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Editor in Chief | sudhir@indidesign.in

March 2013 | # 33

Sudhir Sharma with Prof. Anil Sinha, Mr. Sudarshan Dheer and Marianna Korniienko at SID. Picture by Pradeep Goswami

ISSUE 33 march 2013

ISSUE 33 MARCH 2013

Chandrashekhar Bheda Photographed by Shobhana Bheda

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HrridaysH 04/ prasoon 06/ UnBoX 08/ Zegnart 12/ andreas 16/ anUpam 22/ rUpali 44/ rosHan 52/ simrat 58/ Cagri 63

www.poolmagazine.in facebook.com/poolmag twitter.com/poolmagazine info@poolmagazine.in

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

http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/designindia International Design Media Network Participant

Survival That’s a biological term, which is very well understood in almost every domain. The opposite of survival is death; in the business world that would mean failure. So survival actually means ‘success’. The objective of design is to enhance the survival of human beings in the environment that we ourselves are creating. Young designers are faced with much confusion and many philosophies that pull them in opposite directions. Many find that they need to compromise with clients, situations, and their own dreams. Others are disappointed when they discover the practice of design is not as glamorous as it appeared in design school. You may have an insignificant role, a smaller pay check, a dud as a boss and not a project that will change the world. But hold on... all that changes! The world of design can be very different if you just survive as a designer first; do whatever you need to without the guilt of not being able to change the world, or not winning awards right away. I would advise that at first it’s only survival that is important...and it is alright to do anything for survival! Break creative rules, get into competition, do labor work…whatever it takes to survive. Don’t carry any guilt with you. After all, you can do wonders only if you are still around as a designer when opportunity comes knocking. And it will. So, go on...get out there and survive!

Sudhir Endorsed by

Supported by


bright future of indian design A common lament when the design fraternity or individual designers meet is that there is not much design around us; design is not valued; designers are not valued, and so on and so forth. If some evidence of design is seen then the community bemoans that though design is used, it should have been used strategically. I beg to differ.

Emerging Design Scenario in India Hrridaysh Deshpande Director, DYPDC College, Pune www.dypdc.com 4  POOL #33

The design scenario in India is getting better and better. It has already reached a flowering state and will come to fruition very soon. More and more businesses understand the importance of design and are using it effectively, if not strategically. More CEOs understand that design is their route to better competitiveness. More designers are turning into producers of their own designs. The number of designers is increasing and they are leading this positive change around us. There is always scope for things to get better and they are improving by leaps with each passing day. At this juncture the need is to uncover the design activity happening all around us. There is so much happening yet not seen, perhaps due to the moist eyes with which we see it. The need is to uncover, collate and place these instances in the public domain for more people to get inspired; people will get convinced about design only through evidence and not by philosophical posturing about the possibilities. The business of design has to be in good shape. A lot of new design companies are shaping up and doing well. A lot of young designers are aspiring to be entrepreneurs. Many design companies from around the world are coming to India in search of new markets and many of them are setting up operations


bright future of indian design in India. The number of design events has increased and many cities now have at least one major annual design event. This vibrancy is indeed strong evidence of the better acceptance of design and design services. There is a buoyant force exerting pressure on our surroundings and expanding design usage. The increasing number of design schools is a good sign. More design schools mean better capacity building. A lot of criticism around these new design schools is heard. On the one hand the community talks about the need for more designers and even quotes Chinese figures. At the same time, they are not open-minded about the design schools coming up. Each of these design schools is doing a great job. It is time we change the lens of how we look at these private initiatives, which come up with heavy investments. Design schools in the private domain are leading the design sector in many ways. They pay well and offer better working conditions. The young faculty in many of these schools are extremely passionate and are bringing new knowledge and teaching techniques to the profession. There are also side effects of this robust growth in the design sector. Certain anomalies are coming to the fore, which need to be resolved. The profession more than ever needs a strong code of conduct and ethics to operate. While many such incongruities could be mentioned, ‘internships’ are the most regressive. Internships have today become a source of cheap labor for most design houses, and a few design departments. The same professionals who advocate against pitching ask young designers after the completion of their courses to join as interns, paying them a pittance instead of employing them and paying

salaries. These kind of practices need to be relooked at and perhaps suggest a larger need for professional ethics to be identified and followed voluntarily. People talk about the strategic use of design and emerging branches of design such as service design, etc. While we must move up on the design maturity curve, let us not forget that in the western world it started with making beautiful objects and thereafter became strategic. Similarly, we as a nation must first master the beauty of design and an equally emphatic realization of design. Sometimes both aspects are lacking in the final design. It is the execution excellence which is the most worrying. Faced with questions about these inadequacies, designers often lay the blame at the door of the client or the top management. It is time that designers assume complete responsibility for their creations and ensure end-to-end excellence. Progress results from setting the stage for a conversation and participating in it. Cynicism will take us nowhere; optimism will. There are many short and long-term challenges facing us as individuals and organizations and they need to be tackled as a community and not individual voices of constant dissent. For design to become mainstream, the only path is for the current practice to demonstrate design excellence and success for others to emulate. The tagline of Pool magazine is quite apt. It says ‘Bright Future of Indian Design’. Over the past few years the magazine has done a phenomenal job of uncovering design and showcasing emerging design talent. That is the only way to go forward; to celebrate what we have, and maintain an optimistic vision of our collective future. www.poolmagazine.in  5


bright future of indian design

The Need for Design Awareness

prasoon pandey Director, Corcoise Films, Mumbai www.corcoisefilms.com 6  POOL #33

While I have no doubt in my mind that India’s design industry will have a great future, I am not so confident about the future of design itself in our country. For design itself to flourish we need to immediately, and on a war footing, start working on design awareness first. Our dilemma, as a nation, is that we are not really looking for any design solutions. We have kind of accepted all the problems as fait accompli. We walk through our streets completely unaffected by the visuals around us. Taps are leaking, drains are overflowing, every one is blaring their horns even if the vehicle ahead itself has nowhere to move, houses are getting flooded year after year, people are getting hit by stones as they travel in trains, every day another bus carrying some wedding party or pilgrims is falling into a ditch, killing all 70 passengers, etc. None of this ruffles us; we have got conditioned to it all. The 70 passengers who went down the ditch are relegated to the lower half of the front page of the newspapers, first column and about 5 cm of standard homage. Design would be an issue worth debating only if we were seeking a better quality of life but it is apparent that we are not. In fact, as far as sensitivity towards design is concerned, as a nation we seem to be behaving like that frog sitting in water which is, slowly and without us realizing, reaching a boiling point. The other day I was at an exhibition of photographs of Bombay, taken 100 years ago. Bombay looked stunningly beautiful then, unlike Mumbai of today. Today the buildings are still the same, at least in that area, but the visual clutter that has rapidly, like a cancer, encroached upon those frames, is appalling. Thousands of painted boards of all sizes and color litter everywhere - not only atop buildings but also on lampposts, outside each window, over all walls and bus shelters. At ground level, the city’s architecture has been completely hijacked by huge posters with smug mug shots of ringleaders of political parties, while the sky


bright future of indian design above us has been taken over by cobwebs of hideous cables and wires. Let’s focus for a moment on that simple bus shelter. What could have been an opportunity for unique design has been overtaken by those who have the power to allot every inch of visible public space for vested commercial interests. Not only do the shelters have those humongous three sided billboards on top, the entire rear end has now been blocked by another billboard. Slowly, decades-old shops have been completely hidden behind these monstrosities. But no one is complaining. There are shops all over the city that, before every monsoon, build an 18” high wall inside their entrances and demolish it two months later because streets getting flooded every year seems a matter of fate. And yet it is not as much the current state of affairs that we need to worry about, as the fact that we have become so conditioned to our surroundings that we can’t even recognize a problem, so how can we then be looking for a solution! If we are serious about improving design and thus the quality of life in our country, we need to bring back focus on our designers, architects and engineers. So here’s a question: who designed the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai? Most of us cannot answer that because the plaques at such places inform us only about which politician inaugurated it and which politician it is named after. Design teams, like design itself, seem completely unimportant to us. It wasn’t always so though; the British themselves referred to relevant parts of Delhi as Lutyen’s Delhi and not Queen Elizabeth’s or Mountbatten’s Delhi. Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur celebrated its architect, Vidhyadhar, by naming gardens after him. But since then, somewhere, we seem to have lost the plot and unfortunately it shows when you look around. Sometimes I wonder which path breaking or life altering design we have come up with in the last 65 years. What is our equivalent of say the zipper or the Velcro or Apple? This

