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Aditi Gupta pg 32  |  Photographed by Tuhin Paul Lakhi Chand Jain 04  Hrridaysh Deshpande 12  Christopher Peetz 16  Satyajit Vetoskar 26 Swati Kalsi 44  Shonan Purie Trehan 50  Satyarth Singh 58  Cagri Cankaya 63


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August 2013 | # 38

Aditi Gupta pg 32 | Photographed by Tuhin Paul Lakhi Chand Jain 04 Hrridaysh Deshpande 12 Christopher Peetz 16 Satyajit Vetoskar 26 Swati Kalsi 44 Shonan Purie Trehan 50 Satyarth Singh 58 Cagri Cankaya 63

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

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

Travel Very often people ask me why I travel so much and what they should do to travel more. These days travel is also one of the most often quoted hobbies in resumes. Travel is good for everyone and even more for creative people. It gets you to experiences that are not possible in any other way. It makes you think, and it moves you out of your fixed mindsets. It is an easy way to look around, get inspired, learn and reflect on what you have or not. I don’t always travel for work. I travel to see people and their behaviors in different settings, climates, and clothes. I travel to experience different languages, foods and so many other things. I often feel invisible as I am going through such an experience - it’s like watching a very intense movie featuring myself. I stop expecting, I drop all my baggage of knowledge and experience and immerse myself in a very strange but exciting environment. I may know a few things and I may not know others. Travel is often like samadhi in meditation for me. I find it easier now to drop the baggage of prior knowledge in situations at work and look at something with absolute freshness. That is a challenge on projects nowadays. With so much information, tools and networking around, it is hard to feel curious and excited about something that you don’t know. Traveling is not difficult, but you need to open yourself to it. Start with places closeby, places you have heard of, but haven’t seen. Carry your camera (drop your phone) and do make notes. Participate in whatever is happening around, open yourself to the people. Talk to them. Ask them questions and answer theirs with honesty. Spread your circle.Create your offline facebook and see yourself changing from a closed encyclopedia to a free flying bird!

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folk art

Design consultant Lakhi Chand Jain has been re-inventing the traditional Rajasthani folk art of mandana for over 25 years mandanagraphy.wordpress.com

Tell us something about the mandana art form. LCJ: Mandana is the Rajasthani version of the Gujarati rangoli and the Bengali alpana. It is a classical visual folk art in which red sand (geru) and chalk powder are used to draw simple geometric forms like triangles, squares and circles on floors and walls, especially on auspicious occasions and festivals. How were you introduced to mandana art? LCJ: I am a graduate in applied arts from the Government School of Art, Aurangabad. By profession I am associated with different areas of designs like graphic design, 2D animation, new interactive media and space design as a design consultant. However I am strongly committed to mandana, which I learnt from my grandmother, (Late) Smt. Ratan bai and mother, Smt. Shakuntala bai. I currently live in Kalwa (Thane), near Mumbai, but my family is basically 4  POOL #38

from Rajasthan. Around 100-125 years ago there was a great famine in Rajasthan, and my ancestors travelled to Maharashtra in search of a livelihood. They settled in Pahur in Jalgaon district, a tiny village nestled on the banks of the Waghur River, which starts as a tiny stream from the Ajanta Mountains. They brought with them many memories of their lifestyle, culture and traditions. I was born in this village and my early childhood was spent in a house made out of clay and bricks. I remember each year after the NavratriDussehra festival, my grandmother and mother started preparations for Diwali. Our earthen house was big and the walls were plastered with clay. On festival days, my grandmother and mother would apply a mixture of clay and cow dung called gaara. After the plastering work was done, all the walls of the house were painted with cotton cloth, using powder-particle based colours like pink or blue. Then the floors were


folk art

Folk expressions of mandana on craft paper, 2.5 x 4 ft

Pray for rain (Photograph by Kedar Bhat) www.poolmagazine.in  5


Contemporary expressions of mandana, Mural, 8 x 7 ft, Mandanagraphy by Lakhi Chand Jain

coated with cow dung. Areas where the mandana was to be painted would be coated with geru (terracotta red colour). My grandmother and mother sat up at night to make the mandana. I used to lie with my head in my grandmother’s lap and wonder what she was doing. She would tell me old stories related to the art of mandana. She encouraged me to learn the art and when I was eight years old, she gave me a unique brush made from bamboo and a piece of cotton. Initially, I drew crooked lines! What fascinates you about this art form? LCJ: Mandana is a very simple form of art. I love its simplicity – crisscross, straight, diagonal, vertical, horizontal, curved lines and dots, which touch my heart, and keep me happy. Bright white

color helps to relieve stress, which gives me a unique energy. I enjoy creating it. Mandana is in my breath. It helps me express myself. What are the different ways in which you use the mandana art form? LCJ: Traditionally mandana is used only on the walls of mud houses and in the courtyard. I have adapted mandana from the traditional canvas to the modern canvas. I inscribe it on modern surfaces and textures, keeping the traditional and folk ambiance. I firmly believe in the existence of God. When I am completely in a state of meditation, everything around me - elements and objects connected to nature - can be seen in the manner of mandana. I can experience God in www.poolmagazine.in  7


