ISSUE 28 OCTOBER 2012
Amit Krishn Gulati
Photographed by Monika Khanna Gulati
ABHIJIT 06 / KAVITA 12 / NIMMI 16 / helsinki design week 22 / KARTHIK 24 / SARGHEVE 50 / MANIL & ROHIT 58 / SAHIL & SARTHAK 66 / KALLOL 74 / CAGRI 79
Editor in Chief | email@example.com
October 2012 | # 28
Sudhir at Helsinki Design Week 2012, Finland
The Process of Success Perhaps the most difficult thing in life is to deal with success, and interestingly we often take it as a destination, whereas it is perhaps what comes after a landmark. Success in work or in one’s career is not a definitive one-point achievement, but a way of thinking and maintaining oneself on the other side of that point. Very few people understand this but you also see very many examples of people constantly reaching new heights and forever creating better things. Success perhaps has a formula or a process behind it.
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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.
http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/designindia International Design Media Network Participant
The dictionary definition of the noun ‘success’ is ‘the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors’. Does any design process aim to achieve anything different? Isn’t it built into every design project to be successful? I believe so. I believe success is not left to luck or chance; it is something you know you will get when you follow a certain process. In my view any attempt to do anything better is never a waste. You need to just sit back, look hard at it and pick your learnings. If you make a habit of sitting with some people after a task is over, and looking at only the positive outcomes of the task, you will be surprised at where it takes you the next time. It will make you aware of success points when you are at those points next time, and you will know what you have to do. The most difficult task is perhaps to make ‘success’ a routine. Remember, everyone wants to work with successful people so no matter what, you have to find your success in whatever you do, and move beyond that. Moving beyond needs a realization that success is a process. Be watchful that your ego doesn’t take too much credit for it.
Sudhir Endorsed by
user & digital experience
retail space design
Br and Be t ter
brand brand development development
product product && packaging packaging
INDI helps distinguish your brand in an increasingly cluttered business environment www.indidesign.in
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD An accidental illustrator, Abhijit Kalan finds great use for his talent in his advertising career
How would you describe your illustrations? AK: I just call them doodles. Actually I don’t think of myself as an illustrator at all - I majored in photography. It’s just that I kept doodling and discovered one that day that I can actually draw. And that I seem to have developed a distinct style. I mostly work on the Mac. Often I also draw by hand and then work on it further digitally.
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What is your professional background? AK: I am an Art Director in an advertising agency, which means essentially I decide the looks of a print ad, and script radio or TV commercials. But it isn’t that simple, really, because producing that kind of work needs more than just creativity. It usually involves a detailed understanding of the brand one works on, its position in the market, competition, the consumer market, etc. What we really do is speak to the consumer on behalf of the brand.
(Clock-wise) 1. Sadhu’ 2. ‘The Hidden Two’ 3. ‘Opposing Crows’
Do you make illustrations for commercial projects or merely for fun? AK: I do everything for fun. There have been times when I’ve done illustrations for the campaigns I’ve worked on and the clients seemed to like them. In fact, a lot of times, when people have briefed me, they’ve asked me to explore an illustrationbased creative route. What was your first project? AK: The very first time I made an illustration for an ad was on a telecom account. They wanted a poster and didn’t have the budget to purchase an image. So I simply made an illustration and made a poster out of it. The actually liked it! 8 POOL #28
Do you have a favorite project? AK: There was a particular illustration I had done, and a few years later someone sent me the same thing as a reference for the job I was being briefed on! I was thoroughly amused at first. Later I realized it was quite a compliment! Do you think a skill like this can be taught? AK: I don’t think this skill can really be taught. It comes from within. It’s like opening up an artery and bleeding on paper. But training has a huge role to play in the sense that it brings out the artist in you. A lot of times you aren’t aware of the talent and potential within. A disciplined approach helps you focus on the artist within. www.poolmagazine.in 9
What do you enjoy most about your work? AK: The fact that it isn’t ‘work’ at all! We just have fun and get paid for it. It’s the only job, I think, where you walk in wearing shorts and have a can of beer on your table. We watch films, read comics, play music and all this is just to help us work. We can speak our heart out and express ourselves. Unlike the rest of the corporate world, we don’t have to suppress ourselves. And of course there’s the fact that only in this line of work one has the opportunity to meet artists across categories. We meet actors, directors, musicians, painters, singers and many such people. One feels thrilled and humbled at the same time. What is the most encouraging feedback you have ever received? AK: My most severe critic, my mother, once said she wanted to frame one of my drawings and place it in the living room. Now, that’s encouragement! What has been the biggest learning so far? AK: Follow your heart and everything else will fall in place. All you need to go ahead in life is focus and belief in yourself. The world belongs to you. www.poolmagazine.in 11
FACE TO FACE Published by Tulika Publishers and created by Kavita Singh Kale for children over ten and young adults, ‘My Facebook Friends’ was launched recently at the United Art Fair in Delhi. The Mumbai-based trans-media artist talks about the unique book that incorporates comiclike characteristics with a virtual representation of social networking. kavitasinghkale.blogspot.in | www.undergroundworm.tv
What inspired the book? KK: The book ‘My Facebook Friends’ is an extension of an acrylic painting on canvas titled ‘Facebook’. I was documenting my friends in a tiny sketchbook on a regular basis way back in 2004, and the painting was a rendition of that. The book got stacked with others when it was filled. When I revisited it after a few years, I realized that I had done a series of drawings that looked like visual profiles of each individual based on my perception of them. I created a spreadsheet of people on a single canvas painting and called it ‘Facebook’. While working on the ‘Facebook’ painting I realized that I was lucky to have met some very interesting people from all around the world. The idea of making a book for children emerged when I compiled all the details of some friends, who were from diverse backgrounds, doing very interesting things. I thought it would be great to share the fascinating stories of these people with children. The whole idea was to keep the information of the 12 POOL #28
individuals authentic and simple by showing various aspects of their daily activities. I combined my warm and bright color visuals with some attributes of the networking site ‘Facebook’- for the current generation of kids who are inevitably tech savvy. What happened next? KK: There was lot of information for one picture book and an ideal approach was to put all this information concisely and depict it in the style of a comic book/ graphic novel. After having gathered all the material that backed the idea, I prepared samples of pages and pitched it to Tulika Publishers, an independent publishing house in Chennai that deals exclusively with children’s books in various Indian languages. The actual production of the book happened in six months but I took more time in doing research during preproduction. Tulika Publishers played an important role in making this project happen. Things would not have gone this far without the publisher’s openness
to the new idea and their encouragement. Radhika Menon, Sandhya Rao and Niveditha Subramaniam from Tulika are wonderful people to work with!
