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August 2011 | # 14 Indian edition

“I want to set up my own darkroom someday and experiment with different film developing and printing processes.”

“In fact I would describe my work as ‘Culturally Inspired Design’. Africa has so many visual things to be inspired by.”

Meghana Kulkarni 04

Beth Schaeffer 08

India’s First International Design Magazine DESIGN•INNOVATION•CREATIVITY

0 Photography Akshay Bhoan


Young Designer Tarana Sheth


Jayesh Sachdev

Blogger Ruhi Sheikh


Photographed for POOL by Praveen Kaveri

Rising Stars

New In Town

Cover Story

Dy by Dx 06

Bloom 16

Jayesh Sachdev


Rising Star


Meghna Dukle


MSRSAS: Department of Design



Open Minds

Abhijit Bansod Studio ABD, India

Kigge Hevid CEO, Index Awards, Denmark

Adil Darukhanawala Editor, Economic Times, Zigwheels, India

Kishor Singh Business Editor, India

Dr. Inyoung Albert Choi Professor, Hanyang University, Korea

Kohei Nishiyama Founder, Elephant Design, Japan

Anaezi Modu Rebrand, USA

Madhukar Kamath Managing Director and CEO, Mudra Group, India

Prof. Anil Sinha Principal, NID, India

M P Ranjan India

Anna Muoio Social Innovation, US

Prasoon Pandey Corcoise Films, India

Anuj Sharma Designer, India

Rajesh Kejriwal Kyoorius Exchange, India

Aradhana Goel Designer / Strategist, Ideo, USA

Rodney Fitch UK

Cathy Huang President, China Bridge Shanghai

Shilpa Das Head, Publications, NID, India

Craig Branigan Chairperson, Landor, CEO, B to D Group, USA

Dr Soumitra R Pathare Psychiatrist, India

Christopher Charles Benninger Architect, Studio CCBA, India

Shrikant Nivasarkar Founder, Nivasarkar Consultants, India

David Berman David Berman Communications, Canada

Subrata Bhowmik Subrata Bhowmik Design, India

Deepika Jindal Managing Director, Artdinox, India

Sudhir Sharma Designindia, India

Essam Abu Awad MIDAS, Jordan

Suresh Venkat CNBC, India

Hrridaysh Deshpande Innoastra, India

Uday Dandavate Sonicrim, USA

Jos Oberdof NPK Design, Netherland

Umesh Shukla Auryn, LA, USA

Julia Chiu Executive Director, JIDPO, Japan

William Drentell Winterhouse, USA

Kieu Pham Haki Brand, Vietnam

William Herald Wong WHW Design, Malaysia

Editor in Chief Sudhir Sharma Copy Editor Ashvina Vakil Editorial Coordinator Sonalee Tomar Research & Design Coordinator Shriya Nagi Layout & Production Pradeep Arora, Satyajeet Harpude Subscription & Logistics Seema Sharma Finance Kuldeep Harit Deepak Gautam Art & Design Pradeep Goswami, Swapnil Giakwad

Interns (from left to right) Can Kırış, Nikhil Mayur, Görkem Özdemir, Açelya Altıntaş

Apart from having skills and knowledge, a creative mind needs to be curious; the world opens up to a curious mind. That one quality is a must for a designer! If you have to challenge the norm and if you have to create something new, you first need to know why something is the way it is. For a curious mind India is an amazing country; the culture, traditions, handicrafts, architecture, colors, rituals and behavior start making sense the moment you scratch behind the surface. It is sad to see how our schools are failing to open the minds of the young. It is even sadder to see young adults going through a demonstration on patachitra carvings while busy on their cell phones. Our country has nothing to offer and nothing to excite a mind that is not curious. How will a generation preserve anything if they are not able to appreciate it first? I recently spent a day at Dakshina Chitra near Chennai and how I wish I had more time to look at the way houses were constructed. A few years ago I saw a similar place in Hanoi where they have brought together houses from different parts of the country. I am sure we have many places in India where open, aware minds have worked relentlessly to bring our traditions and heritage closer to us in urban areas. Appreciation courses for Culture, Traditions and Handicrafts are needed so that the mind can be opened to the fascinating thoughts that have already occurred. Indian designers are indeed blessed with so much to see and learn. We need to open our minds and help make others curious about what we have. A curious mind will always expand knowledge and preserve what is there. A curious mind will always be excited and creative. Sudhir Sharma Editor in Chief

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August 2011 | # 14 Indian Edition 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. International Design Media Network Participant 1

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New in Town


Furniture brand Working Radius develops a range of lounge seats and side tables with floral accents

“The Bloom Lounge furniture range of lounge seats and side tables was developed for a chain of apparel stores called Soch,” says Swati Santani, Design Head of the Bangalore-based Working Radius, a furniture brand that designs and executes ready to pick up contemporary furniture and accessories. “The seats derive their form from a simplified version of an existing flower motif that is a part of the store design. The red petals form a part of the back rest while the rest of the seat uses clean contemporary lines to offset the petals. The range also includes side tables that slide neatly under the seats. The trial room stools have been derived from an enlarged single petal to maintain the design language. All the furniture has been upholstered in suede in a combination of two plain colors carefully chosen so that the fabric doesn’t in any way clash with the forms.”