Launching at an inaugural price of 82,000/-

8  POOL #38 * Additional taxes applicable in Maharashtra.


design folk mark art

Mandana on floor, Rajasthan (Photograph by Madan Meena)

mandana forms and I paint on canvas those forms which appear to me in a state of meditation. I love the form of peacocks, roosters, parakeets, horses, cows and bulls – their body language, attitudes, gait. What is the actual process of creation? LCJ: First I transform the forms that appear to me in the state of meditation into sketches on paper, and then paint them on canvas. I prepare the canvas with cow dung, gum, transparent glue of the banana tree, geru (terracotta red colour) or peelli mitti (yellow ochre soil) mixed with water. After applying these on the canvas, I paint the mandana with khadiya (paste of white chalk). When I develop a product with mandana, first I make a case study

of the product and its utility - what resources are required to develop it, in which medium, and with what technology. Then I research different topics related to the product. I make a prototype of the product, and then start developing mandana designs manually or digitally. I have developed different types of products emblished with mandana by using hi-tech print, laser technology, handcrafted and machine embroidery. How do you market your products? LCJ: I try to keep art lovers aware of my work through exhibitions. Based on what a client wants, I have developed and designed many lifestyle, fashion, jewelry and corporate products but you will not see them in malls or gift shops. www.poolmagazine.in  9


folk art

What are your inspirations? LCJ: Nature is my inspiration. I get a distinct energy from nature. When I live with nature, I see it emerge in various forms of mandana. What is the scope of folk art in a technically advancing world? LCJ: Almost all Indian folk arts and crafts have already crossed our boundaries through products, exhibitions and festivals. Unfortunately the energy of traditional and folk artists of our country is not used and channelised in technology based fields like film, television, advertising and new media applications. I have got two invitations to work on international projects related to field of fashion-textile and interior designing and 10  POOL #38

(From top left) 1. Bade Binayak Ji Ka Mandana on canvas 2.5 x 2.5 ft 2. Aakriti mandana on canvas 3. Aakriti mandana by Lakhi Chand Jain (Bottom) Folk foundryMandanagrapher Lakhi Chand Jain (Photograph by Kedar Bhat)


folk art

Panchmahabhuta – Five basic elements of Prakriti (nature); Natural ingredients are used as color in mandana

am currently working on wedding and bedroom accessory concepts. Do you want to restore traditional art through your work? LCJ: As village culture vanishes, mandana art will fade out from our lives. Today the original forms, the core of the mandana art are impossible to archive and conserve. For so many years I have been using mandana in traditional folk and contemporary forms. I have done research and documentation, and tried to restore this art by using new mediums, tools and technology. What have been the challenges so far? LCJ: Till about 20-30 years ago mandana art was expressed only in the traditional environment – on walls and floors. I wanted to preserve this art on canvas, but there is a large variation between the surface and texture of the floor and that of canvas. Irregular lines made on the ground looked beautiful and enticing; on canvas it looked ugly! After a lot of deliberation, I improved the process for canvas. To change my mindset and thought process to create a new thinking was a challenge for me.

The word mandana is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘mandan’, which means ‘to invent’ or ‘to explore’. To create an interest in mandana among the masses, I used different types of canvas and textures and explored different new media – but it is not an attempt to part with tradition. What are your future plans? LCJ: I am in the process of creating my mandana based designs and ideas in different textures, new media applications and technology in a bid to revive the mandana tradition. Where can students learn mandana art? LCJ: This art is not taught in any art or design school in India, and there is no specific syllabus for mandana. Till date, the tradition of mandana is passed down from one generation to another. If anybody really wants to learn the mandana art form, they must go into the villages where it is created and learn there. If students from different design fields learn this art, they will get a new vision and knowledge of how to apply design principles, symmetry, asymmetry, and design esthetic. www.poolmagazine.in  11


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awards

BEST OF ASIAN DESIGN Hrridaysh Deshpande (Director, DYPDC Pune) was present at the prestigious Design Excellence Awards held in Thailand recently

Design Excellence Award (DEmark) was established in Thailand 2008 to recognize outstanding product design. It was set up in conjunction with the Prime Minister’s Export Award, which is presented annually by the Prime Minister under the auspices of Thailand Institute of Design and Promotion, Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government. The winning product receives the DEmark logo for outstanding design which is then used to promote well-designed Thai products in the international market. The DEmark program is supported by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (JIDPO). In the year 2012, a total of 147 Thai entrepreneurs and designers participated in the contest, presenting 339 outstanding designs; 77 products from 50 companies were awarded the DEmark. The DEmark 2013 was divided into six categories: Furniture, Lifestyle Products, Fashion Products, Industrial Products, Packaging, and Graphic Design. The total number of applications for this year had increased significantly to 455.

www.demarkaward.net 12  POOL #38

Witnessing the DEmark Jury in Bangkok gave me a glimpse into Thai design. It was a rare opportunity to savor the beauty and quality of Thai products. Like India, Thailand also is a culturally rich society with a very strong presence of crafts. The cultural connect was quite evident in the designs, most of which were inspired by Thai cultural nuances.


awards What impressed me the most were the Thai products in the category of Furniture and Lifestyle. They had a distinct edge and could easily be qualified as world-class. The products were simple, playful and useable. There was ample experimentation with material and emphasis on fusing different materials together in a product. Many of the designs showcased followed sustainable design practices, and were created mostly out of discarded materials. Use of vibrant colors was very evident. The designs used various joineries and weaving techniques, and innovative use of plastic materials. There was a great deal of modularity and ornamentation in the

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awards

displayed products. All products showcased had an excellent fit and finish and a very accomplished surface quality. The general design theme across the products was easy to produce, easy to use, and easy to adapt. What was impressive was the transformable and multi-functional nature of the products. What was also worth noting was the camaraderie of Thai designers and their unflinching support to DEMark and other initiatives planned for the design profession. Not only did the designers participate in large numbers in the DEMark activity, they are generally very positive about the benefit it brings to the profession of design in Thailand. While a lot of good and path breaking design work is happening in India, it needs to be consolidated on one platform to get a national and international identity and exposure. India Design Mark, the design standard initiated by India Design Council, is one such platform. I hope more and more Indian designers will participate in the recently announced India Design Mark 2014. www.poolmagazine.in  15


photography

India through the eyes of Christopher Peetz, a young German intern who spent four months in the country recently cargocollective.com/christopherpeetz

