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ISSUE 34  april 2013

Chandrashekhar Badve Photographed by Sudhir Sharma

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YET TO COME JAVA Advt


Editor in Chief | sudhir@indidesign.in

April 2013 | # 34

Sudhir with Pierre Hermans and Kari Korkman at Design Indaba 2013 in Capetown.

ISSUE 34 april 2013

iSSUE 34 april 2013

Chandrashekhar Badve Photographed by Sudhir Sharma

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inDiafrica poster 04/ archohm 08/ atul 12/ utpal 20/ prashant 26/ alok 44/anusha 52/ noorani 58/ caGri 63

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Reflections As we get closer to issue 36 of this magazine, I find it hard to believe that time has passed so fast. Thirty-six issues, month after month, and one brilliant designer after another on the cover! It doesn’t feel like so much time has passed since I first took advice from a few people on whether I should get into this. Their reactions ring in my ear even now and I feel it is because of their advice that we have reached so far. Almost everything that anyone said has come true. Besides the opinions and judgements that such a project attracts, we faced almost all the dangers and threats that we were warned of. The lack of finance at times made us seriously look at options such as using cheaper paper, or having only an e-version, or charging subscription fees for the online version. Lack of appropriate content made us wonder if we needed to broaden our search and lower the bar. Pressure from international PR companies made us evaluate if we should open POOL to featuring talent from all over the world. Pressure from Indian PR companies often made us consider well networked, well known designers with no real work to show off. But I am glad we held on, and stuck to a simple, straight formula: make POOL available free online, print on premium paper, focus on Indian Design. And above all, be free to look at real talent.

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.

It is still not possible for POOL to exist without sponsors. Not only do they support the magazine financially, their brands also bring credibility to POOL in society. We are very proud of the enduring support of Forbes Marshal, Bajaj Motorcycles, Bajaj Finserv, Fedrigoni Papers and CH Java& Co.

http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/designindia

I hope you will continue to send us your feedback; do connect to our facebook page and retweet if you like something in POOL. Our POOL has to grow...it’s still too small at the moment!

International Design Media Network Participant

Sudhir Endorsed by

Supported by


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poster

!NDIAFRICA:

A Shared Future The top ten entries of this poster design contest will feature in a book to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday

‘What Freedom Means to You’ is the theme of the second edition of the INDIAFRICA Poster Design Contest, organized in partnership with the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), University of Johannesburg and NID, Ahmedabad. The top ten entries of the contest will be compiled into a limited edition book that will be launched in Pretoria on July 18 this year to commemorate the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela. The top 20 entries will also receive cash awards of INR 25,000 each. The winning entries will be curated into an exhibition at the University of Johannesburg between May 18 and 24. ‘INDIAFRICA: A Shared Future’ is a unique people-to-people outreach program that is fostering creative exchange between young Africans and Indians through multidisciplinary contests and the Young Visionaries fellowship. Conceptualized and managed by the Idea Works (India’s only communication design firm that works on place branding and public diplomacy projects), the program is supported by the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and is run every year in partnership with leading institutions in India and Africa.

www.indiafrica.in 4  POOL #34

If you are under 35 and have a view on freedom that you wish to share, send in your entry to poster@indiafrica.in at the earliest. For more information write to horo@theideaworks.in


poster

Winning entry by Sandeep Raj K NID, Ahmedabad ‘Did You Sense the Spirit of Gandhi at Tahrir Square’ Poster Design Contest 2012 www.poolmagazine.in  5


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dhir ani SheetalbySu Abheet Gidw

Photographed by Nikita

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Khadse

Photographed

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poster

Winning entry by Sushma Sarah Thomas Arena Animation, Chennai ‘Synergies between India and Africa’ Poster Design Contest 2011-12

Winning entry by Sharp-Lee Linda Mthimkulu University of Johannesburg ‘Synergies between India and Africa’ Poster Design Contest 2011-12 www.poolmagazine.in  7


collaboration

MEETING POINTS A group of Dutch designers recently interpreted the idiosyncrasies of Indian urbanity as part of a collaboration between Indian design studio Archohm and the Netherlands Architecture Institute Indian community spaces, especially those in and around colleges, are full of nodes of interaction like the local chai stall and paan shops where students gather. These functional units also oblige cultural sensibilities and spark interactions, converting these ‘spaces’ into ‘places’. The user comes to identify and build a relationship with these places over time. For a design campus in particular, interdisciplinary ‘interaction’ is the key essence to education – it opens the mind to novel ideas through chance encounters between different people with different backgrounds. This was the premise for an interesting Indo-Dutch project initiated by design studio Archohm and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi). The two collaborated to organize a series of design workshops involving Dutch architects working with Studio Archohm to design pavilions at an upcoming design university campus called The Design Village. The design brief required the teams to celebrate the soul and spirit of such interactive nodes and reinvent them so that not only do they address the basic functionality of the space but go beyond to serve the larger responsibility of facilitating interaction. www.archohm.com www.zolijns.com www.thedesignvillage.org www.nlarchitects.nl www.mecanoo.nl www.irakoers.nl www.onearchitecture.nl www.monadnock.nl 8  POOL #34

Three workshops were planned between November 2012 and February 2013, two of which were arranged in Noida, and the other at Rotterdam. Guus Peters from NL Architects, Joan Alomar from Mecanoo Architecten, Job Floris of Monadnock, Ira Koers representing Bureau Ira Koers and MatthijsBouw of One Architecture along with Join Konijin from NAi worked


The Dutch Path Model

(Top to bottom) The Dutch Path Model

• Business Pavilion Bringing together design students and people from the field in one pavilion for meetings, mini-conferences and fab-lab workshops is the heart of this pavilion that accommodates 29 rooms for talking about design and making design. • Commercial Pavilion Reinventing the conventional ‘kirana store’, this become the corner stone of the Dutch Path that is a magnet to attract interaction and enable chance encounters. • Food Pavilion An architecture that attempts to organize that which organizes itself, be it a landscape, a platform wherein and whereon food and drink can be produced and consumed. • Media Pavilion Transforms the path to a stage of daily theater, by using the roof as a public grandstand. The Grandstand provides a shaded spot underneath, leading to the stationary store and bookstore. Therefore the pavilion challenges a wide variety of use during different times. • Social Pavilion Acts as a playful way for students of the Design Village to interact with each other on a more spontaneous level, whether it is by meeting someone new at an outdoor movie screening or catching up with good friends to watch a favorite TV series or seeing the latest student work exhibition. www.poolmagazine.in  9


collaboration

with designers Amit Sharma, Anindya Ghosh, Aditi Sharma, Siddharth Bathla and Isha Talsania from Studio Archohm. The workshops were initiated and led by Sourabh Gupta, managing director of Archohm, with the support of Ole Bouman, director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, who curated the mix of Dutch architects. During the course of the workshops, the architects were exposed to Indian urbanity in multiple ways - from visiting the university campuses in the capital region, to understanding the intense public consumption of spaces in the old city of Delhi, and visiting Meerut, where they were exposed to the innumerable peculiarities of Indian culture. The disparity, imperfection and tolerance of systems influenced and triggered the design process, and five distinct directions evolved from the exercise: the local Xerox/printing stall matured into a full-fledged Business pavilion with conference and fab-lab; the kirana store became the Commercial pavilion with supermarket facilities; the local book stall became the Media pavilion; the Social pavilion celebrated the ritual of collective TV viewing, through exhibition and TV facilities; and the chai shop and dhaba evolved to become the Food pavilion. These five pavilions, in a dense 4-meter x 4-meter grid of trees, form the Dutch Path on the Design Village campus, measuring 200 meters x 20 meters. The final result of these workshops was exhibited at the Zolijns store in Nizzamuddin, Studio Archohm in Noida, and India Design 2013. The next phase of this collaborative initiative lies in detailed design and development of these pavilions. www.poolmagazine.in  11