Book cover & Inside pages
What is the actual aim of the book? KK: The course ‘Environmental Perception’ that I took at National Institute of Design always inspired me to travel and explore new places. The core idea of this book was to give a holistic view of selected individuals with emphasis on ‘People, Places and Objects’. I felt that this was a great opportunity to share information with children about different countries, cultures, people and their alternative professions. It was also to show how people divide their time methodically on a daily basis by following their heart to do what they really want to do in life. Individuals are different and it is a way to show how one can identify their own identity. www.poolmagazine.in 13
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‘E’ FOR ETHNOGRAPHY Nimmi Rangaswamy talks about the timeless connection between ethnography and the everyday
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For a long time ethnography was believed to be a ‘black art’, the study of esoteric, exotic ‘others’ processed by a giltedged club of anthropologists for an equally select audience. Anthropologically informed ethnography traces its legacy from colonial times to its modern corporate avatar of user experience studies. This in itself is remarkable for a discipline that transcends and reinvents though time and space. The ultimate everyday activity for a practicing ethnographer is physically going to a place, immersing themselves in-context in the activities of that social geography, observing and talking to people, and finally developing a thick and deep understanding of that people. The timelessness of doing ethnography is not just because it is a method but an approach to understanding
ethnography the structures of everyday, of things and processes we normally take for granted. While this coda had not changed, how has the subject of enquiry, the everyday of the lives of people, behaviors and experiences, changed through the time and tide of ethnographic engagements? Are they still the exotic creatures of Melanesian and Trobriand islands or are they the Dharavi cyber cafĂŠwallah or the twitter user next door?
Facebook users, Chennai slums
Cutting Chai, Jugaad, and Here Pheri: towards UbiComp for a global community is an article published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing by Springer Publications and based on ethnographic work conducted in the slums of Mumbai by researchers at Microsoft Research India. Note the titular words in the local lingua and the multinational corporate nature of sponsored research around the everyday of technology use. The article illumes the casual, almost sleight-of-hand, techinnovation and adoption in extremely challenging eco-systems. It discusses people in the urban slums of Mumbai and Bangalore as rich users of mobile internet and multi-media despite living in the grip of economic and technology barriers. This is just the tip of the iceberg: ethnographies are conducted by a variety of people in a variety of everydays, not necessarily anthropologists by disciplinary training, in contexts of design, market, corporate research, governance, electoral politics and of course crossdisciplinary academia. How is ethnography habituated to study any situation of local or global import? Why is ethnography www.poolmagazine.inâ€ƒ 17
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Mobile internet users, Hyderabad slums
still in fashion to study, be it a rarefied religious space, a cultural artifact shaping teen identity or a viral piece of social media behavior? Let us rephrase this question: why do ethnographic researchers seem timelessly poised to study human intentions, emotions, responses and their outcomes? Possibly, because they are able to bring you into the lives of people they study ‘as if they shared their everyday hangouts with you’! Be it an account of the banker’s world in Wall Street or how the Chinese learn to be capitalist, the insider view of the world, that of the banker and the Chinese, is privileged over any other. This inevitably includes translations: of culture, of language and of behaviors, which are the mainstay of an ethnographer’s journey towards understanding the ‘other’. This evolves from a growing immersion in the mundane, the prosaic, the ordinary, in short the everyday of our subject world. E stands for both ‘ethnography’ and ‘everyday’, a sort of twinning that complements, strengthens and enriches the world of the researcher and the researched. They never go out of fashion! (Nimmi Rangaswamy is a Researcher at Microsoft Research India, where her primary interests are the adoption and dissemination of information and communication technologies in emerging market spaces. Her current project focuses on Facebook behaviors among mobile internet users in urban slums.) www.poolmagazine.in 19
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helsinki design week More than 120,000 visitors attended the Helsinki Design Week (HDW) in Finland this September. Held in the Helsinki metropolitan area, this annual urban city festival drew an enthusiastic mix of design professionals, industry representatives and others.
Organized by Kari Korkman of Luovi Product Makers Ltd., HDW presented a number of cross-disciplinary seminars, conferences and exhibitions – providing a comprehensive platform for a vast array of creative talent from industries ranging from fashion to architecture. Helsinki has also been declared World Design Capital 2012.
(L - R) Jovan Jelovac, Founder & Curator Belgrade Design Week, Kari Korkman, Director, Helsinki Design Week, Hans Robertus, Director, Dutch Design Week, Tiglin Lo, Project Manager, Design Taipei, Arhan Kayar, Istanbul Design Week, Sudhir Sharma, India Design Festival, Sinem Kcys, Istanbul Design Week, Olwen Moseley, Cardiff Design Week, Anatasia Viner, Moscow design Week, Lily Katakouzinos, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and Sanna Gebeyehu, Stockholmsmassan 22 POOL #28
TRUE COLORS A computer engineer with a MBA degree, Karthik Vaidyanathan works as a Content Consultant three days a week. The rest of the time he runs a social enterprise called Varnam, an initiative that more than satisfies his creative urge. www.facebook.com/varnams
Salt & Pepper dispenser
What’s the story behind Varnam? KV: Varnam’s journey started a little over a year and a half ago when I was working full-time in a corporate job and setting up my new home. I had personally done up the furnishings for my home using sarees and blouse materials. My mother had come over to stay with me, and being an enthusiastic seamstress herself, encouraged me to put up a small exhibition just for fun. The exhibition showcased soft furnishings, something which I worked at on weekends when I had some spare time. It was a near sell-out and left me extremely satisfied. I had also been volunteering in marketing and communication for an Assam based NGO, ‘The Ants Trust’, which works with artisans from the North-East. Seeing their work, and the success of my exhibition, got me thinking about working in the crafts sector. My friends at The Ants Trust put me onto some artisans in Channapatna and I started making trips there over weekends. Channapatna is located 60 km south-west of Bangalore and is known for wooden toys and laquerware. The more I interacted with the artisans and understood the craft, the more it left me mesmerized with its sheer beauty and adaptability to modern day needs. Varnam had begun! What was the main inspiration for this initiative? KV: While my mother has been the start of this beautiful journey, my interest in crafts and design dates back to several years ago. My rich Chettinad heritage has been a huge influence in reviving my interest in my roots and getting associated with the crafts sector. What is Varnam’s philosophy? KV: Varnam (colors) is an ode to colorful India. Its craft philosophy is to bring our design expertise to traditional crafts of South India so as to reorient them to today’s context .We constantly engage with craftspeople to encourage a dialogue. In doing so, we hope to enhance the sense of pride in their skill amongst these master crafts-people and ensure that the crafts continue to thrive. What type of products does Varnam offer? KV: Channapatna is popular for its toys. I was very clear from the very beginning that I would use this over 200-year-old lac-turnery craft (made popular by Tipu Sultan) to develop products in the home décor and lifestyle space. The Varnam line covers soft furnishings made from the ‘khanaa’ fabric of