In India everybody can be your teacher and you can be a teacher for everyone! That is what I learned in the four months I recently spent travelling through North India. I am a 21-year-old Communication Design student at the Design Akademie Berlin and a self taught photographer. I took my first picture at the age of 13, and for the next three years I did airplane photography or what is called ‘plane spotting’. Later I started focusing on people and sport photography. I have wanted to visit India for many years and going there on an internship as a kind of travel photographer was the best decision I could

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photography

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photography

ever take! In the first two weeks everything was like I expected it to be, except for one thing… I didn`t like it! There was garbage everywhere.... poor and sad looking people...air pollution...too spicy food causing lots of stomach aches…just chaos. But after that initial cultural shock a totally new world opened to me…a colorful India. After spending a month with Indi Design in Pune I started my trip: Jaipur-Pushkar. Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Bikaner-Jaipur-DelhiVaranasi-Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Pushkar. Amritsar-Dharamsalah-DelhiVaranasi-Kolkata-Jaipur-Pushkar-Udaipur-Pune. I really fell in love with Pushkar and Varanasi; both are very religious places but completely different. Pushkar is in the mountains of 18  POOL #38


photography

“Varanasi is a very mystic, dark, and crowded place. Death and life are so close, you can`t imagine it...”

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photography

Rajasthan, very peaceful and calm. You will see old men with colorful turbans and women in beautiful saris and lots of jewels. Varanasi is a very mystic, dark, and crowded place. Death and life are so close, you can`t imagine it - ashes of cremated bodies are being thrown into the Ganga at the burning ghats and 5 meters away kids are playing in the water, so full of energy and having just started their lives. This contrast is so weird and so normal at the same time, and it was a very special experience for me.

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photography

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photography

What I will really miss are the dozens of nice conversations every day with strangers on the streets‌whether a chai seller, barber, homeless guy or the person sitting next to me on the bus‌ sometimes just funny small talk and sometimes really spiritual and deep thoughts. India was definitely quite a learning experience.

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Now in heaven We believe heaven could do with better brand and design services. Indi-Srinagar now connects beauty with business.

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industrial design

stretching THE IMAGINATION Through rubberband, his design studio in Goa, Satyajit Vetoskar aims at helping young talent give full rein to their capabilities

What is an ideal ‘product’ in your view? SV: The words of Dieter Rams echo my thoughts. His ‘ten commandments’ are perfect devices to make an ideal product. Good design is... 1. Innovative 2. Makes a product useful 3. Esthetic 4. Helps a product to be understood 5. Unobtrusive 6. Honest 7. Durable 8. Consistent to the last detail 9. Concerned with the environment 10. As little design as possible. Tell us a little bit about your journey as a designer. SV: Having been born in a creative family, with a photographer father and a very artistically inclined mother and grandfather, it was easy to slip into sketching, painting and the creative process, I guess! Looking back now, having creativity surrounding me was really inspiring. Right through school, art was the key to enjoying myself and I was able to translate a bit of that into school projects. Having graduated from Sir JJ College of Architecture in Mumbai, I went on to study design at Industrial Design Center at IIT, Mumbai. It is here that I was able to fine tune my passion for design.

www.rubberbandesign.com 26  POOL #38

What inspired you to become an industrial designer? SV: Actually my getting into industrial design happened completely by chance! I was working in Delhi when a dear friend called and told me that the next day was the last day for submission of entry forms! I managed to send the forms across in time and the rest is history. For me, more than pure


industrial design

(Top - bottom) 1. Electrical acessories: Great White Electricals 2. Mantis, disposable razors, Anchor group

industrial design, I have always loved design as a whole. Through school it was art, though architecture school it was graphics, and through design school it was form! And today I am fortunate I can apply all of these in the projects that I do. I am truly fortunate that I have been able to work across various mediums, categories of products, meeting the most talented people and peers! The most intriguing aspect was to be able to learn the business of design through all of this. When did you decide to start ‘rubberband’? SV: My first job after design school was at Titan, Bangalore. It was an exciting time for the young company. The design team had just been set up, Tanishq had just begun, and I had peers like Michael Foley to work with. We had an inspirational Design Head, Kaushik Ramanathan, and the awesome Xerxes Desai as Managing Director. I learnt so much from these wonderful people but soon the itch to start on one’s own had begun. So in 1998 I moved back to Mumbai and started ‘rubberband’. Looking back, there weren’t many takers for design as there are today, so one really had to improvise and learn on the job! This made up for the variety of projects that one could work on. It also became the philosophy

