘Meera design & style’? MM: We are based in Mumbai and have an extremely small team which has never gone over five people. I have a few embroidery karigars who work with me full time, and I outsource for large orders. Currently I am on the hunt for a few good people. Setting up on my known has presented different challenges at different points – such as educating the customer about embellished jewelry and how it is different from traditional gold or silver jewelry; and getting pricing right.

How do you sell your work? MM: In 2011 we got export certified and have been working with overseas buyers mainly. The US, UK and Europe form my major markets - and up-market centers in India. While I do have a number of buyers domestically it is internationally that I sell larger quantities. We have our own online store at www.meeramittal.com/shop which does quite well for us and while we get a lot of requests to stock in domestic designer stores and do exhibitions, we are very picky when it comes to those. What is the scope of jewelry design in India? MM: The scope is very large. If you consider it, Indians are very fond of jewelry and there is a certain section that prefers fashion jewelry over their precious counterparts. In fact in 2011 you may have noticed a lot of gold and diamond jewelry makers taking a lot of pains over design innovation as the fashion jewelry industry was leaving them looking staid and boring. Besides with the prices of precious metals rising by the day, fashion jewelry is just becoming ever more popular. What is your advice to young jewelry designers? MM: Know your craft well. Know that working for yourself will often mean doing all the work yourself. Only do it if you know you have a passion and innate ability for it. You will be tested all along so you will need to rely on your passion and faith to keep you going initially. Be wise about money. Don’t give up too soon. Set a time frame of one to two years within which to give it all you’ve got, and make it happen. If the market does not accept your product by then, you need to do something about the product or get out of the business. What does the future hold for you? MM: I hope to challenge myself with a lot more innovation on the design front. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of what is possible. My dream project would be to design for Oprah Winfrey and have her wear my work - I greatly admire her. www.meeramittal.com

Opal Hardware Earrings www.poolmagazine.in 31


Blogger

indianbydesign.wordpress.com

How did you get into blogging? KR: I started blogging in 2004. The first blog had thoughts, pictures, design, fashion, products, and musings on life. I felt I ought to segregate it, and that set off a host of blogs on international design, travel, food, lists, movie reviews, and books. At one point I had about 20 blogs, each dedicated to a specific interest. It was a juggling act, but one that I enjoyed. Among my blogs is Design Thing (products from around the world that I like), The Ordinaryness (extraordinarily sublime things), Collecting the Universe (collectors and collections), Everyday Musings (used to write 500 words every day), Kays Wedding, the DIY list (links to tutorials), Friday Fortuneteller (movie reviews), and my Pinterest boards (things I love). Another project dear to me is My Creative Business, which started to help out my creative friends who were starting their own business and were looking out for tips, advice, links and more. The idea was to collate things that I come across in an organized manner and share it. How did ‘Indian By Design’ come about? KR: In January 2008, after a conversation with my architect friend, Rajiv Majumdar,

Former advertising writer Kavita Rayirath’s ‘Indian by Design’ blog is all about what catches her eye in the increasingly creative world of Indian design on how difficult it was for people to access and see design/architecture work in India, I started ‘Indian By Design’ as a blog that focused on creativity by Indians anywhere in the world. I wanted to generate original content for the blog so was keen to get in touch with creative people. I wrote to them, shared my thoughts, asked for an interview and sent questions. They all responded, carefully at first, perhaps figuring out if I was serious or worth their time, but once they felt assured, they were absolutely generous. It grew from there. Meanwhile I did a lot of research and found more creators. Later, friends and readers shared links. By then, designers had started sharing their work more openly, on their own websites and on Facebook, so it got easier to discover good work. What is your relationship with your blog? KR: I am curious and I like discovering things. I have a million interests. I love serendipity, poetry and the idea of love. All my blogs have been spaces where I could explore my curiosity. It is my medium of expression. ‘Indian By Design’ is one where I try and express my views and give vent to my love for ideas and design. Writing a feature is an experience in itself. Sometimes, I’ll let a post stay unfinished for days because I haven’t captured the essence of the person’s work or because the order of pictures or the words don’t feel right. Sometimes it takes minutes to put up a post because I am inspired and the words just flowed. My real relationship is with Indian designers and the readers of the blog and I hope my blog contributes in some way to their lives. It inspires me to see people get closer to their dreams. What is it about design that makes you want to write about it? KR: I find creativity in any form inspiring and react instinctively to it. I’ve not attended design school - any knowledge and opinion on creativity is a combination of my instinct and absorption

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– so the urge to write on design has also been an urge to educate myself. Over time, I have begun to recognize what qualities catch my eye – a sense of integrity in the work, a contribution to its genre, an interesting perspective, and a strong sense of esthetics. Discussions with friends in creative fields and interactions with those I feature on the blog have added immensely to the journey. I enjoy understanding the context around an idea, seeing it with my own eyes and then sharing what I have distilled with those around me. What excites me about design in India is that in a diverse nation such as ours, there are so many ways we look at design and art. So much work is done in India that never gets published since it is not mainstream. I feel that good design needs to be encouraged so that we can discover and lean more towards quality products and thus promote more of the same. How do you differentiate yourself from the vast array of design bloggers? KR: Everyone has their own style and point of view. It’s amazing to see how talented, prolific and inspiring a lot of bloggers are. I have my own view on design and use it to share and promote work by Indian creators. I am fortunate to have ‘Indian By Design’ and that people discover it, read it, like it, interact with it, and that designers get in touch to share what they make. I am constantly aware that I have much more to learn. We need a lot more informed voices and active blogs, as India has a long way to go before we can have the kind of access to information, ideas and products that developed design countries do. My strength comes from the community that has embraced ‘Indian By Design’, on Facebook and on the blog itself - they’re people from all around the world - bright, involved, appreciative, interested and keen on discovering more about India. What’s next for you as a blogger? KR: The plan is to do more of what I do, get better at it, be more informed and keep educating myself as time goes by. The blog holds my opinions, but it has never been about me. So till there are interesting ideas around, ‘Indian By Design’ will go on.


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