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ISSUE 32  february 2013

Sheetal Sudhir

Photographed by Abheet Gidwani

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INDIA HOUSE ART GALLERY 04 / Anab 08 / Amitabh 16 / SAURABH 24 / sanchita 42 / NIMISH 50 / KRSNA 58 / CAGRI 63


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Editor in Chief | sudhir@indidesign.in

February 2013 | # 32

Sudhir received the ‘Excellence in Innovation Award’ for 2013

ISSUE 32 fEbrUary 2012

ISSUE 32 FEBRUARY 2013

Sheetal Sudhir

Photographed by Abheet Gidwani

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INDIA HOUSE ART GALLERY 04 / ANAb 08 / AmITAbH 16 / SAURAbH 24 / SANcHITA 42 / NImISH 50 / KRSNA 58 / cAGRI 63

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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

KISS I can always tell a young designer’s work from that of a more mature one. Young, immature work tries to work harder, at many layers, with too many messages and too many details. It is always overdone and more complex...almost too many concepts in one solution. And sometimes this can be seen even in the work of older, mature designers who are trying too hard to be good. But take a good look around you. Invariably you will like the simple, non-complicated things. Things with one strong idea, one strong detail, one strong message. Conveyed in as straightforward a way as possible. Designers take time to get comfortable with not delivering too much. In fact they rarely do. Some who do, become masters. It is also difficult to convince a client with simple details and less material. Try seeing the solutions from the perspective of role fulfilling and not from the design itself. We get too busy creating masterpieces for every job we get. Simple is beautiful; simple is also sustainable. Clever and simple is intellectual, difficult to achieve and worth rewarding. Help your audience to do well with whatever they do. Don’t distract them with unnecessarily complex and attention seeking design. That is merely Design-Pollution. Keep it Simple, Stupid!

Sudhir Endorsed by

Supported by


inauguration

THE NATION SPEAKS! India House Art Gallery in Pune will throw open its doors with ‘Desh ki Awaaz’, an exhibition that showcases the themes of a changed nation www.ccba.in

Ram at the gallery

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“We are no longer the India of religious mythology and the triumph of good over evil,” says Ramprasad Akkisetti of the India House Art Gallery in Pune which will hold its inaugural exhibition on 16th February. “Desh ki Awaaz is created as an engagement and collaboration between the timehonored skills of the traditional artist, and the themes of a changed India. It redirects the miniaturist and other forms of traditional art into a wholly new direction. The exhibition will showcase the new India of politics, corruption, pretentious secularism, depravity and social upheaval, along with a cast of dubious characters: thieving forest officers, conniving bureaucrats, money grubbing builders, burnt housewives. Desh ki Awaaz depicts an India in which lesser evil triumphs over heinous evil and everyone lives happily – if not forever – at least till the next breaking news.”


inauguration Located in Pune, one of the cultural hubs of the country, India House is synonymous with ‘haute culture’ and creative energy. Christopher Charles Benniger Architects Pvt. Ltd., of which Ramprasad Akkisetti is the Founder Managing Director, has its offices here. Ramprasad has now created the India House Art Gallery to offer a large spatial domain for art.

India House Art Gallery Logo

“The gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of master artists’ work, exploring timeless energy with fresh commitment,” he says. “India House Art

India House Art Gallery Space

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inauguration Gallery stands for passion, and is dedicated to the interpretation of human existence through highly crafted imagery. The gallery is committed to working with exceptional artists who are visually gifted, technically exceptional, and of important artistic merit and accomplishment. Whatever the medium represented the art works are well crafted, unique and transformational. Though tied to no specific esthetic philosophy, the gallery seeks to introduce the connoisseurs of Pune to creative genius that is of truly international quality, and influential nature.” The gallery will host autumn, winter and spring exhibitions, with related talks and seminars. For art connoisseurs in the city, it promises to be a destination worth keeping an eye on! India House Art Gallery 52 Sopan Bagh, Balewadi, Pune 411045, India +91 9823276791 | 020-65102331 ram@ccba.in

‘Desh ki Awaaz’ painting

‘Desh ki Awaaz’ foldable wood painting

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interactive

THE BUSINESS OF CHANGE

Already much feted, and recognized internationally for her knowledge of design, futurescaping, emerging markets, new technologies and innovation, London-based Anab Jain hasn’t forgotten her Indian roots

www.superflux.in 8  POOL #32

Tell us a little about your design journey. AJ: I studied filmmaking and communication design at NID in Ahmedabad. During my time there, I was drawn by the works of notable image-makers and storytellers who worked to create radical visions of the future, from Godard to Superstudio. On the other hand the Eames Report was an integral part of our education - an almost sacred piece of text pushing young designers in India to recognize the context of their work: a fairly new ‘independent country’ struggling economically whilst beginning to embrace design as an essential ingredient for innovation. In many ways that rigorous five-year design program led me to study at the Royal College of Art in London, where I got interested in the sort of interaction design that had a bit of both - fiction, provocation, alchemy, and magic; as well as making, building, storytelling, people and communities. After receiving my MA in Interaction Design, I worked with large organizations like Microsoft Research and Nokia, where I slowly developed a firmer interest in technological innovation and futurescaping. The opportunity to be involved in the shaping of a technology - from speculation all the way through to product or service or experience invention - is immensely satisfying.


interactive

5th Dimensional Camera Blending physics and speculative design, the 5th Dimensional Camera translates Everett’s ‘Many Worlds’ theory of quantum mechanics into a tangible prototype.

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interactive

Edible Christmas Cards A festive food design experiment, creating 54 mutant edible species for our limited edition Christmas cards.