craft North Karnataka; light fittings that combine South Indian textiles with the Channapatna-crafted bases; home décor accessories that include tea light holders, wall-hooks, bottle-stoppers, napkin-place card holders, salt and pepper shakers, etc. While every product has been painstakingly handcrafted to ensure the best finish, its utilitarian value is of utmost importance. Tell us about your business model. KV: Varnam currently manages to run like any small tightly held start-up. Being a one-man show, the costs are kept to a bare minimum. My house doubles up as an office and warehouse and all funds raised from product sales are flushed back into creating more products. The focus is currently on developing several products in the home and lifestyle space and ensuring that the artisans have enough work. My experience in marketing has also helped me in developing suitable packaging to give this Indian craft a more relevant avatar, and also build
‘Barni’ - Tealight holders
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Orange bottle stoppers
a suitable online presence through facebook and online sites like Shopo.in. Varnam products retail through some of the best boutique stores across the country in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkatta and Ahmedabad. What challenges have you faced so far? KV: Working with artisans in an unregulated sector has its issues. While I work with a wonderful set of skilled female artisans, I have had my share of heartaches - irregular product deliveries, not meeting timelines, the artisans taking off on holidays for every possible occasion or going underground after taking advances. Over a period of time, I have learnt to be calmer about these issues and work around them. The biggest challenge however has been my lack of training as a designer. My inability to use design software or lack of training in product design
makes my work tougher. Instead I have had to rely on my sketching skills (the last time I sketched was when I was in school) and working hands-on with the artisans, changing proportions as the product is being developed. The product development process is hence a bit more tedious but does leave me completely happy when I get it right! What has been your most rewarding experience? KV: One of my most recent rewarding experiences was when a Sri Lankan friend called up one evening to say that he had seen Varnam’ lamps at a newly opened boutique hotel, the Colombo Courtyard, in Sri Lanka! Seeing my vibrant lamps against the beautiful setting of this hotel left me so happy and proud that I had got this far. How important is networking? KV: I don’t really consider myself to be a designer – I’m more a crafts-person. www.poolmagazine.in 27
My facebook page has helped me connect with several liked-minded crafts-people, designers, bloggers and retailers, and each of them has helped take Varnam a step forward. Frankly, I am quite a disaster when it comes to networking! However, ultimately if your passion is true and if your products stand out, people do approach you either way and that’s what has helped Varnam progress. What lies in the future for Varnam? KV: Varnam is something that I have taken forward in small baby steps as I wish to enjoy the whole process of setting it up. Till a year ago I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that I would turn into a social entrepreneur. I am a content consultant in a broadband/cable company in Bangalore - working in the corporate sector in a cushy job kind of spoils you. However this April has been a turning point with me transitioning to a part-time position within my company to be able to focus more on Varnam. What started as a way to satisfy my creative urge and help artisans has now paved the way for a social enterprise. In the coming year I envision Varnam to become a profitable social enterprise that will continue to give fair wages to artisans and encourage them to think beyond their boundaries. I am hoping to start work with a few other craftclusters of South India to expand Varnam’s product line. A year down the line, I hope to see a strong line of home décor products across three traditional craft-forms and a retail presence across 15-20 stores. But most importantly, I would like to see my artisan friends grow with me and evolve into thinking craftspeople with an increased love for their craft.
Lamp-stand with shade
What would be your advice to people who want to start a social initiative? KV: Do it only if it makes you happy and if you truly believe that it can impact others. Only passion and self-belief can carry you through in the social sector. www.poolmagazine.in 29
HOW IDEAS ARE BORN
‘Arcus’ - Conceptual sketches for India’s first home improvement store concept
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Through his New Delhi-based firm Incubis, Industrial and Space Designer Amit Krishn Gulati has the chance to work at an interesting range of design applications ranging from products and built environments/ spaces to retail and branding www.incubis.net
How did you get into Industrial Design? AKG: My design journey began at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad where I joined as a student in the year 1990. I reached NID at a time when design and its myriad facets were not very widely appreciated. I was 17 years young, the campus felt like a magical place brimming with energy. There was a heightened sense of anticipation and no preconceived notion of what to expect. So there was an awareness of having started on a sort of expedition…of new discoveries to be made! Like most geeks, fresh out
‘Emaar Hotel, Jaipur’ - Snapshots of the architectural concept and hotel interior created by Incubis… a contemporary take on the crafts and heritage of Rajasthan and studiously avoiding obvious ‘Pink City’ clichés www.poolmagazine.in 35
(L to R) 1. Sketches of early work done for a leading home appliances company ‘Singer’ 2. ‘SGN sketch’ - Design of a way finding feature for a township
of high school, design for me meant drawing cars and the natural extension of that infatuation was Industrial Design. I was finally in a place where being car-crazy was seen a perfectly normal and even desirable thing! Take us through your NID years. AKG: The five years working for a Diploma in Industrial Design at NID feel like a dizzying blur now but clearly almost everything I’ve done since feels somehow rooted in that experience. There was the rare opportunity and time to do loads of things at once. The formal process was no doubt very intensive; however, being at close quarters to the diversity of creative work happening all around was a constant inspiration and very often a welcome distraction. When I look back, the times spent outside the Industrial Design studio were often the most instructive and memorable… with friends from across the country, faculty and mentors in animation, graphics, printing, photography, furniture…the time spent in workshops with the experienced craftsmen and technicians we were fortunate to have as watchful guides…the stimulation of the film club and ‘resource-center’ and the intense debates over unending cups of ‘cutting’ chai. This experience of diversity feels closest to my professional journey. 36 POOL #28
