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POOL 47

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Sanjay Agarwal pg 30  |  Photographed by Prasad YVD Tanay Kumar 02  Abhijit Bansod 12 Shruti Jaipuria 18 Suparna Bhalla 24  Suhani Pittie 42  Manasa Prithvi 50  Design Factory India (DFI) 56  Cagri Cankaya 63


Editor in Chief | sudhir@indidesign.in

May 2014 | # 47

Sudhir with Tarun, Lana, Marianna and Jimena in Muscat

Ethics in Design What are ethics in terms of design? The answer has to come from your own understanding of what is involved in design rather than following a list of dos and don'ts…the answer has to be in your own voice and from your own conviction. It is definitely not a process of compliance.

POOL 47

POOL 47

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Remember, almost any act or thought can be considered both moral and immoral at the same time. You could start by examining your own stance as a designer: your own values, who you are designing for, what kind of values you are trying to embed in your design solutions, and why. This thinking is built into any project that you do. Think through these questions...perhaps they will help. If the answers make you uncomfortable, then open a debate with your friends, mentors and teachers.

Sanjay Agarwal pg 30 |

Photographed by Prasad YVD

Tanay Kumar 02 Abhijit Bansod 12 Shruti Jaipuria 18 Suparna Bhalla 24 Suhani Pittie 42 Manasa Prithvi 50 Design Factory India (DFI) 56 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

Is your work creating a better world? Remember someone's good is someone else's bad.

Beware of the user image that you conjure up in your mind – it is a limited image of a human being. Build the kind of user that you think would be ethical from your point of view.

Learn to identify what people really need instead of what they want because of external influences; practice a balance between the two.

Are you promoting ecological preservation or just paying lip service to it?

Are your goals bound by cultural imperatives? Should you make your design solution local (works for specific cultures) or global (works in as many cultures as possible)?

Adapt methods and tools to local, national and other cultures.

Can your design be easily misused? Can and should you even try to prevent that misuse?

Does the need of many outweigh the need of one (or vice versa)?

Form and function need to co-exist – if one dominates at the expense of the other, problems may arise.

Tradition versus Innovation - is that a forced reason?

International Design Media Network Participant

Endorsed by

Supported by

Sudhir


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case study

BRANDING AN ECOSYSTEM Tanay Kumar, creative head and co-founder of Fractal ink Design Studio, talks about creating a brand for GOQii, a unique concept that combines advanced wearable technology, the world’s leading experts, coaches and karma to offer a single integrated solution for healthy sustainable living

GOQii takes the concept of ‘quantified self’ and breathes new life into it. It picks up where fitness trackers like the Nike Fuel band, Jawbone and Misfit-Shine end. It is dedicated to enabling a permanent shift to a healthier lifestyle with the combination of advanced wearable technology (in the form of a band that measures activity and sleep), the world’s leading experts, personal coaches and karma. GOQii focuses on sustained engagement and goal reinforcement and offers a complete ecosystem as a single integrated solution, which is a powerful combination of technology and human connection. Its USP is undeniably the human element brought in by way of trained coaches who interact with the users on a daily basis and help them understand and interpret all the data that the device throws up. The coach helps set goals, keeps the users motivated to reach them and answer any questions the user may have. Unique Proposition GOQii’s USP helped establish some quick differentiators from existing competition. The world of fitness trackers was already filled with gadgets ranging from mediocre to high quality and their apps were built to show data in various ways. GOQii’s team identified the one key problem that the users of these devices the world over were facing – what do I do with all this data? 2  POOL #47


case study a world of ‘me too’ wearable devices. Fractal ink was entrusted with creating a brand, which would cut across age, genre and geography and connect with its target audience. We were given a short time span of four months to create this brand, the interface on the device, the apps and the website as a complete package that spoke the same language and conveyed the same ideas as each other. The challenge for us was to showcase the entire GOQii ecosystem in an engaging way. With megabytes of data for the user to track and no means of effectively analyzing or interpreting what it meant, or how to contextualize it to one’s own body and improve performance, users lost interest in the devices quickly. GOQii turned this around by making the analysis and interpretation of the data collected the epicenter and built a service around this data. The idea was not just to combine technology with a sleek looking product, but to provide an ecosystem that truly made a difference to their users in a sustainable way. The GOQii Coach program was a result of this idea and is a revolutionary idea of habit building in the world of fitness. Challenge The challenge was to build a powerful brand that would showcase and celebrate the uniqueness of Goqii in

Branding This unique positioning gave the design team very strong cues to work with in the creation of a brand that stands out. In the spirit of the program, which works in little steps and allows the user to form habits that they will stick with for a lifetime, the logo was designed to tell the story in a subtle manner in bits and parts, slowly, the closer you come to it. The logo was built around the GOQii philosophy. Users take a ‘U’ turn in their lives, take away the negatives, add the positives and become stronger and healthier all round. Very fine rounded edges to the logo ensure that it looks a little soft. Red and green were chosen to be part of the color scheme as they represent the negative and positive. Orange was added as the color of life and energy, and blue completed the color palette. www.poolmagazine.in  3


case study

Interface Design Unlike some other devices, which need to be synced with the apps to get any data, the GOQii device has a lot of data that is displayed on it to keep the user motivated all the time. Our research indicated that all devices in the market have horizontal interfaces, while user research gave us an insight that a vertically aligned interface would be far easier to read while in the middle of an activity. The challenge here was that all Roman fonts are designed to be read horizontally. The team at Fractal ink designed fonts and painstakingly adjusted the spacing pixel by pixel to get the alignment perfectly for the vertical interface. A whole set of icons were also designed within the constraints set by the device. We ultimately decided to give the users the choice of either alignment – horizontal or vertical - to set on their devices. 4  POOL #47

The App As discussed earlier, apps associated with peer devices were geared to display data in various ways and not much else. We had no previous apps in the same genre that we could study to give us pointers or direction. We needed to forge our own way for the most important parts of the app – namely, the interaction with coaches, the community enabling section and the sections where you could gather and then donate your karma points. We studied and borrowed heavily from apps built around social communities and interaction, but we came up with some unique ideas for the app, given the ecosystem we had to work with. A differentiating feature is a coach can ‘high five’ a player when he does well or use the device’s buzzer to prod a player into activity.


case study

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case study

The UX has been meticulously designed to be intuitive and the interactions engaging. The look of the app is very clean, minimal and contemporary, appealing to the vast cross section of potential users the world over. The app is primarily white in color and uses the brand colors as accents or highlights. This has been done as a response to the possibility that over time, GOQii may tie up with other devices to provide the coach services. The app is therefore largely designed to be device or brand agnostic. The Website The website went through many rounds of iterations before it evolved into the design it is today. As GOQii’s window to the world, the culture that it is a proponent of needed to come out crisply and clearly. It had to highlight not only the device, but each aspect of the ecosystem. The design of the website is a visual delight and the interaction models used in the website make even looking through the website a journey of discovery! We decided to go all out and try something new for each section in terms of interaction and front end coding. The development team really came through and helped the design team translate their vision into reality. The website starts off by listing all the elements that make up the ecosystem; explaining the role of each of them in brief. The GOQii band has a section all to itself and comes next. The interactive 360-degree turn control allows www.poolmagazine.in  7


case study

the user to view the band from all directions and appreciate the design and detailing that has gone into the design of the band. Supporting screens explain the parts of the band in some detail and another screen encourages the user to explore the color options available for the band. The core, or the device itself, has been designed and developed with care and the next screen talks about the various data points the user can monitor on the device. In the section dedicated to the coaches, the website makes use of mouseovers to give more detail about what a coach can do for you, animation to explain the daily chat interactions between a player and coach and distinctive iconography specifically developed for GOQii. The message that the website succeeds in communicating effortlessly is that GOQii is most definitely greater than the sum of its parts. tanay.kumar@fractalink.com www.poolmagazine.in  9


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product design

TOP BAT Abhijit Bansod of Bangalore-based Studio ABD tells POOL about the ‘Bat of Honor’, an installation he recently designed to celebrate cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar

the viewer a broader sensory experience that one can enjoy from a distance. Where has it been installed? AB: The ‘Bat of Honor’ has been installed on the Carter Road Promenade in Mumbai - close to Tendulkar's residence.