In 2009 I started Superflux, a collaborative Anglo-Indian design practice, based in London but with roots in the Gujarati city of Ahmedabad! I am Principal Designer, and Co-Director (with Jon Ardern). What does the name Superflux represent? AJ: Superflux literally translates into ‘big change’. At Superflux we work closely with clients and collaborators on projects that acknowledge the reality of our rapidly changing times, designing with and for uncertainty, instead of resisting it.We are particularly interested in the ways emerging technologies interface with the environment and everyday life, and with proven experience in design, strategy and foresight, Superflux is in a unique position to explore the implications of these new interactions. Ultimately, we strive to embed these explorations in the here and now - using rapid prototyping and media sketches to turn them into stimulating concepts, experiences, products and services. What services do you offer? AJ: One of our core services is Interaction Design and Product Invention. We are in the business of humanising technology and its implications. And by this I mean that we help clients explore new concepts for products / services / experiences / strategies / systems around emerging technologies and then design and prototype these concepts. We also help them in communicating these concepts to a wider audience. We like to get involved in the invention phase, so that we are better positioned to help shape a technology before it becomes ‘product’, so that the

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interactive

human experience remains at the heart of the entire design process. We also offer Design Futurescaping services. Design Futurescaping is a way of visualizing, prototyping and communicating the potential opportunities and implications of emerging scientific research and new technologies - not just at the level of the individual person, but on a wider stage, be that the neighborhood, city or society. The impact of technologies and trends vary by cultural context and geographic location, and can combine in unexpected ways, and we believe futurescaping is a way to lever that open and look at the different ways things might play out. Multiple scenarios, layered in space. Not just this thing, but this + this + that + the other, all unfolding at once. It’s as much about the world, and the stories of people, as about the product or the technology. It’s about putting the people back in. What kind of business structure do you follow? AJ: Our business structure has two parts: the Consultancy is client-facing, offering bespoke services, while the Lab is a

research space where we develop and test new ideas. Though these two parts function independently, we’ve come to rely on their contrasting rhythms for team sanity, the ‘sweet spot’ of unexpected synergies, and a steady stream of new ideas and provocations. Alongside consulting design work, this model allows us to collaborate, research, partner and align. It allows us to keep a progressive design agenda, to explore possibilities and opportunities that keep us intellectually and creatively sustained, while bringing vision and freshness to consulting work. It’s also about rhythm and pacing. By having a mix of projects going on at any one time, we get unexpected collisions and cross-fertilization of ideas. Multiple projects for different types of clients and incomes and business models builds structural resilience, allowing us to absorb shocks, and sail along any economic volatility with more flexibility. What are some of the interesting projects you have worked on? AJ: There’s Song of the Machine, a short film and installation originally www.poolmagazine.in  11


interactive produced for HUMAN+, Science Gallery Dublin’s flagship exhibition of 2011. Internet of Things Academy is Superflux’s proposal for a product ecosystem to support creative and collaborative applications of the internet-of-things. Then there’s Power of 8, a collaborative project bringing together eight strangers to imagine optimistic, collective expressions of our futures, today. Yellow Chair Stories was an experiment in service design, demonstrating how identity and personal space can be affected by intermingling of the physical and the virtual. How do you strike a work balance between two absolutely contrasting cultures? AJ: The more time you spend in a different culture, the better you understand it. And yet, the time spent away from your own home country gives you a new perspective on your own culture, and you begin to understand and appreciate the differences. Whilst most of our current work is based in UK / Europe, I believe that this diverse combination of geographical and cross-cultural perspectives enriches our client’s briefs with valuable insights. Is Superflux involved in any projects in India? AJ: We started a small project called Lilorann (green desert) in the Rann of Kutch, which is slowly ticking along. And we have done some teaching and a few workshops with interesting clients in India. But it’s not enough; we are eager to get our hands dirty and become more involved with design projects in India. What are your views on design in India in the 21st century? AJ: Whilst all my understanding of design in India comes from my regular visits, clients and friends, I was able to get a real insight into the emerging vocabulary around design, thanks to a project last year at the V&A, London. There is a sense of energy and vibrance that is refreshing and exciting, and unlike anything I have felt here in the UK. I hope that this energy comes through in global discussions around design, and I really hope the ‘Designed in India’ stamp becomes a landmark in shaping India’s contribution to design in the 21st century.

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interactive

Acres Green Acres Green is a speculative futurescape, locating the ideas from our Power of 8 project in a wider augmented ecosystem.

What is the most challenging aspect of working in this arena in terms of technology? AJ: Very often people are excited about new technologies, but not enough thought goes into the ways in which these technologies will interface with our everyday lives and how we will make sense of them socially and culturally and economically. The most challenging aspect is to design seamful experiences with and around emerging technologies that add meaning and richness to our lives. What does the future generation of designers need to keep in mind? AJ: Recently I gave a talk titled ‘Design for the New Normal’ (http://www.superflux.in/blog/newnormal), which I think addresses this very question. The point I was making is about the rise of what one might call ‘Technological Empowerment’ – how with new technologies and ways of working, tasks that would once have required the brute force of a nation of mega-corporations can now be achieved by a small company, a like-minded group of collaborators, or, in some cases, a lone individual. For instance, people are now setting up new www.poolmagazine.in  13


interactive

Song Of The Machine Song of the Machine is a short film and installation originally produced for HUMAN+, Science Gallery Dublin’s flagship exhibition of 2011.

manufacturing businesses around 3D printing, whilst young students now have access to online registries which allow them to manipulate DNA and effectively start editing living organisms (the field of synthetic biology). Linked to these trends of technological empowerment, we’re also witnessing the rise of what a ‘new normal’, or something the futurist Ziauddin Sardar has referred to as our ‘postnormal times’ namely, a period ‘characterized by uncertainty, rapid change, realignment of power, upheaval, and chaotic behavior’. Within this context, the challenge for the future generation of designers will be to imagine and create new kinds of design practices – practices where the designer is not necessarily a star or a hero creating iconic products, but someone who is involved with collaborators and the wider community to design new kinds of models of living for the 21st century; a designer who is in effect helping widen perspectives. www.poolmagazine.in  15


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art

Bangalore-based designer/artist Amitabh Kumar is as much a graphic storyteller as a muralist whose striking work can be seen on walls in cities across the country!

amitabhkumar.blogspot.com

Tell us a little about yourself. AK: I went to art school post basic education. What made it an easy decision was that I wanted to look at living a life that involved me completely as opposed to in fragments of the work-home-leisure module. So, art practice became something very fundamental and simple. It was more of a lifestyle decision. Luckily, after graduating with a BVA (majoring in Painting) from Baroda’s Maharaja Sayajirao University, I found myself in contexts which facilitated this immersive way of looking at things. I worked as part of the Sarai Media Lab in New Delhi for four years and then worked for acclaimed artists, Raqs Media Collective. It is only now, after having worked for seven years and only partially able to devote my time to my own art practice, that I have begun to shape my body of work in earnest.