cover story NID was also a humbling place, where talent was all around and one’s inadequacies in terms of skills were conspicuous. The first step at NID was to learn how to draw and that ability (gained with much effort) has become a lifelong passion, an extension of the self, a connection between the mind and the outside world. Surprisingly, as the years have passed, I use the computer less and less and it’s the ability to draw that keeps me constantly plugged into a fresh creative direction and provides the stamina to seek new dimensions. What stood out from the years at NID was also the way our faculty treated us as ‘professionals’ - constantly challenging us, prodding our conscience and helping us become articulate, self assured, yet never satisfied with the status quo or even with ourselves. Design then became a never ending search for perfection, new opportunities, new sensibilities, new ways of working and new meanings. Yet at the cusp of leaving the campus, there was a realization that we were in a protected cocoon of brick domes and an apprehension that the world outside was no longer our natural habitat. This nervousness brought about the realization that creating design awareness was the key to existence as an independent consultant. What came next in the design journey? AKG: After industrial training and final projects at Telco (now Tata Motors) and DRDO, my first product design project as a ‘young designer’ was a range of homeappliances for Singer, and developing an interactive encyclopedia on Sikkim. While still at NID, I was fortunate to find a close friend and consulting partner in Sabyasachi Paldas (also an Industrial Designer) who has constantly balanced
‘PCO sketch’ - Exploded views made during the design of an electronic PCO call meter cum cash register
my erratic impetuousness with his calm focus and attention to detail. For about three years the two of us stuck to Industrial Design for a diverse mix of large and small clients (including GE, Honda, Bharti Telecom, Indian Railways and the now defunct Daewoo). By 1998, many of our clients started diversifying into the new sectors of retail and enthusiastically took us along. Around this time, my brother Rohit, an architect, joined the creative team and a larger canvas encompassing product development, branding, architecture and spaces became our new reality. This www.poolmagazine.in 37
cross linked model of design consulting was clearly more successful than our pureplay in Industrial Design and our New Delhi-based firm was incorporated as Incubis (derived from ‘incubating ideas’) in the year 2000. I am currently Managing Director, Founder, Incubis Consultants India PL. What are your most memorable projects? AKG: The projects that stand out in our work spanning over 17 years are the ones where we were completely untested, yet the client had the confidence (or perhaps recklessness) to partner with us. Today, we have immense respect for these pioneering clients who trusted us and often gave us a chance to learn and experiment at their expense. In our early days, we were asked to design a new compact generator for Honda (Power Products). At that point in time, this was one of the more complex projects 38 POOL #28
cover story we’d been assigned and after a few months of field research and several conceptual iterations we came up with a solution that was lighter, had fewer components and could be easily modified for overseas markets. Our insight was to replace a complex chassis and suspension with a single bent tube that did the job and made the idea stand out. This design is still in production even after 13 years and is exported to several emerging markets! One of our first retail projects was Barista, where we were tasked with coming up with an innovative espresso bar concept. Our idea was to make a bold counterpoint to the classical European coffee shops (which are generally more introspective, dark and ‘me and my coffee’ kind of places) to an exuberant social space that radiates joy and is in sync with a youthful Indian sensibility. The warm-inviting glow accented with textured orange and terracotta tones was an instant hit and brought an authentic Italian coffee experience to our largely tea drinking nation. Subtle multi-sensory cues were developed and even the air circulation was tweaked to waft the aroma of fresh coffee around the entrance and create a compelling attraction. Our Industrial Design approach infused the design with robust scalability with easy to adapt modules and components and allowed the brand to launch internationally at a rapid pace. A few years back, Barista was acquired by Lavazza, an iconic coffee company with a 115 year heritage – a fitting recognition of Barista’s Italian spirit yet uniquely Indian roots. ‘Barista Crème’ - Snapshots of the upscale Barista Crème format launched in Dubai
How did you tackle the twin challenges of expansion and scalability? AKG: I’m not too sure if we’ve fully mastered these challenges. I often feel that expansion and scalability in the context of design are at crosspurposes, but I’m still to figure out what the right balance should be. At Incubis, we are now a team of about 50 and our real challenge is to ensure an alignment of vision and consistently high quality of creative thought backed with strong concept delivery skills. A choppy economic climate and extreme diversity in the kind of projects we do adds another layer of complexity which is not fully resolved. When we were a small studio of about www.poolmagazine.in 39
“Very often, the sense of familiarity can be derived from materials used in their natural state in terms of texture and an honest expression of structure.” ‘Amsoft’ - An unusual workspace for an IT company designed around the concept of an organic Indian street with unusual twists and turns, a surprise around every corner, floating bridges, a clock tower and a ‘choupal ‘where teams can share chai 40 POOL #28
cover story 5-6 closely knit people doing just one kind of thing, it was a lot easier to share common purpose, build an implicitunsaid ethos and have an awareness of even the smallest detail of every project. What’s most challenging about being an Industrial Designer? AKG: Design (and Industrial Design by extension) can be applied to a very wide range of equally interesting applications and we’ve actually demonstrated this quite effectively in our work. I have a short attention span and can get easily distracted by these many novel possibilities, so it’s quite a tightrope walk to ensure this quest for the wide canvas (and the many risks this involves) does not compromise the learning curve, depth and sustainability that’s essential for a viable and self-sustaining consulting practice. A well-designed space always tells a story, or so we are often told. How important is the narrative in your work? AKG: For me, a spatial narrative make sense in three ways – if the story unfolds slowly over time, allows people in a space to draw their own interpretations, and if it is born out of their own past, aspirations and situations, making it more meaningful. These scenarios can be created by understanding who the space is for and having some perception of their transient state of mind. Building this realization is clearly something I strive for, and if achieved to a degree, it can help deliver a truly memorable experience. What is your approach to space in terms of design and placement of objects? AKG: Flow and connection are the key determinants for me in terms of placement of functions….seamless-
unimpeded flow for all participants in the activities a space is designed for, and a strong connection with other spaces within and without so as to heighten impactful and efficient transition. Crafting a sense of place by calling upon familiar configurations and materials, interpreted in a unique way, helps deliver these. Very often, the sense of familiarity can be derived from materials used in their natural state in terms of texture and an honest expression of structure. What, for you, are the main determinants in the design process? AKG: My interpretation of the design process is anchored around the belief that we’re essentially providing a service with a rich measure of innovation, yet a service all the same - unfortunately, design is not yet an ‘essential-service’ and I wonder how many people would miss us if we were all to go on strike! The consumers of our services (whether end-users or clients) are the ultimate beneficiaries of our work and empathizing with them, understanding their motivations and their expectations are key to a successful outcome. The corollary to this is that, very often, the client is more conversant with the nuances of the product/ space being worked on than the designer. Having the humility to extract the most from the client’s experience and exposure to the situation and using that knowledge to supercharge the creative process can make a huge difference. The classical milestones of the design process have been co-creating the brief… research…analysis…brainstorming… solution development…prototyping/ implementation and iterating on these till a workable solution emerges. Of www.poolmagazine.in 41