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craft

LIGHTING THE WAY AHEAD

Atul Johri’s ideas, whether for craft design or architecture, are all rooted in tradition but contemporary in form

How did your relationship with design develop? AJ: I was studying for my B.A. at Lucknow Christian College and while I was there I decided to pursue my career in design at the same time. I was very clear I did not want to go to any design institute to learn the art of design but would rather learn from the masters of the crafts. I moved to Delhi and got a chance to work on an architecture project - it was a very big individual residential project and that’s where I learnt the art of designing spaces brick by brick and exploring the possibilities of materials and their applications. While working on this I realized that lighting, which is the key element of designing any space, is the most neglected aspect in our architectural practices. I started working on lights during my free time and later it became the signature of my work. Tell us about Johri Designs and Studio Tulsi Farm. AJ: I braved the ire of my family to set up Atul Johri Designs, of which I am the principal designer. I knew design was where I belonged. I moved to Channapatna, which is 60 km from Bangalore, because I wanted to be surrounded by nature, and live away from urban chaos to work and create meaningful products for modern living. At the same time I wanted to provide opportunities for talented artisans to earn a better living without migrating to big cities for odd jobs. Since I wanted to live close to the community of artisans, I designed and built Tulsi Farm at Channapatna. The farm is designed in a way that fans are not required in summer and we don’t use artificial energy or lights during the day. Every drop of rain water is collected and even kitchen and bathroom shower water is diverted to plants around the house to reduce water wastage.

www.atuljohri.com 12  POOL #34

What kind of projects do you undertake? AJ: It’s always good to work on a concept that helps all the elements of design come together and create a beautiful space


craft

Photographs by: Nithin Sagi

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craft

Photographs by: Nithin Sagi

or a series of products to complement any space. I have an absolutely handson approach and believe in using the natural elements around me while designing products and spaces. I have worked on a variety of projects, ranging from residential architecture projects to craft oriented projects. I have been involved with a research institute to enhance the quality of banana fiber paper developed for the first time in South East Asia. I have designed spaces ranging from high street fashion stores to penthouses and farm houses. What types of products do you create? AJ: My approach to designing any product or space has always been to have absolute utility and simplicity without complicating its functionality. Lifestyle products, which we all need for modern living, and lighting have always fascinated me; they are among the most beautiful things to design and complement the most powerful element - darkness. I design lights, tableware, vases, candles and even fashion items. 14  POOL #34

I make sure that my designs are less dependent on artificial resources – there is insignificant use of synthetic materials. Do you have a design philosophy? AJ: My design philosophy was very simple and even today it hasn’t changed: never think of a design which already has a reference. Design something that you believe in and which has no point of reference. This helps to have a fresh approach; otherwise it restricts you to work within the framework of previous references. Though nothing is original, one always draws inspiration from nature and most of the brilliant designs happen by accident. Besides this, if we really want to bring a change in design then we have to integrate our rich crafts into modern living. The way forward to revive or save our rich craft practices is to maintain a balance between traditional skills and a contemporary feel. We need to design products with a human touch; the


craft

lacquering techniques in Channapatna are so special that nowhere in the world can any machine create the tonal gradations and the beauty of these handmade products. Each one is different from the previous one. The most important lesson in design is not where to start but where to stop! What kind of research is involved in your art form? AJ: My philosophy is to understand the nature of the material in terms of its weakness or limitations first and then to know its strengths. If we start the process of design without knowing the basic facts, it restricts us in exploring the possibilities. I also believe one must not have a reference for the design because that also limits you within a framework. Always have a fresh approach and find your way to achieve your conceived design form. In the case of handmade products, always make sure that your design has the ability to go beyond what machines can give you.

Why do you think it is important to revive traditional crafts? AJ: Today we live in a global village where everything is so homogeneous. Our approach should be country centric but the feel or outcome should be truly global - that’s the only way forward. India being culturally so rich and diverse works to our advantage; different craft pockets have a variety of skills and traditional practices. If we put our energy into strengthening the villages where these crafts have flourished for centuries or decades, we can reduce the pressure of migration to big cities. By doing this we are not only creating an environment for economic development but also ensuring that the tourism industry can thrive simultaneously. We need to understand that each master craftsman is like an institution. If we don’t wake up to encourage them now then everything will be ‘Made in China’ - without any soul or history. What are the challenges of working with craftsmen/artisans? AJ: An honest approach is to give them the same respect that we expect for www.poolmagazine.in  15


craft Channapatna Lacquerware Process

Step 1: Seasoned hale wood or milk wood blocks serve as raw materials

Step 2: Mounting wood block

Step 3: Shaping the wood body Step 6: Finishing with palm leaf

Step 4: Branding

Step 5: Applying lacquer

Finished product

16  POOL #34


craft

Photographs by: Nithin Sagi

ourselves; involve them in the entire design process so they get to understand the final outcome and are not treated only as the production team. Their knowledge and our understanding of market requirements can create a contemporary line without losing the traditional essence. The biggest challenges are creating the discipline to deliver at a stipulated time, and ensuring quality control. I have always told them to take pride in what they do. I want them to understand that the existence of designers depends on them and their skills - this has really helped to bring back their confidence. What is the scope of folk art in a technically advancing world? AJ: It is more significant than ever before because we are all going through an industrial revolution driven by cutting edge technology. But what we need to understand is that these craft or folk practices are the eternal elements in our social fabric. For instance, why do we need to practice yoga today? The answer is to give us comfort and strength in our hectic lifestyle. Can it ever be replaced by technology? Never! The same applies to our crafts and traditional practices; they just give different dimensions to any space or our lifestyle. Where do you see contemporary craft in India heading? AJ: Promoting contemporary craft is the only way to create opportunities

for rural folk to earn a better living without leaving their doorstep. The responsibility is in our hands as creative people, designers or institutions. We must understand that this generation doesn’t have patience. We all want change and the shelf life of everything is very short, so we need to keep upgrading our designs from time to time to cater to the fast growing aspirations of millions. What are your plans for the future? AJ: We need to respect our natural resources; otherwise the next generation will not even have a chance to experience all that India has in abundance. I want to create a 100% self sustainable environment for us and our community of artisans to develop an extensive line of products for the fast growing design and architectural industry. Twelve years ago I realized that the future is in our crafts and that’s why I decided to come and settle in one of the most beautiful craft pockets of India. I have never ever felt that it was a hasty decision. One needs to have a long term perspective of how you want to live your life. My decision has given a new meaning to my life and to this craft which wasn’t given the respect it always deserved. I started a beautiful journey 12 years ago, and there are still miles to go… www.poolmagazine.in  17


In 1488, Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner In 2012, we established Indi - Bikaner to provide global brand creation services to businesses with ambitions.