Pandoroid Vision 4 Projectile Prophecies, Pandoroid, 2012

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art

Magicians Do Not Exist Print on Acid Free Archival Paper, 8 ft X 5 ft, The Guild, Mumbai, 2011 www.poolmagazine.in  17


art What type of art do you practice? AK: My primary practice is that of a graphic storyteller and in that capacity I have worked as a comic book artist and a print media designer. I also draw and etch on various kinds of material (metal, rubber, etc.) and for the past year I have been making large scale murals around India. As of now, I am trying to give my artworks more spatiality and experimenting with various strategies and materials. What influences have moved you as an artist? AK: A lot of comics! As an art form, comic book art is a lot about leaps of faith and suspension of belief. I find that a very easy terrain to operate in. It’s almost like a breeding ground for new ideas…a lab of sorts. Other influences include music and theater for their collective ambition of scale and affective energy; cinema for the kind of experience and aftertaste that it can create; and the literary form for being the purest and simplest crucible for an idea. What is the most important idea that you want to address in your art? AK: Ideas are fluid, and the idea is to flow for now. The work is informed by a certain topicality, which is filtered through me. This mish mash makes it a little difficult to trace and pinpoint things with so much precision. What one wants to work around is desire, and to trace its history through the human condition. But that’s an oxymoron, isn’t it? How do you sell your work? AK: I am keen on exploring various contexts where I can generate revenue and am exploring my options. Currently I make money by freelancing as a designer and working on commissioned murals. Being a full-fledged artist and relying on it, at present, seems like a bad business proposition. Making comics generates some revenue. What has been your favorite art work till now? AK: Being part of the Pao Collective is a very satisfying experience. The Pao Collective intends to promote comics through a series of workshops, smaller publications and ideas around distribution and production of comics. The Pao Anthology as a project is something that I am really proud of. This 18  POOL #32


art

‘BADMAN’ Public Mural, Kochi, 2012 www.poolmagazine.in  19


art

‘Supersensitive’ 19 door mats, U.V printing on Industrial Rubber at Latitude 28, New Delhi, 2012

is a collection of graphic stories that my colleagues in the Pao Collective (Orijit Sen, Sarnath Banerjee, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, and Parismita Singh) and I produced. This is, to our minds, the definitive anthology of graphic fiction in India and intends to be a series of 11 books. It is something that I can’t even imagine doing on my own at this point and has been a massive learning and collaborative space. The anthology has brought awareness to a unique way of telling stories in the Indian context and promises to be a platform for individual voices trying to tell stories through images in the Indian context. Who is your favorite artist? AK: I’m a big fan of Alishan Shahibaug’s work. He is one of the most underrated personalities in operation right now. Professionally, what’s your goal? AK: I would want to have a very clear revenue generation model that could generate the diverse range of practices that I want to indulge in. I want to make more comics and take up interesting book/catalogue/print design assignments. I want to actively work on murals and street art….find a way to intervene in space and structures in more ways than image making. I want to move to atmosphere/ ambience making…basically try to create as much time, space and contexts to make possible what I want. 20  POOL #32


art

‘virtue’ Excerpt from Comic Book published in the Obliterary Journal, Blaft, 2012

What are you currently working on? AK: You can see my work being published as part of the Partition Anthology, which is a project undertaken by Vishwajyoti Ghosh, my colleague from Pao, who is collecting graphic stories around the idea of Indo-Pak Partition. You can also see my work at the India Art Fair, and on the walls of cities! Currently I’m working on a comic about a collector, building the skeletal for a collection of stories, a series of light boxes for the ‘talab’ project, and 12 sensational propositions that I will be making to the public in Mumbai in April 2013. What advice would you like to give to budding artists? AK: Financial independence and sustenance is as much part of your artistic practice as drawing a line, writing a code, clicking that image, or writing that word. Find models and contexts that facilitate, and if none are found, create them. www.poolmagazine.in  21


Connecting worlds Indi-Berlin connects the diverse cultures and Industries to provide brand related services from the inside. If you have business interests in India and Europe, lets talk.


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illustrator

Creative Supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather in Mumbai, young Saurabh Chandekar believes that being a people’s person is what helps him be a good illustrator

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illustrator

‘Vespa’ Project for Ogilvy & Mather

What makes a successful illustrator? SC: One has to be open to things that come your way. I have always lived each day as it comes. Local trains, buses, taxis, tea stalls, food shops are an integral part of my day…I get to see and experience a lot of interactions, and these help in developing illustration ideas. Listen to good music, talk to people, keep tabs on the latest cultural and art activities and just be natural. Be a constant explorer.

www.saurabhchandekar.com

Did you always believe you’d earn a living through drawing? SC: It was not a day’s process. I obtained a diploma in Applied Art from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay in Pune, majoring in illustration. Then I moved to Mumbai, which is a city of dreams; both work and art get well appreciated here. When I shifted to Mumbai I was more inclined towards theatre and music. Academics were never my cup of tea, though I had got some awards for my illustrations during my diploma days. Staying alone in Mumbai gave me a chance to interact with a lot of people and it was at this point that the illustration bug www.poolmagazine.in  25


illustrator

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illustrator bit me. It was an unknown gradual shift. Now, it is a vital part of my life. What subjects do you favor in your illustrations? SC: Anything related to human life – behavior, expressions, everything! I like to carve out emotions on the paper. Basically I am a people’s person. I love to meet different kinds of people. Is knowledge of basic anatomy important for an illustrator? SC: You must be aware of it. But I think the real thing is to know it and then forget about it. Only then you can step out of the structured form. Sometimes a non-structured form attracts me more than the picture perfect drawing. A style is developed by your own perspective. It’s good to learn the technical aspects of illustration but at the end of the day, there has to be art in you. Do you follow a specific process? SC: No process is my process. A texture paper, highlighter and a permanent marker, and I am ready! I prefer to use a sketchbook though I am comfortable with the computer too. Sometimes an illustration happens in the first or the second try, sometimes it may take longer. When the bell in the mind rings, I stop! Usually, the client comes first and then the idea. For me, the brand message comes first, and ideas build around the message. ‘Vespa’ Project for Ogilvy & Mather