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R2D2 bath collection: Gitadini, USA | Material: Plastic

of rubberband - ‘to stretch one’s imagination and capabilities to the limit’. We have always prided ourselves in being a small, understated, yet highly passionate design studio. We like to take up unique projects and give personal attention to our clients and enjoy the work that we do. We offer services ranging from product design and brand identity to redesigning corporate spaces. Our clients include Calvin Klein, Anchor Group, Society Tea, Noov DesignCanada, L’Oreal Group, Samsonite Group and Wendell Rodricks, amongst many others. Our being in Goa helps us string the creative juices and attract talent that is likeminded. An important aspect of our studio is the intensive student internship program. Young designers offer us inspiration and energy and in turn we genuinely hope to teach them life-experiences, which will help them excel in their careers. I wish that someday we will become a talent resource when it comes to design! How has your journey as entrepreneur been? SV: A big learning as entrepreneur is relationships with clients. A good 28  POOL #38

relationship (along with great deliverables) meant that you had work sustained for a long time. Even today, I still do work for my first client. All of this was before the internet boom, which meant that all work was though personal networking. I was able to design watches for Swatch, assist Wendell Rodricks with his shows and stores, and now recently, design things from switches to razors and shoes. Along the way I have been able to meet inspirational people, captains of industry, and make lifelong friends. As a young designer/entrepreneur, I felt it was important to work hard, learn as much and beyond and not worry about the money! Tell us something about your experience at VIP. SV: Bang in the middle of doing my own little show, I was approached to head the Design team at VIP. It was a challenging task as it involved setting up their design studio in Mumbai and streamlining design at Carlton Travel Goods in London (a company bought over by the group). I took up the job on the condition that I was allowed to continue freelancing for rubberband. Over a period of five years, apart from setting up the design team, it involved


industrial design

various activities, beginning with giving all the bags a design makeover. It was a tough job considering the brand equity of VIP in the market and what it aspired to be. There was also a constant push from my side to ensure that design became an integral part of the company and boardroom decisions were design driven. My team was successful in the design makeover, which showed robustly in the profits of the company. It was here that I learnt the importance of the business of design.

(Clockwise) 1. Infinity Collection: Camera bags Noov Design, Canada, www.noovdesign.com 2. Mystic - Luggage Carlton Travel Goods, UK 3. i-cocoon, laptop case, Carlton Travel Goods, UK

On the design front we created many path breaking designs, and were able to create a design language for the brand. We created a retail identity and on the international front, designed various collections for the brand Cartlon, UK. At a given point I was managing both the design studios in Mumbai and London. The five years spent here were great! I learnt so much, travelled around the world and was exposed to the various factories, materials and manufacturing processes. But all good things come to an end and the itch to get back whole-time into rubberband was too strong. This is where I made the biggest decision of my life and moved with my family to Goa. www.poolmagazine.in  29


industrial design

Spyder: Fruit bowls in stainless steel | Gitadini, USA

What was the most challenging project that you have worked on? SV: The most comprehensive project and the most satisfying was the brand store for Ganjam at the Leela, Bangalore. What started off as a simple requirement to design a jewelry display unit, turned into designing the entire store along with the stationery, bags, diaries and visuals within the store. Along with a visionary client and a very generous design brief, we were able to create a design language that connected all possible aspects of the brand. I was also very fortunate to be able to work with and learn from the brilliant photographer late Prabhuddo Dasgupta, who shot for Ganjam. What do you think is the potential of the Indian design industry? SV: I think the sky is the limit. There is a lot of talent out there but the industry is still very nascent and it has to go through a churning process where the good, the bad and the ugly will be separated. It is from this point on that

truly evolved designs will emerge, which are honest, eco-friendly and serve the mass rather than just the brands. Very few companies focus on design as their core being. To take this industry further it will be very important that the companies support design as much as they do other company functions. What do you when you are not busy designing products? SV: Well, since we have moved to Goa I spend a lot more time with the family, and try to explore as much of this lovely state as I can. But more passionately, I love restoring old Portuguese/Goan houses. It is fascinating to study them and try and restore them to their old glory. I guess in a way life comes a full circle and I am getting back into my architecture background! What’s next? SV: Honestly, I don’t have a clue! I do want to continue with rubberband, help train young designers, and give back to the profession in a meaningful way. www.poolmagazine.in  31


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cover story

www.menstrupedia.com 32  POOL #38


cover story

User Experience Designer and Marketing Strategist, Aditi Gupta may have a very glamorous sounding job description but she is using it to really make a difference where it matters. Aditi recently set up ‘Menstrupedia’ to spread awareness about menstruation and dispel the myths that surround this basic bodily function even in these modern, information-driven times. How did you come up with the idea of Menstrupedia? AG: Menstrupedia is all about spreading awareness about menstruation and dispelling the age old myths surrounding it. The main idea behind Menstrupedia is to provide the essential information about menstruation that every girl or woman must know in order to manage her periods effectively, and help parents and educators educate young girls about menstruation. Another purpose of Menstrupedia is to fight the prevailing notion of impurity associated with menstruation as this notion of impurity leads to many myths and practices that are detrimental to a girl’s self esteem, and her status in society. The Menstrupedia website (www.menstrupedia.com) has three main sections: www.poolmagazine.in  33


cover story

Quick guide: This is an illustrated reference guide that provides essential information related to menstruation in a concise and easy to understand manner. Q&A: This is a place where people can ask questions related to menstruation or any other related topic. We have teamed up with an experienced gynecologist who helps answer most of the questions posted there. In time, the number of well answered questions in the Q&A section will increase and cater to an ever increasing number of users. We encourage users to cite proper sources for their answers unless they 34  POOL #38

are themselves professional medical practitioners. Though there is active moderation, Menstrupedia does not hold responsibility for any content in this section or any situation that might result from it. Blog: This is a place for collaboratively putting up interesting and insightful articles about menstruation. It is meant to establish a need for spreading awareness about menstruation. Many people regularly submit articles on various aspects of menstruation that we publish in the blog. Each of these articles is then widely shared in the