What is the story behind the 'Bat of Honor'? AB: The Network 18 group wanted to pay a tribute to retired batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and they commissioned an installation in the form of a large steel bat. The core idea behind the concept was to make it timeless and iconic like Sachin. The bat, his magic wand with which each shot connected to millions of hearts across India, is sculpted to capture its true weight. The installation, intended for human interaction, gives 12  POOL #47

What does the bat represent visually? AB: The angle of bat is set in such way that it invites people to interact and take pictures, imagining and creating the illusion of holding Sachin's bat. We have portrayed that the biggest driving force behind Sachin's successful cricket career is India. As Sachin always played for the country first, the core of the bat is blue, the Indian cricket color. The top surface holds his signature and the handle has the tricolor of the Indian national flag. Sachin's face is also engraved on the handle, so when one looks into the mirror-finished side, he sees Sachin in himself. Blending with the environment, the setting sun will appear like a ball against this huge bat. Sachin’s very special farewell speech is etched on the


product design

Sachin Tendulkar in front of the 'Bat of Honor'

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product design

panel, providing an emotional connect. The lighting at night is designed to create the illusion that the bat is suspended in space, making the experience magical. What are the specifications of the ‘Bat of Honor’? AB: The 'Bat of Honor' is the largest steel bat in the world – it weighs about 2 tons and reaches a height of 22 feet. We chose the tough yet beautiful stainless steel because of its strength and flawless finish. The installation is site specific, considering the context and space. As the installation is prone to corrosion due to the sea winds and bird droppings, we have used a special

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product design

grade of stainless steel - Grade 316 L, which is non-corrosive and requires very little maintenance. We have used M 30 grade, maritime standard of ready mix concrete, which can withstand highspeed winds. We are also exploring the use of new innovative polycarbonate bird spikes, which are 100% transparent and weather proof. The base on which the bat is placed exhibits an etched pattern of the wagon wheel from Sachin's record 200 runs against South Africa. How long did it take you to curate this installation? AB: It took a proficient team of eight members 21 days to realize this installation from design conceptualization, graphics, to specifications and detailing for manufacturability. This includes various evaluations and inputs from the clients, Network 18. After this, two professional engineers worked on the design for about 150 hours - this included designing the bat structure using the Finite Element Model method and the reinforced cement concrete foundation using software. Finally, a team of 20 technicians (welders/fitters) along with three fabrication engineers worked for about 480 hours on processes like www.poolmagazine.in  15


Design Drives Innovation.

A philosophy that nurtures a culture of innovation. For over six decades, Forbes Marshall has been building steam engineering and control instrumentation solutions that work for process industry. Today, we are leaders in process efficiency and energy conservation through technology tie ups and focused investments in manufacturing and research. Constant innovation in our product range is what helps us stay at the fore. We have

consistently brought to the market innovations in technology and design. Several of our designs have won awards, the most recent being the Steamon Vortex Flowmeter which has won the iDesign award for the Best Design in Capital Goods. To know more about what drives innovators at Forbes Marshall, write in to us at response@forbesmarshall.com .

Energy Conservation | Environment | Process Efficiency

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P B # 29, Mumbai Pune Road, Kasarwadi, Pune 411 034, India. Tel. +91 20 27145595, 39858555, Fax. +91 20 27147413 A-34/35, M.I.D.C., H Block, Pimpri, Pune 411 018, India. Tel. +91 20 27442020, 39851100, Fax. +91 20 27442020


product design

laser cutting of raw materials, sheet metal bending, welding, fabrication, assembly, polishing of stainless steel, etching of Sachin’s face on the handle, stump supports welding, etc. What was Studio ABD’s design vision for the installation? AB: Studio ABD aims to celebrate esthetics, laud creativity and share the joy of design with society by integrating public spaces with inspiring stories of our lives. The goal of the initiative is to seamlessly construct and cultivate esthetic and functional spaces without disturbing the environment. The ‘Bat of Honour’ is our way of lauding creativity and enhancing the very concept of public spaces. abhijitbansod@studioabd.in www.poolmagazine.in  17


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interior design

SPACES THAT SPEAK Shruti Jaipuria believes in creating spaces that tell a story. For the young Interior/ Spatial Designer, delivering a memorable experience is what counts.

From Business Administration to Interior Design, how has your journey been so far? SJ: I was always been drawn to both the creative and the logical. Growing up, my favorite subjects were maths, computers and art. For the longest time I was very confused as to what I wanted to do. I studied Finance and Marketing at the undergraduate level and minored in Art History. I then had a brief stint at a strategic consulting firm. Somehow, a 9-5 desk job never cut it for me. I wanted to explore the design field. One day I decided if I didn’t go to school then, I never would. So I did, and there was no looking back. I went on to major in Interior Design at Parsons 18  POOL #47

School of Design, New York. The journey has been incredible so far. I’ve met some fabulous people, been to some incredible places, and have been exposed to amazing creative processes and techniques that really excite me. My favorite part about this field is that it’s continuously evolving and is always full of discovery. Tell us about maia, your design studio. SJ: It is an interior/spatial design studio based in Bangalore. Since maia was founded three


Bar at Pebble Bay Penthouse

years ago, we’ve been lucky to be able to work on many diverse projects ranging from F&B, retail, residential, spas and offices to the design of a talk show set. All our projects are visually very different from one another. We do not have any particular style, we believe in looking at each project in its entirety and providing design solutions that are most suited to it.

and work together to create projects that are meaningful and sensitive. That is what maia is all about. It has a very studio environment where everyone is involved with everything. There are many brainstorming sessions. We like to get our hands dirty and spend time with the artisans, craftsman and laborers working on our projects.

I am a strong believer in the collaborative design process. I wanted to create a platform where like-minded people come together

How big is your team? SJ: At our studio, we are now a young team of three; Ekta is an architect and Akshita an www.poolmagazine.in  19


interior design How do you begin conceptualizing a new project?