has nothing to do with nationalism; I believe design as an approach to life goes way beyond those boundaries, and yet the question that still continues to tease me is this: what has been our brilliant contribution to that way of life recently? I strongly believe that if design needs to prosper then we will first have to become a design conscious nation. That, I dare say, seems a task tougher than climbing Mt. Everest, walking backwards, blindfolded and 16 vodkas down! And yet we need to make a beginning somewhere. First and foremost, we urgently need to introduce Design Appreciation as a subject in all our schools. This is not to turn all the students into designers (which is quite an interesting idea in itself) but just to become design-aware enough to start demanding better solutions. If you can teach me Sigma, Theta and Beta in school, stuff that I will never ever need in my life as a film maker (the only Beta I ever used were some tapes) then surely you can introduce me to design too! It is something that will affect each and every aspect of my life. On the one hand we need to understand and learn from countries that may have developed some better solutions than ours; on the other, we need to continue with and celebrate some of our age-old design solutions, which were absolutely stunning. I can’t understand why we ever allowed non-biodegradable Styrofoam cups to replace the kullhad for tea at stations. Or why we abandoned the idea of shopping bags made of cloth that’s recycled from old curtains, only to replace them with plastic bags that eventually clog all the drains? I think our industry will continue to grow rapidly because very conveniently we have chosen to evaluate its growth only in terms of money and everyone knows that we are pretty good at making money. My worry is that we have, unwittingly, slipped into being an environment, which is not necessarily the most conducive to good design and that is what we need to correct first, if we want to someday start evaluating the design industry’s intellectual growth too. www.poolmagazine.in  7


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event

UNBOX 2013 OPENS UP NEW EXPERIENCES www.unboxfestival.com

‘Hands On, Minds On, Hearts On’ was the theme of the recently held UnBox 2013. The third edition of the largely design-based event, which was held at Delhi’s Zorba this year, experimented with a departure from a traditional conference format and met with resounding success. Over the course of four days in February, UnBox was the setting for a range of seminars, workshops, open labs, musical performances, exhibitions, and themed culinary delights. More than 600 likeminded, interested, and interesting people came together to share their work and experiences. The more open, vibrant and experiential format allowed for multiple elements to be programmed simultaneously, and encouraged all attendees to become active co-creators in the conversations and collaborations at the festival. Among the programs were seminars on topics ranging from citizen journalism and new digital technologies to deliver messaging, to velocommerce, using technology to make museums more relevant and accessible, and using design for democratic and sustainable societies. Eclectic workshops allowed participants to roll up their sleeves and make t-shirts, deconstruct violins, develop interactive newsprint, explore the world of analog music with a German DJ, reimagine the world of microfinance, and visit local communities to record and share unique sights and sounds. Visitors were able to chat with artisans and professionals while they worked in open labs. A curated group of designers and design writers created a collaborative memory of the Festival in print at the Zine Press; the Puma sponsored Social Club created the ultimate play machine out of upcycled materials and a pool table; and musicians from around the world collaborated in the SoundCamp to create a festival 8  POOL #33


event

www.poolmagazine.in  9


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event soundtrack and perform together. Yet another set of labs explored technology, beer brewing and mixology, and design writing. There were varied and well received musical performances throughout the day, with selections ranging from classical instrumentals and traditional Indian fare to alternative rock and electronic music. Artists from throughout India, South Asia, and Europe had the opportunity to collaborate with each other. Among those on stage were Soumik Datta and Arif Khan, New Culture Mashup, MT Aditya and Vedanth Bharadwaj, Saskia Rao and Gwyneth Wentink, Peter Cat Recording Company, and TL Mazumdar and Jivraj Singh. The festival closed with a double feature of Indian Ocean followed by the SoundCamp ensemble. Among the exhibitions was a curated selection of photographic works from eyewitness accounts of the Sikh riots of 1984; images from Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Music Festival; screenings of animated films by onedotzero; a collection of work by filmmaker Akshat Nauriyal called ‘Now Delhi’; and a photo homage and book dedicated to every day curios in Bangalore entitled ‘The Snapped Rope & Other Stories’. Unbox is conceptualized and hosted by Quicksand, BLOT! and Codesign, working in concertwith an advisory board of experts in various fields. The 2013 edition was supported by the British Council, The Arts & Humanities Research Council, Goethe Institut, and The Science & Innovation Board at the British High Commission. Levi’s, Puma, and Pernod Ricard both sponsored the event and curated programming within it; other event sponsors included Airtel, Kyoorius, Apeejay Surrendra, Print Expressions, and Day 1 Entertainment. www.poolmagazine.in  11


collaboration

PUBLIC AWARENESS THROUGH ART Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai will play host to ZegnArt Public/India, initiated by Italy’s Ermenegildo Zegna Group www.zegnart.com | www.bdlmuseum.org

Reena Kallat: ZegArt Public’s first choice

An interesting collaboration is set to take place between Mumbai’s famous Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and ZegnArt Public/India in March. ZegnArt Public has been set up as a new and innovative model of public-private collaboration that, in India in particular, is being established for the first time to support contemporary art. ZegnArt Public/India is the first episode of a long-term program that calls for the annual activation, in an emerging country, of a dual path: the onsite construction of a work of public art commissioned from an artist in midcareer from within the host country and created in collaboration with a local institution of international profile; and the financing of a residency offered to a young artist from the host country who is invited to spend a research period in Italy. Indian artist Sahej Rahal has been chosen for the residency project this year. Artist Reena Kallat has been selected as the protagonist of the first edition of ZegnArt Public. She was chosen by a jury which included Gildo Zegna and Anna Zegna, on behalf of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group; Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Jyotindra Jain and Minal Bajaj on behalf of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum; and Andrea Zegna (project coordinator,

12  POOL #33


collaboration ZegnArt). Ms. Kallat’s art installation, produced entirely by the Ermenegildo Zegna Group and slated to be donated to the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, will be open to the public from 3rd March 2013. The presentation of the work will be accompanied by educational workshops and studios developed by Ms. Kallat for the museum.

(Top & Bottom) Reena’s untitled winning project (work in progress) to be inaugurated on March 3, 2013 will remain on exhibit for a period of six weeks on the main facade of the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

ZegnArt Public has been created and organized by Italy’s Ermenegildo Zegna Group as part of ZegnArt, which comprises various projects in Italy and abroad in the field of visual arts, in collaboration with artists, curators, institutions and cultural institutions. The ZegnArt Public Project will be located in a large plaza in front of the newly renovated Special Project Space at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the institutional partner of the project in Mumbai and the city’s oldest museum. The museum’s collections document the applied arts and everyday life in Mumbai in the nineteenth century. Under the guidance of its Director, Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, the museum has opened its doors to contemporary art with an ambitious and farsighted program that involves Indian artists. The choice of this institution was formed on the basis of a common vision of art as a factor for development and awareness-building of the entire community. The Museum won UNESCO’s highest international award in the field of cultural conservation and restoration in 2005, and re-opened in 2008 with an extensive exhibitions program which includes a strong focus on contemporary art. www.poolmagazine.in  13