cover story

Menstrual hygiene management for girls and women from all walks of life

social media space and opens up new discussions around menstruation. We are also developing a Menstrupedia Comic to guide young girls about their changing bodies and especially about menstruation, using stories adapted from real life situations. Beautifully illustrated characters enacting these situations will enlighten young readers about staying prepared and the best ways to manage their periods in different situations. The easy storytelling narrative of the comic will instill a positive attitude among its readers towards their bodies and

menstruation, and free them from the age old menstrual myths. Once made, the comic will be translated into various languages to reach more people. The comic will be available in printed as well as audio visual format. How did Menstrupedia start? AG: I met my husband Tuhin Paul at NID where I was doing a post graduation diploma in design after completing a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation. When Tuhin and I got into a relationship, he came to know more about the pain and inconvenience that girls and women go through every www.poolmagazine.in  35


cover story

month during their periods and how they are often treated as impure because of it. I had myself experienced and dealt with menstruation related problems and had always felt a need for trustworthy and easily accessible information on this subject. This might be a situation not just in India but in many other countries as well. We saw a huge scope for applying our communication and user experience design skills to close this gap of information. What started out as a thesis project at NID has now become Menstrupedia. I had taken up a yearlong project to study the level of awareness about menstruation in young girls. Though it was my project, Tuhin was closely involved in it from the beginning. At the end of the project we found a need for an appropriate guide about menstruation for young girls, so we created a prototype where we explained menstruation through the comic medium, using characters and stories, and tested it with young girls. We received a very positive response from girls, parents and teachers. After working for three years in the e-learning industry and having saved some money for the initial investment, Tuhin and I quit our jobs and started working full time on Menstrupedia from August 2012. Rajat Mittal, the third founding member, who is a post graduate in Computers from Arizona State University joined us in August 2012. With his technical skills our 36  POOL #38


cover story team was pretty much complete. The Menstrupedia website was launched on 29th October 2012. What challenges did you face? AG: Tuhin and I had both quit our jobs and were working fulltime on Menstrupedia; we had invested all our savings (roughly R 2.5 lakh) in it. Even after cost-cutting our savings allowed us to sustain for just one year and we had to raise more funds before that so that we could sustain till a revenue stream was in place. Investors were turning us down as they believed sustaining Menstrupedia through selling printed comics was a risky

business proposition. Raising funds was an ever growing challenge for us right from the very beginning. Developing the website to its current state took us till January and given the costs of bulk printing, we weren’t left with enough funds to develop the Menstrupedia comic and get it printed, leave alone the distribution logistics that would follow. However, we believe that what we are creating is much needed and will help so many young girls. From the very beginning we have been receiving overwhelming response and huge support from numerous people on our various social media channels. Just two months

www.poolmagazine.in  37


cover story

(L-R) 1. Characters from the comic | 2. Menstrupedia comic

before we would have run out of funds, as a last resort we turned to our supporters to raise funds. On May 20th we launched a crowd funding campaign to raise funds to develop the Menstrupedia comic. As of 25th July, 149 of our supporters had contributed R 4.7 lakh to help us make the comic and cover all the other costs involved in printing and logistics! How important is design thinking in coming up with a concept like yours? AG: Design thinking is very important for any concept that aims at solving a user centric problem. In fact I feel that the design process for any product that will be used by a person should involve design thinking. It helps the product evolve to suit its user’s needs. Why did you decide on using comic characters to educate? AG: We want to create entertaining educational material that girls feel engaged to read. Using stories and characters in a comic setup gives a practical and more real tone to the subject than a bookish and theoretical 38  POOL #38

tone would. In our user testing we found that not only girls, but even the parents and educators were very positive about the idea of a comic to explain this subject. They felt it diminishes the sense of shame associated with this subject. Except for the Menstrupedia blog, all the illustrations are done by Tuhin. Who is your target audience? AG: Currently 8 to 9 year old urban Indian girls and their parents are our primary target audience. After Menstrupedia starts generating profit we will take the initiative to the rural sector as well. How do you advertise Menstrupedia? AG: We use social media to reach out and connect with more and more people. We participate in various local meet ups in Ahmedabad. What has been the most rewarding response to your venture? AG: The first contribution towards our crowd funding campaign came just within a few minutes of the launch of the campaign and that too from a total


www.poolmagazine.in  39


cover story

Circulation of myths

An adolescent girl is taller than her classmates as she has reached puberty before them

Peer pressure

40  POOL #38


cover story

stranger. I can’t express the feeling; it’s somewhat a mix of admiration and indebtedness for the faith that our supporters have in us. And when we call them and thank them for their contribution, all that they want is to see the comic ready. I think nothing has ever strengthened my belief so much in what I am doing. Tell us a little about your association with design. AG: For me design means indentifying and understanding user needs and improving the product to suit them. Design as a career choice wasn’t known to me until I was in the final year of my engineering course. Once I came to know about design, it appealed to me as the next destination after engineering. Once at NID, I could see the direct application of whatever I

learnt. For the first time I was enjoying my education thoroughly. And that’s when I knew a career in design was my calling. What would you advise those who might want to work on something similar to Menstrupedia? AG: Plan well in advance for raising funds to support the venture and have backup plans as well. Conduct extensive research to understand user needs properly as this will form a strong foundation for the concept. Focus on the user need rather than the product; the product is supposed to change and adapt to user needs. Use social media to aggressively market the concept and connect with your supporters. www.poolmagazine.in  41


ISSUE 32 february 2013

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Kunal Khadse

Sheetal Sudhir

Photographed by Nikita Khadse

Photographed by Abheet Gidwani

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

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Giridher Katta

Photographed by Hubert Tassin

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Christoph 04/ abhijit 08/ bernd 12/ rathna 18/ stephan 24/ markus & daniela 28/ uttam 44/ smriti 50/ vaibhavi 56/ rohan & supriya 61