BRAND BETTER w w w. indidesign.in


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entrepreneur

T HAT

’ ‘AHEA NT !

MOM

Nainital-based Utpal Pande is a graphic designer and design educator who believes good design is that which fills him with a sense of wonder

How did you get drawn to design? UP: I got into college in 2003 and enrolled in a BA program. A tech-savvy friend and I started sharing our love for technology, gadgets and gizmos with like-minded friends and thus started Technology Orientation Classes (TOC). It was an after-college program where students, researchers and faculty members could enroll for free and learn about the latest in the field of technology and computing. We had borrowed a projector from the History Department and I used to lug my heavy 17” PowerBook to college every day. The PowerBook got a lot of attention from the audience, as back in 2003 a Mac wasn’t very common in a small town like Nainital. A lot of people asked me questions like what operating system does it run on and why is it so expensive. I took this as an opportunity and tied up with the vendor that had sold me the PowerBook and ended up selling iPods and MacBooks to my friends, and some hotel owners in Nainital. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of earning while learning and began thinking of more ways to expand my small enterprise. Whatever money I got by doing my door-to-door selling was invested in buying books and magazines. I think it was an article in Forbes magazine that opened my eyes to the world of design. I started reading more about it and finally it occurred to me that this was something I could make a career in.

www. pandesign.co www.vsual.co www.designstream.in www.wigd.in 20  POOL #34

Did you go on to study design? UP: I became a self-proclaimed ‘graphic designer’ and my strategy was simple: select a hotel in town that needed design intervention - mainly a good logo - and then start exploring some concepts.


entrepreneur

Client: 7 Pathways Global

Brief: To create an identity that transcends across various media and platforms and gives a new direction to the organization. The numeral 7 has to be incorporated as a digit and the logotype should reflect boldness and confidence.

After I had come up with some ideas for a logo, I would make an appointment with the hotel owner and try to sell them the ‘design’. It was pretty much like selling an iPod. If the owner was convinced, we would take it forward. I would also do the communication material — brochures, stationery, bill boards and a website. I got more work by word-of-mouth. I worked with hotels, cafes, resorts, and souvenir shops, basically anybody who said ‘yes’ to my first proposal. I continued to work as a freelance graphic designer for the next two and a half years. My clientele had grown from local hoteliers and shop owners to venture capitalists based in Bangalore and publishing houses in New Delhi. I had

started doing event branding for seminars that happened at my University. It was a period of learning, explorations and fun. I enjoyed what I did and besides monetary benefits, it gave me joy. In 2006, I was working with a hotelier in Nainital. We had just completed the rebranding process for his very popular hotel and after the work was over he suggested that I should ‘try for NID’. I asked him what NID was and he told me that it was a design school in Ahmedabad and his younger sister had graduated from there. I applied to NID that very year and was called for an interview in May 2007. I got through and went on to pursue graphic www.poolmagazine.in  21


entrepreneur

Client: Darshan Travels

Challenge: To create an identity that paves the way for a future branding for the organization. We wanted to move away from clutter and confusion and towards simplicity and integration.

design at the postgraduate level for the next two and a half years. After leaving NID in 2009 I joined a tiny startup at the design incubator at NID, and worked with them for around a year. By the end of this period I got a little project of my own that gave me an opportunity to come back to my hometown and I worked on the project for the next six months. What was your vision when you started PANDESIGN? UP: After coming back from NID and having spent a considerable amount of money on my education, working on small hotel branding projects wasn’t a viable option I needed a bigger playground. I decided not to go for a job that required the application of certain skills that I had acquired; instead I wanted to apply myself as a designer, design thinker and visual communicator. I wanted to experience design hands-on. I started PANDESIGN, a design strategy + branding firm, with a vision to create better opportunities for my employees and myself, offer reliable services for my clients and design efficient communications for their audience. Setting up my own studio was challenging but it gave me plenty of opportunities to explore the different paradigms of design that wouldn’t have been possible had I gone for a regular job. What were the challenges of working in a small town like Nainital? UP: Dearth of basic infrastructure like an airport in the area, decent Internet connectivity and good printers made things difficult here. I had to adapt my lifestyle to circumvent these shortcomings. Physical meetings with clients were substituted with Skype calls and I used to work at night when Internet speed was better. I’ve come up with a middle path for now. I travel extensively around the country to meet clients. If a project materializes, I come back to Nainital and start working on it. I also collaborate with other designers on bigger projects. Lately, there have been a few international collaborations and projects which have made things easier; for a client in say Sweden, it doesn’t really matter if I’m 22  POOL #34


entrepreneur

)

CoLaB

working from New Delhi or Nainital. I’ve also recently set up a studio in Pune, which is a young city, a city of entrepreneurs and possibilities. I needed a bigger playground for my creativity and a bigger canvas to paint my dreams. A city like Pune offers me the best of both worlds: the convenience of a mid-sized city and the opportunities that come with a growing metropolis. As my work grew, I needed to expand not only my horizons but also my studio. A separate studio will allow me to hire passionate designers and take bigger projects and challenges. What was the turning point in your career? UP: Getting into NID was a wonderful turning point. It opened me to a world of inter-disciplinary design. It gave me a wider perspective of design and that has basically shaped the way I work now. Another turning point was in 2012 when I was invited as a visiting faculty to conduct a two-week course at Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA). Sharing my insights with students has brought better clarity and understanding about design as not just a way of doing things but more importantly as a way of ‘seeing things’. I’m enjoying this wonderful combination of working and teaching and

I’ll be sharing my experiences on a regular basis at MICA and other institutes. Where does your inspiration come from? UP: I’ve always believed that inspiration is infectious and the best way of getting inspired is to keep oneself surrounded by motivated individuals. In 2008 I had initiated an online community called ‘What is Graphic Design?’ that today has over 2,600 members. This community now provides my daily dose of graphic design inspiration. Another service called Designstream that I launched in 2010 has designers from over 65 countries who share their work periodically; going through all the different projects and work they share is a pretty inspiring experience. I love meeting new people and I find inspiration in their stories. When I’m working on a project, I share my client’s dream and that motivates me to continue what I love doing so much. I also constantly remind myself how fortunate I am to have discovered what I truly enjoy and to have the privilege of making that into a career. Tell us something about your recent projects. UP: A project that I’m working on lately is in the special learning needs area. We’re empowering people with www.poolmagazine.in  23


learning difficulties such as dyslexia with interactive learning tools and apps that help them overcome issues like hand-eye coordination and attention deficit disorder. We’re working closely with our client, who herself is a dyslexic, and her students to come up with better designed tools and training material. Another ongoing project is with a Swedish company. We’re in the process of launching a functional food range globally. Some of their products will also be available in the Indian market. My studio will be responsible for their branding, global brand strategy, product packaging and communication material. What’s your definition of good design? UP: I’ve been telling my clients over and over that good design is ‘good business’ but that’s merely a by-product of good design. Good design for me is the culmination of innovation, technology, art, science and esthetics that produces a simple, effective and long lasting solution. It’s a paradox where complexity yields simplicity. Design has to be simple to be useful - that’s the challenge involved and that’s what makes my work as a designer worthwhile. Good design has to be accountable as well - a very comfortable chair that uses wood from a depleting forest will not qualify 24  POOL #34

