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Neha Misra pg 28  |  Photographed by Pavan Misra Rashi Goel 02  Debasish Borah and Helene Thebault 09  Ranganath Krishnamani 16  Swapnil Jedhe 22  Rahul Gaikwad 40  Preeti Verma 46  Saloni Sinha  54

Editor in Chief | sudhir@indidesign.in

January 2016 | # 65

Sudhir at Prithvi Cafe

UX Designer Niki Chau wanted to know more about Indian Design, and that got me thinking. Steve Jobs came to India, Mark Zuckerberg came to India, a million others came to India...and they all were inspired. Why?






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What is so inspiring about India?

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Neha Misra pg 28 | Photographed by Pavan Misra


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Rashi Goel 02 Debasish Borah and Helene Thebault 09 Ranganath Krishnamani 16 Swapnil Jedhe 22 Rahul Gaikwad 40 Preeti Verma 46 Saloni Sinha 54

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I look around me, here in Pune and anywhere I travel in the country, to see what it is that inspires people; what does India have that is inspiring the world? If you travel to other parts of the world, these things become very clear the moment you land, and they are usually very well articulated and printed. In India there are a few places known for temples, some for rituals, some for handicrafts, but nothing that would inspire someone to do something. We Indians know there is nothing really that can be called 'Indian' culture. A few rich Indians hold on to certain food, textiles, and rituals and claim them as their culture, but if you go deeper and look into the lives of millions you find nothing. A majority are adapting clothes, food, music, and rituals from all around them and changing at a very rapid speed...they are not holding on to anything. Language, food, clothes and even rituals are changing all the time, so much so that recently at a wedding I saw people dancing to the music of a film that hasn't been released yet! Think about it...pizza and Chinese are the most popular takeaway food choices here! The more I think about it, the more I believe that it is this 'nothing' part of the culture that is inspiring. It takes time to understand that you need to shed all you believe in, all your notions of identity, and merge into this something that's happening to become Indian. It is this 'accept all and reject nothing' that is inspiring. It is almost as if India is the cultural black hole. All around us we have cultures that are preserving, holding on to what they believe they are...and here we are in India, changing and ready to change at every moment, not holding on and not building on what we have. We don't let anything escape, and anyone who encounters this truth becomes an inspired person, someone who can see through the patterns of set cultures. Sudhir

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SPONTANEOUS DESIGN FOR LOCAL SOLUTIONS Rashi Goel makes a case for creating socially responsible products out of waste

“Everything can always become something else.” These were the profound words of designer Charles Jencks in his book ‘Adhocism’. For example, a pencil can be used to hold up one’s hair, old tires can be used to fill and carry water, old jars and bottles can be used as planters; if you look closely enough, there is always a possibility of everything becoming something else. Almost every day we see examples where man has used his creativity to use objects beyond their original use, be it functional or decorative. This statement possesses the depth that is required to promote sustainable living, to make people question more and more. Charles Jencks coined the term ‘Adhocism’ as a design approach in 1968. In common parlance today, when someone talks about doing a task ad-hoc, it usually implies that it is being done without thinking. But what’s more important is that it is being done immediately with the resources available at hand, without waiting for a ‘proper’ moment. As an approach to living or to design, adhocism implies tackling problems at once using the materials one has available. A large amount of the Indian village population uses old clothes as sanitary pads or to stitch together to make curtains, rugs or other items of daily use. As a way of life, it means one has to work with what one is fully familiar with – locally sourced and using readily available systems. As a principle of design, it is not widely 2  POOL #65

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BACK TO ROOTS Debasish Borah and Helene Thebault, founders of Roots Collective, are working on bringing alive the heritage of Ladakh so that it really reaches the people How did the two of you meet? DB: I (Debasish) am an architect from Assam though I have almost never lived there – I spent time in Nagpur and Ahmedabad for my studies. Helene is a designer from Brittany in France; she came to India about three years ago for her studies, living in Ahmedabad and then Bangalore. We met in pure designer/architect style - at a construction workshop site at Ahmedabad. We were in an earth workshop together, and it was a complete chance meeting. Helene was a participant in the workshop and the organizers roped me in at the last minute because their photographer had fled! What led to the formation of Roots Collective? DB: It started with a little work here and there in Ladakh, where I had lived for a couple of years. We met a young entrepreneur, Muzammil Hussain Munshi, who returned to his ‘roots’ after living in Pune and Delhi, and now runs a travel agency and charming little café in Kargil. He also manages the outreach and research of the Central Asian Museum in Kargil. He belongs to a family of munshis in Kargil who had long trade relations with Central Asia over the Silk Route; they own several old properties in Ladakh. We planned to document the old town of Kargil to prepare a heritage walk. This turned into a summer workshop in May 2015 which was attended by 25 people from art/design/architecture backgrounds. The workshop led to exhibitions, and then we met a guy from Zanskar called Tariq Wani, who offered us the opportunity to build a guesthouse and public place in Padum, Zanskar. We spoke to him about our philosophy and way of work and strangely he was fine! So, somehow, different people came together to do small things and we decided to formalize it www.indipool.com  9