Do you have your work critiqued by someone, or do you just go with what your heart tells you? SC: I am my own critic. The work I do must evoke the right emotions with which it is done. If the answer is yes, it’s passed. While doing it, the heart is more important than anything else. What is the biggest hurdle in your style of work? SC: I like freedom and a rhythm in my work. A lot depends on what music I am listening to… if the music gets disturbed it reflects in my work. Who are your inspirations? SC: My father is my biggest inspiration. He is from a theater background, and art breathes in our www.poolmagazine.in  27


NNew ewDelhi Delhi | | GGurgaon urgaon || M Mumbai umbai

“Create spaces that speak “Createto you” spaces that speak to you” www.arttdinox.com

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illustrator

Illustration ‘Hair’

house. In Mumbai, it’s my Creative Head, Vipul Salvi. He told me to blend the commercial and artistic form to reach the core in the shortest possible time, by keeping the art form intact. This is important for my profession. Illustration ‘Dil Diwana’

What plans do you have for the future? Anything in particular you want to pursue? SC: I am game for anything related to human element! It’s all about people. I like to smell / feel/ touch human expressions. The connection between people and their surroundings is fascinating, and I would like to explore the socioeconomic aspect of things around me. I have no set goals or objectives. I prefer to flow with the tide. Exploring myself as an artist is what I will do.

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cover story

ON THE OTHER SIDE

Co-Founder and Creative Director of Mumbai-based Dynamite Design, Sheetal Sudhir tells POOL about the transition from working at Channel [v] to heading her own hugely successful broadcast design company www.dynamitedesign.tv

www.indiresearch.in 30  POOL #32

How did you get into communication and film making? SS: Four years ago the coolest people ever hung out at a place called Channel [v]. They blew my mind away, and I knew I was here to stay! Seriously though, as a kid I grew up with the influence of amazing images. My father, Sudhir Ramchandran, is a maverick at his art, and life for me was always all about stunning images, his amazing stories, and his ability to capture vibrant, dynamic moments. His childlike approach to life, where everything and anything fascinated him, made me realize how much I enjoyed a world looking through a lens or rather just appreciating what I was looking at. It seemed only natural to me to follow the path already paved for me. I went on


cover story to get a Diploma in Film Communication from NID (Ahmedabad). How did your association with Channel [v] happen? SS: I joined as an intern and left as the Creative Head. I’ve lived 14 years of [v]! It’s a brand that has changed avatars every five years, so it was quite an epic experience for me. As an intern I trained under great minds – Shashank Ghosh, Rajesh Devraj, Arnab Chauduri, Amar Deb - and my colleagues were all driven by this new wave that had hit India by storm. They were

(Top) Bloody Cool Channel [v] - promotions; 1. VJ Juhi, 2. VJ Lola

(L to R) - Channel [V] characters: 1. Santa-Banta, 2. Simpoo www.poolmagazine.in  31


cover story creating icons like Quick Gun Murugun and Udham Singh. We were making TV relevant to us as Indians. We were making India look cool. I worked a gazillion hours a week…slept very little and partied hard. We had the first international music awards ever, made the very first reality TV show in India and created icons like Simpoo, Lolakutty, Bai, Santa Banta, etc. These are just a few of the amazing things we were up to! Tell us a little more about those icons… SS: Simpoo was a character from one of 10 spots commissioned to an animation team. Even though they were all amazing, the spot that had this Sardarji teacher yelling at his students got us all rolling with laughter. We realized that we all individually had a Simpoo in our lives! Vaibhav Kumaresh the creator, animator and voice of Simpoo became my go-to guy every time I found a new reason to create a new spot. Santa Banta was the brainchild of Sir Manish (that’s what he calls himself) and his friend UP. They jammed a lot…drew some sketches…and voilà! Lolakutty hung out with us for six months before we decided to christen her Lolakutty and change her life. Anu Menon (aka 32  POOL #32


cover story

‘Satyamev Jayate’ Amir Khan & Star Plus production 1. On-Air Broadcast design 2. Stills of an animated lotus ident 3. Creating the Logo & Identity

Lola) was this amazingly talented woman who walked into [v] at a time when VJs were all stereotype in how they looked and what they presented. We were going through a phase when all we played were these horrible Hindi music videos where everyone was a fairy and generally it was an all time low of tackiness. She basically hung out with the promo team a lot (and they’re a bunch of rascals really) but over time we found a way of making her curse all these videos through the genuine eyes of a ‘yeng sweet convent educated Malayali girl’. Bai again was a product of a genius intern, with a lot of help from our creative team. A huge challenge for TV companies is that they have no time to play idents of their own. Any free non-programming time goes to adverts and that was killing us. It was the end of any kind of inventory time for channel idents. So the space on your TV screens when a show ends and the VO starts: this show was brought to you by… we owned the edges of that space (as the main part of the screen was taken up by the sponsor). Instead of filling it up with the channel colors, we decided to create a character that would do fun things in the edges (much like the marginal in a mad www.poolmagazine.in  33


cover story (Bottom) The broadcast design for Movies OK included three key signatures:

(Top) IDENTITY DESIGN retains the OK values while introducing masculine Bollywood elements with a unique font and distinctive element (play button in a viewfinder)

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The first was the introduction of the play button that initiates all animated movements. The second being quadrants that allowed for all animatics to move gracefully within a specified grid. And lastly, the reverberating circles that brought in life and depth into the design.


cover story comic book). ‘Occupy Your Space’ was our mantra. Sometimes a great idea sits right in front of your nose… and boom! Bai was born out of there. She had the same attributes the sponsor tag had…itna paise me itna hi milega!

‘Chipku’ (Office) Commercial, Broadcast Design for MOVIE OK with a punch line ‘Hum chipku hain, OK!’

‘Chipku’ (Elope) Commercial, Broadcast Design for MOVIE OK with a punch line ‘Hum chipku hain, OK!’

How was the transition from Channel [v] to Dynamite Design? SS: I was offered the role of Network Creative Director of STAR. It was like a dream come true for me. But as I was making the decision I really went into an introspective mode. I thought a lot about the Creative Future Award and how I wanted to start my own broadcast design company. It was always something I wanted to do but never got around to doing. I was having too much of a good time! I wouldn’t have taken the plunge had I had not got the encouragement from my family and friends and the immense support that STAR bestowed on me. It was massive! It was the smoothest transition ever and they became my biggest client ever. How do you approach your work now? SS: It’s a huge paradigm shift. Today I sit on the other side of the table. I’m no longer the one giving the briefs. So I ask as many questions as possible to understand what the client wants. The moment www.poolmagazine.in  35


cover story

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cover story

The challenge for the channel rebrand was simple in thought; show the largesse of Bollywood while maintaining Star’s core values. Star Gold was a celebration of all things Bollywood. It was sharp, confident, colorful, and entertaining.