Suresh Sethi pg 30 | Photographed by Sumit Singh pg28

India Design Mark 2013 02 Tanya Khanna 08 Ishan Khosla 12 Meera Sethi 18 Geetanjali Kasliwal 24 Bent by design 44 Anavila Misra 50 Priya Kuriyan 56 Cagri Cankaya 63


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textile

TIMELESS TEXTURES Fashion and Textile Designer Swati Kalsi tries to bring contemporary relevance to the work of traditional artisans

www.swatikalsi.com

44  POOL #38


textile

What drew you to a career in textiles? SK: Growing up I watched my mother’s keen eye and efforts to make things beautiful, be it textiles, clothes, interiors, etc. Planning and creating anything new was always an exciting family exercise, and that must have first triggered the interest. Extremely passionate, I went on to study fashion at NIFT (Delhi). I was always fascinated by traditional textiles and fortunately, the blend (textile and fashion) became more and more apparent with time. I worked with handcrafted textiles in different capacities for six years. A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be part of Jiyo! - a World Bank Project run under Rajeev Sethi. The program gave me a unique platform to work closely with traditionally skilled artisans, positioning Indian women’s embroidery traditions as an innovative and uniquely artistic cultural legacy. The engagement was an enriching design and humanistic experience. I fell in love with it. Today, as a consultant and independent designer, I find myself working with traditional artisans, attempting one off pieces that highlight their exceptional skills and hand craftsmanship. Can you give us a little insight into your creative process? SK: I use natural fabrics like silks, cottons, linens. I always start with some key ideas that can probably be called a plan. And

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textile

then the products emerge over stages of translation, driven by intuitive decisions both at my end and by the artisans. Over intriguing give and take and inconceivable twists and turns, emerge the pieces and a unique design vocabulary that connotes timeless, understated elegance, highlighting the quirks and anomalies arising out of the process of creating. I collaborate and engage with traditional artisans in intense, interactive, creative workshops and processes to innerve the artist in them, creating distinct pieces of work, treading on the edge of design, craft and art. Emerging layers, diluting depths, gradations, rhythms in nature always caught my eye and have gradually become my vocabulary for ornamentation. I believe a hand has a brain of its own. It can think and create surfaces that neither programmed machines nor human hand can recreate. So, my efforts are largely 46  POOL #38

focused on marrying the unmatched skills of the traditional artisans with an esthetic spirit. The surface created in Sujani (an embroidery tradition from Bihar) out of simple running stitches, moving in transient intensities, sizes and colors suggest natural processes and also reflect the spirit of the creator. This enticed me to explore the textured surfaces in Sujani. What has been your experience working with traditionally skilled artisans? SK: Women in the villages have always made Sujani in their spare time to make extra income. Thus, domestic crafts like this are highly unorganized as a sector. It’s fortunate that some people and NGOs do try to contribute to support them, but it is not enough. There’s zero to very little effective support in the villages. Hence,


textile

(Top) Minor | Creative processes are very dynamic and are highly sensitive to conditions. ‘MINOR’ differences in the initial conditions yield widely diverging outcomes, rendering predictions very difficult in general. In this case a really tiny scale of the stitch, varied orientations, etc. have helped build designs.

working with these crafts is arduous, since an entire ecosystem needs to be endured, built and sustained for any kind of development. It might not be right to use the word ‘evolution’ since evolution spreads across generations. My engagement with the women artisans has been an extremely enriching design and humanistic experience. It is profoundly educating to learn how crafts are closely intertwined and deeply rooted in the economic, social, cultural, spiritual and many other aspects of an artisan’s life. I like it more when women artisans look at it as a source of empowerment and self determination. www.poolmagazine.in  47


textile Anhad (boundless) is a range of embroidered clothing created with an extraordinary group of Sujani artisans from Muzaffarpur district, Bihar. Fractals are patterns formed from chaotic equations and contain self-similar patterns of complexity increasing with magnification. Naturally occurring fractals (seen in rivers, blood vessels, DNA, clouds, heartbeat, earthquakes to name a few) are unpredictable yet deterministic, when viewed holistically. They redefine chaos in nature. In this set of work, inspired by natural fractals we developed the embroidery patterns organically like fractals, following an instinctive rhythm, spreading abstractly over the surface of these garments.

48  POOL #38


“An ode to the most ‘MINOR’ factors that become points of divergence, for unpredictable shifts in a piece of work.”

Through work I try to help them earn more and enhance their creative capacities for growth. How are your products different from the rest? SK: Our set of experiences grows into a product to some extent, perhaps. Mine too have helped me discover a process in a unique setting, which leads to the emergence of the product. And the rest is for the viewer to decide. It is very interesting to hear people’s ways of seeing and interpreting when they view our work. I can only say that the products created over the collaboration are very personal and intimate, with an evident patina. From where do you draw your inspirations? SK: The inspirations are varied and transient. In principle, natural processes,

nature and its beautiful abstractions and grace are my big fascinations. Mind blowing innovations, and relentless efforts made by professionals in different fields keep me ticking. What, in your opinion, is the future of textile design in India? SK: In terms of its textile traditions, India is probably the richest in the whole wide world! And there’s a lot that can be done. Over the past few years I have observed a flood of fresh interest in traditional handcrafted textiles, and I hope it’s not just a fad. With a lot of us looking back at our traditional wealth in a new light, it certainly seems to be an exciting time. Globalization and the economic boom are certainly attracting a lot of technological developments for textiles as well; we can expect a whole range of new developments. www.poolmagazine.in  49


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architecture

Architect Shonan Purie Trehan hones the language of architecture with poetic sensibility, scientific rigor and human purpose www.labwerk.in 50  POOL #38


architecture

What’s your definition of design and architecture? SPT: It is this incredible intersection of anthropology, science, craft, engineering, environment, economy, industry, art, psychology, culture and invention that makes the practice of architecture inescapable. I have deep interests in each of these fields and the architecture is a complex juggling act of all of these interests. Design interventions can delicately or drastically alter the culture of habitation.