@mojosanjay but not everything you do should be a mistake RT @RGVzoomin: The only way of not to make any mistakes is to do nothing 3


Meghana Kulkarni is equally adept at fixing cameras as she is at using them to capture creative images “I like solving problems,” says 27-year-old Meghana Kulkarni and for an architect that is probably a good quality. It has also led to an unusual hobby – repairing cameras! “I started pursuing photography as a hobby during college,” she recalls. “I was given a Yashica GSN electro, a lovely rangefinder which works with 5.6v batteries which haven’t been manufactured for a long time. I had read that 6v cells worked with the camera and that Yashica sold adapters for it, but I couldn’t find any small 6v battery to fit into the camera. So, I bought four LR44 batteries (1.5 v each), taped them together, wound a thick paper around them, and used a ball pen spring to make contact with the camera spring. It worked perfectly.” That initial success has resulted in Meghana using her problem-solving skills to get several more such cameras to work. “I wanted to get the camera started because it was otherwise in perfect working condition,” she says of the Yashica. “After having made that camera work, I put it up on my blog and on flickr. A few relatives and friends gave me their old, unused cameras because I could make better use of them. I found that with some minor repairs and lens cleaning, they could all be used. I have screwed up a few cameras and now I’m trying to find ways to salvage their parts,” she admits. It’s not as easy as it sounds however. “Most of the old cameras have not been

kept very well, so opening them up is a problem because the screws are rusted. A lot of parts are missing too. Sometimes I don’t have the right tools, so I’m trying to gather as many as I can for different types of cameras. Another problem is the parts are extremely small and very easy to lose,” rues Meghana, but she’s not letting such problems divert her from her task. A self employed architect in the field of low tech, sustainable architecture, Meghana graduated from Sinhgad College of Architecture in Pune where she is now based. Over the years she has also developed an interest in photography, a quite natural extension of her penchant for tinkering with cameras. “I would like to get better at fixing cameras and developing my skills as a photographer, including photography with film,” says the young lady. “I want to set up my own darkroom someday and experiment with different film developing and printing processes.” While she has worked with a large range of cameras, both analog and digital, it’s the Yashica GSN electro that Meghana is most partial to. “It’s just the most wonderful camera to handle and the best lens,” she exclaims. In short, when she gets her hands on a camera, in working condition or not, she can do wonders with it!

@ilovetypography A young person just hit me with the verbal throat punch that is, ‘people your age...’ #officiallyOld 4 POOL | 8.11 | #14

Headline Abhijit Bansod Wins Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE) Design Award 2011

“I love shooting Indian urbanscapes and their idiosyncrasies. I like to click pictures of my friends goofing about. I like to shoot contradictions, shoes, surreally constructed artificial situations, my nice bicycle, scooters, and trees that look like dinosaurs!”

NID postgraduate Abhijit Bansod of Studio ABD has notched up yet another honor, winning the British Council’s prestigious ‘Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE) Design Award 2011’. Described as ‘a quirky designer whose products connect deeply with the user by telling vivid stories, by overlaying the familiar with the new and surprising’, Abhijit has been part of the new age design movement in India. Propelled by humor, craft, rituals, people, situations and Indian heritage, he creates products that speak a unique language - an Indian design vocabulary. His creations have also won him many national and international awards in the past, including the Red Dot Design Award 2010 and Best Designer Award in 2008. Studio ABD, a multi disciplinary design studio, works on design experience services (product, branding and spaces) for clients and creates and markets their own products.

@ManishMalhotra1 Working on my collection for delhi couture week 5

Rising Stars

Divya Kumar, founder of the Dy/Dx, an online platform to showcase crafts from South India, tells POOL what it takes to be an innovative design entrepreneur

Photographs by Arjuna Ravikumar, S.A.Girish. Hieroglyphs by Divya, Pavithra.

When and how was Dy/Dx conceived? DK: Crafts inspired from South India, traditional or contemporary, are typically under-represented on the world art platform and in particular, online retail. Dy/Dx is a start-up that serves as a platform to showcase artists and craftsmen and deliver their work to a larger audience. What’s the story behind the name? DK: It’s actually D-y-by-D-x. In retrospect, I guess we wanted something to differentiate ourselves, but it was purely chosen for the fun and weirdness of its sound. For people who get its relationship with math it is quirky, for the rest it’s catchy. What kind of products are you associated with? DK: We scout for art ideas and products with utility. Independent designers and craftsmen today are constantly churning new creations that can easily

become part out of our home away from home. We have currently partnered with nine different art houses/vendors who produce and supply unique and contemporary crafts across India. This number is growing quickly. Our basic brief is ‘fun, Tamil, quirky yet classy, and break away from all clichés’. We have tees, which are fun and appeal to younger customers of both sexes. Tees are wearable art; these are things we would wear ourselves. The Hieroglyphs tees were created by two Chennai-based graphic designers. The Hieroglyphs were part of a typography poster at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Dy/Dx also has games, quirky lifestyle accessories and gadgets from creative artists across India. How is Dy/Dx different? DK: There are very few legitimate online businesses with an inventory that would specifically interest young Indian

expatriates. Our taste in art is a quirky mix of traditional and contemporary, so we refrain from the stereotypes. We notice that while non-Indian brands or highend brands attract Gen X in India, NRIs are often unabashed by their roots and embrace even the most curious artifacts of nostalgia. Our home produced merchandise line is available in India and USA. What is your role at Dy/Dx? DK: Sourcing, production, logistics, shipping and marketing. Lots of running around town, establishing suppliers, building relationships with manufacturers and artisans. On one day, the morning begins with discussing the impact of discharge inks on ring spun cotton with the screen printer and the evening ends with working on c-forms with the auditor. The next day is a road trip to Thirupur while having a voice conference with a Customs Agent at San Francisco Airport. Getting involved to the level of detail as to which count of threads was used in