I’m satisfied with the brief, it’s back to the drawing board for me. Brainstorm sessions with the team...then we put pen to paper…old school is still new school to me! At Dynamite we specialize in broadcast design. All my work at holding the torch for brand [v] is what I take forward as the greatest training possible. In such a saturated market today, if the broadcaster has to survive or be noticed, it is imperative that the carriage of that programming is well thought through. If it’s not presented interestingly enough, no one’s going to give it a chance. So we really have to get a core understanding of the brand in place before we start our process. For each of the broadcast properties, it’s identifying the core values that differentiate them in the mind of the consumer. Branding then is simply a matter of creating communication that connects the broadcast brand instantly and intuitively to the targeted consumer. We’ve done a massive amount of work in the last one year launching three channels, branding ‘Satyamev Jayate’ and now branding an entertainment space called SMAAASH. Its diverse, its 360-degree branding and it’s all happening! Where do the ideas come from? What inspires you? SS: Mostly by general observation, and great collaborations. There’s inspiration everywhere. I brainstorm about www.poolmagazine.in  37


cover story

Star Gold was created to lead, therefore a distinctive style was needed that showed its personality through all aspects. We introduced angled astons, layered transitions, large text, and eyecatching colors.

everything. I’m not someone who has a hundred ideas lying in a hat somewhere. Every big idea that has come out of Channel [v] has been an output of great teamwork. We’re handling various brands at Dynamite now. We go by the theory that a simple insight can lead to a great idea that’s sticky and memorable.Our latest channel brand project was Movies OK, STAR TV’s latest Hindi movie channel. Its branding is inspired by the viewfinder, the simplest thought associated with pictures. The crosshairs cut across and create a division for the screen with a sense of controlled symmetry so as to accommodate a clear visual language for the viewer. Creating transitions and all the various graphic elements now follow a simple format, 38  POOL #32


cover story

where every piece of animation plays out from a central axis, and so information hierarchy is also pretty simple to deliver. The treatment is fresh and in no way a direct replica of the viewfinder (else it would look technical and get boring for the viewer), yet it’s based on a very strong core idea, which makes it very adaptable. How does it feel being counted among the ‘Creative Future of India’? SS: Creative Future was a program conducted by the British Council and the IIM (B) five years ago. It was a competitive process of weeding out the 20 best creative business ideas from across India, training them in entrepreneurial skills at the IIMB and then choosing the top three to represent India in the UK, where they would be able to pitch the ideas to a group of elite investors and venture capitalists. I was a finalist and my trip to London and final pitch was what prompted me into eventually starting Dynamite Design. Just being part of it was amazing. Going back to school for two weeks is a huge jolt on a professional. Having to be tested by professors and finally presenting your creative business idea to a jury is a highly nerve racking experience, but brought utter joy and inspiration. Which of your achievements is closest to your heart? SS: Funnily, none that I’ve achieved through my profession! Don’t get me wrong I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have won all the awards I have and will keep at it as awards are but a recognition and appreciation of your work. That is, only if you are competing. The most special awards I’ve ever won are when I was in school/ college playing basketball for my club team and junior state. In sport, there is no jury. You either win or lose. That’s why it’s so special! www.poolmagazine.in  39


Simple & crisp guide for you; to discover the best of what Pune City has to offer ! Now available at www.tadpolestore.com www.puneandbeyond.com


cover story

star gold Hoarding Application of clean template and angled information bars with large text to allow the Star Gold hoardings to stand out.

What do design students today need to focus on? What would be your advice to them? SS: Design or the ‘faculties of design’ are way more accessible today than ever before. Pretty much like photography. Everyone’s a photographer and everyone’s a designer. Got laptop. GotPhotoshop. Got design. So really to make a difference it’s really important to pay attention to the process of design. Let the answers or ‘solutions’ unravel before you as you go through the process rather than have the idea already and work backwards. Be ‘old-school’ about it. No shortcuts here. My advice - don’t take yourself too seriously. But be thoroughly committed to what you have to offer. What you are creating at the end of the day is not for yourself! Looking back on your life… SS: The greatest lessons I’ve learnt are commitment and honesty. When you’re working for a client you really are partnering with them to create something new, else it becomes ‘just another project’. You’re basically crossing the line and sitting on their side, and that kind of commitment is what differentiates your love for the project.Only then can you love the brand as much as your client. If you give 100% you’ll receive the same. Where do you see yourself a few years from now? Still super fit…still super excited! Hanging out with the coolest people ever. Working with the coolest people ever. Producing some of the coolest stuff ever!

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visual design

BEYOND CLICHES Self confessed designer, researcher and storyteller, Sanchita Jain works at exploring the correlation between design and culture

How did your design journey begin? SJ: Bruno Munari, the enfant terrible of Italian art, was known to throw little pieces of paper in the air to teach kids that air even though it cannot be seen with our eyes - is truly visible. I clearly remember how well the simplicity of this example resonated with me. At the risk of sounding profound, I largely credit him for explaining design to me. I began as a student, led by a false belief that design is all about making pretty pictures. But with time I discovered its true intent. Design is a problem-solving tool, and there are infinite ways in which you can wield it. My journey after graduation (Bachelors in Communication Design, NIFT Delhi; and MA Design, Lasalle College of Arts, Singapore) is now five years strong, and I have had my share of design encounters - be it advertising, print or even non-profit. Despite the measly compensations, I feel lucky to be doing what I love. And what uniquely pleases me is the joy of discovery that accompanies this profession. Just today I came across the concept of ‘shared economy’ and am itching to write about its possibilities in design.

www.sanchitajain.com www.thecodedculture. blogspot.com 42  POOL #32

What kind of graphics appeal to you? SJ: The qualities that more often than not appeal to me are a tasteful color palette, layered humor, empathy, and/or a puzzle. I feel that design is participatory by nature, and requires involvement. Any graphic that generates a reaction is one step ahead in the rat race.


visual design

DECODING CULTURE This project involves the use of situationist techniques to reestablish focus on culture. Cultural idiosyncrasies have the ability to initiate dialogue between people who relate to them; they act like an inside joke which unites those who understand it. As a design intervention, the underlying characteristics of New Delhi (top) and Singapore (bottom) are presented in an ‘official’ format, like signage. The signs’ existence is worthy as long as they cause people to consider the details and meanings of their surroundings.

www.poolmagazine.in  43


visual design

Stereotypes: sketches/renderings of faces from distinct memories and travelogues.