Aperture House, New Delhi The structure of the pavilion extends along the wall as the library bookshelf

Tell us a little about yourself and LAB. SPT: After completing my Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the USA, I worked at Eisenmen Architects in New York City. I completed my Master of Architecture from Bartlett School of Built Environment, London, UK, with a focus www.poolmagazine.in  51


architecture

(Left - right) 1. Roti Kapda Makaan Home retail store, Raghuvanshi Mills, Mumbai 2. Factory house A mobile bookcase partitions the common space, Mumbai

on Advanced Architectural Design. I’m the founder and Principal Architect of Mumbai-based Language. Architecture. Body (LAB), which is a laboratory for creating architecture. We have a team of experienced architects and planners, all alumna of leading international architecture firms. What are the expectations from your team? SPT: Think, Make, Build. Be a psychologist, be an artist, be a wordsmith, be a gardener, be a cook! What is your design philosophy? SPT: Staying centered, but outside the circle. We follow a ‘form’ follows ‘culture’ design principle. We also believe architecture is the practice of innovation - it is fundamental. How do you usually approach a project? SPT: The project usually starts as a dialogue between key words, insightful sketches and inspired ideas. Our clients are asked to respond to a survey; this helps maps the aspirations of the project. As a collaborative team of architects we then have intense sketch storms. The output of these sessions is then filtered into an ‘Idea Bank’ for the project. This serves as a design compass through the project. We have ongoing

52  POOL #38


architecture

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architecture

54  POOL #38


architecture

(Left - right) 1. Play house, A door within a door within a door, New Delhi 2. Reflection House, Soft timber partitions divide the sleeping and living spaces, New Delhi

research in the office that runs parallel to the design work. We then find appropriate applications for the found outcomes. The pace of projects in this economy rarely allows for research specific to the project. How does experimentation feature in your work? SPT: Experimentation is a constant in our work. Material research and invention is an eternal focus in our practice. We have been working on a self-structuring brick for over a year. It started with a brick design workshop and now we are ready for the first prototypes to be fabricated. We are also working with various cast-in place surface solutions. In most of our projects highly customized bespoke design elements are developed for the project. We design and fabricate lights, furniture, architectural elements and sculptural products. Who has been your inspiration in the field of architecture? SPT: Alvar Aalto, Allen Ginsberg, Carlos Scarpa, Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Renzo Piano, Herzog and De www.poolmagazine.in  55


architecture

(Clock-wise) 1. Happy Cow apartment, Raised dining area nestled in the open space, Versova, Mumbai 2. Factory house, Whisk inspired suspended ceiling lights, Mumbai 3. Layered table available at Roti Kapda Makaan

Meuron, and Virginia Woolf are all my heroes. Currently, my biggest design crush is on Thomas Heatherwick. What is your advice to the new generation architects and designers? SPT: I think I am very much a part of the new generation of architects and designers. We have a unique opportunity in India where the nature of the economy supports young architects. There is immense talent and energy in the country and we need to focus on

evolving our own unique architectural design language. The only words I have are: Please don’t make ‘Modernism’ a tradition. What’s next for LAB? SPT: We really enjoy having a diversity of projects. In the last few years we have actually managed to accomplish a huge number of projects. We would love to work on an institutional project, particularly a school or a library.

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films

Young film maker Satyarth Singh is focusing his passion on bringing alternative careers like music and art into the limelight www.facebook.com/pages/Lights-on-Films

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How did you get interested in making documentary films? SS: While I was in school I had phases when I wanted to become a cricketer, a musician, and join the Army. After I passed out from school in 2007 I became certain about doing something in the film industry. I ended up pursuing a Bachelor’s in Communication Design at Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune, where the environment and the people around really helped me become what I am today. Everything that goes into making a film was really exciting for me, the camera, how the edit works, how do you clip the shots together so well that you don’t feel that the shot has been changed… these were the things that really got my attention. In college I had my share of working on the camera (PD 170), got to

sit on edits with people and individually, and carry out some projects. It gave me a feel of making a film but there was always so much more to it. Post college I worked in a couple of production houses in Delhi and ended up learning a lot more. Most of what I know today is because I worked there. At these production houses I saw the efforts that go into making a documentary film. The feel of getting the actual/honest views and opinions of people, and the truth and reality factor of documentaries is what really pushed me to do documentaries and short films. When did you decide to start your own venture, ‘Lights On Films’? SS: ‘Lights On Films’ came into existence on 16th January 2012, and I really had no work done under the www.poolmagazine.in  59