@OberoiGroup Have a good time! :) RT @bedee0805: Checked in at Oberoi Gurgaon. Loving its aesthetics, ambience, martini and food. 6 POOL | 8.11 | #14


sourcing our cotton canvas helps ensure fair price and ultimately good quality. How have you grown as an entrepreneur? DK: It has been and will continue to be a challenging process of conviction building – you rely on formal/informal aid from both the organized and unorganized sectors. We tend to underestimate how much time would be spent in almost every stage of the process - logistics to legal across two countries. At the core of the efforts is patience and always looking forward to tomorrow. Where do you see the design industry going in the next five years? DK: Designing for digital media, the web and mobile is increasing in demand. For example, at one point a graphic designer could survive on making logos and brochures alone. Today it is about designing icons, web layouts, twitter backgrounds and mobile apps. More

independent designers are emerging due to the viral nature of Social Networking. The digital universe is most design friendly since a good website, app or gadget goes a long way in acquiring and retaining users/customers. Unfortunately, indigenous industries, such as Small Scale Industries in India which churn out some of the most amazing craftsmen in the world, are still reluctant to change their practices to design for the changing tastes of the new audience. Does the business of outsourced design management look promising to you? DK: Yes, but without losing the proximity to the business owner and goals. The notion of design should not be limited to a certain deliverable such as a product or drawing, but must permeate through the ecosystem of the product. For example, a large company like GAP can afford to have an outsourced design department, which has no idea

where and how the fabric and materials are being procured. In a start-up size company, you have to very often change your design based on what material you can acquire, when and at what price, without compromising on quality. How can the design industry help make Indian SMEs world-class? DK: Identify and partner with enterprising artisans and businessmen who have the ambition and are willing to experiment and take risks. Introduce them to new markets for their talent. For example, a few enterprising artists have managed to renovate the thousand-year-old Tanjore art form by applying their traditional styles onto a gamut of new contemporary products, such as magazine racks, business-card holders and so on. What advice would you like to give fellow design entrepreneurs? DK: Rather be wrong than confused!

@svgan_in Sad to see Borders shutting down fully. Had been there for numerous times at their singapore store‌ 7



Originating from the simple idea that ‘little things can mean a lot and that women can support each other globally’, bluma project is currently associated with eye catching jewelry made by members of women’s cooperatives in Africa. Beth Schaeffer, founder and designer of the project, talks to POOL about the initiative and how it helps women in Rwanda and Ghana earn a sustainable wage… How did bluma project come about? BS: It was the result of a few collaborative steps, which began in 2007 with a trip to Rwanda with a group from Macy’s. I absolutely fell in love with the vibrant textiles there, and admired how the culture embraced combinations of color with patterns. I was also very moved by the spirit of the women in cooperatives we visited, and wanted to figure out how to bring additional income to these groups - who were mainly trained in basket weaving. With Macy’s, we developed a collection of eco-totes and that really started my work there. Through working on the textiles in Rwanda I was introduced to the cooperatives’ skills in making necklaces out of paper beads, an East African craft. I developed a collection around these beads, and worked with a collaborator - Linda Trau - to place them in Anthropologie, a chain of stores in the U.S. At the same time, I had discovered some intricate glass beads made in rural Ghana, and designed a collection with those beads in mind. I contacted ABC home in NY, a leading design and socially conscious retailer,

who ordered from both the Rwanda and Ghana groups. With those two stores supporting us, bluma project truly started in early 2010. Now, members of bluma’s team travel to Africa throughout the year to directly mentor women in advanced jewelry design. Each piece is produced on site by a woman who is able to earn a sustainable wage and support her family, something that is often hard to come by in these locations. What is the philosophy behind bluma project? BS: bluma project is a socially conscious design company. We develop products that are often inspired by local use of color and material, but also keep in mind the need to create a fun fashion collection. Working this way allows us to ensure that we can employ the women beyond a one season trend. I believe that if you are aware of what the market is looking for, then you will be more likely to bring sustainable income to people. What is your target market? BS: bluma project’s collection definitely has a range, but I believe we are focused

on a fashion forward woman who appreciates mixing up her own style. Our clients are women who love fashion, appreciate color, and are looking for something unique but translatable to their everyday wardrobe. What kind of people do you work with? BS: So far, in addition to the women’s cooperatives we work with in Africa, we employ designers and artisans here to help develop the collection. The people (mostly women) who seek to work with bluma are driven to bring some meaning to their work. One of bluma’s most valuable team members is fashion veteran, Linda Trau, who is passionate about the Rwandan women and has lent her design and merchandising skills to bluma since we started. Her priority is about ensuring that we help to generate a sustainable income for the women there. How has the brand grown over time? BS: This is an interesting question because I believe once you start working with women’s cooperatives and hit the market you must make a statement as