What mediums do you experiment with? SJ: I am more of a simple pen-paper person. Occasionally I use unusual materials to make illustrations, but by and large my experimentation is predominantly constrained to concepts and ideologies. What has been your major influence/inspiration? Does that reflect in your work? SJ: All kinds of cultural idiosyncrasies have had a major influence on my work. By observing the exceptional work of people like Jan Chipchase, I try to keep myself enthused by new revelations. From basing my Master’s project on culture preservation, to being inspired by kilim patterns for a simple journal design, I like to explore different subtexts through my work. Walk us through a piece of work you are particularly proud of. SJ: Observing people is a favored means of travel documentation for me. I sketch and archive the stories of remarkable individuals who leave a mark on my memory. After 50 profile sketches in my diary, I realized that I might have accidentally come across an engaging notion. With a little help from Mr. Alan Fletcher, Designer and Author, I found connect in clichés. French for printing block, cliché is a graphic means of repetition ad infinitum, or a ditto device. The culmination of both these aspects led to the illustration project ‘Stereotypes’. Stereotypes, or cultural memes, are ideas that by becoming popular can be said to replicate and spread

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visual design from person to person. I realized that every face I sketched was attached to a title, and every title recalled a face. Tags are commonly applied for identification in covert professions or online games, but aren’t they equally ubiquitous in our daily lives? For example, we are so influenced by representations in popular culture, that every persona, be it neighbor or terrorist, is accompanied by facial archetypes. Whether it is correct to use such generalizations for different people is a never ending debate, but these tags add an enduring quality to an unknown face. As this small illustration project spread among peers, I went on to create illustrations for a couple, individual and a band. This habit of footnoting traits frequently influences my other projects as well. What impact has digital technology had on design, in terms of visual esthetics and production process? SJ: I feel digital technology has inexplicably influenced the current definition of design in our lives. In this context it could also be considered as a flipped coin landing on its edge. It has definitely made design more experimental, but has significantly endangered originality. Mass production is no more a synonym for manual labor, but the handmade sector is falling into a niche. I greatly support digital technology because it fundamentally enables the success of co-ops and collaborations, but it is undeniable that it has made design so user-centric, that the user itself is a designer now. How important is research for design? How did you get drawn to design research? SJ: My interest in design research began with ‘Decoding Culture’. Initiated as a naïve graphic design independent

project, it completely outgrew its framework over the period of a year. My journey through this initiative helped me discover completely new ways of solving design challenges. Here is a short excerpt from it: ‘The world as we know is changing. The polychromatic world of cultural diversity is gradually shifting into a monochromatic world of homogeneity. Design has the power to intervene in this change. It is the ideal medium to enable people to see clearly something that is right before their eyes; things that are taken for granted and are muted by abstract observation. This project involved the use of situationist techniques to reestablish focus on culture. Cultural idiosyncrasies have the ability to initiate dialogue between people who relate to them; they act like an inside joke which unites those who understand it. As a design intervention, the underlying characteristics of New Delhi and Singapore were presented in an ‘official’ format, like signage. The signs’ existence is worthy as long as they cause people to consider the details and meanings of their surroundings.’ In my terminology, every design, whether consciously or not, begins with research. Research helps designers understand the needs of the people and communities they’re designing for, and to create innovative approaches to meet these needs. It is especially essential when you have to deliver solutions that work in specific contexts. A designer can only embrace constraints and complexity, if he/she can ask the right questions. Ultimately, it is the question of how well you can make use of the information you have. What excites you about the future of design in India? SJ: Design in India is dynamic and ever exciting. I can see why our www.poolmagazine.in  45


visual design Lutyens’ Collection by Designwallas; celebrating the completion of100 years by New Delhi, as the capital of India. A boxed set comprising of 8 office products.

market seems so attractive to designers based in developed countries. There is opportunity, inspiration and skill thriving in Indian cities. But as the power scale tips towards the BRIC countries, I wonder how the changing equations will influence our design industry. Without a doubt it will give us many more opportunities to interact and involve with global projects, and open new avenues for networking. Moreover I am eager to explore the emerging design fellowships and residencies in India. You are an avid blogger too… SJ: Though I confess I’m not very regular, blogging does keep me updated. TheCodedCulture began as a design process journal, but is now a stage for resources. It mainly involves my assessment of the relationship between design, people and culture. It documents my project, as well as all references, quotes and articles I gather/re-post about design activism, interactive installations, participatory design techniques, public art, meme theory, sub cultures, humancentered design, social design, ‘artivism’, public interventions, graffiti/post graffiti, community development, culture preservation, and maybe even guerilla warfare. 46  POOL #32


visual design

What other interests do you have? SJ: I enjoy being regularly culture-shocked, and documenting it through illustrations and photography. I like to collect and hoard eclectic memorabilia from my travels. I am an ardent fan of fiction by authors like Roald Dahl, Tolkein, Pratchett and Douglas Adams. I’m in constant company of The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Coldplay, and Death Cab for Cutie, and on the persistent lookout for fresh music. I’m also a board game enthusiast, Indie film aficionado, and Jedi knight! What does the future hold for you? SJ: As a true-blue information junkie, I wish to continue learning in the future. It is improbable to be constantly creative, but you can definitely avoid a slump in the growth curve. Currently, I have one foot in the commercial boat, while the other is finding hold in research. I want to attain an ideal balance between the two. And hopefully, one fine day, I would be handsomely paid to employ all my knowledge, observation and experience into teaching design. What’s in the pipeline for now? SJ: Closest on the line chart are some cool new illustrations, moving on to some challenging collaborations and then hopefully, another fun project. May the force be with me! www.poolmagazine.in  47