these, questioning and thinking through the brief with the client and evaluating its relevance and potential implications is the most critical one. Design is one of the very few professions that retains a semblance of a social conscience and we should exercise this to good effect. This is what differentiates us and we should always work to keeping our critical faculties ticking! What has influenced your design philosophy? AKG: Being completely obsessed by automobile design in my early days as a design student and professional has certainly seeded a strong sense of form and this is something designers are expected to do well as a part of their professional practice. As one starts dealing with design projects of greater 42 POOL #28
complexity, ‘form’ and the act of ‘formcreation’ get assigned a more balanced role within the overall scheme of things and no longer remain prime movers. All the same, for many clients and end-users, design is synonymous with formal appeal and it is up to us to define our work as idea-centric (innovative, well planned), form-centric (esthetic), technology-centric (well engineered, well detailed) and people-centric (user friendly, ergonomic) within a carefully calibrated framework. How do you infuse Industrial Design with Space Design? AKG: Our unusual trajectory and origins ensure that whether working on products or spaces, we use a similar design process. There is a lot more iteration and exploration and
The over 100 m long iconic ‘mudra’ installation designed by Incubis to welcome travelers to T3 - India’s largest airport terminal and the gateway to our capital
even buildings are viewed inside-out as well as outside-in simultaneously. There is a lot of discussion on how people interact with objects and spaces and how the experience should ‘unfold’. Our design teams are almost always multidisciplinary, with industrial designers, architects and engineers involved closely through every step. Even during the design-documentation phases of projects involving spaces and built-environments, drawings are reviewed by industrial designers, and bespoke features and precise details are incorporated to ensure that the eventual output has a more thoughtfully crafted feel. Some of the best examples of this method are in our hotel and fuel-station projects. For instance, while designing the Ginger chain of ‘Smart Hotels’ for the Taj Group, we were able to deploy extreme space efficiency coupled with modular details www.poolmagazine.in 43
Preliminary conceptual sketches for the initial design for the Ginger ‘Smart Hotel’ chain
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cover story to help co-create a business model that could allow the client to build one of the lowest-cost chains in the world and expand at over 30 locations within a very short time. Architecture powered with the industrial design method allows us to adapt the concept to varying climatic, regulatory and scalability parameters on the fly whilst simultaneously upgrading the core design to meet evolving guest expectations. For our retail-sector clients, our Industrial Design team regularly creates detailed manuals that encapsulate the concept, and provide easy-to-use adaptation guides along with comprehensive technical details to facilitate roll-outs. Brands such as Mahindra Tractors, Hero Honda, Yum! (Pizza Hut, KFC), Kaya, Essar MobileStore, Apollo Pharmacy and Wal Mart have used our manuals while expanding their retail footprint. What role does innovation play in Space Design? AKG: I see a huge potential in exploring new materials and energy efficient technologies in building systems and spaces. In many cases we have successfully deployed locally available skills and resources in interesting new ways to help create sustainable architecture that ‘belongs’. At the other end of the spectrum, cutting edge technologies can also be explored in a relevant way. For example, we were able to use pre-engineered structures clad with aluminum panels to create giant reflectors out of fuel-station roofs, resulting in greater illumination spread with lower energy light sources. Many of our clients recognize the synergies inherent in our model and provide us the opportunity to design architectural products such as lighting,
office workstations, pre-engineered roofing systems, railings, etc. where our multiple skill sets are clearly a huge asset in terms of consumer familiarity as well as understanding areas of application. What is the primary focus when it comes to your academic involvement? AKG: I’ve been a visiting faculty at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA, Delhi) with occasional stints at IIT Roorkee and NID. My emphasis has been to create a bridge between the practice of Design and Architecture by highlighting common threads, exploring convergence and cross-fertilizing ideas. I have been fortunate to see many of my most talented students partner with Incubis as well as others and take this inquiry into a live dimension with amazing results. The ultimate aim is create a platform where creativity is untrammeled. More recently, I have been working together with the Vision First (visionpehle.wordpress.com) initiative in helping tap the collective wisdom of the design community to help define new and relevant models of design education in India while expanding the pool of design teachers. What does the future hold for Incubis? AKG: The growth of Incubis has been organic and defined by the clients we have worked with and the success of the ideas created with them. We have reached a steady state with this model and are exploring future growth through a mix of partnerships and alliances that will allow us to build on our existing competencies and create complementary offerings. The aim is to retain the vibrancy of our practice without spreading ourselves too thin and we are evaluating several options. A very strong component of our vision for the future is to create committed teams which share a passion to create with care and precision. www.poolmagazine.in 45
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UNTOLD STORIES Lead designer with the global design studio of a consumer electronics company in New Delhi, Sargheve Sukumaran spends his free time creating stories through strikingly evocative pictures
photographer What drew you to photography? SS: I studied Industrial Design at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and my serious photographic explorations started during those days - around 2004. As a student, having a camera was very important to study users/contexts and further document the work for many of our projects. But photography turned out to be much more interesting as I fell in love with the idea of capturing a moment and the endless possibilities of depicting a story from that moment. How have you progressed as a photographer since then? SS: I spent my early years focusing on getting the perfect photograph, but eventually it became an act uber close to my heart, with strong emotional connect. I had my miniscule exhibition last year in New Delhi as part of an Event for Social Cause. Prior to that, a few of my photographs have been shortlisted in competitions. Over the years I have seen a clear distinction in the way I think. What makes your photographs stand out? SS: My core interest is in connecting subjects and depicting an untold story. I am quite philosophical and my photographs do reflect my philosophies of life, travel and design. Recently, I have been trying to put more emphasis on themes of interest, and work based on those. I do not consciously try to differentiate my style…maybe I’m still evolving it.