@deepakshenoy That govindtiwari youtube video is God. No, I can’t link it. I am not worthy. I am not worthy. 8 POOL | 8.11 | #14

to what you represent. As I started critically thinking about what bluma project is really about I realized that the brand itself was definitely driven to help where we can, and to celebrate the idea that design can make a difference, but to also enjoy fashion itself. We’ve come a long way since the first collection just a little over a year ago. From using mainly indigenous materials, we are using anything that inspires us to be creative. I think we might expand into clothing at some point as well. I would also like to include a ‘Made in the USA’ group to the communities of women that we work with. There are amazing artisans and designers here right in Brooklyn, also many stay-athome moms who need work, but can’t work outside of the house. How do you see the bluma project evolving in the next three years? BS: bluma project is in constant evolution on the design side. We want to continue to develop the jewelry collection to be cutting edge and to

@PritishNandy Every time The Times of India refers to me as Film Producer, I blanch. I ran it for a decade as Publishing Director and Group Editor. 9

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Social continue to train the women in advanced jewelry making skills. This has already started happening with the fall collection. We have a small textile collection that we hope to expand upon. Where does bluma project retail its products? BS: bluma project is found in a number of nationally known retailers in the U.S. such as ABC home, Shopbop, and Anthropologie. We are also in places like Amazon in Japan, Fleur in Australia, and Verner in Tel Aviv. We now have a wholesale showroom in New York. What are your favorite products from bluma? BS: I like our new direction of working with vibrantly colored glass beads with a modern take on African patterns. Stores have responded very well to this too. Tell us something about yourself. BS: Before founding bluma project I designed for my own clothing label, which sold worldwide in top specialty and department stores. After a very gratifying 15 years with the label I switched gears to pursue painting. My background is a mix of design and fine art. I think this refined and continues to help inform my love of color, pattern, and composition, which is a very useful background for jewelry design. What influences your work? BS: The places we work in inspire me and I’d always like to stay culturally connected to them with the look of bluma project. In fact I would describe my work as ‘Culturally Inspired Design’. Africa has so many visual things to be inspired by. They way they are able to transform regular materials into gorgeous beads has also helped me to find new materials to add to the ever-widening array of products found in the bluma project collection.

Beth Schaeffer 11



[moment] Young as he is, Akshay Bhoan is able to effectively capture that fleeting moment that tells the real story in a photograph. The 25-year-old Mumbai based photographer and computer science graduate is currently Online Manager India, Lomography India, a global community devoted to creative and experimental analog film photography. He tells POOL why he tends to lean towards analog photography in an increasingly digital world…

When did you get into photography? AB: My parents exposed me to a lot of brilliant art as a kid. I went to galleries, museums and exhibitions and it was fantastic. I wanted to be a painter, but never could actually do that. Where I failed to control colors and brush strokes, photography saved me. I started taking pictures casually first, borrowing cameras for a day and going absolutely crazy shooting as much as I could squeeze in the short time before I had to return the camera, and that is how I got started. Did you start with analog? AB: Analog had always been with me. I shot on borrowed old cameras with black and white film even before I had a digital camera. But because I didn’t have my own camera the progress was slow and I couldn’t really afford to get anything in college since film is expensive! I got my first film camera, a Canon Rebel X, after college in 2008. I shoot digital too. In fact my first camera was a digital point and shoot - a Sony P200. I graduated from that to a Canon 1000D which I still use. It’s a great camera but it’s always missing something. I feel that there is a very human tendency which film shows, the idea of imperfection, grains and the whole concept of different

@_PWN Delhi belly has too many toilet jokes! Not my kind of humour. 12 POOL | 8.11 | #14

films having their own interpretation of an image. That is what made me fall in love with it.

become unreliable. It’s the users who have stopped understanding it and blame the medium.

What is it about analog that attracts you? AB: Film photography is very different from digital. Where film is like a mysterious woman you met while standing outside on a rain-washed dark street and shared a smoke with, digital is like a 12-year-old who blankly just collects everything in front of him. The charm of film lies in its character to tweak reality a bit for it doesn’t show you what you see with your eyes. It gives you its own version, with a different tones, a little bit of grain, a little bit of unpredictability which makes your relationship with her. Digital on the other hand is just too perfect, machine-like. It has no romance, no emotion in it. It’s instant but then that’s that.

What are the highlights of this medium and what are the drawbacks? AB: The biggest problem is getting your hands on film – there are only a handful of companies that make film and only a few labs that can handle them. This leaves the analog photographer somewhat stranded and without many options. Developing in labs and scanning is also quite expensive. The only way to actually shoot film is to do everything yourself (from developing to scanning to printing) but it’s not always possible.

Do you think film is an undependable medium? AB: The medium is not at all undependable or unpredictable; I think to most people it just seems that analog cameras will perform differently from their digital counterparts. That’s only because they have missed a large part of the learning process. They don’t know how to meter, don’t understand film sensitivity or ISO, they don’t even understand aperture or shutter speed. Understand photographic basics and nothing is undependable. We’ve seen a hundred years of film photography, suddenly it’s not

The medium is beautiful but at the end of the day it’s much more demanding than digital. Everything has to be thought of before the shot is actually taken and manually controlled which makes the whole process a little technical (which not all photographers might be happy with). Understanding film takes time and it takes more time to really start depending on it. But then the great part is that technology today has made film photography a lot easier than it used to be. There are digital light meters, cheap high quality scanners and a big, big pool of easily available cheap second hand film cameras.