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banner yet - it was just me trying to find an editor and a purpose. Eventually I noticed the ever changing music scenario in the country which really inspired me. It was just so good to see Indian musicians experimenting with different genres and trying to compose original music. It was so inspiring, and that’s when I decided that I would pick five artists and do a short documentary on them, focusing on the kind of music they play and why, how difficult is it to stick to this sort of a dream, etc. I started working on the film - I didn’t have my own camera so I would hire a camera every time I had to shoot a gig or interview an artist. I also did some free videos in the beginning just to add them to a portfolio. Finally after six long months of thoughts and work Lights On Films managed to produce the short film Echoes and I got it screened in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. Tell us more about Echoes. SS: Echoes is my first baby! It was really inspiring to see all these musicians do their own thing, follow their passion and dreams and do just that and nothing else. And through the lens of my camera I just wanted to spread the inspirational message that if you 60  POOL #38

really want to do something this is the right time to do it. You have the access to technology and you have the Internet to learn from and share your work. It’s just about determination; if you’re determined to create a brilliant piece of art, you need to put it out and if it’s good it will be accepted, people will appreciate it. At the end of the day I am doing the same thing – it’s not music but there isn’t much difference in the path we need to follow. And my audience is made up of people who might be interested in stepping away from everyday things and are up for really doing their own thing. What were the challenges you faced while making the film? SS: There were quite a few challenges; the biggest was that I didn’t have a camera of my own, so I had to hire a camera for about three months to shoot all the artists and their gigs as per their convenience. To get an editor, and get him to understand the kind of feel I was looking at wasn’t the easiest of things in the world. There were a lot of points where the whole shoot was done and I was clueless about what to do in the post production stages! So many times I just wanted to give up, but I spoke to my


films friends and my family who were and still are the biggest support I have ever had and they pushed me to finish what I started. Being the first project, the film had glitches in terms of audio, something that took a lot of time for me to figure. But the journey and the final result was definitely really satisfying…I couldn’t have asked for more. What was the response to your first film? SS: Surprisingly the response was quite good, something I did not expect. That got people talking a bit about Lights On Films, some articles about the film were published, and the ball was certainly rolling. Post that we started getting some ‘paid’ projects, where we got a chance to make a video for the Indo-German Urban Mela. We got a year’s contract with AIIMS; went to the Himalayas to shoot a mountain biking event; did the official Snoop Dog India Tour video. Things were looking good! We also did some more commercial work for Logitech, Jameson Whiskey and a few more videos. What inspired you to make Virtuoso? SS: Virtuoso is an ongoing 13-episode series on art, where the whole concept was to get artists from different backgrounds, such as film makers, photographers, designers, musicians, and wine tasters, to get together on one platform and share their experiences. ‘Virtuoso’ means any individual excelling in any form of artistic pursuit, but because of the variety it wasn’t possible to contain it in one short film, so I thought of working on a series. The whole idea is to focus on artists who are self driven towards their goal. It doesn’t matter how far or close one is to their goal, what matters is how madly the passion is driving them towards it, and such are the experiences we have tried to capture. The idea is to make this into a movement of the people, a movement of art. It sounds big and of course it isn’t easy, but the project has come this far so I am quite certain that it will be taken to the next level.

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with a big firm to be stable in life? You can make good music and be stable too, you can click some brilliant photos, you can write some brilliant stories and shows. It’s not so easy for us in India to accept that there are any careers apart from banking, engineering, etc. At the end of the day if you start off something on your own, it will just boost the economy of the country with time. I feel that it’s important for people to realize the importance of these alternative careers, and in the past few years more and more people are at least trying to experiment. Yes, it’s not so practical to give up everything for music but that doesn’t mean you give up on music completely! And this is so for any form of art or creative work. India has a lot of potential talent... just take the right steps. Do the right thing. Why only musicians/artists from India? SS: I am focusing on musicians and artists from India because they are from India! The whole idea is to change our conventional way of thinking. Why can’t someone make a career in music or photography or design? Of course you can! Why does one need to be associated 62  POOL #38

What are you looking at next? SS: Just to continue doing what I am doing right now. As of now all the concentration and efforts are on Virtuoso and the commercial bread and butter projects that are coming our way. I just want to make good films; as long as people are happy with the content coming from us, Lights On Films will try to deliver.


designer on the road

Cagri Cankaya, finds it hard to leave his friends in this genial country www.designerontheroad.com

The advertising business in El Salvador was much better than in Honduras, but the general experience is almost the same in global, giant agencies all around the world. The good thing in Honduras and El Salvador is the positive energy from people which makes your day much easier and gives you the energy to deal with the usual daily problems. You don’t feel like you are working so much since you are having fun in the agency! We were a big team and called each other by nick names like Mexican, Mafia, Chino, Jesus, Godo, Fake Turkish and Big Boy. Agency life was good since the people are all funny and we hung around together after work as well. From boat tours to dinners and bar nights in nearby towns, we did a lot of things together. I appeared on Viva La Mañana, one of the most popular talk shows in the country, and gave an interview to a local publication called Advertising Age. I gave a seminar at Monica Herrera, one of the top design schools. I was always into something in my short time in the country! At the agency I designed a special card for young people for a famous shopping mall. I also worked on designing new credit cards for a bank. I came up with the idea of letting people customize their cards by uploading their favorite picture via the bank’s website. Another option was clean standard cards with different background patterns depending on the class or type of the card. El Salvador is not a big country. Its capital city, San Salvador, is rich in Spanish heritage, and its historical center boasts architecture of a kind not found elsewhere in Latin America. San Salvador is also home to an important museum, the Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE), whose collection includes artworks dating from the mid-19th century to the contemporary era. The museum has held temporary exhibitions of works by internationally renowned artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. It was hard to leave El Salvador where I spent two amazing weeks and made a lot of good friends. I will really miss them! There is no doubt that El Salvador is one of the top places when it comes to friendship and kind people. Another great thing about El Salvador is a dish called Pupusas, which I can eat all my life! I move on to Guatemala next – watch this space! www.poolmagazine.in  63


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