‘Walk to Uncertainty’
What is your personal choice of subject, people or objects? SS: It’s hard to answer. It could be people, objects or both, and often unknown elements - a force or a feeling. Often objects have life and people get lifeless. Mostly it is the story and the feeling www.poolmagazine.in 51
photographer ‘The Outsider’
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photographer that is most important for me, and the characters are variables. How do you decide on your locations and subjects? SS: There is no hard and fast rule for the locations. I tend to travel based on the seasons - hills during the summers and plains during the winters, with some exceptions for monsoons and the snow. The camera follows me like a shadow. Landscapes are my favorites and I love exploring still life. The moment is precious especially when there is a unique context in place, when the story comes alive. What has been your favorite click? SS: It’s quite difficult to pick a favorite but a photograph titled ‘Walk to Uncertainty’ has always close been to my heart. It was shot in Alibag, Maharashtra. The endless beach, moist and textured, gave an amazing foreground leading to the horizon when the shot was clicked. The people represent us, our journeys in life and timestamps we cross. It did go through a series of reframing post capturing to give the right mood. What goes through your head right before you take a picture? SS: It’s very easy to lose the moment as it is always timed in seconds. The first thing is to capture the moment with all the subjects of interest, and the second is to explore more if time permits. How do you make your subjects feel comfortable? SS: The trick is not letting the subject know that they are being photographed. And in case they know, it’s a lot about how less intrusive one could be in that moment. There is a certain grace with which one handles the camera or the lenses or any accessory and it definitely
makes the subject feel more relaxed. I think it is quite important to be friendly but quick in getting your shots in any given moment. What camera are you currently using? SS: I have been using Canon since 2004, and have switched four cameras since then. I use a Canon 60D now. The user interface in Canon always keeps me loyal to the brand; it’s simple and intuitive. I should mention that the LOMOs have always excited me - they always have an element of surprise. Do you have a favorite lens? SS: Currently, I am exploring a Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens. It’s on the top of the charts as of now. There is so much more you can get when you go wide. Does lighting (natural or artificial) make a picture? SS: I love to shoot in natural light. The play of shadows, colors and gradients you get in natural light is just mind blowing. I do not believe in extreme digital manipulation - basic exposure corrections to framing are mostly done on the computer. What do you find most challenging about being a photographer? SS: Photography is all about exploring life, reflecting one’s thoughts in the frame. Hence, it is most important to spend enough time with the camera and the subjects. The challenge is to keep one’s drive to explore more and more in the most unfavorable situations. I would not comment on the commercial side, as I have never explored that aspect enough. Is photography is a natural skill? SS: The key is to have the passion and interest for the art, and everything else www.poolmagazine.in 53
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comes your way. I believe that with the right zeal for the art, you can master any form of it. Have you been influenced or inspired by any other photographer? SS: I happened to attend a session by Raghu Rai a few years back. I quite like his style and depth in the photographs, especially the monochromes. Apart from him, quite a lot of people who are good friends inspire me to explore new horizons in photography. Has photography helped you evolve as a human being? SS: Photography has helped a lot in evolving my thought process. The moment you hold your camera, you are in one way writing a story or composing a song in your own way. It also forces your imagination to think more, to play with your subjects, find the magic proportions and connect the right dots. What do you hope to achieve with your photography? SS: I am looking forward to initiating cross-cultural projects, to explore and learn about cultures from different parts of the world. I am also thinking of mixing different forms of creative arts, to experiment with the depth of visual media, photography and music or graffiti. The ultimate aim is to find a space that absolutely resonates with my ideologies of life, space and movement. www.poolmagazine.in 55
INSPIRED IMAGERY In an interesting collaboration, brothers Manil and Rohit Gupta teamed up to create the ManilRohit identity. The artist duo, whose work has been described as ‘aggressive and ribald’, shares with POOL how their individual styles merge to form a striking hybrid. How did you get started as artists? Manil: I enjoyed making art right from childhood, but never took it up seriously. It was only when I moved to Delhi with Rohit, for better opportunities, that I got a chance to figure out my creative place between Fashion, Design and Fine Arts. I eventually did my BFA (Applied Arts) from Delhi College of Arts, in 2003. But throughout, the realm of fine arts with its pure creative freedom had truly grown upon me. Gradually, I quit all commercial work and settled into my own practice.
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Rohit: I was never into arts of any sorts, except doodling a few Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck figures in my childhood. My only influence and learning of art was seeing Manil paint. I did BA (H) English from Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University. After college I picked up Manil’s camera, which further led me to work with the India Today Group as a photographer for a couple of years. However, I was always into my own experiments with fine art photography, which compelled me to
(Top) Savita Bhabhi aur Anya Kahaniyaan 6ft x 12ft (diptych) Acrylic on canvas Year 2011
(Right) Eco Friendly Hornification Cells 6ft x 6ft Acrylic on canvas Year 2011 www.poolmagazine.in www.poolmagazine.in 59 59
quit my job and focus on the same, until a couple of years ago, when we accidently managed to create a work on our studio wall, and thus came the moment when we realized that we had something interesting happening together. How did you find your style? MR: We’ve worked individually as artists for a long time and we’ve had totally different styles and mediums, yet we shared the same studio space throughout. Growing up together, we’ve lived and shared the same life. Hence these complexities and similarities are the essence of our works, in terms of technique and subject matter. However, it was an accidental moment when we on a drunken evening happened to paint a wall of our studio together, which is when we realized what we had in our hands. We allowed our different styles to co-exist and overlap, without controlling anything, and thus form the hybrid, the way it is. At times, we become like each other and then go back to being ourselves. We’ve definitely evolved and become more complex with time, in terms of the imagery we create. Yet our only guideline for ourselves is to keep the spontaneity and freedom alive in our approach, while breaking our molds constantly. What is your approach to developing concepts for your art? MR: We take the work as an impromptu journey into the unknown. Our constant approach is to peel off the layers of conditioning and not be governed by methods. Our only guidelines are to have fun, be spontaneous and treat the work like a 60 60 POOL #28 POOL #28
playground. In our conceptual process we strive to reach a point where the conscious and the subconscious overlap, so much so that the work becomes like a dream where different images exist simultaneously, yet we are not aware of their definite ground. It thus becomes like a fantasy where multiple imagery and concepts are intertwined and layered together. This intuitive process keeps going until we reach the point of an orgasmic fulfillment. What mediums do you experiment with? MR: As of now we’ve worked mainly with acrylics and spray cans on canvas. We have also created an Art Car using the same mediums. We’re always open to newer possibilities, to make more exciting art.
Hello My Master 6ft x 12ft (diptych) Acrylic on canvas Year 2011
Your projects have interesting names… MR: The titles (‘Eco-friendly Hornification’ and ‘The Holographic Love Machine’) are much like our works, spontaneous, and they mostly occur to us in the subconscious zone. However, we like to stick to those which are quirky and fun, sometimes hybrid, and have a recall value. We like to keep them symbolic yet abstract. They should also have a nice ring to them. How do you promote your work? MR: We did not really market or promote our first show ‘Eco-friendly Hornification’, as we were keen on seeing people’s reactions. However with ‘The Holographic Love Machine’ project, we’ve tried to use the power of social media and its impact on a project because of its massively wired reach. Do you have a favorite assignment? MR: All of them! The ‘Eco-friendly Hornification’ series was our first body of work together, and each new piece was a crazy experience. However we really enjoyed ‘The Holographic Love Machine’ project, purely because it’s been a really unique challenge to create a Public Art Car. Firstly, it felt crazy to decide to use our own car for this fun project. Then, maneuvering the car surface was like an adventure ride, along with the fact that we also had to be much more diligent while being in the www.poolmagazine.in www.poolmagazine.in 61 61
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The Holographic Love Machine
public space. Lastly, the prospect of this artwork having a massive and mobile audience really excited us.
and freedom of a kid’s approach. Then there’s a lot of street art, graffiti, comic books and animation.