as ‘good design’ for me. Finally, when any design fills me with a sense of wonder and I have an ‘aha’ moment I intuitively realize that I’ve just experienced good design. What is the importance of designers in today’s scenario? UP: Designers are important because they’re the people who ask questions. Design education is important because it’s not obsessed with giving you answers but encourages you to ask better questions and also question the way you think. A world without designers would be less colorful and a world without design would be uglier. People would die because you wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a fire truck and an ambulance and reading would be difficult because books would be set in bad type (if any) and improper leading would result in people reading the same paragraph over and over again. What do designers have to offer? I think what we have to offer is vision, imagination, and innovation and therefore a better world than exists today. Design gives you a choice and designers are advocates of positive change. What drives innovation? UP: A powerful idea has the potential to drive innovation. But an idea without proper implementation is like a beautiful


entrepreneur dream that’s soon forgotten after you wake up. If necessity is the mother of invention, I would say dissatisfaction is the mother of innovation - we want better products, efficient services and simple solutions for our needs. Design and design thinking explores these very issues so I would say that in today’s world, design is what’s driving innovation. Design enables you to understand complexity through systems thinking; in this way design becomes a way of problem solving. Design led thinking also has the most effect on tangible innovation. What a designer does in her head and later in her studio is something you experience later in the product or service. Because a designer challenges the norm on a daily basis, innovation and design become quite inseparable. How much design awareness do we see around us today? UP: Brand perception and brand awareness have increased manifold in the past decade. Consumers are now getting more accustomed to better designed products and services so today design is no longer a choice but an integral part of any business or industry. However, in India, people are still muddled over design and advertising. I remember hearing an eminent businessman at a talk at IIM where he was using the terms design and advertising interchangeably. Design is better understood when it is in the form of tangibles. It’s easy to tell somebody the difference between a well-designed chair and a badly made one. Unfortunately, the perception of design remains at this level for many. I have a hard time sometimes explaining to my clients that design and styling aren’t the same. On a brighter side,

I’ve seen many small-scale businesses and NGOs come up to me and talk about things like packaging and better communication material. Once you’re able to make a perceptible change in the way an organization works and functions, and also add value to their products or services, you immediately explain to them why design is so important. Where do you see the Indian design industry going in the next five years? UP: I know many colleagues and friends who are working with small-scale industries and I think that’s going to affect the design scenario in our country in a big way. I can see more collaborations and better engagement of people and designers. What’s happening today in the design field is what happened here in the IT industry in the mid nineties we’re onto something right now. This is the most exciting time for design and designers in our country. Once designers begin to address the design-related problems people face in their everyday lives, design will become an advocate of change and better life, promoting good design from a luxury to a necessity. But a lot depends on the sensibilities of young designers and the choices they make today. At the worst, design will continue to be confused with ornamentation and styling and will only grow in niche markets. Where do you see yourself going? UP: The immediate plan is to increase my studio to a team of 10 people. Later I wish to diversify into product design and open up a store that sells products designed by my studio and interns.

Poster

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illustrator

The World in Watercolors

Artist and animator, Prashant Miranda divides his time between Canada and India, and is fortunate to be able to take his work with him!

Do you consider yourself to be a born illustrator? PM: My kindergarten report card said ‘Prashant loves to sing and paint’…I think that still holds true. Having said that, I have to admit I studied Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Apart from being an artist and animator, I am also a scribe. What do you most enjoy about your work? PM: The fact that I can travel with my work. My medium is watercolors, and it’s portable. It all fits in my bag, dries immediately and is rather compact. It gives me a chance to work outdoors, or indoors, and anywhere I like. Describe your working environment. PM: I work anywhere. I sit under a tree, or in my room. I’m lucky that I can sit anywhere if the conditions are right. I finished illustrating a children’s book with a sea theme while on the beach in Goa. I do travel around quite a bit when I’m in India, so I take my work with me.

www.prashart.blogspot.com 26  POOL #34

What is your working style? PM: If I have client commissions, I make sure that I have enough time to finish the illustration before taking up the job. That would mean making sure that I can get a pencil rough and changes done before the final watercolor. I like to choose an ideal location while illustrating a book, or animating a film.


illustrator

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illustrator

‘Goan Explorers’ 28  POOL #34


illustrator

‘Tribes of our Lives’

I like things to be peaceful, and try to find spaces that are conducive to calmness. I am also a night owl, and while in the city come up with creative ideas after the world has gone to sleep. What kind of media and tools do you use? PM: I mostly use watercolors. If I’m painting large, like a mural on a wall or working with children, I use acrylics. For my films, I animate directly with pencil on paper, and then watercolor all my frames and then shoot it on film. My travel journals are watercolor paper bound books. I draw with a rotring isograph and use a Pelikan watercolor set. What themes do you tend to explore in your work? Have they changed over time? PM: The main themes in my work are old architecture, nature and people. I do suppose that the main themes have evolved over time, in different ways. For instance I did a series on the old bungalows of Bandra (Mumbai) a couple of years www.poolmagazine.in  29


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


illustrator

ago, and then did another series on the same theme last year. I was in Assisi, Italy this past November for an artist’s residency and that space had a perfect mix of old architecture and nature. It was a profound experience. I balance my work between documenting the things I see in front of me, and releasing the whimsical madness that comes out of my head. What do you do for inspiration? PM: I travel. It widens my horizons, changes perspectives of things, and keeps me mobile. What projects have you been proud to be a part of? PM: There are quite a few, such as volunteering for nine months in Varanasi for World Literacy of Canada, working

with women and children, painting and designing things as part of their sewing program. Also, illustrating a children’s book published by Oxford University Press as a fundraiser for the organization. What does the future hold? PM: I have no clue! I’d like to get my sketchbooks published. I’ve been chronicling my life through my watercolor journals for the last 18 years, and now I’ve got piles of them. I have sketchbooks on Cuba, Paris, camping in Canada, Varanasi, temple towns of Tamil Nadu, London, Bangkok, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, New York, Italy…the list goes on an on. I share them with a wider audience on my blog, but it would be great to get them out there as a series of books, which I hope to get started on this year. www.poolmagazine.in  31


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cover story

the

BUSINESS

of ideas

Chandrashekhar Badve’s Pune-based design consulting firm, Lokusdesign, aims to bridge the gap between what a brand aspires to be and what it actually is. The answer, he believes, is in creating ‘ideas of impact’. www.lokusdesign.com

32  POOL #34


cover story

Client: ITC Ltd.