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AIMING FOR WOW! A full time experience designer, Ranganath Krishnamani also finds time to indulge his passion for illustration What led to a career in design? RK: To follow my own course in life and become a designer was the best idea I have ever had. Design was what I did best; I wasn‘t as good at anything else. Art and design were not just my building blocks but a way of life. It was the only way I knew to express myself and make sense of the world around me.What made it great in my mind was that I went with my hunch and not with my head. Going with your head makes it arbitrary; going with your gut means you have no choice. It is inevitable. Where did it all begin? RK: I distinctly remember drawing on the walls of my home as a child. The floor wore a distinct cherry red color due to the red oxide that extended all the way onto the walls, covering a third of them. This became my canvas where I started practicing my drawings. Incidentally my subjects were mostly the gods and goddess in pictures that adorned our walls, which I tried to copy using basic white chalk pieces. The best part of childhood is the fact that one is very spontaneous, energetic and imaginative about

expressing what is in your mind without worrying about what people think or how your drawings will be judged. I pursued a Master’s in Fine Arts from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bangalore. I remember undertaking several commission works and working with graphic design studios throughout my college days. This experience opened up my perspective about art/design and the opportunities it offered much before I graduated. What were the early influences in your life? RK: In design school I was exposed to some of the great artists and I drew a lot of inspiration from them. Some of the artists whose works I admired the most were Cezanne, Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Paul Klee, Paul Rand, Paula Scher, Milton Glazer, Kyle Cooper, and Amrita Shergil. They were role models because they aspired, and their works ended up light years beyond where they started. They had total commitment for their work, and this is something I have tried to emulate. What got you interested in User Experience Design? RK: I finished my Fine Arts Master’s degree by designing sophisticated web experience for my thesis with the little knowledge I had

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Having discovered the thrill of street photography, Swapnil Jedhe is now looking for humor in his pictures Did you always want to be a photographer?

SJ: When I was studying Applied Arts at Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay, Pune in 200607, I aspired to be a commercial photographer. Initially, I explored studio, portrait and landscape photography. At that time, I wasn’t aware of documentary/ street photography. For the love of communication design, I chose to be in advertising after graduation. After almost three years, in early 2012, when we were in the middle of shooting a TV commercial, I happened to click a few candid shots of the kids. The experience was very refreshing for me. It was then that I rediscovered my initial liking, and later on, passion for photography. One fine day, I www.indipool.com  23

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graphic design

THE HIDDEN MESSAGE Rahul Gaikwad, Director at Mumbai-based Giant Robot Designs, is intrigued by the scientific facts embedded in Indian mythology What is Giant Robot Designs all about? RG: Giant Robot was initiated in 2007 as a design partner for advertising agencies. We did illustration-based campaigns, graphic design and animation work. Since we wanted to take our illustration work into products and spaces, in 2010 we initiated Giant Walls and launched our first product, BuDu Dolls. Recently, Giant Robot and Giant Walls have merged to what we now call Giant Robot Designs (GRD). This happened because we wanted to blur the lines between space design and illustration branding and make ‘design’ itself the highlight of our work. GRD is now a visual design and communication design studio that intimately works towards using design to make positive changes in brands. The broad areas include 360 branding, brand illustrations, concept art, installations, product and art for spaces. We have worked with a number of mediums like print, animation, web, space and products. We absolutely love to experiment with materials; so far we have tried working with wood, acrylic, metal, paper, fiber, and clay. 40  POOL #65

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Preeti Verma, Creative Director of Mumbai-based fashion brand Runaway Bicycle, also straddles the world of advertising with ease

Recalling that runaway bicycle Runaway Bicycle aims to rediscover the simple joys of life. It’s about rediscovering the child in you and the curiosity… from peeling mangoes to aimlessly meandering through city streets and everything in between. It brings back cherished memories about every popsicle, every bike ride, and every carefree afternoon spent playing a game of cops and robbers. This is a sentiment we want our designs to reflect. In fact, the name ‘Runaway Bicycle’ is inspired by my brother’s bicycle which I wasn’t allowed to touch but habitually used to steal away with. Roaming around freely in my village and parking it back in its place before he came back home remains one of my fondest childhood memories. Comfort first I started Runaway Bicycle because I wanted to make designs that I'd love to wear myself. For 46  POOL #65

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illustrator 'Habituated'

DRAMATIC DREAMSCAPES While Saloni Sinha has a day job as interaction designer, she finds real creative satisfaction in her often surreal illustrations 54  POOL #65

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