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overseas

THE ‘INDIAN’ GERMAN

Creative Director, Lecturer, International Design Consultant…Georg Andreas Suhr has many designations. His latest is Managing Director of INDI Berlin, the German arm of a well known Indian design firm. An avowed Indophile, he tells POOL about his vision for greater Indo-German collaboration. How did you get involved in the world of design? GAS: I believe that colors, lights and sounds are deeply connected with my life. My parents educated me and my sisters and brother in a creative way. We grew up with music, singing, dancing, painting, sketching and acting. I always follow my heart. At a very early age I realized that I wanted to become a designer. None of my friends knew what a designer is or does! I always told them that it is a kind of ‘inventor or researcher’ who creates different things and finds solutions with design products. When I was around five years old a girl in my neighborhood was moving to New Zealand. She invited all the girls from the neighborhood and gave away all her toys. I was there with my two sisters. In less than ten minutes all the Barbie dolls had found a new home! One ugly fake-Barbie with curly red hair was lying naked on the ground, and I asked for it. She gave me the doll and I started creating outfits for her. I dreamt of becoming a fashion designer! Karl Lagerfeld was my idol. As a child in Germany I learned painting, printing, sketching and how to build sculptures. Photography was also one of my passions. After my High School I went to Dortmund for further studies in Art and Design, and started my career with my own company at the age of 23. It was a full service agency and specialist in the field of business communication. We grew very fast and I managed with a team of over forty people in four locations. After 12 years I felt that I must start something new and began to work for different advertising, design and public relation agencies in Berlin. georgandreassuhr. wordpress.com www.indidesign.in 16  POOL #33

From 1998 until 2001 I worked for a design agency in Switzerland. After that I came back to Berlin and started my own business again as a Design Consultant. I worked as freelancer


overseas for agencies and had my own clients and projects. During that time I got an invitation to work as a lecturer in communication design at a private university in Berlin, where I am still a faculty member. I teach software skills and corporate brand identity. What is your philosophy as a designer? GAS: Passionate! I can only do my work as a designer with love and passion. Respect and obey the design rules and find a creative way to leave it. My father always told me, ‘Only dead fish go with the flow’. My philosophy is to be honest to myself, my team and to my clients – and fight!

Dance Poster · Swati Das Kathak K.I.P.A – Kalangan Institute of Performing Arts Kolkata 2009

What does fashion mean to you? GAS: I will be honest. For me fashion is a kind of art. I love it and respect the designer as an artist. Fashion is a big theme since we use something to cover our body. For western society it is like a fetish. We like to show our individuality in this way. My goal in the fashion scene is to change it. I am a fighter for sustainable organic ecology garments. Fashion is far away from sustainability. Huge brands put round 18 collections on the market every year. Every day we hear bad news about the fashion industry in India, Bangladesh or Cambodia. I support and build brands for fashion labels that produce their collections in a sustainable, organic and ecological way, with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certificate fabrics and textiles. Fashion must have substance and functionality. Haute couture, avant garde and high fashion should be innovative. At this level it is performance, art and style. Tell us a little about your career in fashion. GAS: My career in fashion started as graphic designer and brand expert. For over 25 years I worked for brands and companies from all around the world in the fields of industry, new markets, B2B, finance, services and B2C brands as well. www.poolmagazine.in  17


overseas will be like a dream come true for me! It’s my new playground and free creative project.

Picturebook 01/Darius Ramazani Photography • iF Award/communicaten design award 2006 (print media photography) • Nominee Design Award of German Republic 2008

In the fashion business, the brands have more value than the products they sells. Mass garments are produced in India, Bangladesh and Cambodia at the same prize - the resale prize is different and only the brand is the value. This fascinates me from my point of view as brand expert. Image is the key. In 2012 I created my first own collection as designer. ‘Peace of Mind’ – Eco Urban Streetwear for Men was born. Indian fashion designer Prakash Chandra Jha asked me to do this. We produce the whole collection in a sustainable and fair trade way with organic and vegan fabrics from India. We plan to showcase this label at the summer fashion weeks in 2013. It 18  POOL #33

What has propelled the present international interest in Indian fashion? GAS: In 2011 I presented the first Indian label at the Lavera show floor at the summer Berlin fashion week. The label ‘Gaurang’ by Gaurang Shah showcased a summer collection for women at the biggest show floor for sustainable and organic garments worldwide. It was an amazing show and all the Indian newspapers and magazines wrote about the Indian in Berlin. Now he is not only an Indian designer, he is an Indian international designer. Before he came I told him very honestly that it’s not easy to start a business with Indian looking garments in Germany or Europe. We don’t need saris and kurtas in Europe! We need a fusion of India and the West. Two years back Karl Lagerfeld showcased his Chanel collection ‘Paris Bombay’ at the fashion week in Paris. The collection featured amazing embroidery and Indian cuts. A year later Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana and Givenchy followed. Western society loves the Indian color combinations, fabrics and the traditional way of producing and wearing garments. I have met so many talented craftsmen and seen amazing traditional handmade products of high quality. We plan to showcase four Indian designers or labels at the Berlin fashion week in cooperation with the Lavera show floor. My dream is to build a culture design bridge between India and Germany.


overseas Kafeehaus Morgenrot (Identity & Branding) Won the CPD Award

How is the Indian design industry shaping up according to you? GAS: Something is changing in India, and it makes me happy. I have been watching the Indian graphic and design scene for a long time. Young talented designers have found a way to combine the influence of western design and build a new style with Indian traditions. India has a hopeful new generation. Every year I see more Indian designers with innovative design solutions at the popular design competitions in Germany and Europe. They have international standards and are special. They think differently and have clever ideas to solve problems. I believe the poor Indian people are the real creative product innovators. The bright future of Indian design is coming soon! What fascinates you about India? GAS: My passion lies in the creative fields with a focus on communication design. For me Indian culture is so alive and part of every day. It is very exotic from my point of view. Our culture is so different. Indian religious festivals are part of society. Indians are proud of their tradition and culture. All rituals and festivals celebrated in India are full of love, color and happiness. All over India I see creative works, handcrafts and fine art. India has a huge resource for design and art. Hand woven fabrics and traditional dyeing are sustainable and have a bright future in India and abroad. Dancers, artists, musicians and designer have started fusing Indian tradition and western inspired design and culture. They have stopped copying and found their own new style. I have learned to love all Indian music, from classical to Bollywood, which is a good example of fusion between Indian tradition and western pop music. I started learning Kathak to learn how to tell a story only with body language. All classical Indian dance styles have their own tradition and I love Kathak, Kuchipudi, www.poolmagazine.in  19


Manipuri and Gotipua. Emotions and expressions enchant me. Over the last two years I studied Tagorian Dance and we performed Rabindanath Tagore’s dance drama ‘Chitrangada’. I feel a deep connection with the culture from West Bengal and Tagore’s philosophy. Shantineketan is one of my favorite places in India. I want to get old there one day, if I get tired of working.

Amnesty International Human Rights for Children Concept and Layout, Production: Georg Andreas Suhr Illustrations: Yayo Kawamura

Books and meditations techniques from Osho opened my eyes and I understand more about colors, spirituality and myself. I have also done yoga and tantra and Far Eastern and Indian meditation techniques and attended satsang and retreats. You recently tied up with an Indian design company. How did INDI Berlin happen? GAS: For more than two years I followed Sudhir Sharma of INDI Design on his blogs, groups and on Facebook. Whenever I was in India I would plan to meet him but he would be in Europe. Last September I met him for the first time at his office in Pune. We talked about design, India, and Germany and shared huge visions. I always follow good feelings from inside and asked him why he didn’t open an office in Berlin, Germany. The idea grew and we met again in Berlin. In December 2012 I opened the office and started with public relations and finding clients. We are looking for German clients who will go to India and Indian companies who are willing to come to Germany or Europe. Our first client is the German brand KarmaKonsum. Christoph Harrach, founder of KarmaKonsum and expert in sustainability and marketing, will establish the idea behind this brand in India. The next KarmaKonsum conference will be held in Frankfurt in May 2013. After that we start with planning and strategy for the Indian market. What are your expectations from this collaboration? GAS: After the two economic crises in Europe in the last 10 years so many good professionals with a lot of experience