Brief: Packaging structure innovation and product structure innovation for a premium range of body and haircare products

When were you introduced to design? CB: Design always intrigued me. I was always inclined to exploring and discovering the minor aspects of objects around me; as a child I used to open up my toys just to understand how they were created. The exposure to design as a field of expertise happened when I saw a documentary on the National Institute of Design (NID). Post that, the journey of creation and association of people and brands was a natural transition. After my Diploma in Tool Design and Manufacturing from MIT, and Post Diploma in Mould Design from CIPET, Bhopal, I majored in Industrial Design at NID. How did Lokusdesign come about? CB: The idea of Lokusdesign evolved during the NID days, where I spent countless hours thinking about how it would all come about. I observed that several of my fellow mates were already so sure of their next moves, while I was still struggling between being independent or taking a practical decision to join the world of established design firms. I needed to find a niche in this industry and the difference we all were seeking. Lokusdesign came from the thought process that www.poolmagazine.in  33


cover story

there was a huge gap between ‘what a brand aspired to be’ and ‘what it actually was’. We realized that the industry required a fresh perspective and ideas that would effectively bridge this gap. Milind Risaldar and I launched the company as a solution to fill this void in the industry and associate with brands; we wanted to translate ‘smart brands’ into ‘intelligent products’. A few years later, Siddharth Kabra (NID alumnus) joined forces with us and there was no looking back. The support of a lot of well wishers helped us sail through some ups and downs successfully and we had some amazing experiences. Over the course of time we have evolved to become a well constructed brand and packaging design consulting firm, with an clear objective to create ‘ideas of impact’ that enable brands to manifest and leverage their core business objectives by strategic innovation and design interventions. We have enabled brands to communicate their core essence 34  POOL #34


cover story in the most simple, effective and desirable way through branding and packaging solutions. What is your role at Lokusdesign? CB: As Founder Director (Design, Strategy and Marketing), I am responsible for driving the corporate strategy and marketing operations, including organizational growth and lead design strategy advisory for key clients. I strive to deliver impact to our client partners to innovate, transform, and grow using design as a tool of competition advantage. How has the journey been so far? CB: It’s been a decade since we started off and we have evolved in so many ways through continuous engagement with the brands, consumers and our peers in the industry. It is overwhelming to be the third global company to design an US FDA approved F=1 child resistant pack, and have more than 150 prestigious clients across sectors, 40 product patents under processes, and 260+ projects under design registrations. The next leap for Lokusdesign will be to provide breakthrough designs that create impact for brands and products with unmatched competitive advantage.

Client: HAVELLS

Brief: Revamp brand identity of Havells to raise brand perceptions and be at par with global competition

What are your expectations from your team? CB: At Lokusdesign we firmly believe the passion to create and experience is the driving factor for a strong team and culture. The organization started with the vision of conceiving ‘Ideas of Impact’ and equipping brands with process driven and focused design solutions. Innovation is our passion and this passion runs across the organization. We are thorough experimenters; we fail more than we succeed but the zest within makes us learn from our mistakes and continuously reinvent our approach. I envision a team that will keep this passion alive and showcase their expertise in brand consulting, communication and packaging design. What has been your experience of working on design projects for large Indian corporates? CB: I have seen Indian corporates changing from reluctance to acceptance to proactive utilization of design thinking. About a decade ago the Indian www.poolmagazine.in  35


cover story

‘Sketches’ by Chandrashekhar

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design industry was at a relatively nascent stage, hence there was a lack of understanding and awareness regarding its impact on the brand image and overall corporate culture. Today, with global brands entering the Indian realm and competition becoming more active, things are changing. Brand managers are exposed to markets across the world and it has become imperative for them to translate brand communication through their products in accordance with the changing needs and preferences of the consumer. They have understood the value addition and edge that innovative packaging and branding gives their products. This is a very positive trend and will play a major role in the overall growth of the industry.


cover story

What kind of design awareness levels are we talking about? CB: With greater exposure and brand awareness the expectations of a consumer from a brand have increased manifold. It has become integral for brands to have products that not only define them but create a certain impact in the minds of the consumers, which leads to brand engagement. Today corporates are aware that design is an important pillar in the overall business strategy purely because it can add exponential value and create a distinction for the brand from the existing clutter. Branding is evolving from being a mere logo to something that impacts the overall business and corporate culture, resulting in increased brand equity. Packaging is seen as a critical brand touch point and not a mere carrier of contents from point A to point B. Which industry verticals are the most design-friendly? And which industries, in your opinion, are resistant to design solutions? CB: All industries in the B2C segment including FMCG, food and beverage, and consumer durables are design friendly primarily because consumers need newness and innovative designs make them distinct from their competitors. Currently the segment is moving at such a fast pace that the product life cycle has gone down and there is a constant need to innovate and reposition the products in tune with the changing needs and preferences of the audience. To lead the competition it has become integral for brands to make regular changes in the way they present their products and services. This makes the B2C sector more conducive to innovative design elements. www.poolmagazine.in  37


cover story Comparatively, the engineering, IT, technology, infrastructure, and pharmaceutical industries (the B2B segment) are not resistant but reluctant or slow to change as their business structure runs on two important pillars - price and supply. Moreover their interaction with their consumers is minimal, hence the need to change and reinvent is small. However the scenario is changing as they have realized that design can change the complete outlook of the buyer towards the product. This attitudinal change has led to the B2B segment growing up to the importance of design. Is it finally time for companies to have a ‘design budget’ akin to a ‘marketing budget’? CB: Yes, it is time that the design budget is akin to the marketing budget since it is an important cog in the wheel of the overall marketing campaign of a brand/ product. For every brand the moment of truth is when a customer holds the product in his hand and decides whether or not it will go in his shopping bag. That depends a lot on the kind of communication the product is able to generate with the consumer. This, in a nutshell, is the role played by design. Packaging is the only tangible touch point in the marketing mix, making it integral for design budgets to be akin to marketing budgets. This attitudinal change is slowly entering the industry, with many blue chip companies actually increasing their design budgets during the economic slowdown. Where, in your opinion, is the Indian design industry heading? CB: The overall Indian design industry is pegged to be over the mark of `400 crore. Due to increased awareness and 38  POOL #34


cover story

Client: Smirnoff

Branding Brief: • Design and develop innovative and measureable strategies to launch Smirnoff Lime • Design and develop visual communication directions • Development, implement and deployment of visually appealing dynamic display, POSM units, product displays and additional GWP (gifts with purchase) ideas using the launch toolkit Packaging Brief: Creating clutter-breaking packaging to stand out visibly on a retail shelf and achieve successful brand/ product launch www.poolmagazine.in  39


cover story

40  POOL #34


cover story

exposure the industry is peaking at the right time. With a diverse nation like ours the satisfaction of end consumers is going to be a challenge, but with the kind of talent that is entering the industry we are expecting path breaking innovations in the years to come. How can Indian design solutions be made globally relevant? CB: Our value based approach, focus and understanding of the corporate culture and core business objectives, and the ability to apply the same in order to create a differential for our clients makes our designs globally relevant. The current generation of designers is exposed to global designs and has the potential to conceive ideas that can mutually complement international expectations. This is one of the prime factors due to which we see a lot of global brands wanting to associate with Indian design firms.