@maithilikabre This is way too much rain! It’s been a week now! Need water, but dnt like monsoons 13


14 POOL | 8.11 | #14

How long have you been a part of the analog bandwagon? Where do you think the toy camera movement is going in India? AB: I’ve been actively involved with analog for about 2.5 years now. It’s been great and every day I meet new people curious about film, excited to experiment and try out the medium. When it comes to toy cameras, India still has to attain a sense of maturity to look at them as serious tools. Unfortunately we have just missed on a large part of the photographic timeline. We jumped from almost nothing to a surge of digital which has literally made people into photo-clicking zombies, without thought or emotion. And that is exactly what toy cameras are about, mood and emotion. When you look pictures from a toy camera, you don’t look at the intricate details or the sharpness; you feel the mood and the atmosphere of the picture. And that is what people need to understand. But the great part is that we have just so many people who are interested, who are curious and willing to try these new ideas and look beyond the conventional ideas of SLR photography. As Lomography employees we get mails every day asking about workshops, sales and films. We already have 700+ people who are actively involved with us on facebook (Lomography India) and it’s just amazing to see their enthusiasm. Analog photography is on the rise and so is the exposure of people. And I personally am really happy to see that. Do you believe that calling them ‘toy’ cameras is a bit of an underestimation? AB: Yes, quite a bit. But then what’s in a name? All that matters is the final picture. And a good photographer understands that. Somewhere the word ‘toy’ does undermine the actual use of the camera but it’s ok, good even. Because it looks like a toy, it opens up people and doesn’t make them conscious and guarded. Where SLRs with big lenses fail, a toy camera makes portrait and street photography more open, uncensored. Do you have a favorite camera? AB: For me every idea has an emotion and the camera is matched to the idea and my thoughts and not the other way round. I own more than 20 cameras, from the artistic Holga 135BC, the Diana F+, the lovely rangefinder Yashica Electro 35 GTN, and TLRs like Yashica D or the Lubitel 166+ to the more serious Hasselblad 500c and the Canon 5DMKII. Others include Minolta Hi-Matic G2, Sony P200, Lomography LC-A+, Poloroid Land 350, Canon Elan 7 (also known as EOS 30), and Canon 1000D. If I were to choose a favorite right now, it would be the Yashica Electro 35 GTN because it frustrates me so much and yet when I see the results I fall in love with it every time! It’s an amazing camera - cheap, very effective metering, and super sick glass. For most pro 35mm work, I used to use a Canon Rebel X but I got myself an Elan 7, which is a great camera, with amazing response time, and super fast focusing. The Yashica D is the best TLR ever. I still use it because it’s quite handy and fast. Earlier I did digital work on 1000D but I had issues in low light so I upgraded to the 5DMKII. The 5D and the Hasselblad are newer cameras in my collection and I’ve not shot that much with them yet. What do you look for when you go out to shoot pictures? AB: I think me aspiring to be a painter first has changed my perspective towards photography and storytelling. I don’t go out with an idea in mind of what I would want. But I look for that one moment in the photograph which

@_PWN Run run run run reach class huff puff huff puff 15



A compilation of 12 Pool Magazine issues, this hard bound, 400-page book showcases the Indian Design World and More... Details: Log on to

tells its own story. Much like a painting. It has a beginning, a moment of ecstasy and an end, right there, in a single picture. Life has so much to inspire, almost everything around us has a story, an epic moment of existence which you need to look for. Which photographers do you admire? AB: Dayanita Singh is one of my biggest inspirations. Her work is brilliant, beautiful and timeless, as if suspended in ether. You could relate to it 50 years earlier and you’ll be able to relate to it 50 years from now. It’s just spell binding. Others include Prabudhadas Gupta, Tim Walker, Robert Frank, Robert Capa,

Sebastio Silgado, Dane Shitagi, Steve Mccurry, Annie Lebowitz, Eliot Erwin, Richard Avedon, Helmut Neuton, and Raghu Rai. Who is your biggest critic? AB: A few people have shaped by work and how it is today. Dilip Banarjee, (ex photo-editor TOI), Manoj Jhadav (fashion photographer) and my dad - they all are the reason for my compositions and the way things look. I am not good with compliments and these people didn’t have many to give, only hard facts which have helped me so much in so little time. 17

Young Designer Inspired by surrealists and pop artists, Tarana Sheth designs quirky products that are surprisingly functional Few people actually go on to make full use of their educational qualifications. Mumbai-based Tarana Sheth does. She uses her double major in Film Studies and Business Administration, with a minor in Studio Art, from Franklin & Marshall College in the US to juggle two professions - ad film-maker by day and product designer by night! The 26-year-old balances both her ventures - Red Ice Films, and Tarana – with equal aplomb but it’s the latter that seems to truly bring out her creative streak. “I make functional, household accessories with a quirky twist,” she says. Tarana creates products out of material ranging from wood to PVC. “Apart from dealing in readymade products that you can get right off the shelf, we also customize orders according to a customer’s need and esthetic.” The products are quirky; comic book faces and blurbs adorn cushion covers while stools resemble reels of thread. “I am keenly fond of art, and most of my inspiration comes from the great artists themselves; Dali, Escher, Roy Lichtenstein, to name a few,” admits Tarana. “Inspired by these artists, I make art designs/objects that can be used in day to day activities. Not only do I make funky designs, but also blend them into objects that can be used.” The first item she ever made was a hand painted pillow cover, but she’s come a long way since that tentative foray into the world of product design. “My favorite piece is a wreath vase, but there is no