20  POOL #33


overseas

WPD Windenergie - Annual Report Creative Director: Georg Andreas Suhr | In cooperation with M. Schulz AG Werbeagentur | Images by - Philip Goetz • CDP Nominee Internationaler Corporate Designpreis 2009 • ARC Awards International Annual Reports 2008 (New York) Bronce • LACP Vision Awards Annual Report Competition 2008 (San Diego, USA) Silver • LACP Vision Awards Annual Report Competition 2008 (San Diego, USA) Silver

in design and advertising agencies are working as freelancers. I have worked with a network of designers, concept and text experts, strategic planners, etc. and I will use these for our new partnership between India and Germany. With innovation and networking we have a chance to change India with some good projects. We are also the perfect partners for German brands in India and Indian brands in Germany or Europe. With over 25 years of experience in design agencies and as an expert in corporate identity/brand identity and communication design, I feel at home in both countries. I do not know if it’s a compliment when I hear constantly, ‘You are so Indian!’ It’s a big change for international business and relationships between India and Germany. ‘Made in Germany’ sounds good in India. I am open to all kind of products and brands and proud that I start with a sustainable

platform – it’s an experiment and I am so excited about the reaction from Indians. Berlin is a good place for INDI Design in Europe. What are your plans for the future? GAS: I am open to all that comes to me and only follow my gut feelings. My dream is to give my knowledge to the next generation of Indians. I plan to start workshops on brand and corporate identity at schools and universities. I am sure that they can learn a lot from the German way of designing. I want to be here when we build up a new India and see a bright future! And finally, your dream project would be... GAS: Complete corporate identity and communication design for an Indian airline – the world’s first airline with solar-airplanes! Some Indian companies are so rich and maybe somebody is crazy enough…I m ready for this adventure. Call me! www.poolmagazine.in  21


craft

MASTERING METAL Anupam Poddar’s Devi Design acts as bridge between the past and the future, creating tradition-inspired products for the luxury market

Tell us about Devi Design. AP: Based in Delhi, Devi Design is an Indian design studio that encourages a modern esthetic based on traditional crafts. It brings an artisanal and handmade touch to the luxury market that understands the value of bespoke products in an industrialized world. What type of craft do you practice? AP: We have been working with the ancient craft of sand casting and applying it to create products for modern lifestyles. Simple forms are handforged and textured; metal rods are joined to create complex forms; origami is explored in sheet metal; and patterns are applied to metal surfaces through coloring. Our design studio focuses on metal as a material and we are exploring all the facets and techniques pertaining to different metals, such as casting, sheet work, weaving, hammering chiseling, wirework, etc. Basically, we offer a platform that enables rigorous design explorations in metal and work with skilled craftsmen to create unique products that complement today’s contemporary tastes.

www.devidesign.in 22  POOL #33

What kind of products do you create? AP: We have a table top collection consisting of bowls, platters, salad servers, trivets, napkin rings, coasters, etc. Our home décor items include candle stands, vases, photo frames, lamps, incense holders,


craft

Champa Wall Art www.poolmagazine.in  23


craft

(Clockwise) 1 & 2. Cut Paisley Bowl and Trivet 3. Studio Pottery Ascending Thali

etc. Our accessory range has knobs and handles, soap dishes, towel rings, decorative brackets, etc. What are your inspirations? AP: Devi Design looks at India and beyond for inspiration. Our influences come from local and global art, architecture and geometry, and result in the evolution of something unique. Currently we are translating fashion into metal weaves, woven carpets into cast brass floor art, and the idea of appliqué into sand cast bowls. What kind of research is involved in your art form? AP: The initial source of inspiration is discussed amongst the entire team to see whether we all feel that it is something worth taking forward by the studio. Then one of the designers does research on the idea to present to the entire team. We decide on how to give a twist to the idea and then start a series of drawings to discuss scale and details of what needs to be sampled. After many rounds of this, we then start to experiment with the material itself. The process of trial and error at each stage of sampling is discussed with the production team to see if it will be possible to make the product in bulk. Once we are all happy with the final sample then it is photographed and added to the catalog and our portfolio. 24  POOL #33


craft

K3 Bowl

How important is it to understand the culture and history behind a craft? AP: While it is definitely important to understand the process intrinsically, one can only create something unique if we forget the way in which things are traditionally done and come up with a new way of implementing the process. It is important to keep the essence alive, but also to breathe new life into a tried and tested method. What is the scope of folk art in a technically advancing world? AP: There is always scope for the unique handmade product and this will continue to be appreciated by people who do not like the feel of the machine made. India is one of the few countries

left in the world where the handmade is still possible. At Devi Design we are constantly inspired by the crafts of India and keep trying to find ways to modernize the designs so that they are more relevant to our present day lifestyles and needs. The only way traditional crafts can be revived is if the government takes this on as a serious agenda. Individually we can all keep working with the crafts people that we are in contact with and aim to provide them a livelihood but this is only going to be a drop in the ocean. What are the challenges of working with craftsmen/artisans? AP: We find it quite exciting to work with traditional crafts people because they www.poolmagazine.in  25


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


craft (Top-Bottom) 1. Sandcasting 2. Honeycomb Table

know their material and techniques, the designs of which have sometimes been passed on from generations. There are times when there is a resistance to experimenting with new ideas but for people who are ready to break that barrier, the sky is the limit. Many of our ideas get crystallized and implemented only because of the ingenious intervention of the crafts person who comes up with a new way of manipulating his material and technique. How do you sell your products? AP: So far we have been focusing on the export market that Indian handicrafts are known for but we are looking more and more at the growing Indian market and the opportunities offered at home. This is being done through trade fairs, exhibitions and also trying to retail in different cities. Devi Design’s craftsmanship has been appreciated by clients both in India as well as internationally. Our products are selectively available at stores like Good Earth, Moon River, Amethyst, The Neemrana Stores, Casa Armani, Anthropologie, Tom Dixon and Gumps, amongst others. What, in your view, is the future of contemporary craft in India? AP: It is of interest to us so we hope that it continues to be bright! Also, in my experience of working with young designers and interns, I find that they bring to the table a lot of positive energy and fresh ideas. This might not necessarily be a product of their education, but more of an individual’s quest to learn and explore. This is an encouraging sign for the future.

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cover story

WEB DESIGN Offering textile-based solutions for diverse projects across the country, textile designer, consultant and artist Chandrashekhar Bheda is inspired by the creativity and flexibility of a spider weaving an intricate web! www.chandrashekharbheda.com

Kashmir chain stitch embroidery; Knowledge Murals 28  POOL #33


cover story What fascinates you about textile design? CB: A very large variety of production techniques and technologies in the machine made textiles industry and the even wider range of traditional handcraft and textiles practices by artisans are what fascinate me. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with many of them. Each practice has a completely different story to tell in terms of materials, utilities, people, and socio cultural aspects, regional expressions and esthetics and so on. Hence it is always enriching and challenging to work and create new possibilities through design. How did you get introduced to the world of design? CB: Various influences helped me to opt for creative arts as a profession. My father, an ardent devotional singer, travelled frequently with his troupe for performances all over Maharashtra. He always inspired me with his creative abilities. I also developed an interest in drawing and painting by watching the next door signboard painter’s live performance! I loved pointing out spelling mistakes in his lettering and keenly observed the way he drew his letters with a brush. I thought if he could do it why couldn’t I? My mother, who stitched clothes with a

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cover story

hand powered machine, did not want me to wander around in the summer and winter breaks and sent me to a big textiles shop to work as a sales boy. It was fascinating to deal with variety of customers and sell them products they did not even need sometimes! With support from my brother Kishor I completed my studies in textile design at J. J. School of Arts in Mumbai, and he further encouraged me to join NID in Ahmedabad. And this Gram Marathic Marwari Hinglish boy from Sangamner in Ahmednagar district managed to sail through the admission tests at NID! Post graduate students at NID were given a monthly stipend back then and that helped to pay my expenses for three years. I did the Advanced Entry Professional Education Program in Industrial Design with Specialization in Textile Design. I also did a brief stint at NIFT. Tell us about your company ‘Spider Design’. CB: I am Creative Head and Principal Designer of Spider Design in New Delhi. We are a small company creating custom made, handcrafted, one-off integrated textile 30  POOL #33


cover story ‘Soul’utions’ largely for residential interiors, corporate spaces and the hospitality industry by collaborating with interior designers, architects and brand development agencies. We work with a variety of craftspeople specializing in their respective crafts across India and apply their skills wherever suitable in our stream of work. Spider webs are fascinating creations (creativity); a spider can move in any direction (flexibility); it weaves the strongest structures (quality); and achieves its goals by spreading its webs (strategy) - these four traits made me choose the name ‘Spider’. What kind of fabrics and colors do you prefer to work with? CB: I have been working with all kinds of fabrics, handloom and those made from power looms…cottons, silks, wool, polyester, jute, coir. It always depends on the task and requirement of a project and what it is to be used for. I use lighter, softer and gauzier fabrics to create translucency and to play with transparency, be it in interiors or unstitched apparel like stoles, scarves, shawls and saris. I use thicker and heavily textured fabrics for interiors, whether for upholstery, blinds or bed linen. The end use of a product decides the kind of fabric to be used or created/woven. Besides patterns, textures, touch and feel, colors do play an important role in creating textiles and I use colors in response to the environment in which the product is intended to be used. I use colors to create a feeling of comfort for the eye and mind of the user.