(Top) Client: Park Avenue

Branding Brief: Designing brand identity of Park Avenue body deodorants Packaging Brief: Packaging graphics, house style development, name coining and color story for Park Avenue range of deodorants (Left) Client : ITC Ltd. Packaging for a range of body soaps by Fiama Di Wills

Tell us something about your latest projects. CB: One of our latest projects is the packaging design for Raymonds Deodorants. We have also been working on the design and branding strategy for blue chip companies like Hindustan Unilever, ITC, BP, Smirnoff, Sharp, Godrej, Havells, Cadbury, Mahindra & Mahindra, Videocon, Larsen & Toubro, Dabur, Ranbaxy, Park Avenue, Bajaj Finserv, Honeywell, and Suzlon. Our brand communication campaign for Smirnoff recently won the ET Awards for Retail Excellence in Consumer Insights and Shoppers Behavior. www.poolmagazine.in  41


cover story

Client: BAJAJ Finance

Brief: Establishment of Bajaj Finance as a highend brand

What’s next for you and Lokusdesign? CB: The future is in innovation. Through radical intervention and ideas of impact, we strive to deliver breakthrough design solutions. The industry will be driven by ideas going forward; ideas which can engage the consumer instantly. Lokusdesign aims at being a global design think tank that will deliver impactful design solutions which can take branding and packaging to the next level of consumer engagement. Over the last decade we have seen the industry grow from nothing to a force to reckon with. Today, the Indian branding and packaging industry is being recognized across the globe, and currently, it is in a position that seemed like only an aspiration for design enthusiasts a few years back. It’s a challenge, and we are ready to take it head on. www.poolmagazine.in  43


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architecture

back to the ROOTS

44  POOL #34

Sustainable architecture is not a separate genre for young architect Alok Shetty who believes all architecture should be environmentally responsible www.bhumi-putra.com


architecture

When did you realize you wanted to be an architect? AS: As a child I spent a lot of my vacations at construction sites with my father and older brother. I was fascinated with how a building came together, and knew very early that this is what I wanted to do. Design (in any form) was an early influence for me. I always noticed textures and patterns in clothes, small details in doors and furniture. I learned about perspectives from comic books. I loved learning about new car logos. I went on to study architecture and got a MSAAD (Masters of Science in Advanced Architectural Design) degree from Columbia University.

250-seater auditoriums out of wasted shipping containers

www.poolmagazine.in  45


architecture You designed a full-fledged, multispecialty hospital at the age of 20. How did that happen? AS: When I was 19 and still studying for a bachelor’s degree in architecture, there was a competition to design concepts for a hospital. I decided to take part and ended up winning the competition! The board of directors asked me to consider designing the actual hospital. After a good year of research (interviewing doctors, nurses, hospital staff and patients) and studying other hospital plans, I presented my proposal and they loved it. We hired a local architect to oversee the signatures as I hadn’t received my license yet. Construction began and a year later the hospital was done! It was so surreal to see but was such a great learning experience because there’s a lot that you can’t learn at architecture school and this project gave me a head start in dealing with design in the real world. What led to ‘Bhumiputra’? AS: Sustainable architecture or green buildings are trending topics in today’s architectural context. Sustainability is considered a genre of architecture. I believe that all architecture should be sustainable, environmentally responsible, and a product of intelligent design. You shouldn’t have to specify that a building is sustainable or ‘green’. That’s how Bhumiputra came to be. The name itself (son of the soil) suggests what we do and what we place importance on. A multidisciplinary firm, Bhumiputra Architecture is based in Bangalore and I am the Principal Architect and Founder. How do you approach a project? AS: I believe the simplest solutions are most often the right solutions. The biggest factors to consider are the 46  POOL #34

requirements of the client and if we can deliver it. Once we give the client what they want, it gives us more freedom for experimentation in any form. Each project is different - some come together really fast and some take forever. But what’s always important is that the best design is as little design as possible. The circulation through a building, the materiality, its environment – all of it should feel as natural as possible and not forced. Innovation plays a huge role for us. Building technology has advanced so far that now every breakthrough is an improvement of an existing technique/ premise. We are working on ways to make intelligent buildings through low-tech methods by treating common building materials in unique ways. Speaking of innovation, tell us something about the project where you used a shipping container to build an auditorium. AS: I conceived this project with two of my classmates in my final semester of graduate school at Columbia University. Our design brief was to design a space for the spoken word that could be deployable, or taken all over the world. We arrived at the shipping container because it was a universal mode of transport. There are thousands of shipping containers that lie as waste every year, so again this was a sustainable model. The logistics involved in moving it anywhere in the world was already figured out. All we had to do was figure out a way to fit a 250-seat auditorium into a 40’ x 8’ shipping container. This proved to be very difficult so instead we tried a different approach – what if the shipping container itself was the auditorium? Wouldn’t that solve all our problems?


architecture

Multi-specialty hospital designed by Alok, near Jaipur www.poolmagazine.in  47


architecture

‘The Black Box Theatre’ 250-seater auditoriums made out of wasted shipping containers

48  POOL #34


architecture

And so we began making paper models and folding them like origami, trying to see if it was possible. After many attempts we came up with ‘The Black Box Theatre’. It transforms from a regular shipping container to a 250-seat auditorium in about three hours and can be placed indoors, outdoors, on slopes, in deserts, or wherever else you want! The response has been amazing from all over the world and now my classmates have become my partners and we’re on our way to releasing the prototype this year. Who or what inspires you? AS: Tough question! I’d say that Japanese contemporary architects like SANAA, Toyo Ito, Fumuhiko Maki, Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban and many others have had an influence on the way we work. Their disciplined approach to design and their clean esthetic sense is something that has always appealed to me, but our work is more of a hybrid of that style and Indian building methods. We are still a very young firm and our design language is growing constantly which makes it hard to define. What’s next for you and Bhumiputra? AS: This year has been very promising so far. We are working on sports academies, hotels, hospitals, high-end residences, temporary housing for slums, making construction bricks from trash and of course bringing the Black Box Theatre to life. We have a lot on our plate, and there are exciting times ahead. What motivates us is our curiosity. I believe curiosity is the key to longevity. Question everything, work hard and be kind, and amazing things will happen! www.poolmagazine.in  49


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Trends & I nsights

www.indiresearch.in


photographer

[FRAMING] THE RIGHT STORIES

Photographs can capture so much more than memories, believes Anusha Yadav, Mumbai-based photographer, photo archivist and publication designer What compelled you to make the switch from graphic designing and advertising to photography? AY: I have a Diploma in Communication Design from National Institute of Design. In advertising, the focus on print design died. And after working overtime on design, even if happily for so many years, I think I began to get exhausted with a rather predictable routine as a graphic designer. The alert on exhaustion came up when while working on a project, I found that the search for a good font felt tiresome. That scared me, because that exhaustion would clearly lead to mediocre work, which I was not willing to indulge. I loved and still love to design books, but those projects were hard to come by. I began to entertain the idea of photography, a rather vast subject like design that I was deeply interested in learning more about.

www.anushayadav.com

www.indianmemoryproject.com 52  POOL #34

How did that come about? AY: I had my father’s camera, and after he passed away it never met with film, but I played with it, imagining that it had. They were hard times and my mother sold the camera to run the home. At NID I met my cousin’s husband, Dinesh Khanna, a photographer.


photographer He made it seem as if it was just the greatest thing to do. I met his peers, like Radhika Singh who has been very active as a curator and photography editor. I worked on several small projects as a graphic designer with many of them and learnt a lot, but I never did think of becoming a photographer myself. For one, it was an expensive profession. The investment was very large, and that was a big deterrent. I loved the idea of working with photographers, working with the images and creating another layer of design, and good presentation. In the end a good photograph has to be presented well. And the power of it lies with great editing (I’d like to clarify that by editing I mean selecting the right images, not photoshop). So, I read lots of stuff, and I looked at a lot of work, but I still wanted to design books. That opportunity came with Devika Daulet-Singh at PhotoInk in 2001, and we worked on some great book projects together. I learnt a lot about photographers and photography with her. But again, picking up the camera was not under consideration. In 2005 I got a small Canon Powershot camera; a friend bought it for me and I paid the money back in EMIs. I decided to see what would happen if I did try to do photography. I began to photograph the people I worked with, our parties, our hangabouts, how we lived, and worked and played, and it was great fun. Did you actually study photography? AY: I never really learnt photography officially and my knowledge about it is less than most but I keep learning. In 2006, I applied for a Master’s in Photography at University of Brighton. I got in, but the UK financial laws had changed and hence, my affordability. I returned after eight months, but in those six months in class at Brighton, I learnt more about photography than I would in India in 16 years!