Door at Pebble Bay Penthouse

interior designer. Our studio has a very easy environment. We have a very ‘work hard play hard’ culture. I like to ensure that everyone is wholly involved with the projects they work on, and feel like it is theirs. We thrive on constructive criticism and push each other to grow. There is never a dull day! It’s hard to explain. We’re happy, passionate, hard working people and feed off each other’s energy. We’re friends before colleagues. You’ll find us napping, singing and even practicing belly dance class moves if we’re not slaving at our goodfor-construction drawings! 20  POOL #47

SJ: The first thing we do is sit back, and question what the function of the space is, and what we’ve been asked to design. We try and understand its context and what our client’s vision is. The process of space curation then begins, where we design layouts, ideate how spaces will unfold into one another, envision how we think people will interact with the space, and consume the space, and finally what visual language the space should assume. We try to visualize and orchestrate what the entire experience should be from the moment someone walks into the space. From concept to client presentations to construction drawings, we actually follow a very logical process. Where do your inspirations come from? SJ: At maia we draw inspiration from the world around us, constantly questioning what we see and how it can be applied to the world of contemporary design. Nature, spirituality, mathematics, geometry, materials, people behavior, and color all provide us with an endless source of inspiration. We have a lot of tools at our office – blocks, magnets, play dough, different materials that we just


interior design

Set design for a talk show for the urban Indian woman

like to play with. It’s like being a child again. Curiosity, fun and wonderment are at the core of the creative process for us. Do you have a design mantra? SJ: We really aspire to design experiences. Over and above how a space looks, it is really quite important to us how it feels. Which has been your most special project so far? SJ: I think all projects have been very unique and intriguing in their own way. We just completed a workspace for a large corporate client whose name we cannot disclose yet. We’ve designed an ‘Incubation Lab’ for them, which is a space where teams will develop new business/product ideas for their lifestyle division. It’s a house that has been converted into a very experimental space. It’s fun, playful, modular, and inspires out of the box thinking. There are writable surfaces, Lego walls, stereogram graphics, the conference table is formed of eight smaller tables that

can be split up, all team rooms are modular and there are many ways in which we’ve used the architecture of the existing home to create corners for teams to unwind and think. The microbrewery we designed was also very interesting because there the story revolved around beer, beer tasting and community drinking. The tanks where the beers are brewed form a central installation and all the materials used are found in industry – cement, metal mesh, metal wires, crate wood packing boxes, jute and so on. With the penthouse and in the case of any residential design we really get to understand our client’s lifestyle. This particular home was designed for a young couple who travel extensively and like to entertain. Any dream project on the list? SJ: We have a few projects finishing up. One is a restaurant space where we have collaborated with multiple artists to create www.poolmagazine.in  21


interior design

Beer tasting cellar at Arbor Brewing Company

a very fun installation in polycarbonate that forms the main drama point in the space. We’re also working on a textile exporter’s office where we have created multiple explorations using thread art. We look forward to these completing soon. A dream has always been to design a boutique hotel. Hopefully one will come our way! What kind of design trends will we see in India in the coming five years?

Community Bench Seating at Arbor Brewing Company

22  POOL #47

SJ: I definitely think we are developing our own identity that is rooted to the skill sets we have in our country and reflects our strengths. We are becoming country proud and this is across all industries. I think a very unique language is going to emerge from this country that


At the Incubation Lab (Top) 1. Modular conference table (Left-Right) 2. Terrace | 3. Titan Ignitor Lab

is visually, culturally and environmentally conscious. I am very excited to see it evolve, and hopefully be a part of the process. Any advice for young designers? SJ: I don’t think I am in a position to advise anyone as I have so much to learn myself, but at maia we really try to do everything we do with integrity, passion, and honesty, and have a lot of fun while we are at it. shruti@maiadesign.in www.poolmagazine.in  23


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architecture

Holding It Together Architect Suparna Bhalla of New Delhibased design firm, Abaxial, seeks to create unique spatial environments that go beyond the conventional Tell us something about Abaxial. SB: The term ‘Abaxial’ means the underside or the superstructure of a leaf...the invisible that holds the tangible. About ten years ago I started Abaxial as a multidisciplinary complex, an amalgamated design firm practising contemporary architecture, urbanism and cultural analysis. Its work addresses the nuances of spatial environment and design. Being an award winning architecture practice, it seeks to extend the trajectories of design beyond the geometries of conventional practice. The studio works with both macro and micro parameters. At its core Abaxial is a competent creative consultancy from ideation to product delivery.

The creative intent emerges from the qualitative strength of emotion, weaving it into the folds of design to produce a unique spatial and thus experiential quality. Abaxial is a process-driven firm, relying heavily on research, observation, prototyping, building, and storytelling in order to reach a design solution; thus bringing together people from different disciplines to effectively explore new ideas from a humanistic perspective. The firm’s approach to building and materiality is through a concern for ecology, environment and conservation, thus striving to mimic natural processes that maximize efficiency and optimize resource utilization and deployment.

What is Abaxial’s design philosophy? SB: The core value of the firm is one of an emotional emergence: an expression of pathos through architecture and design.

What exactly is involved before you take on a project? SB: Before picking up a project we identify the client’s needs and

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Akshara exhibits


architecture requirements, their personalities. For example, if we pick up a residential project we keep in contact with the clients for two years regularly to have an idea of what exactly the client wants, and based on their personality and desires, we design the house. While picking up a project we don’t only look at the financial aspect but also choose clients with similar ideology. There has to be some kind of connection and a good chemistry with the clients. There should always be a good understanding with a client. We always think of what will benefit them. It’s not only about keeping the client happy; our job is to create an understanding of what the client wants. Our own ethic is quite strong. While designing or working on a project, we try to keep in mind the benefit of the entire society. The responsibility has to be for the entire community. We try to work with Tapovan interiors

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architecture

Akshara throws light on Indian scripts

craftsmen since our ethos is in design and art. We believe in creativity and innovation. It’s not only about greenery or environment but also working on the human aspect. It’s not only about touching the lives of the client but also the people living around them. One of the memorable projects you worked on was ‘Akshara’ – tell us about it. SB: Jaya Jaitly, founder president of Dastkari Hastkaar Samiti, was the heart and soul behind the project. The Dastkari Haat Samiti is a not-for-profit national association working for the economic and social development of traditional crafts people. As India moves towards greater literacy, particularly among women, the use of scripts, the shape of the written word, the visual cadence of a sentence, the curve of a line in a letter of an alphabet, all come into unconscious focus in the creative mind’s eye. The Dastkari Haat Samiti sought to address this issue in a pioneering manner through a unique and innovative design 26  POOL #47

development project, combined with a high quality exhibition called ‘AKSHARA: Crafting Indian Scripts’. Through this, the Dastkari Haat Samiti brought together craftsmanship and calligraphy, i.e., the art of beautifying script. It proposes to highlight the importance of literacy throughout India by giving it a new dimension and meaning through skills practiced by its crafts people. The organization has worked with 58 producer-groups or individuals in 14 official Indian languages and scripts using 21 different craft, textile and art forms, covering 16 states of India. An exhibition of over 100 museum-worthy exhibits was mounted in September 2012, showcasing India’s great written heritage by linking the art of calligraphy and design. The exhibition opened at the Visual Arts Gallery in New Delhi and was a big success. It subsequently traveled to Cairo, Egypt to be shown at the Honegger Gallery as part of the ‘India at the Nile’ festival and then to Paris as the


architecture

Inside Tapovan

UNESCO show piece of the year. There it was exhibited at the UNESCO gallery and sponsored by the Ministry of Textile and Human Resources. Tell us something about your project ‘Tapovan’. SB: The boundaries of the 635 square yard plot extend into the green acres of the park

in the rear. Trees that share light in hues of green give a new nomenclature to the rocky earth…a ‘Tapovan’. The architecture is that of a tree. Like a tree it inhabits, nurtures and then transpires. The home is sanctuary more than shelter, calm and yet engaging in its shade, both bark and branch in its sense driven sensibility. It reaches for the sky and yet remains firmly rooted to its earth. Terraces and balconies step out to touch the open. Vertical surfaces of Dholpur and glass build volumes hollowed by a courtyard. The layers of the house peel as one enters its doors. Its open, wide spaces in flexible patterns mirror the light that filters through the trees. A winding staircase, a lift well leads to the doors of the duplex, the journey broken by horizontal beams of light that change with the course of the west sun… What defines Indian design, according to you? SB: Being a complex country, the answer to this question cannot be simplistic or even singular. In a country where the value of land is disproportionate to the value of the design built on it by percentages that border on bizarre, it will be hard to reason with design or