Diversification of Bhujodi woolen weaves into stoles with lighter weight fabric and enhanced softness

What techniques do you experiment with? CB: Again it depends on what I want to create with experimentation…tie dyes, appliqués, machine and hand embroideries, weaves like Jamdani hand weaving, block prints with natural dyes, jacquards, screen prints, flocking, splashing of dyes when I do it myself, and now digital printing too. However every textile technique I use will always have its full potential exploited. Every technique has its own limitation and within that you have to find newer ways of doing things. It is important to take advantage of a technique and explore the possibilities within. But I will not replace block with screen or digital printing - I do not use a technique just because it is cheaper or easier to work with. Each technique has its own character and one must play with and enhance the effect achieved with its character to create novelty. I believe it is important to be honest with a craft technique, whether traditional or modern. What is your design philosophy? CB: I must always create a fine balance between addressing the need of a user, the need of a craftsman or producer, and www.poolmagazine.in  31


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my need of creating a surprise keeping in mind sensory comforts (touch, feel, visual, and mental). Proportions may change depending on who is the prime beneficiary. It’s like sometimes a businessman wants a product designed which can be produced by anyone who offers the lowest rate. If the idea is for craftspeople then they are the ones who should benefit first. I have always drawn greater satisfaction from the projects where I have created work as a response to specific needs instead of following trends! Which is one of your most notable projects? CB: When I was asked to create a series of cloth murals for the business hall of Suzlon’s One Earth Campus in Pune, I had a choice of print, weave or appliqué, but I looked at it as an opportunity to create multi-craft technique pieces. The brief was to focus on the ‘learning icon’ of the Suzlon Excellence Academy and depict the knowledge gaining process in abstraction. I played around with the base element - a triangle - and created a fluid grid while playing with an array of colors mingling and influencing each other, creating continuous change. Each of the five murals had colors inspired from wind, fire, earth, water and space. I deliberately avoided the use of recognizable forms or motifs to keep the sanctity of the learning icon intact. Visualization was done on computers in 1:1 size. I knew production of such large one-off textiles was not possible if I wasn’t involved on a day to day basis with the artisans. My wife Shobhana, who is a trained apparel designer, took the responsibility to guide and supervise closely the women doing the embroidery and appliqué to ensure it all came right in the first place. It involved 32  POOL #33


cover story four months of continuous work with 35 artisans and six kinds of craft skills coming together in my studio! Four enthusiastic artisans from Kashmir joined us for two weeks and worked on the icons. Thousands of colorful silk woven and specially created tie-dyed pieces were put together to create probably the largest multi-craft contemporary permanent textile installation in India.

(L-R) 1. Multicolor yarn plied piece with Akara logo handwoven by Chandrashekhar himself; amongst his earliest works for World Calligrapgy Exhibition curated by late Prof. R K Joshi, 1990 2. Newly evolved range of warp striped Bhagalpur silk fabric marked the arrival of sophisticated handwoven home furnishing fabric in 1996 with R R Decor and continued to occupy a sizable market share for more than a decade

Another project I enjoyed doing was in collaboration with my brother Vishnu Bheda, who is a practicing interior designer in Pune. The Ramdasi family’s 7,500 sq.ft. bungalow has five bedrooms with multiple levels and spaces. Vishnu, whose interior space design process starts with a hammer in hand, took all the hard decisions while I offered softer contributions with textiles and crafts to ensure ‘soul’ building. In our other collaborations too he is the one who defines the spaces for me to deal with. The front exterior mild steel laser cut mural comprised falling flowers which created patterns with light and shadows inside the house throughout the day. I created a kind of dialogue between common spaces like the formal living room, dining room, drawing room, recreation areas, and corridors by playing with transparency, translucency, opacity, textures, patterns, radiance, and light. While doing textiles for the bedrooms, the specific profile of the user was kept in mind, and the bedrooms looked completely different from the common spaces. All the textile pieces were fabricated in my studio while the stone mural was made by artisans in Rajasthan. What are you currently working on? CB: At the moment I am developing a range of coir based products in Kerala on behalf of KSID for Coirfed. I am also www.poolmagazine.in  33


cover story working on woolen woven apparel products in Barmer, and felt based products in Tonk, Rajasthan, besides a few interior textiles projects in Pune. And I am working on my art textile pieces which I intend to exhibit in due course. What keeps you going as a designer? CB: I do not see a problem as a problem but an opportunity to offer a solution. The best part of this profession is that every design challenge always has its own inherent issues to be addressed and compels you to apply the mind differently each time. Formulas don’t work here. I am able to say this as I have not limited myself to one kind of work – I do consultancy projects, craft development projects, corporate brand promotional products, art textiles, custom made home textiles for specific environments, unstitched apparel, etc. A hundred mathematicians will have an identical solution to one problem; but if I repeat a solution even once I am no more wanted as a designer. This keeps me going all the time. I photographically record exciting colors and visuals around me, which helps me to increase my palette of colors and ideas. I have been regularly documenting patterns from architectural carvings, which adds to my resources for heritage related design work. Do you aim at reviving Indian handicraft and textiles through your work? CB: I believe in reform instead of a puristic revival. It does not make much sense to recreate forgotten craft unless used for preserving history, and I am sure a lot of museums will support that. There always will be a set of buyers for puristic traditional crafts, but it is important to attract younger customers to traditional crafts. Reintroduction with novelty is essential but it must be sustainable and make commercial sense for artisans. I think it is important to understand why a craft skill needs revival; it starts becoming extinct mainly because it loses its commercial relevance, especially for artisans, and patrons fail to take notice of the decline of a craft. Hence revival has to be based on commercial relevance. Designers can and must contribute in creating and supporting craft practices that respond to current needs and attract patronage. I would like to give an example of my work with the Bhagalpur silk industry through a young aspiring entrepreneur, Rohit Khemka of RR Décor. Way back in 1995 Bhagalpur silk weaving was specifically known for its natural, plain, textural weaving and horizontal weft stripes known as Bhagalpur stripes and was used largely for apparels. With much initial resistance from Rohit and the weavers, we introduced warp stripes in the fabrics and it got accepted very well in the home furnishing industry due to its novelty. Within no time it had a noticeable market share with a greater, sophisticated looking range of fabrics, and kept selling for more than a decade. 34  POOL #33


cover story

Kowledge Murals, colors depicting wind energy, One Earth Campus, Suzlon, Pune 13’ x 52’