www.poolmagazine.in  53


I read a lot about photography, I look at a lot of work, I have opinions about it, and I question my opinions. I photograph to understand, question, answer, and watch the world around me. Some of it goes unarticulated and is not so amazing and some comes through wonderfully. The process never ends and there is always new found knowledge that can make work better. A great book to read if you are serious about becoming a photographer is Susan Sontang’s ‘On Photography’. It can channel your thoughts on it, or create new ones. How was your first independent shoot? AY: It was with Rakhi Sawant! I had started to send around a few of my 54  POOL #34

pieces, when I received a call from Verve magazine to photograph her. They were looking for black and white images and a documentative style. It was a great opportunity! I knew some people on the set she was on and once she knew I was familiar with people there, she was comfortable and I could hang around without her otherwise very cautious gaze. Familiarity has a great role to play in photography, and that was the day I learnt to never underestimate that. I have great respect for her in a manner. She works hard, very hard and takes her performances seriously, correcting herself over and over again. That impressed me a great deal. It was great to see and photograph a facet to her that not many know about.


photographer Tell us something about your ‘Indian Memory Project’. AY: When I was working as a photographer and book designer, I heard about a publisher who was interested in new ideas for a photo book. I had for many years toyed with the insight that there was at least one memorable photograph lying in everyone’s photo albums – especially wedding photos. Weddings have always been photographed in India. If people couldn’t afford a wedding photographer, the newlyweds had themselves photographed right after a wedding as proof of marriage. It seemed like a good idea to explore and document modern yet diverse India through images of weddings, their traditions and forgotten ceremonies. As if by divine design, Facebook, the social networking site, had just introduced a photo-sharing platform for people to post images and it was to mark the beginning of crowd sourcing images and stories. Happily, people are not very good with instructions, and along with posted images they mentioned more than just a wedding story. There were other personal stories - of events such as Partition, migration, inter-racial marriages, World Wars, polygamy and many more. Each photo came with a riveting anecdote about their lives, their families, their grievances, as well as their accomplishments. That’s when the idea of the India Memory Project sprang up. With a narrative and context attached, an image can reveal so much more. The narrative itself, online, could be categorized, labeled, tagged and thus searched. Anyone could trace any event and circumstance (micro or macro) that was mentioned,

leading to the notion that one could possibly trace the entire history of a subcontinent. And as far as I could see, no one yet had implemented anything like this. What interests you about documentary photography? AY: That what you see is what you get is very comforting. The reality of life to me is far more interesting, and how you can ‘see’ and ‘feel’ a true life story unfold in a frame. It’s fascinating. Photoshopped images are like paintings…fictional or like an attempt to hide something. That feels untrue, and even unfaithful, with the exception of Annie Leibowitz’s Vanity Fair work. Her framing, the content and art direction control is so powerful that the photoshop seems incidental, even ignorable. Has your work been influenced by anyone? AY: Not really. I was quite comfortable with the idea of photographing what I saw in the very beginning. But I do love some work that sticks in my mind more than any others, maybe somewhere it does influence me subconsciously…I have never thought about it that much. Some of my favorites are Annie Leibowitz, Nan Golden, Elliot Erwitt, and Raghubir Singh. How important is the right equipment? Which camera do you use and what’s your favorite lens? AY: The right equipment is that which you feel comfortable enough to carry around. It shoots raw, clean, crisp images. It fits your hand well, it holds well, and it gives you freedom to move around freely. I have a 5d Mark1 and a 450 D, a 24/105, and a 15-65. www.poolmagazine.in  55


photographer

Do you recall any truly memorable shoots? AY: No, so far nothing, except when batteries die on you! Only once did both my batteries die and I had none in stock. I had to go all over Salzburg looking for replacements or else I couldn’t use my camera. What is the most challenging part of being a photographer? Making people feel comfortable with me, and to develop a bond for that time at least. If I don’t find that, it is unlikely I will get a good picture that I am happy with. How would you guide newcomers wanting to take up photography? I think now that everyone has a camera, I can’t even say ‘get one’! They have it already, as a DSLR or as a phone. I’d say make a story, find a subject you would like to know more about, and take pictures with that idea in mind. Aim to tell a story via at most 50 good pictures. And know that like everyone else, you have a unique opinion, because it is scientifically and photographically proven that no one sees things the way you do. No one!

www.poolmagazine.in  57


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lifestyle

GLOBAL ESTHETICS Noorani Biswas aims to ‘enthuse, captivate and connect people’ through her attractive and well crafted range of home and lifestyle products

What does design mean to you? NB: Design is a simple solution to a problem or a need. In today’s competitive modern world, there is a need to present the same product in a new look, style and color for every changing season and to create differentiation. Design helps initiate a whole new product cycle with product differentiation. Other than the color, style and look, designing a product is aimless without taking into consideration the utility and affordability factors in the current well informed market. It is important to judge the flow of market taste and present a cost effective and unique solution to market needs. How were you introduced to design? NB: I grew up in Delhi and like many children, I was passionate about drawing. I used to draw figures on the walls even though my father forbade me to! My parents sensed my interest in art and introduced me to a painting teacher in the third standard. I used to enjoy my art classes on Sundays, and gradually achieved many awards in interschool and other painting competitions. My school - Raisina Bengali School, Mandir Marg - actively encouraged the creative work of students. After my twelfth standard board exams, I had to decide between my two interests, creativity and biology, and I chose the former. I had given only one entrance test for the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and luckily, I got through in the first shot. I did a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Textile Design at NIFT, Gandhinagar. That is when my journey with design began.

www.nooranibiswas.com 58  POOL #34

When did you decide to start your own label? NB: During my years at NIFT, I developed an interest in traditional handloom and printed textiles. After graduating,


lifestyle

I joined Cosmique Global, an export house in Delhi, where I learned a lot working with weavers, embroidery workers, tailors and printers. It was a great experience, doing things practically. After a year, I joined Studio B, a design studio, to see things from a different perspective and brush up my design and conceptual skills. For two years I enriched my knowledge of design, execution and management. From the very beginning I had decided to make my own identity, but it takes a lot of courage to quit a job and start your own venture, financing the business with savings. Gradually, I felt saturated in the job and didn’t want to do the same things repeatedly. I left to explore and search for my identity as a designer and started my label ‘Noorani Biswas’. As an entrepreneur I am involved with designing new collections, execution of designs, sourcing, production, marketing, advertising, order handling, etc. www.poolmagazine.in  59


lifestyle

What products does Noorani Biswas offer? NB: We have interesting designer products for the home, apparel, lifestyle products and accessories. Currently we have a range of mugs, coasters, t-shirts, and bags, and will soon move into scarves, stoles and cushions. How would you describe your design philosophy? NB: Esthetics, utility, and price are the core focus of my products. Esthetics plays a major role in my designs and helps me create an individualistic identity. We have all learned to appreciate and accept each other’s perception of beauty on the global platform. For example, take colors; brighter shades are dearer to us (Indians) whereas neutral, beiges and browns are native to Scandinavians; Latin America favors multi color patterns while the UK is more into grays and blacks. My intention is to bring this global appreciation to the common people through my products, and at affordable prices. I wish to bring a new design experience to people; every person has the right to feel beautiful and live in beautiful surroundings. I present a designer’s perception of rich 60  POOL #34