Tree motif – Tapovan

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The unique Akshara exhibition

seek reasons for it until there is some reconciliation in that space. The new Indian esthetic purportedly lacks both comprehension and even definition. And then there is the question of why does it even need to conform to the boundaries of a definition? Perhaps the Indian esthetic is not merely a simplistic style language but a metamorphic being that constantly is in a state of evolution. Mixed, emotional and then raw and intricate. Some hate it, others love it. The design profession accuses it of plagiarism, laments its demise, or worse, patronizes it. Yet few see that it is not the esthetic itself that is lost but the understanding of it. The new Indian esthetic can best be described as ‘massphilicoses’ – a completely new word that arrives not out of theoretical frameworks or constructed musings but out of its ability to evolve and endure at a level only human.

Design being a function of this esthetic and then slave to the same has never been able to grow out of the shackles of elitism, modernism, and then strangely, a paste up temporality. To say that design will change is a given; to then judge it for better or worse is something that cannot happen unless a proper theoretical framework is created to do so. To say it will happen only one way is also impossible given the adage that beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder; 1.2 billion beholders will demand several thresholds to this beauty. What in the pipeline for Abaxial? SB: Abaxial has several projects of varying scales. They exist in the institutional, commercial and then residential realms. Abaxial plans to grow its roots as a creative consultancy and promote the ideas that make design a necessity. mail@abaxial.org www.poolmagazine.in  29


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cover story

THE ART OF SELLING SPACES

Retail Design is what excites architect Sanjay Agarwal, Founder and Director of Bangalore-based FRDC. He tells POOL about the importance of creating relevant and inviting retail environments.

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cover story

How did you get interested in design? SA: I come from a middle class family, and being brought up in small town in Rajasthan, did not have any exposure either to great works of design or architecture. For about 12 years of my early life I studied in the cantonment area. This stretch of peaceful and better organized urban space, built forms (mostly from the British era), discipline, vacant and good roads instilled in me a certain sense of good space vs. bad space, peaceful coexistence of built environments, and sense of organization, which is key to any good planning and design.

Addict : Emphasis on creating an experience

While studying architecture, my interest in the more micro aspects of design grew. I had an opportunity to study www.poolmagazine.in  31


etc. I went on to study Retail Design at Domus Academy, Milan.

Color Plus: Spatial and furniture organization to create experience

Color Plus: Creating signature

Interior Design at CEPT Ahmedabad and I took it as a career, with the thought that it would extend my architectural design interest with more focus and micro design in interiors and furniture. As India underwent liberalization in the early 1990s, my interest started moving more towards brands and consumer related spaces and hence during the final couple of years of study my projects tended to move towards shopping centers, shops, 32  POOL #47

Coming from a business background, I was probably the first in my family to venture into a job and that too in design! Design never came to my mind till I was actually admitted in the architecture stream. But once I was in academics, it grew within me. I could easily connect business and design and find synergies in both.

I don’t consider myself a ‘creative person’ but I can understand project context, pain points, can look into consumer and user insights, and the business perspective of a brand, and accordingly plan and visualize what kind of design will work. Thereafter I trust and empower my team to deliver it under my direction. When did you decide to start FRDC? SA: Starting my own venture was always in my mind but I had never planned a time line for the same. I wanted to learn all professional ways to handle the design business, whatever time it took. I was never interested in starting a one man show in design.


cover story

Crusoe : Iconic approach to define what the brand stands for

I had spent more than a decade working with major corporates in India within the domain of Retail Design. In 2007, I decided to quit my corporate job. I thought the time was just right for me to enter the real world on my own. With a vision to provide a multidisciplinary design firm, I co-founded FRDC (Future Research Design Company) with a close friend and batch mate. As my entire experience had been in the Retail Design field, it was natural for me to extend the same as services. FRDC’s core competencies are built around pure Retail Design with a focus on ‘Research’ driven design. FRDC’s vision was and is to keep providing ‘Relevant design and design interventional services to Business and Industries’. We also have plans to expand our domain areas in other industries at the relevant time.

What is it about creating environments that excites you? SA: I always start from the point of view of what will make customers and visitors enter a store/environment. I like creating an environment which is relevant, and invites and welcomes the customer. Design for business cannot be based on a designer's own whims and fancies. It needs to be based on ‘customer’ and ‘brand’ requirements. Creating an ‘experience’ within an environment is the most crucial part of Retail. What excites me is to figure out how customers will navigate the retail space. Any retail space should have discoveries, inspirations and engagements. Once these are in place, people will buy. The other important thing is to play with people’s senses. Environments devoid of these experiences tend to become like www.poolmagazine.in  33


cover story warehouses and die quickly. The thing to remember is customers seek new ideas and inspirations. They are like tourists. The more you show them and retain them in your space, the more likely they will buy more. Customers are like kids who are ready to splurge in a shopping environment provided they are seduced and given such an opportunity. How many of us end up buying stuff we may not actually need? Keeping this in mind, creating all those touch points of ‘seduction’ is what excites me. Could you describe your most treasured project and its workflow, from conceptualization to final execution? SA: All projects have some treasures for us and are close to us in one way or another. It’s very difficult to point out one project. Projects like Crusoe, Arttdinox, Eka, Tashi, Biba, Ecko, Parx, Color Plus, among others are closer to me. It’s not only about the final outcome, it’s also about the process we follow for each, irrespective of how big or small the project. It is always challenging to understand the brand, products, and consumers and create designs for products display, and create an Indian or international soul, and a relevant environment. In our country getting work done in a professional and technically correct manner is quite a challenge. Even big brands and reputed suppliers in our industry are ready to take short cuts and have no qualms about shoddy implementation of jobs assigned to them. There is lack of competent technical knowhow amongst managers and implementing agencies. We are good at writing names on ‘rice grains’ but very poor on a technical job. 34  POOL #47

I always strive and ask my team to go with the highest specifications and latest technology. If required we test products ourselves and ask for all relevant technical data and this is what excites me. If the outcome is superb, one is always happy and if the outcome has some shortfall, one always works to improve and learn from these implementations. After all, we are like doctors for our clients and it’s our duty to prescribe and advise them the best we can! Is innovation important in your kind of work? SA: To me innovation is ‘always’ and not only when required. It’s about finding new and cost effective ways to design, alternative materials, technology intervention and so on. Innovation needn’t be tried, it should keep happening. By putting myself in the place of a customer and user, I understand pain points and then resolve them through design. We strive to innovate, however small it may be. If I do not find any innovation in a project, I don’t mind re-designing it. I find innovation in material, usage, energy efficient ways, lighting, display techniques, fixture design, sometimes even in AC ducts. The objective is to challenge the ‘conventional’ way of accepting design and create an experience through every element. I do not believe in ‘one strategy’ for all and neither would I like to have my signature on each project. Each brand is different and so should the design approach be. For example, most shoe stores in India have an unpleasant smell due to lack of fresh air, gases from PVC, resins, etc. When we designed a shoe store for a


"Customers are like

tourists. The more you show them and retain

them in your space, the more likely they will buy more."