CB: How do you achieve newness in your work? What role has technology played in this? Textile technology has a pivotal role to play in the industry. Large scale manufacturing is based on textile technology. Each technology has its limitations too and manufacturers go by the limitations to ease large scale production. I prefer to push these boundaries when I create limited edition pieces to create newness. I also take a maximum advantage of a technique by constantly exploring newer possibilities. It is also a response to the need, brief or surroundings in which a product is to be used. In my initial years in the profession, design drawings were handmade and it was painful and time consuming to do the modifications. Hence one played in a limited arena of visualization. In year 2000, I took to computers and it has made a world of difference. There is greater freedom to play www.poolmagazine.in  35


cover story

with proportions, colors, textures, patterns, and blending of imageries while visualizing an idea and improvising on it. I must confess here that the series of ‘Knowledge Murals’ I created for Suzlon Energy Limited by fusion of multiple traditional craft techniques would not have been the same if I had not visualized it on the computer. I have also applied laser cut on handwoven and tie dyed silks, or flockprinting on hand woven fabric to give it a novel look and feel. When you are creating 30-meters of continuous hand woven fabric with embroidery, it is extremely difficult to achieve consistent quality, cleanliness and a suitable price point; this is where digital embroidery comes into the picture. I always use the visual and technical advantage of technology to create a feel that is not feasible through hand embroidery. How do you try to ensure long term benefits for traditional artisans? CB: Technical interventions, modifications in production processes practiced by artisans, quality enhancement, making them aware of the reasoning 36  POOL #33

behind products supported by market intelligence can impact their long term benefits. If you can make artisans think while making them work it always benefits them and the impact lasts longer or forever. However, there are no quick-fix solutions; only a sustained interaction can yield long term benefits. Often collective or participatory conceptualization can impact artisans’ work in the long term and a product range coming out of such interventions works well commercially too. I would like to give an example of my intervention with Kutch textile artisans through the FICCI CARE Gujarat Rehabilitation Project after the earthquake in 2002. Sixty days of work with artisans over a period of two years yielded an exciting range of products. The non design team of the project went to USA to participate in a trade fair and sold all the samples! When the project got over no samples were left with the artisans. However during my sustained interactive sessions with weavers and dyers I had made sure they understood the reasoning of diversification, and all the technical, processing and design


cover story

(L-R) 1. Ashish Bungalow – Tusar on Tusar embroidered stripes for ambience light 2. Ashish Bungalow – Laser cut MS mural on exterior front

modifications. Weavers adopted the changes slowly in their work and the results were seen much later in the market. Today they all fondly remember the effort and its positive impact on their product range. What are the challenges of being a textile designer in India? CB: I have always tried to find a balance between maintaining traditional craft with its original ideological and regional character with modern needs where constant newer idioms are emerging, and it is a tough call. In traditional craft whether to bring in a complete change in imagery or not is always a question that haunts me. It is a fight between being purist and modernist. However when the traditional aspect of a craft needs preservation, then I still want to create variety within to keep the customer interested; how many times can a customer buy red black white ‘bagru’ floral prints? Wherever maintaining the balance gets tougher, I become fusionist. www.poolmagazine.in  37


cover story Also it is a challenge to minimize the gap between what you think is a good design and what saleable design is. The best reward is when your customer too thinks and appreciates and purchases the design you think is good. Need assessment of users supported with research is the most important aspect in the design process and if you understand the need correctly the designing becomes relatively smoother and well targeted. A substantial percentage of the industry still thinks that as soon they have a designer the cash registers should start ringing. They aren’t ready to wait and let things take their own route to success. Serious buyers will take note of a newcomer’s business only if they notice him a couple of times as a participant in an annual trade show like Heimtextiles in Messe Frankfurt. What is your understanding of the term ‘innovation’ in relation to textiles? CB: To me innovation is value addition with a surprise! Constantly creating surprises for your customer can only happen if your core team is innovative, be it in research, design, production or marketing. The textile industry in India is huge and a variety of researchers and technologists are constantly working to create better finishes, faster manufacturing techniques and processes. As soon as it is shared commercially, the application is accepted by all in the vibrant ecosystem of the textile industry. In the textiles sector innovation is greatly valuable if accepted and applied by a large number of manufacturers. Some of the innovations in the textile world include fabric made of bamboo fibre or steel fibre, health cure fabrics, crease-resistant fabrics, etc. Molecular modifications through nanotechnology is an emerging technology in With young shawl weavers of men’s Chohtan Barmer, new mens scarves range is on looms

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cover story

Range of embroidered cushions for the living room of Abhay Gadgil’s bungalow Pune

the field of textiles and will soon offer a range of smart fabrics. What changes have you seen in the 20 years you have been associated with textiles? And what is the future of the Indian textile industry? CB: The textile industry is very big and it is beyond my capacity to speak for the entire industry; however I will talk of areas directly concerned with me. This industry has been growing through continuous change. I remember when I graduated from NID, there were very few companies that could sponsor diploma projects and my direct introduction to this industry happened while identifying one for me. The domestic retail business was not ‘design’ centric; however brands like Raymond’s, Calico for the mill made apparel sector, and Bandhej for hand crafted design could be looked up to. The idea of ‘value’ added products in the domestic market was not that significant. The readymade garment industry was not attractive enough for design. For the hand crafts sector there were no

noticeable places to shop besides the Central Cottage Industry Corporation, the State Emporiums, Dastkar, two shops by Fab India, and the elitist Ravissant in Delhi, to name a few. So in the initial years one had to survive either by joining reluctant export houses or stray projects supported by the government or NGOs. I remember walking down to a telephone booth many times a day to call up potential clients, requesting a meeting, assignments or projects. The fashion business started growing once NIFT started offering much needed fashion professionals to the textiles and apparel industry. The government modified policies and opened marketplaces; exports grew manifold; designer brands started coming up. Today every export organization needs a designer to work for them; NGOs working with nonfarm sector livelihood projects too look for assistance from designers; the new breed of designers wants to start a fashion or designer product label as soon as they graduate; www.poolmagazine.in  39


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(Top-Bottom) 1. Products of lesser Gods. Hollowed marble bird lamps made from broken idols by carvers of Nayagaon Bolka, Alwar, Rajasthan 2. Guest bedroom velvet linens cordinated with applique and embroidered mural on the wall; Shetty’s house in Pune.

many designer consortiums are functioning. Design is a buzzword and it is going to continue to be so! The social media network is vibrant and there is a constant exchange of information. People are willing to talk about what they do, and that is a welcome change in the design profession. Design is and will be an extremely effective and important tool for successful business and will keep evolving further. Do you have any advice for budding designers? CB: Believe in yourself! You can make a positive difference through thoughtful and hard work. And don’t forget to have fun while working!

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architecture

SIMPLE, SUSTAINABLE SPACES

Amsterdam-based architect and designer Rupali Gupta is excited by the city’s openness to experimentation and innovation

www.guptaarchitects.com

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architecture

Toasty! | Amsterdam, 2006 A visible distinct identity for the pilot of a cafe for exotic-sandwiches demanded a concept that could be replicated at other locations as a chain. The brief was a very ‘tight budget’ and ‘something hip, different and cool.’ An intergrated design that included naming, logo, branding, interiors. The palette is kept minimal, with white, wood and accents of blue. In 2006, an all white interior was a daring choice for a cafe. The design intent was a lounge-y ambiance, with artwork on the wall that doubles up as signage at night. Artwork credits: A. Groot; Photo credits: O. Collado

Tell us about your relationship with architecture and design. RG: As a child I was very fascinated with space making and the arts. I have sculpted a bit as a student. However Physics (or how things worked) was my favorite subject. Architecture seemed the perfect blend of art and science. Since there were no architects in the family, it has been a journey of discovery. I really enjoy what I do, and hope that people who use the spaces created enjoy them too! I have a Diploma in Architecture from the School of Architecture, CEPT in Ahmedabad, and am Principal Architect of the Amsterdam-based Gupta Architects. Why did you choose to work in Amsterdam? RG: The infrastructure for young architects there was very encouraging. There was newness, professionalism, and openness - all vital for the creative professions. These factors were all like manna to my parched designer mind. The idea of every single building always being evaluated also within the greater context...Perhaps, my mindset and values are quite Dutch, so it was a good fit. www.poolmagazine.in  45


architecture

Cupcakes Amore | Chennai 2012 A cafe bakery specializing in bespoke cupcakes and experimental baking. The space was organized to have a wet and dry kitchen, office space, and a customer area. The finishing of the baking (icing, decoration) is in an open kitchen, part of the customer interactive space.The design is muted to serve as a backdrop to the small but flamboyant cakes. The cakes as well as the sprinkles form the ‘decor’. A large splash of colorful art on one wall livens up the space. Photo credits: Hari 46  POOL #33