What is the best part about what you do? MR: We like to have fun and get to do weird and unpredictable things like kids, and make a living out of it. Seriously!
What do you try to address in your art? MR: Our narratives are inspired by various elements and activities from everyday life. And we like to look at things with a lot of humor, be it, philosophical ideas, sexual fantasies, social and ecological concerns or abstract indulgences. Identifying the humor in life forms the core of our social commentary. We reflect as an onlooker and mock ourselves as the protagonist. Also, since we take great pride in the process of creating art, we try and incorporate means to keep our art honest, tactile and enjoyable by more sections of society than one.
Do you ever experience a creative slump? MR: Yes of course, it’s a universal phenomenon. We just like to stick through it, and let things happen. It’s just about spending time in the studio and waiting for the magic; however our work is such that we try to tell ourselves to be spontaneous at all times, thus fighting out the slump, if any. Also, mistakes and accidents are a welcome feature in our work, so that helps too. Sometimes, we call in for some beer though. What are some visual influences that make their way into your work? MR: We love to emulate the naivety
What’s next in the pipeline? MR: More Holographic Hornification..!! We also hope to indulge in more popular forms of art. www.poolmagazine.in www.poolmagazine.in 63 63
CREATIVITY ASAP! Sahil Bagga and Sarthak Sengupta have learnt to combine their individual creative expressions to create a successful brand that provides multi disciplinary product, furniture and interior design solutions www.sahilsarthak.com
How did you team up to form the ‘Sahil & Sarthak’ brand? S&S: Sahil has a Bachelor in Applied Art degree, while Sarthak’s Bachelor’s degree is in Accessory & Lifestyle Design. We conceived this partnership in Milan while we were pursuing our Master’s in Product Service System Design at Politecnico di Milano, as a part of a scholarship program awarded by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in 2006. We were selected for the prestigious Project I-nova, a scholarship program by Scoula Politeca del Design, Milan. Under this program we were given the opportunity to work for the historic furniture company, the Poltrona Frau Group, under the mentorship of veteran designer Guilio Cappellini. During this period Poltrona Frau Group was launching in India, and we got an international perspective of the Indian market. We were also able to converge our varied design skills in an effective way. In 2009 we decided to come back to India and start our 66 POOL #28
own design studio in Delhi, working across many areas of design. We are both Managing Directors of Sarthak Sahil Design Co. What is your design philosophy? S&S: We have tried to transform our skills and ideas into a successful brand that creates products and spaces that are beautiful, functional and ASAP (as sustainable as possible). Our expertise lies in customizing products, furniture, lighting and installations through the innovative use of Indian craftsmanship and materials to furnish contemporary living spaces. We introduced the ‘Zero Kilometer Design’ approach in designing commercial spaces such as boutique hotels and landmark restaurants. These reflective yet innovative projects were widely appreciated for their commercial viability as well as ideology. Our design solutions go beyond esthetics and functional needs. The studio also provides holistic design solutions such as creative management, knowledge of the overall production chain of the system, and graphic and communication; and synchronizes all these different elements towards building an overall customer experience. www.poolmagazine.in 67
What exactly is ‘Zero Kilometer Design’? S&S: Zero Kilometer Design signifies that a project or a collection is inspired by local culture, sourced with local materials and fabricated with local skills. The inspiration can come from folklore and everyday objects and sometimes from innate sustainable solutions which can be then re-contextualized for our modern day living spaces. We feel it is an excellent methodology to create a system that gives relevance to a property in its regional context, yet maintaining an international identity. It also creates a meta partnership between businesses and local communities which can continue even after the project is completed. The best example of a project of this nature would be the Lakshman Sagar Resort, in Raipur, Rajasthan. The colors, products, furnishings and furniture are all inspired by local references. For example, local milk cans have been designed 68 POOL #28
furniture to become outdoor lights; festival drums have becoming coffee tables and storage boxes; wall lights were created from grain strainers and the traditional farmer’s plough; broken blue pottery made into floor mosaic, etc. What type of products does ‘Sahil & Sarthak’ create? S&S: We have a very diverse range of products and furniture. It has been our effort to re-contextualize innate local objects and reinterpret them into contemporary products with modern day uses. At the same time it is very important for us to preserve that memory of the craft; thus, we look forward to collaborating with traditional craftsmen and local artisans to bring life to our designs. Our most popular collection remains the Katran Collection. Others include the Abundance Collection inspired by traditional Sanjhi stencils; the Magia Nera Black Pottery Collection, which is a re-interpretation of the traditional Long Pi pottery from Manipur; and the Pakh Collection, an ensemble of bowls and platters inspired by Banjara craftsmanship. Sahil & Sarthak products are available at boutique stores across India and abroad, as well as on online stores.
Zanana Restaurant Lakshman Sagar Resort, Raipur (Rajasthan); ‘Zero Kilometer Design’
Tell us something about ‘The Katran Collection’. S&S: Developed as part of the ‘Zero Kilometer Design’ concept, ‘The Katran Collection’ has been our effort to weave ethics, ethnic and ecology with contemporary culture. In Hindi ‘Katran’ means small pieces of leftover colorful cloth which is the by-product of cloth mills. These same cloth pieces are collected by farmers during their off seasons and spun into ropes and sold for the purpose of weaving traditional Indian day beds (khatiyas). Our effort has been to use this same vibrant material in an innovative way to create a collection of contemporary furniture and products that are sustainable and beautiful, having a high perceived value and a glocal (global + local) appeal. The furniture is completely handmade and brought to life by the ethical interactions between various actors in the system, from the village to the city. The Katran Collection is available in various www.poolmagazine.in 69
(Clock-wise) 1. Floor Cusion - Katran knots 2. Multicoloured classic high-back chair 3. ‘Beetle’
textures and colors, which have been carefully catalogued by us and gives our customers the possibility to customize according to their taste and requirements. In fact none of the Katran furniture is similar to another due to the innate diversity of colors and textures, making them exclusive pieces. Each piece of furniture has its special attributes; the Love Chair comes with a shelving space under its seat where one can stack books or blankets, while the Athena Chair is inspired by the classic curves of Greek columns. Since the Katran Collection has remained one of our most popular product ranges, this product idea has been patented by our company since 2010. Your work has received much acclaim both in India and abroad… S&S: The Katran Collection has received overwhelming response 70 POOL #28
‘Little Bo Peep’; Bold Strips
in India and abroad and continues to be showcased at various international platforms such as the Victoria & Albert Museum London as a part of the ‘India Now’ Exhibition 2012 - 2013. Recently the Katran Collection was recognized by the Elle Décor International Design Awards, 2011; it was also showcased at the Frankfurt Abiente Fair in February 2012. The Stork Chair from our Katran Collection was selected by Cappellini Cap Design to be showcased as a part of the Cappellini Next Exhibition during the Milan Furniture Fair 2012. Our products and furniture have been selected and showcased at international design events such as Salone del Mobile Milan 2010, and Alchemy Festival London 2010. British Council India selected us as finalists for their Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards, 2010.