Parx : Creating brand soul at customer touch point www.poolmagazine.in  35


cover story

Eka : Store for ‘Home’

Eka : Creating meaningful displays

36  POOL #47


cover story reputed and big brand, we insisted on providing an ozonized fresh air system to cut down the foul smell and provide a neutral odor free environment which would make customers and staff feel fresh throughout the day, thus increasing productivity. This is innovation for me. We think not only about customers but also staff - they are the internal customers and they are like our dealers. If the staff is happy customers will be always happy. Features like better facilities, wash room, resting space, lunch rooms, pantry, etc. are key to any environment and how innovatively one plans these is key for good retail design. Start designing from the back room....and the final outcome is always good. Start from the front and the back room is pathetic. How do you choose your team? SA: I choose people in order of enthusiasm, passion and experience. Getting a multidisciplinary team is important for any project. My expectation from the team is to understand context and come up with an out of the box idea and a new way of thinking. People need to demonstrate personal enthusiasm and required skills and commitment for projects. Exposure is key, as are understanding the nuances of a project and handling a client. Another important aspect is to create ‘design experts’ in different areas such as electronics, IT, home, apparel, cosmetics, packaging, toys, and so on. These experts then become our internal trainers. What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur? SA: I learnt that as an entrepreneur – one adds on responsibilities and is answerable to everyone, from his

employees, associates, and clients to family and friends. As an employee, one is answerable only to his or her immediate boss, family and friends. Starting one’s own business is always tough and the going gets tougher but this is when one learns to manage bad times and relish good times. In my early days, I have seen days without electricity and been part of scenes when we would clap once the power came on. These and similar other experiences made me ready for such circumstances; I learnt to survive and progress with what one has rather than what one wants! Ups and downs are part and parcel of life and one just needs to enjoy both always. The most challenging aspects are to retain employees, good talent, and good clients; and most importantly, generate cash flow. The biggest rewards are a ‘sense of achievement’ and ‘sense of ownership’, which make one sleep better. As an entrepreneur I feel good that I can take care of a large family, and that happiness is the best reward! Small rewards keep coming every now and then in terms of appreciation from clients, seeing the staff happy and growing, and so on. What kind of design trends do you foresee in the Indian retail sector? SA: India still believes in ‘More is Less’. Culturally we want more - options, designs, choices - and it’s going to stay that way. Minimalist doesn’t sell here. We have been out of the influence of imperialism for 60 odd years but still have a generation which loves to enjoy that era. It may take another couple of decades before we become more plural and minimalist. www.poolmagazine.in  37


Viveks Digital : Function follows form

Indian retail is going through flux and it’s difficult to see a particular trend. Everyone wants to look good and different and that is the trend currently. Small towns see more flashy design vs. big towns. The current phase of Indian retail is like the 1980/90s in USA. What happened in the Middle East, South East Asia and China in the 1990s is happening in India now. Malls are being designed like boxes with entertainment. Our traditional markets and streets are disappearing and giving birth to ‘ugly urban boxes’. Internationally ‘mixed’ development is the key. India already had mixed urban planning in the early 1900s. Way back then Jaipur was an example of an ‘urban planned city’. Connaught Place was designed in the 1930s and is still one of the best shopping arcades of our country. Retail stores are an extension of the mall/arcade or place they belong. Currently there is haphazard growth of shopping environments where retailers and brand owners do not bother about the external environment and what that lends to the look of a street. It is sad that most of our so called big towns have grown like slums and are the epitome of the most disastrous architecture and planning case studies in the world. It is sad that Retail has imbibed the same philosophy of ‘mushrooming’. All this will need to get cleaned up for new generations. It’s time designers, retailers and brand owners demand a better organized retail environment. 38  POOL #47


cover story Which Indian cities have the potential to emerge as design centers in the future? SA: Bangalore, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, and Pune have smart young people, better design education, set ups for furniture and technical manufacturing, international exposure, clients and industries ready to spend on design, emerging new business and start-ups, etc. Of late the lines between digital and physical store experiences are becoming increasingly blurred. In your opinion, what effect will digital shopping have on the conventional retail experience? SA: Let’s go back into history and see how retail has evolved through time. If one acknowledges the barter system as a primary form of retail back in the early times, we see that not much has changed, except that today we either pay cash or credit card or use points to buy merchandise. 'Retail' was the last connect with the end consumer and still is. What has evolved is the 'environment' and 'channels' of retail - from standalone stores, specialty stores, and departmental stores to shop-in shops, kiosks, POP stores, and lately online. Every time a new format or channel came up and threatened the existing ones, the existing channels/formats evolved themselves better. In the 1980s and early 1990s, malls and department stores in developed markets tried threatening standalone stores, but soon they themselves were struggling for survival. We saw the same thing in India in the early 2000s and even now. Today we see that all channels are co-existing and have grown in their respective segments. Online retail is nothing but yet another channel brought about entirely due to advancement in IT and mobile technology and the needs of people on the move. The seeds were sown in the 1990s and one can see the success of the same in the last few years. If one closely examines the pattern of online retail, one will see there are two distinct characters to it - digital cataloguing/showrooming, and ordering. While the first one is about showcasing merchandise digitally in all its glory, the other is more interesting - where one can order remotely and receive goods at home. Digital retail's success today largely depends upon how well one's logistics and delivery mechanism are built. Customers get drawn towards digital retail either due to discounts, convenience of ordering, ease of gifting, or unavailability of merchandise in their towns. It’s clear that digital retail has opened a parallel channel of marketing and selling and how smartly one integrates it into physical retail will tell the success story of that brand or retail. So, in today's context, brands and retailers will have to embrace this digital channel and acknowledge it as yet another channel for retail. Learning from the success parameters of digital retail, physical or brick mortar retail in Japan, Korea, USA, UK, and other European countries have already started adapting either digital formulas within their physical store, or using the digital platform to bring in customers to their physical stores and then fulfilling their needs. www.poolmagazine.in  39


cover story

Tashi : Bringing lifestyle ‘alive’

How will this affect the design of retail spaces? SA: Physical retailers have a dual advantage of getting into digital retail as they can make customers touch and feel merchandise while taking advantage of digital ordering and delivery. Digital interfaces have started occupying spaces and getting integrated within stores. Tweet mirrors, touch screens, NFC and RFID readers, voice and image recognizers, tap and touch payment devices, remote check outs, online feedback, online showrooming and physical touch points are all in play within a modern store design. Smaller stores, lesser inventory, zero back room, less number of staff and better experience and environment are some of the primary benefits for retailers and this will grow.