architecture In India people will spend on the interiors of their houses, but spend all their productive working hours in a shabby space. In contrast, in Amsterdam, the work space is beautiful and well organized - a source of pride. I have traveled a fair bit, and on my return, am always glad I chose Amsterdam! How different is the design language in The Netherlands from that in India? RG: Apart from the distinct contexts of climate and culture, design and practice of architecture are also vastly different. Professionalism, quality of work and the role of the architect are in complete contrast in the two worlds. The Netherlands is a design conscious society with a strong tradition of design and art. The rigorous impulse for innovation and experimentation has made it a design hub. Designer/architect selections are merit based, and even young talented architects in the past have been awarded large and prestigious projects. Dutch life has a remarkably flat hierarchy and transparency. This is reflected in Dutch design and space making: open plans, strong concepts, fenestration, and natural light. The language that the designer uses has immense clarity. The layman is quite design conscious, as a consumer as well as a critic. India, like many Eastern cultures, tends to be largely hierarchical, and this is reflected in Indian systems of space making and construction. Site and the larger context are usually not addressed. Construction technology and quality has still not reached much of mainstream India. The language of frugality of the 1960s, using low cost materials, is often not perceived as ‘design’ by the layman. Often, a pasted on style or bling is design. Do you have a design philosophy? RG: I do not have an ‘ism’ or a specific philosophy per se. However most of our work tends to be characterized by simplicity, elegance, naturalness, and serenity. Simplicity is not just ‘trimming the fat’, but also ensuring purity and legibility of the central idea. The language of making allows the natural elegance of materials/materiality to be expressed. When this is made with rigor and www.poolmagazine.in  47


architecture

restraint, it creates an ambiance of harmony and serenity. How do you basically approach a project and how important is research in your work? RG: Research is quite important to our work process. It is the foundation for analysis. With the results of these two, we commence design. No two projects or clients are the same for us. Our clients are typically design conscious and have a vision, so their projects demand very specific design concepts. We do spend a significant amount of time understanding the client as well as the brief. Sustainability, site and urban context, end user, and budget play a key role in the design development. I expect precision, thoroughness and integrity from my team and that they take pleasure in the work they do! Do you tend to experiment a lot? RG: We constantly strive to experiment, and where possible, collaborate with 48  POOL #33

artists/designers from other disciplines who bring different perspectives. As a concept-driven practice it is paramount that we constantly seek to redefine paradigms, whether at the conceptual stage, or designing a detail. A sustainable built environment is an ongoing concern; we always try to decrease the energy factor of the buildings. Architecture, like all creative fields, thrives on innovation. Innovation can happen at any scale; for example in spatial use, in massing or urban plans, in definitions, in materiality, detailing. However for us it is not change for change sake, there must be improvement in quality, and end user experience. Tell us about ‘VU Kinderstad’, the project that won you the BNA Young Architect of the Year Award. RG: VU Kinderstad was awarded the first prize based on its concept: of flexibility,


architecture openness, and sensitively and esthetically fulfilling the challenging brief, which was to create spatial relief on the roof on the VU Hospital. The Kinderstad uses Nature as the Healing Element as a theme, to bring the outdoors in. Spaces were loosely defined to be filled in by the imagination of the children themselves. The project was unique in that a concept was executed and that too as close as possible to the original. The entire team on the project had to rigorously coordinate with the simultaneous renovation of the hospital floors below. Structure, services, gas pipelines, etc. from the floors below had to be continued above and integrated into the design. The project team at the hospital comprised the technical team from the hospital, doctors with insight into medical needs, representatives of the Ronald McDonald Foundation, the sponsors and co-client.

VU Kinderstad | Location: Amsterdam, 2004- Sept. 2007 The stringent brief and budget was reinterpreted to create spatial relief on the roof on the VU Hospital. The double-decker pavilion with open flowing spaces is characterized by a large internal amphitheatre. The pavilion construction is light and transparent compared to the heavy, brick hospital below. This glass pavilion atop the roof extends the space inside to the sky and the nearby woods, and brings the outdoors in. The functional spaces are clad in different elements of nature,to create an outdoorsy feel within. Project credits: Sponge Architects & Rupali Gupta i.s.m. I.O.U Architecture

Who has been your inspiration in the field of architecture? RG: There are many! Japanese architects like Shigeru Ban who show what humble paper can do. They innovate and extend traditional Japanese techniques of building with paper to modern large span structures. There’s Zaha Hadid, for the thoroughness and integrity of an ideology www.poolmagazine.in  49


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“Create spaces that speak to you”

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architecture

Bagaanbaari | Chennai 2010 - Bagaanbaari, or The Garden House, is an outward oriented house, focused on vistas, openness, and green. The house is screened for privacy and designed to grow to accommodate the changing needs of three generations. It is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional courtyard typology with a modern twist. Multiplicity of use and non programmed spaces give privacy to a family who can be together or segregated as needed.

and concept, with tremendous attention to detail. And there are many other ‘unsung heroes’ like Tijmen Ploeg and Hans Ruijssenaars, who use light, space and materiality as their tools. How would you guide the new generation of architects? RG: I think design ideas need to be nurtured to flourish, so allow your design ideas to mature. Stay focused and work hard! The design ethos will then reflect down to the details, so that the

whole is more than a sum of the parts. That’s the hallmark of good design! What future plans do you have for Gupta Architects? RG: There are diverse works in the pipeline: an exhibition space, an experimental house, a master plan. We work at four scales: branding, interior design, architecture and urban design, each scale encompassing the other... something like Matryoshka dolls! And we hope to continue to do so. www.poolmagazine.in  51


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fashion

Kolkata-based Roshan Choudhary’s label Roshe uses traditional weaves to cater to the independent woman with a carefree style!

Is fashion always about style or are substance and functionality equally important? RC: Please do not judge people by their clothes! All three matter, but according to me, style matters the most, because that’s what is the outermost. There has been a long and a continuing feud in the design world between style, substance and utility. Designers find themselves in a world in which ornament, decoration and style are reduced to meaningless superficial effects; form is only to be derived from function and design itself. Style, function and substance actually go hand in hand. Whether it’s a sleek watch, a branded car, an Apple computer, a sleek gadget or even a very beautiful dress, we make important decisions as consumers everyday based on our sensory experience. This age has become the age of esthetics, and whether we realize it or not, this influence has taken over the market place and much more.

www.facebook.com/Roshe123 52  POOL #33

Fashion to you is… RC: It’s about comfort, attitude and being yourself! Inspiration comes from everywhere, everyday and every moment. What is unique, challenging and different is the next generation of beautiful. The beauty is everywhere around you, be it art, architecture, flowers, the sky, the blue sea, street fashion. As Yves Saint-Laurent said, ‘Fashion fades, but style is eternal’! For my label Roshe, it is about the rich heritage of India and its diverse weaves. It is very important for us to create and


fashion Handwoven 100’s cotton A-line Tunic, with open dartpleats along princess lines, beaded embroidery detail along slant side pockets, and striped selvedge edging detail at pocket lip, sleeve and bottom hem, with frill edging detail on sleeves; lined with fluroscent printed 80’s cotton

Handwoven 100’s cotton A-line Tunic, with open dartpleats along princess lines, slant side pockets, and striped selvedge edging detail along pocket lip, sleeve and bottom hem; lined with floral motif hand block printed 60’s cotton www.poolmagazine.in  53


fashion develop new weaves from various states of India. Innovation is important…in terms of novelty, change, shift, and metamorphosis. How did a background in political science lead to a career in fashion? RC: I was always inclined towards art of any kind, be it architecture, interiors, or anything that caught my fancy! Once out of college, I did a three-year stint with the Taj group of hotels, and in 1984-85 I had the opportunity to help with the interiors of an upcoming hotel. I have never looked back! I did various interior designing projects and in 1987 I worked on some frames with antique textiles. Thereafter I did various projects with textiles and interiors, and this introduced me to various aspects of tapestries, upholstery, textiles, etc. In 2012, I founded my label, Roshe. Tell us something about Roshe. RC: Roshe generated from the essence of free spirited fine weaves….her flows, her accents, her weaves, and her flattering silhouettes. We believe Roshe clothes should fit, flatter and look good on all body types. The Roshe wearer has very strong attitudes and the will power and freedom to think independently with a carefree style!