exciting story behind that,” she reveals. “At the time I had been thinking about new products that I could make in black metal sheet. I got bored and started watching a movie about some wedding. It had a scene showing bridesmaids with flowers in their hair. Eureka! I had found my newest product idea!” While making ad films is a more structured activity, requiring her to work within obvious boundaries, when it comes to designing products, Tarana’s canvas is much larger. “My work is fun! I love everything I do. I make and break, learning along the way. I showcase everything - the good, the bad and the hopefully not too ugly!” She believes in taking things at her own pace. “Don’t be in a hurry,” she advises. The recognition, she thinks, will come. While, like all creative people, she hopes her work will be known by a lot more people, that isn’t solely what motivates her. Even a simple compliment from an unlikely source is reason enough to keep going. “At the Kala Ghoda Festival held in Mumbai recently, an elderly gentleman came up to me and said that seeing my products made him happy. He said it made him happy to see enthusiasm and creativity and he smilingly blessed me and walked away... and that made me very, very happy,” she smiles. Like the elegant ‘Tree of Life’ she has designed, Tarana is branching out in different directions with confidence…

@vatsup1 Rain Gods it seems are very, very impressed with Mumbai. Koi shaq? 18 POOL | 8.11 | #14

@nachiketbarve Rainy morning. Long commute to work. Lots of time to think of new collection, directions to take, life! Chasing Epiphany! :) 19

20 POOL | 8.11 | #14

Cover Story



BOX How did Quirk Box come about? What is the story behind the name? JS: Quirk Box is the brainchild of my partner Rixi Bhatia, who is a designer trained at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, and I. As British Council Young Arts Entrepreneurs, from the fields of Fashion and Visual Arts respectively, we clearly had very many common sensibilities. We both dreamed like artists and thought like entrepreneurs. In our own space we have both wanted to create a product, a label, that was both lifestyle and/or fashion for a long period of time, and it was incidental that we created the opportunity to collaborate on a project such as this. It took us over nine months to fine tune the concept and eventually execute Quirk Box. The idea behind this was to create a label that shouted fun, quirkiness, edginess, and creative originality. We are consumed in popular culture but were very intent on not imitating Bollywood, Hollywood or drawing inspiration from the very many mass culture inspired visuals that have lately been flooding our spaces. Quirk Box is a package full of fun and novelty. It spells individuality. Why fashion? JS: As an artist who uses canvas as a medium to showcase his creativity or art,

this is only another medium to showcase the same. Through this medium I am able to stick to the very art genre I have often worked with - pop art - which propagates mass culture. While art has often been held in very exclusive regard, fashion has the ability to reach a larger audience. This becomes a channel to showcase an idea, a visual, a thought through a canvas wrapped around your body. Through fashion, art now has a wider reach and easier access. Tell us about your designs. How has the feedback been? JS: It took close to four months to get the first collection together. At this point we plan to introduce a new design three times a year, ideally every four months. Quirk Box has had an overwhelming response. The feedback we have garnered has been very, very encouraging. We had to resend our entire label into a fresh batch of production just four days from the time of launch. We launched in Mumbai at the gorgeous new store, Attic in Colaba, and have expanded to several cities across India in a span of six weeks. Within three months from launch we should be available pan-India and also introduce an online portal where customers from remote areas can buy

Quirk Box is ‘the brainchild of two award winning, overworked, neurotic designers with excessive levels of creative insanity’. That’s how the website describes Jayesh Sachdev & Rixi Bhatia who came together to create ‘pop, kitschy, loud, yummy, tangy lifestyle products with a load of attitude and spunk’. Jayesh Sachdev, one half of this creative partnership and also hailed as one of India’s leading pop artists, tells POOL more about their venture…

and enjoy our products. This should soon translate into international orders as well since we have a large number of inquiries coming in from Europe and South East Asia. We have had over 1,50,000 hits on our web space in five weeks post-launch and are really glad that this concept is being lapped up well. We’ve had a wide range of buyers, from young adults, and kids, to Bollywood bigwigs. How should designers promote themselves? JS: I think the key essence is not promotion but focusing on the work itself. I would like to believe that in a creative industry it is of foremost importance that designers, particularly the new breed, need to focus on creating their own space and niche, creating a visual identity of their own so they can bank on that as their USP. Once the works of art speak, promotion becomes a whole lot easier. Social New-Media is a good platform. Where are Quirk Box products available? What’s next? JS: We are currently available at both the Attic stores in Mumbai and will soon be in some other stores in the city. We have a presence in Chennai, Pune and Chandigarh already, and in the next month or two we should be in Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkota, Ahmedabad and

@Karthik This show Lexx is turning out interesting but I have to say its sometimes disturbing. 21