traditional esthetics with a modern and global touch and with a core aim to enthuse, captivate and connect people. What kind of research is involved in your art form? NB: I have tried to create a new and unique art form taking existing traditional art forms prevalent in different people, cultures, regions and countries as a root source. This art form signifies the rich traditional and cultural esthetics in the world. It is a combination of African tribal abstracts and Oriental elegance; a cross connection of Indian decorative patterns with Day of the Dead adornments; an alloy of Scandinavian geometrical patterns and French paisleys; an amalgamation of Victorian patterns and Ikat texture. In today’s well connected world, we are experiencing creative influences from all directions. I call it the global design movement. Do you work with a team? NB: I don’t have my own team of artisans. I work alone and get assistance from good vendors for production. I am working to build up a good vendor and artisan network with different art and craft specialties, to explore more craft varieties


lifestyle and achieve desired quality. This kind of model offers more flexibility in quality and production, though it sometimes becomes costly for small quantity productions. Setting up my own team of artisans is one of my future plans. How do you retail your products? NB: I retail my products through my own website and other online stores and through fairs. I am planning to sell through designer stores, and plan to open my own retail stores in the domestic and international market. I also plan to offer a customized design and manufacturing service for corporate and export clients. What are your inspirations? NB: I take inspiration from everything around me. I look for textures in every potential material, living or non living, and try to make patterns from natural or manmade shapes around me. Creating interesting new patterns inspires me to create more. I very much admire the work of some designers - Marimekko’s interesting patterns, Tricia Guild’s color brilliance, Sanna Annukka’s art, Iain Macarthur’s detailed illustrations, and Thomas Paul’s silhouettes. My inspiration for a particular artwork is very basic.

I have designed a bird artwork with a pebble in its beak; it is inspired by the story of the clever crow and symbolizes persistence. The mojri/ shoe motif is a Najar buti, to keep evil away. In the tree artwork, I have tried to give an individual identity to a miniature painting of trees. What kind of projects have you worked on? NB: In college I worked on craft documentation of the Dhabla weaves and Ajrakh prints of Kutch. It was very exciting to develop new woven motifs, give design inputs to traditional weave craft and witness the process of Ajrakh printing. With Cosmique Global, I explored many innovative handloom weaves for throws and cushions. I have worked with screen printing techniques to develop a competitive product range. At Studio B, I undertook many design collection projects for Heimtextil 2011 and 2012, among the world’s biggest textile fairs, held in Frankfurt, Germany. I had the opportunity to visit Heimtextil 2011 and it was a great experience. I was also engaged in a team project to design interiors graphics for India Adda, World Economic Forum, Davos, 2011 and 2012. This theme lounge was a great

www.poolmagazine.in  61


lifestyle

success. I have also assisted in designing products for Mehrangarh Museum Shop, Jodhpur. Under my own label, I have worked mainly with prints so far and am currently working with block prints. I am eyeing traditional weaves for the future. What is the scope of folk art in today’s world? NB: Folk art is a connection to the roots, and tells a story related to its history of origin. Folk art is an art, created by the people and meant for the people, though in today’s technically advancing world, created ‘by the people’ has been replaced ‘by the machines’. There always will be a price variation between handcrafted and factory made products, which is a major concern. Craft artisans are losing potential buyers to factory products in price sensitive markets. And increasing raw material prices are making it more difficult for craftsmen to maintain quality and competitive prices. In spite of this, the number of craft buyers has increased, because people are thinking green, and opting for ethical and socially responsible products instead of machine-made toxic products. Increased awareness of ethical consumerism has opened new doors for 62  POOL #34

organically produced, fair-traded craft products. On the one hand globalization has created strong competition for folk arts, and on the other it provides a global platform to reach international buyers and meet new opportunities. There is a need to educate and inform crafts people about government aid, and the international market scenario, so that they can take appropriate business decisions. Folk art has a good opportunity to gain from the increasing ethical awareness and become more than just a culturally rich heritage. What is the future of contemporary craft in India? NB: I feel contemporary craft has a never ending and evolving future in India. It will continue to evolve as per the market taste, raw material availability and cost, and artisans’ skill. Technology will play a major role in providing quality and efficiency. India is home to thousands of crafts and will always see contemporary craft as an important and desirable market segment. But the quality of contemporary craft will depend upon designers’ innovative interpretation of traditional crafts. They will have to present traditional crafts in a new tadka masala.


Medellin, COLUMBIA

designer on the road

The people of Medellin strike a deep chord in Designer on the Road, Cagri Cankaya’s heart! www.designerontheroad.com

After working for 21 companies in 18 cities across 15 countries, I came to Colombia with no expectations. I didn’t know much about the country and didn’t want to learn more before I arrived! That’s how I am and this is how I want to do this thing. I want to throw myself into different parts of the world without any prior information and knowledge. I don’t care what tourists do. I am a traveler with my own system of traveling, and want my own experiences in each city. When I said I was going to Colombia I heard two common reactions: people either said the place was dangerous or that I would have great fun there! The latter was true - it happened exactly like that. I had great fun in Columbia! Though I came here with many personal problems I forgot them all here. The people of Medellin and the city itself helped to cover my scars. They gave me so much love and kindness and took all the fatigue of being on the road from me. Now I feel like I am just starting a new world trip. I feel fresh, full of love and energy. All because of my friends and coworkers, who over just two weeks acted like they knew me for 20 years! Everybody I met here was like my best friend! What a friendly city this is -I am really surprised that there are still cities like this on this planet. People often ask me which country or city is the best. There is no answer for that. It depends on what you are looking for. What kind of life would you like to live? Do you prefer big cities or laid-back easy living places? It’s the people that matter everywhere. You can be in a very beautiful city but if the people are not so nice, you are in trouble. People make your day, not the buildings. And the people of Medellin are the right people, believe me. They are helpful, friendly and nice all the time. It looks like there is no anger here. No stress or bad talk.

Everybody loves everybody without any reason. And yet, if you removed all these people, Medellin would still be a nice city. I really enjoyed my time at the Havas Medellin office. Havas Medellin is quite different from the other global branches of the agency. It’s mostly about feelings and the things you can’t capture with a camera. Think about an agency where all the women employees are beautiful, warm and kind. Think about an agency where the creative director is your best friend and engages in Gangnam style dances. Think about an agency that would have barbecue and karaoke parties even if they lost three big clients in the same week! I worked on some branding and logo projects during my two weeks there and they were all very happy with the results. They even offered me a position as ‘head of art’ at the agency. We will discuss it again when my trip ends. Thank you Medellin, and all the people inside you. Goodbye to all my Colombian friends. You raised my happiness standards so much. It will be harder to be happy because of you guys. I know I have a home in Medellin. Don’t forget that you have a home in Istanbul. Come to your home anytime you want. Just remember to send me an e-mail to check if I am there! www.poolmagazine.in  63


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

April POOL 2013  

Pool Magazine for April 2013

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