‘Little Bo Peep’; Multiple colors
‘Little Bo Peep’; in red (side-view)
What’s in the pipeline for Sahil & Sarthak? S&S: We are currently designing and executing two 60-foot high installations for the atriums of the upcoming The Park Hotel in Kochi, inspired by the traditional Mohiniyattam dance form of Kerala. For the front porch of the hotel we designed an installation inspired by the decorated festival elephants of Thrissur. These gold plated installations are being fabricated in collaboration with the temple craftsmen of Thrissur, who for generations have been creating the golden adornments of the festival elephants for the temple. In the future we hope for wider retail of our products in India and internationally. We also want to work on more interior projects that are closer to our design philosophy. www.poolmagazine.in 71
CUTTING EDGE OF FASHION
In a world full of wannabe designers, Kolkata-based Kallol Datta calls himself a ‘clothes maker and pattern cutter’!
So, who is Kallol Datta? KD: I’ve enjoyed customizing my clothes ever since I was in junior high, and this perhaps evolved into a need to create. Fashion is the only thing I know how to do - it’s all I’ve trained and studied for. I have a degree in Fashion Design from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata, and a Women’s Wear Degree from Central St. Martins, London. I have a label called Kallol Datta 1955 (my mother was born in 1955). I’m also India’s heaviest designer…a stay at home person who thinks the Internet helps keep unwanted physical human interaction at bay. I enjoy reading memoirs and writing. What is your signature style? KD: I’m guessing fashion observers would be able to tell better. I enjoy creating clothes which challenge me during the pattern cutting process. When I started in 2008, 3D folds were a major part of my garment styles. After everyone jumped on that bandwagon, I’ve moved into a longer and leaner space.
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How would you describe the process of creation? KD: My work is more of a social commentary of sorts rather than a theme. While creating a fabric prototype, I refer to doodles of shapes I’ve drawn in my journal, since shapes and
‘x o x o’ - Autumn Winter 2012-13 Line www.poolmagazine.in 75
fashion ‘x o x o’ - Autumn Winter 2012-13 Line
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silhouettes are what I focus on at the moment. Once a calico toile of the proto is done, cleaning up of loose ends and tweaking of details happen. To complete a collection takes somewhere between 4-5 months. The idea or concept may have been in my mind for a while but the physical side of things takes that long. What kind of women do you design for? KD: I want my clothes to make women feel comfortable, without the need for an ‘instruction’ or ‘how to wear card’. I don’t want them worrying about Spanx and sizing issues. As a designer one gets thrown into a category as soon as he/she begins. Initially not many women identified with my work. Nowadays, however, there are people who like what they see and they are as varied as they come. For me substance and functionality are mutually inclusive. Each and every garment produced finds a buyer, sometimes a person and sometimes a museum. What’s your favorite era of fashion? KD: For clothes being made in India, this is my favorite age of fashion for the country. Designers of this generation are all educated, technically skilled, and have solid work ethics; this makes for a very exciting time for fashion in our country. What has propelled the present international interest in Indian fashion? KD: I think it’s always been there. Our native wear shapes, colors, fabrics and textures have always found an audience. The task for a while was to make the rest of the world understand that India was great not only for vendor services but as a center for creation. Now, with our domestic markets more stable than others, it is good to see designers focusing on Indian markets. www.poolmagazine.in 77
fashion Solo Art Show ‘KallolCulture’
‘x o x o’ - Autumn Winter 2012-13 Line
Is there really something such as ‘affordable fashion’? KD: Affordable fashion is slightly misguided when the consumer seeks a nonmass product. Fast Fashion is available via high street brands. In the Indian retail scene, prêt is priced very well indeed. What would you tell aspiring designers? KD: You have to get an education in design. You have to pay your dues. One can’t expect success and, more importantly, credibility immediately. This is not a line for those craving a slice of glamour. We are not actors, models, singers. We are but clothing technicians. 78 POOL #28
designer on the road
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA This month I tell my stories from a very interesting place - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and most important city. It’s a great place to be, with super awesome, cute people! Everybody is so nice and kind in Malaysia. Their hospitality is among the best I have ever seen on this planet!
Cagri Cankaya can find nothing to criticize on this leg of his journey! www.designerontheroad.com
I worked here in a boutique advertising agency called Maws, where I did a logo project for Datum, an IT and software development company. Then I worked on a brochure to promote Maws; they wanted to make a New Year gift for clients that was useful and could be used in their daily life. Their idea was to create an agenda which also included the best work from the agency. They realized however that every company creates agendas and they are not creative at all! The alternative was to make a brochure with interesting folds - their identity is based on triangles with thin lines. However, I thought a brochure in a triangle shape would bring us lots of problems and dead zones. Since they are an interactive agency, I came up with a more interactive idea. It is a brochure printed on 50×70 cm paper. The front has information about the company and some of their work. When you open it, there are two postcards featuring the agency’s work. The brochure actually has a second life and pushes people to be interactive, just like the agency. I spent my last week in Malaysia visiting design schools and attending seminars. I talked at six design schools and one design agency, including Raffles College, One Academy, Dasein College, Saito College, and Pjcad College. It was quite challenging, though tiring, but I enjoyed meeting young design students and telling them about my travels around the world. My presentation was not one of these boring design talks - it was like a stand up show about the design business, and the students had a good time. Some of them said it was the best talk they had ever attended. I was very happy and proud of that. Kuala Lumpur is a very interesting metropolis with many different races and platforms. The city is growing fast. There are a lot of Malays, Chinese and Indians and they all live in peace and harmony. This multi racial environment keeps KL interesting. It’s not so expensive to live here and the people are ready to help you at anytime. I never had a single problem in this city. The bad thing is there is not much to do in KL except visit huge shopping malls, and unfortunately I am not excited by shopping malls! See you next month from Sri Lanka, Colombo, where I will be with McCann Erickson. www.poolmagazine.in 79
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