Bangalore. We also have plans to launch ‘Stuck With Stupid’, a luxury version of Quirk Box, and the ‘Quirk Box’ flagship stores. You are an artist and run your own design consultancy and have now launched a brand. Which of these do you most identify with? JS: I like to think of myself as an artist. I am a visual communicator. I think art, design, and fashion are extensions of me being that; they are only different showcase spaces, different mediums and canvases. The design studio helps pay the bills, while the fashion label gives you the liberty to experiment, the liberty to design sans boundaries of client intervention. How do you juggle these roles? JS: With these diverse roles to play, I have no sense of time management and I seem to find myself working all the time. I won’t complain - I love it – but this isn’t really work for me but play. To me, being involved in the creative process, being an artist is not a 9-5 job that requires structure but passion, and I am fueled by this intrinsic passion. Honestly I don’t think I planned everything this way, but at some levels I was always certain I wouldn’t be satisfied with playing just one dimension. I enjoy experimenting and I am spontaneous and adventurous; when I have a new idea, I go about trying to find ways to execute it.

@nataliyaford A designer knows he has achieved perfection ... when there is nothing left to take away. –Antoine de Saint Exupery #quote 22 POOL | 8.11 | #14

This is what led to the formation of Quirk Box with my super star partner Rixi Bhatia. I began painting to while away time when I had no design work and soon it stemmed into a full fledged path which in turn got me a ton of design work and accolades, which in turn led me to meet Rixi and we founded Quirk Box. Amidst all this chaos I find my order.

What projects are you currently working on? What would be a dream project? JS: At this point the focus is on Quirk Box. I am also currently working on paintings for a solo show in India and one in New York and my design studio has just wrapped up designing the interior spaces for an international cinema

chain with pop and quirky art. I am looking forward to pursuing Quirk Box aggressively and taking it international. With every transition and progression we alter our goals and our dreams follow suit. I keep changing the scales so the existing boundaries can be pushed and something more exciting can be introduced. A big fashion week with a Quirk Box showcase

@svgan_in Cleaning complete... will eat something and step out to Stockport Hat Museum now. 23

Cover Story would be a good place to start and with New York under my belt I am hopeful of showcasing my art in London and Tokyo. A dream project would be a collaboration with Karim Rashid. What is your vision for the future from the viewpoint of a designer as well as an Indian? JS: As a designer I am looking forward to collaborating with artists and designers from different mediums of the arts to create something entirely new and exciting. I see a paradigm shift in design sensibilities and a larger international exposure for students within India. I would encourage students who have had exposure to international design to contribute to the Indian Design scene. Contemporary Graphic and Arts are still at a nascent stage in India and I am certain this will change in due course for the better. 25


Ruhi and Faiza Sheikh elect to bring their own unique sartorial style to Republic of Chic

Fashion is no longer the purview of a select few. Cyberspace has liberated closet fashion junkies by the thousands, allowing them an easily accessible platform to air their views and unique style. And they’re doing it with an enthusiasm that can only leave those on the perimeters of that colorful, eclectic world gasping with the effort of trying to catch up. “In a crowded world of ‘fashion bloggers’, knowing what sets you apart and then presenting it in clear and interesting concepts via fresh and unconventional content helps,” suggests 24-year-old Ruhi Sheikh, a budding fashion writer/ fashion designer/fashion stylist/fashion entrepreneur from Bangalore. It’s advice that she puts to good use in her own blog, Republic of Chic, which claims to offer ’instant access to unparalleled coverage of Indian fashion trends’. ”Republic of Chic is a collaborative project that my little sister Faiza, who has just finished her Masters in Photography, and I started early in 2010,” says Ruhi.

@Malecopywriter 11:00 in LA. No one East of me is reading this shit. But I’ve still got you, American Samoa! 26 POOL | 8.11 | #14

Slug Here

Ruhi Sheikh

“For most part, it is a visual diary of our daily outfits, a handy tool for both selfindulgence and more importantly, selfreflection. Now though, in an increasingly visual culture and a wonderful one such as India’s, fashion has become an omnipresent form of creativity, something we are all influenced by whether we like it or not and Republic of Chic has turned into an online destination you go to be inspired by the wonderful elements of fashion in design, photography, films, culture, and even everyday objects - an extensive visual essay.” The visual essay is quite arresting, its different elements capturing vignettes of street fashion with considerable flair. “Street style is a gentle education in fashion and individual adaptations of popular trends,” informs Ruhi. “I find it more accessible than runway fashion and most inspiring. My own style is the wannabe lovechild of Indian esthetics, minimalism, Olsen twins, organics-mul mul to be precise, the ’60s and ’70s, mild decadence and my mother’s influences on what is ‘appropriate’ for a Muslim girl!” Fashion blogging began as a game of cyber dress-up for the sisters. “But we soon realized that this space has evolved into a serious extension of our personalities,” admits Ruhi. “I think successful blogs have huge scope in being an (interactive) education in fashion for girls looking for advice. I answer many emails a day and I like that very much.” The sisters are not quite sure how Republic of Chic has caught the eye of cyber fashion followers, but readership has been steadily rising. Meanwhile they are having fun putting their ideas out there. Republic of Chic also has an online store which is ‘mostly a laboratory where new and inspired ideas are tested and launched’. “Commercially, I think blogs are starting to be viewed by brands as a bit of a fashion catwalk where you see trends being set. And with our niche, interested audiences in large numbers, of course brands are getting with the program,” realizes Ruhi. While a name change may be in the offing, for now Republic of Chic has got its eye firmly on the changing face of Indian fashion.