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Trends & I nsights

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photography

LIFE STORIES The camera helps photographer/film maker Nimish Jain to connect to people and better understand reality What does photography mean to you? NJ: I use my eyes, the ones I have been given and the one I chose, my camera, to reveal what I see, not just as I see it, but as I touch, feel, taste and smell it… as I am affected by it. My work is my art, is my passion, my reason and my chosen language. When my images speak, they say things I cannot find words for and every day I find myself submerged more deeply in the medium, overtaken with this intense relationship I have developed over the years with light and shadow. This is where I think the heart of my life lies — being blessed enough to express in a sensorial way to people and through them.

www.nimishphotography.com 50  POOL #32

Images are my way of bringing those who are interested to a space where they can grasp not just how beautiful a sunrise or sunset may be or the truth of the magnificence of all creation, but also the crazy, confused and actual reality of how our race inhabits and adapts to this life.


photography

Pilgrims being ferried across River Gandak, in Sonpur (Bihar)

How did you get into photography? NJ: Photography started off as a hobby. My dad’s Yashica always fascinated me, but I wasn’t allowed to use it much as I was only eight years old then. Eventually I was allowed to start using it and my love for photography grew over the years. I became an avid photo enthu-cutlet, as they call it here down south! I then took a course in film making. Photography is a self taught subject. I did get a lot of help from the internet in studying the medium and also a couple of photographers based out of Bangalore who would answer any queries related to the subject. I made films from 2003-2005, and have been doing commercial photography from 2005. I am founder and CEO of Bangalore-based Nimish Jain Photography. www.poolmagazine.in  51


photography Do you remember your first independent shoot? NJ: It was nerve wracking, but a lot of fun. I had a gazillion butterflies in my stomach and my heart beat could’ve been heard across the city! It was a portfolio shoot for a beautiful girl in Bangalore…those were the good days! How important is the right equipment? NJ: I would say having the right equipment is important if you want to do well commercially. It does improve image quality significantly. But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a fancy camera body or a lens. It all boils down to using your equipment to its full potential. Do you have a favorite walk around lens? NJ: That depends on where I’m walking around! But my heart slightly tilts towards the Nikon 24-70 F2.8. If I’m at a super crowded place and need to be candid, then it’s the Nikon 50mm F1.4 What goes through your head right before you snap a picture? NJ: I had no idea that I could process so much information right before I click. To start off with, I always hope I’ve got the settings right. Secondly, I somehow manage to see the picture in its post processed form as well, just before clicking. Thirdly, I really hope I get it right and pray that particular moment stays so that I can have another shot at it if I miss it the first time. What inspires you? NJ: My muse is life and this planet and most often every single quirky, special, idiosyncratic and unique human being I have the pleasure of meeting or working with. Young mothers, inflamed rioters, monuments, temples, 52  POOL #32

dump-yards, animals, hills, lakes, old men with mehndi stained fingernails, crazy cloud formations, thunder and lightning, faces of loved ones upside down, a glass of water, a cigarette butt - art is everywhere, in everything, and most of all within everyone. No one escapes life and life is my chief muse. Have you been influenced by any photographers? NJ: Prabuddha Das Gupta’s work has had a great influence on the way I approach and photograph people in general. His approach towards fashion and portraiture was phenomenal and I think he really was a master of portraying the sensuality and beauty of a woman in the most stunning and simplistic way. Steve McCurry is another photographer who motivates me so much. I can’t stop looking at his work and watching his documentaries. He is inspiration personified. Can you recall any truly memorable shoots? NJ: I’ve had a few actually, but my most cherished ones have been during my travels to Darjeeling and Bihar. I love travel and documentary photography and I’m at my happiest while traveling and taking pictures that tell stories. One particularly memorable shoot was for a stunning model. It was supposed to be an outdoor shoot, where the shot was to be taken against the setting sun from on top of a high rise. I got to the location half an hour before the shot. As the model got her make up done and got ready for the shot, I took out my camera, only to realize that I’d left my battery and memory cards behind. There was no scope for me to go back and get it because the sun would have set by


photography

Flights of fantasy in Jama Mazjid, Delhi www.poolmagazine.in  53


photography

Tsunami remains - drift wood

the time I returned. A huge blunder but luckily I was forgiven! I’ve never done anything that stupid since…this still cracks me up in retrospect. What is most challenging about being a photographer? NJ: In today’s day and age, I think the biggest challenge is about understanding photography itself. I feel like the world has seen a thousand-fold increase in the number of photographers and videographers because cameras have become so inexpensive and easily accessible. I often come across amateurs proclaiming to be professional photographers, but know nothing about photography as such. They’re great 54  POOL #32

editors, but that doesn’t make them photographers as such. I think the biggest challenge, therefore, is this wide gap between serious photographers (old school, well researched and experimental) and the new generation overnight ace photographers. The second challenge is the fact that photographers are severely undervalued today, because of this sudden burst in the number of photographers, which makes it difficult for the serious ones to stay afloat commercially, and continue fueling their passion. I feel like there needs to be some sort of a quality control system in place to help recognize and give pro photographers the respect and value they deserve.


photography How would you guide newcomers wanting to take up photography? NJ: I would urge newcomers to understand photography, understand light first, and editing tools later! Study the work of legends and understand different mind sets. Spend lesser time on post processing techniques, initially. Experiment more! Learn to take criticism. Master natural light – it’s the best gift for every photographer and one should learn to use it to his/her advantage. Assist a pro photographer who is willing to teach on the job. Go back and redo everything you’ve learnt or seen at shoots. Give yourself time and see if this relationship between the camera and you is for real - but don’t ever stop taking pictures! What are your future plans? NJ: To do a crazy number of commercial assignments as well as travel and do my documentary photography. I’m still trying to find a balance between the two. I want to continue falling in love with new mediums every day and reach a stage where I can successfully set up business across the globe. How important is travel to you as a photographer? NJ: My journeys have taken me to places where realities are so varied, where even if one wanted to, one could not find a common language to express them. The tiny details, the beauty of desperation and sadness, the abstractness of what lies behind someone’s silences — this is where I choose to dwell. In my years as a photographer my lens has captured quintessential elements of rural Bharat as well as of urban India. Often

Bihar riots www.poolmagazine.in  55


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photography

(Clock-wise) Portraits; A R Rahman, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Irfaan Pathan

my work is understated and one has to really look for the details. Sometimes, it is also vibrant, colorful and joyous. No element of life is not worth capturing, not inspirational and everything, absolutely everything teaches us. What keeps you going? NJ: I think just the fact that I love photography so much and every time I hold a camera I feel complete gives me so much satisfaction. The quest to explore and my love of photographing people are so undying that I never feel like I need something special to ‘keep me going’. I think the fact that I know every day is going to be different and that I’m going to encounter different situations and meet people, keeps me going. www.poolmagazine.in  57