Handspun and woven 3ply mulberry silk pleated shirt dress, with random fabric shred applique, layered with silk organza on front and back yoke 54  POOL #33

What are your favorite colors and fabrics to work with? RC: I prefer white, black, red, purple, orange and beige. My favorite fabrics are mulberry silks, cotton silks, Bangalore silks, tabby silks, ikats, chanderi, and pure muls!


fashion Do you have a design philosophy? RC: I was always attracted to beautiful things, but when it comes to fashion, beauty is not enough. In my opinion fashion is the highest form of expression because we live our lives in it. It is art, architecture and a movement all in one, so it should be functional and serve a purpose. I prefer focusing on the comfort and needs of a real woman. I prefer to create elegant and intricately tailored pieces that withstand time rather than being unwearable and outlandish. What are your inspirations? RC: I am inspired by the weaves from West Bengal and nearby places! I believe this is one profession from which you cannot retire unless you want to. You can always create and keep creating irrespective of whether you are accepted or not. Therefore my aspirations would never be fulfilled in the true sense of the term. It is a dream which is eternal. I would say always follow your instincts, your dreams but listen to your brains too! Where can one find the Roshe label? RC: We retail at Anonym (Hyderabad), The Verendah (Bangalore), and Zenon (Kolkata). We plan to set up a flagship store and our next target would be the global market! Share with us your experience as a fashion entrepreneur. RC: I am always looking for ways to re-invent my business, to step out of the crowd, which is why I focus on ‘outside the box’ market strategies. Every day brings a new experience: deadlines to meet, planning the designs much in advance, planning the fabrics, sourcing them from various places. It is very challenging and keeps me on my toes. Some days you have lots of fun, some days you hate the process, but not once

Velvet knee length jacket with diagonal overlapping panels, circular hemline, and open dart pleats at the back, along with threadwork on ‘chanderi’ silk detail, patched at front placket and side pockets; lined with handwoven silk checks www.poolmagazine.in  55


quality printing

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fashion do you regret it! I find it rewarding to focus on young talent and nurture them in the right direction. How has the fashion industry in India changed over the years? RC: Obviously fashion keeps changing over the years. It changes because the designers’ ideas keep changing. And like they rightly say, ‘change is the only constant’! Clothes have not always been about fashion; they were a necessity. Now the fashion industry is one of the largest sectors in the world. The West is participating in Indian fashion weeks, as they see a great deal of potential in our market. Today all the big western brands have a presence in India. The gap is getting narrower, and we are imbibing the best from each other. But one should never forget that India has always had such a rich heritage, culture, religious orientation, etc. Information on fashion in ancient India is available from the sculptures! What impresses you about designers these days? RC: I am impressed by young unpredictable designers who create alternative wearable fashion which comes from the heart, and who experiment fearlessly with new silhouettes that are anti-bling and even anti-fashion! What would be your dream project? RC: To be able to offer a shopping landscape of wildly diverse elements unified by a nod to innovation, individualism and experimentation! Mainstream and avant-garde shops should live happily side by side, bringing character and variety to a city’s street. I envision a town wholly dedicated to designers from all disciplines - art, sculptures, artifacts, weaves, and of course handmade and heartfelt clothing!

Handspun and woven 0 count khadi cotton knee-length Jacket, with diagonal overlapping panels, striped handwoven placket appliqued and extended over the back, and multiple fabric button detail; lined with handwoven 80’s cotton www.poolmagazine.in  57


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accessory

Handmade jewelry artist Simrat Sandhu D’Mello finds joy in bringing together small things to create pieces of art

Tell us a bit about yourself… SS: I was always drawn towards the creative side of life. I wanted to be an artist. I studied Fashion Design at NIFT in Delhi, did various jobs and then painted for a while. Originally from Punjab, I’ve lived in various cities as my father is an IPS officer. Currently I’m based in Mumbai. I call myself an artist/fashion stylist/jewelry designer and maker. What inspired you to become a jewelry designer? SS: I was always very passionate about jewelry, and made my own for a while. I feel that accessories make a huge difference to any look or ensemble. They are inseparable - partners in love. After working with garments for a while I switched to the other side. I love working on jewelry and the feeling is here to stay. I design jewelry under the name ‘Chiria’ and supply my creations to a few stores, do exhibitions and also undertake some personalized orders.

www.facebook.com/ simrat.chiria 58  POOL #33

Why the name ‘Chiria’? SS: Initially I used pieces from my personal collection to make my designs…some very old pieces I had saved for years, and some accessories from college days. I used them in parts and combined them with various other elements. I believe that I’m good at bringing different elements together into one story. ‘Chiria’ is a name I’ve had in my head for a long time. It


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accessory

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accessory feels free-spirited and untouched by the standard structure of performance. It’s honest, bohemian and chic at the same time. What materials do you use? SS: My main search is picking the right elements. I use glass, metal, bones, wood, seeds, and fibers… I get drawn to the way they are shaped and colored. What is the process of creation? SS: I find my joy in small things and bring them together in the form of art. I source interesting beads, pendants, chains….things inspired by different cultures and religions. I then bring them closer. Each and every culture has its own style of wearing jewelry. It could be a stack of rings on your toes, fingers or around your neck. The common factor is the art of making it and feeling beautiful. How does ‘Chiria’ function? SS: I’m a one-woman army right now…sourcing, making, photographing, and marketing! I mainly

www.poolmagazine.in  61


accessory

retail through stores, online portals and by word of mouth. A website is the next step. I also do exhibitions in and around the city. My last one was in Bangalore for the NH7 music festival. What do you love most about your work? SS: Freedom of expression! I hope not to lose it completely in the world of commercial success. What does the future hold for you? SS: More work, more stores to retail at, reaching out to more people, exports, and finding some great buyers! I want to take my small endeavor to new heights. Working hard and making the right decisions is what I look forward to now. Everyone wants to be successful. Who knows… I might get really famous! 62  POOL #33


designer on the road

www.designerontheroad.com

I stayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil for a month and worked in two advertising agencies. Before I arrived there I was so excited about being in Brazil, but maybe I expected too much, and Sao Paulo was a bit disappointing for me. The city didn’t really appeal to me. It’s all about big ugly buildings and streets. There is not much to do expect drink like crazy! Sao Paulo is quite big and disorganized, and the distances are huge. People kiss a lot here in public places - I’m talking about big, long kisses! Sao Paulo has the biggest Japanese community after Japan itself. Traffic jams are a big issue here just like in Istanbul. The city has many museums and art galleries and even the streets are like an art exhibition! Brazil has a big graffiti community and you can see giant graffiti on buildings. Some of them are even part of advertising campaigns because billboards and posters on walls are forbidden in Sao Paulo. It’s a new law to prevent visual pollution.

Designer on the Road, Cagri Cankaya doesn’t find the Brazil he is looking for in Sao Paulo Sao Paulo can be a really fun place if you are with the right people. And they were right. People matter a lot. Beautiful environment or architecture doesn’t affect your life much. You can be in a shit hole but if you have awesome friends there you can have the best days of your life. I partied a lot with some Brazilian guys and we drank in the streets, in karaoke bars and at house parties...we were all wasted at the end but it was good fun! I worked on some shampoo advertisements and a new icon for Johnson & Johnson. Sadly, I didn’t have time to visit Rio, which everyone told me would provide the real Brazilian experience. I will check in from Colombia in the next issue. Till then you can follow my adventures on www.facebook.com/designerontheroad!

However, all the big advertising agencies have a presence there and the quality of work is much better than elsewhere. I was working with Havas; they put me up in a nice hotel and paid me well. Salaries in Brazil are much better than in other countries, because agencies don’t work with third party companies for planning or production - they do everything in-house. Havas was good and people were nice to me. However I couldn’t make many friends there, and was alone most of the time. I worked for the Citroen team and my first project involved pizza box advertising, which is quite popular in Brazil. I think Brazilians seeing everything as a new advertising medium. This project was for Citroen’s after sale services. We wanted to convey the idea that Citroen’s after sales services are ‘as fast and easy as ordering a pizza’! The headline said that your car will be ready by the time you finish your pizza. Two weeks later I packed my bags to move to the much bigger JWT. People there wanted to prove that www.poolmagazine.in  63


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