What should young designers focus on? SA: It’s sad but true that many designers from colleges come with a ‘pseudo’ view. They need to be realistic. Being a designer doesn’t mean one is above norms. Being non-conformist is not bad but being out of context is a disaster. Understanding that it’s someone else’s money on which one is designing and producing should bring in that ‘responsibility’ in oneself. Team work is very important for successful design and implementation. This is a key learning area for new designers. Understand the customer and client, understand problems and pain points, look at similar case studies, look into details, context, etc. sanjay@designfc.com www.poolmagazine.in  41


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jewelry design

A GEM OF AN IDEA Hailed by the World Gold Council as one of the ‘top 10 most inventive and ingenious jewelry designers’ in the world, Suhani Pittie believes in creating contemporary jewelry that is unapologetically individualistic

What drew you to gemology? SP: I was never inclined towards design or jewelry… I never looked at heirlooms or traditional pieces. And I was never interested in 'drawing'. I have always enjoyed the technicalities; whether it’s gadgets or cars or even the refractive indexes of gemstones, I’m a sucker for detail and love researching and reading up on topics. So gemology was my first love! I would always be toying with the rocks and pebbles in the garden. When I was seven, I saw a picture of amber in a book and got drawn to the world of gems. Of course I didn’t know then that there was a subject related to it. Eventually I studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in California. Tell us a bit about yourself. SP: I had a very 'Kolkata' upbringing, complete with playing football on the street. I was always very athletic and my mom would have a hard time pulling me back into the house! But I was decent at studies as well and majorly into quizzes, speeches, elocution, dance, music…everything! I don't think I ever ran out of things to do! Kolkata is a city that stresses upon education and culture. When I was 14 my dad asked me what I wanted to do with life. I was slightly clueless so he 42  POOL #47


jewelry design

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jewelry design before moving to Hyderabad in 2004. One fine day I was toying with some old silver. I heated it, and made something for my mum-in-law; I ended up getting orders from most people who saw it on her. Thereafter, I participated in ‘Bridal Asia’. My work got picked up by some leading stores and suddenly I found myself a career! I am now Director and Creative Head of the Hyderabad-based Zorya Fashions Pvt. Ltd.

started taking me to his office. My job: to dust and keep his files in alphabetical order! I did that for a whole year. My father has never wasted a minute of his day…either he would work or indulge in his passions and hobbies. And I guess I inculcated the same drive, discipline and determination. At home there was never ever any conversation about fashion and clothes or even jewelry; we spoke about studies, books, Mamta Banerjee and Mohan Bagan! I was the first girl from my family to go abroad all on my own (and at 17!) and I admire the trust and faith my parents had in me! How did you get started on a career in jewelry design? SP: My career was absolutely unplanned! I was teaching gemology in Kolkata 44  POOL #47

What challenges did you face in the beginning? SP: The biggest challenge was to foray into an industry that was in awe of precious jewelry like gold and treated other metals like silver and copper as junk. The challenge was to convert this way of thinking. I came with zero background or knowledge in jewelry design and making, so I learnt everything on the job. It was a challenge but it also created opportunities. What’s the story behind your designs? SP: Emotions create the story… initially vivid, then intense, and then they get slowly ingrained into the unconscious. I like to collect these feelings, memories, connections and observations. Raw, colorful, sensuous…ancient customs… merging and blending with new forces… that inspires me. My designs reflect my love for metal, my mood, and my surroundings…the old city, the Charminar, the 200-year-old ancestral haveli, the dancers on the streets, the women with their ringing anklets, the bangle maker, the local kumhaar (potter), the by-lanes! I’m enchanted by


jewelry design

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jewelry design

the past - old photographs, tall buildings, brass, steel, history books. Each collection brings with it a mood, a feeling, an emotion. This time for example was about the free spirit, about the naivety of the heart, about pure love. Earlier it was a stronger mood, about cultures and strength, with depictions of Shiva, tribes and temples. Another collection was inspired by a jatra dancer I saw in Begum Bazaar. Another time it was the history of the Nizam. The newest one was a story of the tribes of Orissa. I do not follow trends. I follow my heart, my thoughts... maybe that’s why the collections come out so varied! My work is an unexpected combination of contradictory elements. 46  POOL #47


jewelry design

I’m not trying to create statements. I’m only interested in creating dialogues via my work. My work should have a narrative. It needs to have a DNA. It needs to have a cultural reference. It needs to originate in history and transcend into today. The jewelry needs to be unapologetically individualistic. An unexpected contradiction. What inspires your design vision? SP: I’m besotted by India. It has so much to offer in terms of culture that I have never intentionally looked outside. My design vision is to integrate the crafts of yesterday with the techniques of today and present an all encompassing palette of good work. What materials do you work with? SP: Silver, copper, steel, brass, acrylic, Lucite, resin and many that I don’t remember! I work with anything that catches my creative fancy.

Who identifies with your collection? SP: Any woman who has a mind of her own and is not a victim of changing trends. She could be as young as 14 – my oldest client is 78! What do you love most about your work? SP: I love the challenge where I have to outdo myself every day. To come undone from yesterday and do something even better. To be able to convey an emotion via metal…that’s thrilling! What is your advice to young jewelry designers? SP: I would just tell them to listen to their heart and their mind. Work with elements that move them, and not try to do what’s already been done. Never follow someone else’s creative journey. info@suhanipittie.com www.poolmagazine.in  47


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craft

GIVING TRADITION A HAND Manasa Prithvi of Chennai-based Ira Studio designs and creates contemporary interior products using traditional Indian craft practices

What drew you to design? MP: I’ve always been inclined towards art and design. As a kid, I was very craft oriented, keeping myself busy by constantly making something. Later, I studied Fine Arts, and it was there that I learnt the possibilities of design and understood the influence of art in our lives. After graduating I worked for about a couple of years with a creative design house in Chennai, and then went to the UK to do my Masters in Visual Arts at University of the Arts London. Being in a different country I became more aware of the uniqueness of the Indian artistic heritage and was largely influenced by it. 50  POOL #47

Growing up, I was quite exposed to traditional Indian crafts both at home, and through craft fairs that my mother and I would visit. I was always drawn towards these objects, fascinated by their uniqueness, the quality of hand-made products with all their imperfections and perfections, and their ability to age so beautifully and tell a story. I incorporated these influences into my course work and the idea to start Ira Studio evolved while I was studying. Later, I brought out the first few products under the name ‘Ira’ and launched the brand at my degree show. The more formal and legal set up took place once I moved back to Chennai and there has been no turning back ever since. Tell us more about Ira Studio. MP: It has always been my dream to start on my own, and as a designer I think it’s quite hard to work under other design brands or designers. Your esthetic voice tends to get lost and confused in the process. I had a deep affinity towards my Indian artistic roots and it was only natural for me to bring these passions together. I felt there was a lack of design brands or designers truly showcasing the possibilities of design


craft

Copper tables

with traditional crafts that could really bring a change to the Indian craft sector without exploiting the artisans. It bothers me greatly to see beautiful crafts that have been mastered over generations slowly languishing and dying today, relegated to craft bazaars and emporia. I wanted to bring Indian crafts to a global audience, not in a conventional way by making craft artifacts but by creating a new identity for the crafts and to give it a place in a contemporary market. This, I think will help preserve tradition and give opportunities for craft families to remain in the industry. What products does Ira offer? MP: For now, we are mainly focusing on exclusive or bespoke pieces of lighting and small sized furniture.