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surface design

MEET THE RINGMASTER! Surface Designer Krsna Mehta’s India Circus brings alive the vibrant colors and madness of India through striking creations ranging from home décor to personal accessories

Design to you is... KM: Everything! It encompasses my life. What I do. What I like. Everything is based on design and design philosophy. So, what exactly is a Surface Designer? KM: Surface design is far more complicated than it sounds. When envisioning a design, you have to keep in mind not only the esthetic but also the surface on which it will be applied and also how it will be translated onto the surface. I have been passionate about surface design since I was a teenager and it’s always been part of who I am. I obtained a Master’s in Fine Art from Parsons The New School for Design, New York, where I majored in Surface Design. Tell us about India Circus… KM: India Circus, of which I am design director/ founder, has been my most memorable project so far. It took us nine months from conceptualization to opening. It was not only exciting, but very tough. I was entering new territory and doing something I hadn’t before. The sheer scale of India Circus as a project was an uphill task from the get-go. But we achieved what we had set out to do.

www.indiacircus.com 58  POOL #32

How would you describe India Circus? KM: India Circus seeks to curate the essence of life in India, and transcribe this loud and colorful


surface design

www.poolmagazine.in  59


surface design experience into affordable, contemporary and sophisticated style. It offers home décor, stationery, furniture and personal accessories. With an All-Indian palette, we draw our inspiration from both Mughal royalty as well as roadside chai. We offer a diverse and distinct array of moods and tones, which we feel represents India. What are the different collections featured on India Circus? KM: Neo-Nawab resurrects India’s golden dynasty - the Mughals - through an enigmatic collection replete with strong Indian motifs. The collection references various emblems of the Mughal era, such as its world renowned intricate architecture, as well its unapologetic opulence. The Jalebi Collection features various icons of the Indian cityscape, from bicycles and rickshaws, to grandiose monuments of bygone dynasties. Jalebi captures quintessential emblems of life in India, and transcribes this loud and colorful experience into a sophisticated style for a contemporary lifestyle. Tamara references India’s extremely rich and diverse visual treasure of flora and foliage. Inspired by nature, the collection offers a bright and contemporary take on the Indian landscape. Kuheli pays homage to various traditional Indian arts and crafts. The designs feature graceful peacocks from the forest, as well as mesmerizingly abstract visuals.

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surface design

What kind of research is involved in your collections? KM: Inspiration followed by research is crucial to my design process. There isn’t a specific type of research that is done for a design or collection. It always varies, but it is crucial. What mediums and fabrics do you prefer? KM: I like to work on any surface where my designs can be translated without losing their intended effect. I like to work most with textiles and ceramic. They seem to provide the best medium for my designs. What defines your work? KM: Bright colors and graphics provide a certain element that is somewhat core to my design philosophy. My favorite colors to work with are fuchsia and teal, especially so when I use them together. I love the diversity with which I can use them. What kind of business model does India Circus have? KM: Indiacircus.com is our own e-store for clients to browse, and buy from. Our merchandise is also available on other shopping sites. India Circus merchandise will also be available for purchase at our user-friendly and web-based kiosks. The products will be available at various Indian and international lifestyle stores; some of our exclusive products will be available at select stores only. We will engage in corporate sales and have our own exclusive brand outlets. www.poolmagazine.in  61


surface design

How does it feel to have received the Elle Deco International Design Award three times? I feel invigorated by the compliment. It is something that keeps me inspired and also motivated to keep doing better work. What’s next? I wish to make India Circus an international success by the end of next year. That is my immediate goal as of now. I want to see it grow and really become grand in both scale and reputation. 62  POOL #32


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina

designer on the road

Designer on the Road, Cagri Cankaya rues the fact that he didn’t learn Spanish before he landed in Argentina!

www.designerontheroad.com

I started the Latin and Central America part of my trip with Buenos Aires in Argentina, where I spent two weeks with Furia, a very well known boutique advertising agency. Furia has a small talented team of 12, some big clients and remarkable portfolio. I started off by creating a new winter collection campaign for a local clothing brand. Later I worked on the ‘Vamos por mas’ campaign of world famous shopping mall ‘Target’. They wanted to launch a special week for South Americans living in U.S. and planned to use celebrities from South American countries for the campaign. The client was bored of their usual way of communicating through white and red and wanted to go in a different direction for this special event. They were looking for a more colorful world that represented Latin culture. I picked a typically Latin visual style and transformed it into a poster.

the world but since I didn’t speak Spanish, I couldn’t talk to any of them! I felt like a poor man looking through a bakery store window at the goodies inside! Buenos Aires is like a podium for top models – the boys there are also handsome. Sport is a part of the lifestyle in Argentina. Buenos Aires is so sport friendly - there are running and biking tracks on almost every street, and you see lots of people running, skating or cycling across the city. The city streets look like a gym! Another important thing about the city is its huge underground graffiti community. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw some of the huge and well drawn graffiti! If you want to go an amazing Latin city with beautiful girls, tasty food and huge beers, Buenos Aires is waiting for you. But don’t forget to learn Spanish first!

Furia arranged a very nice house for me, but it was quite far from the agency – almost 45 minutes away. I stayed there with a Brazilian friend, Rosa Lima Emerson, who didn’t know any English. But he was such a nice and kind guy and helped me a lot. Since I didn’t speak Spanish or Portuguese, it was very hard for us to communicate with each other and we made good use of google translator! One Saturday night he took me around to see the sights of the city, proving that you can be great friends even if you don’t talk the same language! The biggest surprise for me about Argentina was that most of the local people don’t know a word of English! So I got lost quite often, especially because the people I worked with weren’t very social outside the agency. While they were really nice and kind they didn’t want to spend time with me at weekends or after work, probably because they didn’t feel comfortable speaking English. I think Buenos Aires is a very nice city compared to other big Latin cities. The city looks beautiful and the architecture, streets and people - especially the girls - are all very attractive. Argentinean girls are probably the most beautiful in

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

February POOL 2013  

Pool Magazine for February 2013

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