@zeldman Friday night. Looking up divorce related bank records while my daughter watches Cinderella. 27

When it comes to fashion, this young designer/ entrepreneur Meghna Dukle, believes ‘a design is everything’!



There are no unnecessary frills and flounces in Meghna Dukle-Pandit’s designs. Her range of women’s wear comprises uncluttered dresses and layered creations, all classics with a contemporary spin. “For me it is all about keeping it simple and the art of understated chic. Each of my pieces exudes a modern minimalist esthetic with a new sensuality and practicality. It is all about effortless and easy elegance,” she says. The 29-year-old fashion designer/ entrepreneur turned her back on an engineering degree to study fashion design at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology in 2009. When she came back to India she decided to launch her own label, calling it ADIE (a design is everything). “I was skeptical about my

minimalist style being accepted in India where it is all mainly about embroidery and embellishments but I was pleasantly surprised to know that people are getting the drift,” she exclaims. “Something extremely simple could turn out to be truly beautiful. If one has something honest and interesting there is an audience to appreciate it.” ADIE was launched in November 2010 and already has three collections to boast of. The label currently retails at multi-designer stores across India. “The pressure has been tremendous to constantly innovate,” admits Meghna. This is where her eye for detail and her good color sense have helped. “A lot of my commercial pieces have evolved from fun or experimental stuff that I did in my leisure time. I typically toy with one or two concepts and

work within that framework, making sure that the result is focused.” Meghna’s first collection was titled ‘Dose of Decadence’ and it evolved from a luxurious palette of black, gray, flesh and ivory. “It was essentially a modern interpretation of LBDs and cocktail classics combined with lace and antique metal hardware to lend a sexy sophistication to minimal classic silhouettes,” recalls the designer. “Versatile pieces that can be dressed-up or pared-down with statement accessories for that suggestive twist!” Bright colors are not a hallmark of Meghna’s designs; she seems to prefer muted hues. Her favorite design is a ‘very Jackie O styled preppy dress’ in shades of gray. “I spent an entire day working on a complicated drape, which was a disaster

@_Harshika Thanks a ton guys :D uve been around to hear me crib thru exams *hugs* 28 POOL | 8.11 | #14

Rising Star

by the time the day ended. Everything that could possibly go wrong happened,” she remembers. “I couldn’t deal with it so just kept doodling out of frustration and finally decided to execute one of my doodles. It turned out to be one of the bestsellers from the collection. I could have never imagined that a disappointing day would result in one of my most appreciated pieces!” It’s moments like these that justify all the frustrating hours that a designer faces. Enthusiastic feedback from clients also helps. “When I launched my first collection I had a client who wore a cocktail dress for the first time and the first thing she said was ‘It’s changed me. I’ve never felt so beautiful before!’ I will never forget that,” admits Meghna. “I believe that if you stay true to what you do, people are bound to appreciate it.” Her role at ADIE is not defined but she is not complaining. “I could be CEO for a minute and the next minute I could be the packaging boy,” she laughs. “I don’t believe in planning too much. I take it as it comes. The vision gets clearer by the day. For now the focus is on how to expand. Maybe there’s a stand alone store in the near future. The main thing is to build a more sustainable business without compromising on the design aspect of it because, after all, a design is everything!”

@peeknic Nicolas Switched from iPhone to Android. Quite happy with it :) 29



Department of Design Brief Overview M. S. Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies (MSRSAS) is an autonomous institution under Gokula Education Foundation, Bengaluru. MSRSAS was established in 1999 to offer industry relevant Postgraduate Design, Engineering and Management Programs [PEMP]. The President of MSRSAS is Dr. S R Shankapal - B.E., M.Tech., Ph.D.

Mission Applied research Societal relevant engineering, science and management education Industry relevant training, lifelong learning and skill development Interaction with industry and community Nurturing talent and creating entrepreneurs through incubating technology business

The Department of Design (DOD) was established in 2003 and has since been offering Postgraduate Engineering education in collaboration with Coventry University, UK. It is well equipped with digital media labs, model and prototype workshops, concept studio, lecture and seminar halls, hostel and other facilities.

Number of Graduates Approximately 300

Training is offered through Modular Training Programs, Corporate Training Programs, Proficiency Courses, and Seminars and Workshops. The DOD conducts research in Industrial Product Design, Farming Products, and Products for Rural Use. Vision M.S. Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies shall blossom into a university of national importance with a global network

Courses Offered M Sc [Engg.] in: – Product Design – Strategic Product Design Management – Commercial and Retail Design Full time (18 months) and part time (36 months) Faculty The Design Head is Prakash Unakal, Industrial Designer, B Tech, M Des (IDC IIT Mumbai). The DOD has 8 faculty members.

Admission Procedure Admission to full time courses starts in September every year whereas admission to part time courses starts in April every year. Upcoming Events Ankur Exhibition and Deeksha Design Degree Show ADDRESS: M.S. Ramaiah School of Advanced Studies #470-P, Peenya Industrial Area, 4th Phase, Peenya, Bengaluru 560 058. Phone: 080 4906 5555; Fax: 080 4211 1205

For details visit Admission in Charge: Design course related queries: 31

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

Pool Fourteen  

Pool Magazine for August 2011

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