What is your brand’s philosophy? MP: Ira Studio makes products that weave understated luxury, traditional craftsmanship, and timeless designs with contemporary products. We are not a craft organization; we are design company inspired by traditional Indian crafts. The core of our philosophy is beautiful, functional design. It’s not the product alone that is important but the intention and story behind each product. Our objective is to sell the products and have the customers understand where they come from and their story, and appreciate the process by which they are made. With the research, documentation and collaborations involved, it takes time for us to develop each new product. We are www.poolmagazine.in  51


craft are craft-centric and very labor-intensive; they echo the honest quality of handmade processes. And I think the true value for each product comes from this labor intensive process where the craftsman pours his heart into making it. Every product design is a one-off, part of a unique series or a limited edition. Rather than follow popular culture, we break away from homogeneity. Traditional craft is a very hand driven process; mass manufacturing not only reduces the quality of the products but also makes us no different from any other design brand. Our intent is to preserve and sustain these craft practices; therefore a great deal of importance is given to the artisans and we treat them as creative individuals rather than skilled laborers. Ensuring that they are paid well and their work is appreciated is fundamental to our commitment to sustaining the craft industry. If they see a strong economic and monetary viability in the craft as a continued profession, then that’s half the battle won for the craft industry in India. Oxidised brass Dokra lights

happy to focus on developing a few good products every year, unique in both design and the craft technique, rather than mass manufacture using hand processes and assault an already design saturated market with more run-of-the-mill designs. Our products have a simple visual language and a quiet beauty to them, embracing imperfections of handmade processes, handcrafted ethically without compromising on our strong principles. We design them to remain timeless, to age gracefully over time, creating a unique esthetic. We want to create an environment for the brand that makes the products soulful. We are not dictated by trends or styles that make products redundant. Our products 52  POOL #47

Tell us more about your collaboration with craftsmen. MP: We work with different craftsmen for each project and are constantly looking for new craftsmen. These are highly skilled or semi-skilled artisans who have been practicing their crafts for 30-40 years and this is their livelihood. Many come from generations of master craftsmen, some of


whom even trace their ancestral lineage to brass idol makers or sculptors from the Chola period. They obviously have years of experience and know their craft very well. When we work with them, we never tell them how to do their job or suggest they have to change their techniques - they know best. We mainly provide the design inputs as we understand the market better. Our products are a collaborative result. Often the design of the product changes during its creation with inputs from the artisans or experimentation with process. One of the fine aspects of Indian crafts is the unique social circumstances and functional necessity from which they arise. We believe that a craftsman works best in his environment and feel that the craft would lose this identity if the makers were employed full-time in a studio. We allow them their independent creative expression and therefore do not employ any crafts person in our studio.

On a personal level, the experience of working with them has been really interesting. They are very warm, friendly and open people. Coming from different backgrounds, they seem very curious about our city life and ask as many questions as I ask them. It has also been a wonderful learning experience for me in many ways. Working with them is a beautiful way to connect with the people and culture of this country; to understand its glorious past and its future. Even though these artisans understand the threat of the craft dying, they don’t want their children taking up the same career due to the drudgery of physical work. The real challenge for every individual who wants to preserve traditional crafts is to change that attitude. From where do you draw your design inspirations? MP: It largely comes from the process and the material. Often the technique manifests www.poolmagazine.in  53


craft

Brass tables

as the overall esthetic or design. You can see this in our oxidized Dokra lights or the copper tables where the process and techniques of construction become the final textural visual element. I think in terms of style and a general visual language, my inspiration comes from two very different worlds. One is a deep love and appreciation for the rich artistic heritage of my own roots. The uniqueness of designs, rich vibrancy and the ornamental and decorative facets of our artistic and craft culture and more importantly the humble ways of its making are always inspiring and this sort of becomes the starting point of our work. The other is from a much quieter and subtle world. I am deeply drawn towards the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi and I think this reflects in our work. Wabi-Sabi at its core is an appreciation and understanding of imperfection, impermanence and the transient beauty that lies in the process of ageing. I think all our crafts have a beautiful 54  POOL #47

quality of imperfection and a magical effect that time leaves on them. My personal esthetic is very simple, clean and minimalistic and I like our products to be simple and sort of un-designed. They are a reflection of these choices, a combination of the traditional and the modern and the dichotomy of the two esthetics that I am inspired by. What kind of research is involved in your work? MP: Before beginning any project we first look at the craft that we want to work with. There’s a fair bit of research involved at this stage that involves understanding the craft, its social and cultural background. We travel to different places that are known to be famous for these crafts and we interact directly with the artisans, understanding in detail the nuances of the craft, and document the entire process. We also look at the possibilities of expanding the products of the craft to a contemporary context and how best we can incorporate those esthetics to suit


craft artisans who think otherwise. There is a hierarchy within the craft community as well and getting different kinds of craftsmen to work together is often challenging. Why do you think it is important to revive traditional crafts and preserve conventional skills? MP: India is one of the few countries in this world to have such a rich and diverse craft heritage. We need to realize that the high-skills and creative imagination of our craftsmen is a very unique resource. Crafts are not a hobby in India; they are way of life for many artisans and craftsmen. Hand-skilled labor is not only their source of income but is intrinsically woven into their culture. Our craft heritage is part of our tradition, legacy and cultural identity. When a craft dies we lose that legacy and identity. Often, instead of being recognized for our beautiful crafts, we are recognized for cheap skilled hand labor to mass manufacture products. Many of the crafts that had religious or functional purposes aren’t relevant in today’s context. To preserve the skills and the unique handmade process it is imperative to re-design them in today’s context. Hand beaten brass lights

How important is it to understand the culture and history behind a craft?

a functional piece. There is also the heavy research involved in sourcing not only the right craftsmen but also good quality materials.

MP: I think for those who are interested in crafts and design in India, it is quite important to understand the culture and background that crafts arise from. Every craft in India arises out of a socio-economic and cultural background, most often for religious or utilitarian purposes. Techniques and processes were often indigenous, with handmade tools. Artisans were often inspired by nature and their surroundings or by experiences and events which translated into the esthetics of the craft. To truly appreciate a craft product, its handmade values and its design, it is important to understand where it comes from and its purpose.

What challenges did you face initially? MP: Each project is very different from the one preceding it. Therefore the challenges are always new. Our learning experience with each project has been huge. We spend considerable time in finding the right artisans and good quality materials, because we like to source them locally. A lot of craftsmen are quite open to working with new designs and experimenting with different products; at the same time, it is a challenge to convince

info@irastudio.net www.poolmagazine.in  55


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design thinking

PREVENTING GRAIN DRAIN Design Factory India (DFI) recently designed a storage solution that will help reduce spoilage and wastage of food grain in India. The final design was presented at the 6th India International Design Innovation and User Experience conference held at IIM, Bangalore, where it bagged the runners-up title in the academic showcase.

‘The Grain Bag’ Project Almost 25% of food grain is spoiled during storage in India. Most current storage solutions are capital intensive and hard to implement in a short time span. The client, Vestergaard Frandsen, wanted to create a pesticidetreated grain storage solution that could be implemented with their existing production line. Through the use of a low cost solution the aim was to significantly reduce this wastage. The project brief was to design a low cost solution in the form of a new storage container, which would reduce this wastage significantly. Research After several user-testing rounds, the DFI team sent their final design for the bag to the factory for production. Members of the team visited Vestergaard’s factory in Vietnam where they were exposed to international working techniques. Primary research showed the following as the major design requirements to decrease grain wastage: •

56  POOL #47

Insects should not enter the storage container and the ones already present inside (due to wrong post harvesting and transportation


design thinking practices) should be eliminated - mortality of the insects should be as high as possible. •

The bag should be easy to handle, thus negating the need for hooks which lead to destruction of the bags and are a major access point for insects.

Humidity needs to be reduced as it is considered to be the reason for the insects’ growth.

The bag needs to be water resistant as a lot of storage is done outdoors, due to lack of proper indoor storage infrastructure facilities in India.

Ease of sampling should be provided; this should not expose the grain to fresh threats.

The cost should not exceed that of the current jute bag.

The bag needs to be durable, lasting for at least two crop sessions.

Final Result What came out is a grain storage sack that uses polypropylene as the base material; the material of the bag incorporates an insecticide treatment to prevent stored grains from being infected by insect pests. www.poolmagazine.in  57


design thinking

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The main design features are: Baffle : Through the use of an innovative baffle (also treated with insecticide) in the bag, the grain gets separated into two compartments, which allows for maximum impact of the treatment. The baffle is designed in such a way that it will lead to almost equal separation. The time to fill and empty the bag is also taken into consideration. Innovative cost-saving techniques are designed to manufacture, incorporate and stitch the baffle to the storage sack. Handles : These negate the need for hooks that lead to destruction of the bags, and are a major access point for insects. The handle is in the form of a liner strip provided at the end of the bag. A single stitch closes this end (while manufacturing the bag) and attaches the handle as well. The handles are ergonomically designed to assist in maneuvering the bag in the existing scenario and serve as the place to grab for pulling and alignment. Handles also make it easier for the laborer, who earlier had to transport the bags on his back. Transparent bands : The bag is transparent on both sides, allowing the user to visually test the grain inside, instead of opening (as done currently), which contaminates the grains by allowing an entry point for insects. Anti-slip weave and water tight skin : Anti-slip weave leads to stackability, which polypropylene otherwise lacks. A water tight skin of polypropylene sheet is also provided inside the weave to restrict moisture-intake. www.poolmagazine.in  59


design thinking

Team Members Founding Partner : Sourabh Gupta (Architecture, CEPT) Co-founder and Managing Partner : Siddharth Bathla (Industrial Design, IIT Kanpur) Mentor : Raman Saxena (Industrial Design, NID) Design Professionals : Siddharth Bathla (Industrial Design, IIT Kanpur), Gopendra Pratap Singh (Industrial Design, SPA Delhi), Setu Saxena (Mechanical Engineer, Drexel University, USA) Design Interns : Devendra Deshmukh (Industrial Design, IIIT Jabalpur), Ashish Jain (Industrial Design, IIIT Jabalpur) Design Factory India (DFI) DFI is a platform supporting interdisciplinary design development. It aims at developing and cultivating a passion based, design centric culture. To accomplish this vision, Design Factory undertakes a number of design projects, design workshops and design talks. The projects aim to provide solutions to the problems encountered in a plethora of fields including Product Design, Interaction Design, Visual Communication, Architecture and Urban Design, among others. Projects undertaken at the Design Factory vary not only in terms of the multidisciplinary nature of the fields of design, but also in terms of the design processes that cover Design Research, Design Thinking, Design Detailing, and Design Execution. www.designfactoryindia.org www.poolmagazine.in  61


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62  POOL #47


TIRANA

a cruises into In a first for him, Cagri Cankay 4, by taxi! te rou Albania, his final stop on

designer on the road

om

www.designerontheroad.c

My trip from Sarajevo to Tirana was much easier than I expected. A friend of a friend drove me to the Montenegro bus station from where I was planning to take a bus. However the only bus route turned out to be too complicated and while I was discussing alternative routes with the ticket office three young people came to me and said they were also trying to make their way to Tirana. While we were talking we figured out we were all Turkish, and promptly switched to our language! I suggested we hire a taxi. We asked a couple of taxi drivers but they were too expensive; eventually we managed to find a guy who demanded 80 euro to take us to Tirana city center. We agreed and for the first time in my life I traveled from a country to another by taxi! In Tirana I was to work with a large local agency called Connext. Marcel was waiting for me when I got there. He was the first person I saw in Tirana and he became my best buddy while I was there. I worked on a Christmas card for a bank, and on a traffic awareness campaign for the Albanian government. Thanks to Marcel, I also made my way to the stage of Polis University, a private architecture and design university where I had a very nice time making a presentation to the students. Tirana is not a super big city – you can see everything in three days. I stayed there for three weeks and was able to really experience the city and the culture. In Tirana most of the places, shops and even the pharmacies are always open and available. You can find stylish bars in the city and nice cocktails. The good part is they are quite cheap. I didn’t even drink much beer because of the prices of cocktails, almost three times lower than in Istanbul! As a Turkish person you may hear a lot of Turkish words in the Albanian language. These similarities in language and food may be a good thing depending on your mood.

Bad traffic is famous in Albania but I have seen worse situations in India, Vietnam and some other countries. The main problem in Albania is people don’t respect each other on the road. In 1995, drivers in the Albanian city of Shkodra refused to pay a new traffic light tax on the grounds that their city had no traffic lights! Interestingly, Albania is the world’s first atheist country. All the churches and mosques were shut down under the leadership of Enver Hoxha. He forced people to forget about religion and only believe in him. Albania is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It is tied at 113 out of 176 with Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Niger on the corruption index. For about 10 years (1968-1978), Albania’s only ally in the world was China. It was basically a more isolated European North Korea until 1991. To me Albania is a nice interesting country that needs to fix some things up. Sometimes you see very basic things missing in daily life, while much more complex stuff is standard. They always ask you what kind of tea you want when you order tea. Coffee is more popular; they usually drink very small glasses of coffee like espresso. It’s hard to find high quality souvenirs except wine. I found one of the greatest wines of all times for a good price. People are very warm and friendly. Actually without them I would have been pretty bored in Tirana since there is not much to do there in winter. It was nice to meet all these amazing people and work with them, especially Marcel and Ariel, but now it’s time to make my way back home and do some new stuff. This was the last stop for route 4, but it’s not the end of the road for this Designer on the Road! Things are going to be a bit different from now on, but traveling will stay in my life forever. It’s like the mafia - once you are in, you are in! Meanwhile I need to set up a more stable life as well. I have some ideas but let’s see what the future brings me. Keep following my adventures and life via my blog and my facebook page ‘Designerontheroad’. And hopefully, I’ll see you here next month with some new stuff. Cheers! www.poolmagazine.in  63


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The Other Side Cafe Sarah City Centre IInd Floor - 305 | 306 | 307, Exhibition Crossing, I.G. Road, Srinagar

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Freshness brew of Kashmir


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