February 2011 | # 08 Indian edition
“Design plays an important role in photography.”
Winners of the ‘red dot award’, for SPIRE
Open source is the way to go!!
Pratishtha Tiwari 10
India’s First International Design Magazine D E S I G N • I N N OVAT I O N • C R E AT I V I T Y
Opinion Dinesh Katre 04
Rising Star Maheswari Janarthanan
Point of View A Balasubramaniam
Craft | Fashion | Textiles Rahul Mishra 30
Christopher Benninger photographed by Ramprasad Naidu
Rahul Bhattacharya 05
Shraddha Sakhalkar 13
I Laugh I Cry Films 26
Advisors Some of the planet’s foremost thinkers and influencers act as a sounding board and conscience for the POOL magazine.
The beginning. Kigge Hevid CEO, Index Awards, Denmark
Abhijit Bansod Studio ABD, India
Kishor Singh Business Editor, India
Adil Darukhanawala Editor, Economic Times, Zigwheels, India
Kohei Nishiyama Founder, Elephant Design, Japan
Dr. Inyoung Albert Choi Professor, Hanyang University, Korea
Madhukar Kamath Managing Director and CEO, Mudra Group, India
Anaezi Modu Rebrand, USA
M P Ranjan Professor, NID, India
Prof. Anil Sinha Head, Visual Communications, NID, India
Prasoon Pandey Corcoise Films, India
Anna Muoio Principal, Social Innovation, Continuum, US
Rajesh Kejriwal Kyoorius Exchange, India
Anuj Sharma Designer, India
Rodney Fitch CEO, Fitch, UK
Aradhana Goel Designer / Strategist, Ideo, USA
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 Dandawate 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
Photographed by Kunal Khadse/ET-Zigwheels
Seems like end-of-the-year as well as early-in-the-year is awards time! Soon after I returned from the Design Turkey Design Awards, I was invited to hand over a few awards for the best automobiles in India at the ET-Zigwheels Automotive Awards in Mumbai. We know that the India Design Council is frantically working towards releasing the I Mark Awards that recognize design in India. March will also bring to India the G Mark Design Awards exhibition from Japan. All this makes me wonder - do we need awards? The G Mark story is fascinating. Post-war in Japan, G Mark became the reason for, and medium of, development and use of design by Japanese Industry. After 50 years G Mark can easily claim an award for having inculcated Innovation and Design in many industries that are known as world brands today. I hope the India Design Council can put all its weight behind a similar task in India. If it succeeds, this would be its one large initiative in the 50th year of Design. I wish the Indian Government would get serious about the role design plays in the economy. Industry is getting fairly well versed with design and using it to their advantage; it’s time the Indian Government followed suit. I Mark might just introduce the transformation we have been waiting for. Acknowledging the fact that we now have many design institutions across India, we are introducing a new feature in POOL called ‘Campus’. We hope to bring you more about one design campus every month. Your feedback is important, so do tell us what you like and what you would like to see improved in POOL. Sudhir Sharma Editor in Chief email@example.com
Editor in Chief Sudhir Sharma firstname.lastname@example.org
Art & Design Pradeep Goswami, Prashant Agashe, Shraddha Trivedi
Executive Editor Gina Krishnan email@example.com
Illustrator Santosh Waragade
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Assistants Anil Burte, Yamanappa Dodamani Publisher INDI Design Pvt Ltd www.indidesign.in Address India India House, 53, Sopan Baug, Balewadi, Pune - 411045, India Phone: +91 20 6510 6407 www.poolmagazine.in
February 2011 | # 08 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. http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/designindia
POOL printed on
Vietnam Haki Advertising Ltd, 142 Le Duan Street, Hanoi, Vietnam www.haki.vn
Icograda International Design Media Network Participant http://www.icograda.org/media/IDMN.htm
Headlines ‘Thinking Design’ Released SAGE Publications recently published ‘Thinking Design’ by S Balaram, Dean, D J Academy of Design, Coimbatore. The book shows how design originates in ‘human need’ which is not only physical but also psychological, socio-cultural, ecological and spiritual. The author advocates the need for service- or processoriented designs in contrast to product-oriented designs. ‘Thinking Design’ features case studies detailing design inventions, interspersed with tales of Mullah Nasiruddin that provide a tongue-in-cheek take on aspects of design. The book will be an insightful reference for design professionals, academics and students in institutes conducting research on design and for those in the industrial/technical design departments of engineering colleges.
draw visitors in the thousands, all eager to be part of the unique ethos of the iconic Kala Ghoda precinct, which for years has been a magnet for creative talent.
Seven Finalists for INDEX Design Challenge
will provide a great platform for design students and professionals to interact. For details: http://www.mitid.edu. in/quasar
MIT to Host Design Fest Kala Ghoda Art Fest Returns
The much awaited annual Kala Ghoda Art Festival will be held in Mumbai from 5-13 February.
‘Hero Honda Quasar 5’, MIT Institute of Design’s annual festival will be held at their campus in Pune from 31 January to 5 February. Slated to be one of the biggest design fests in India, Quasar will feature seminars and workshops by prominent names from the design community. A range of competitive events are also on the agenda. The festival
The Festival will feature a mélange of creative activities covering art, film, dance, theater, heritage and literature. Now in its tenth edition, the Festival is slated to
More than 1,000 students from 29 countries across the globe participated in the ‘INDEX: Design Challenge 2010’ developed by the Danish not-for-profit organization INDEX in collaboration with UNICEF. The design briefs included designing equipment and services for education in developing countries and disaster-affected areas where UNICEF works to provide improved conditions for learning, ensuring equal access to education for boys and girls, and to improve hygiene in schools.
Seven student designers or design teams have been named as finalists by an international jury of designers and leading experts in the field. The finalists will evolve their design concepts based on feedback from the Jury, with help from advisors and mentors. Finalists will also participate in a workshop in Copenhagen on 14-15 February to further develop their projects before presenting their refined final projects to the jury. One of the seven projects will be declared the winner and will receive a prize of 6,500 Euro.
World Design Impact Prize Introduced The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) recently unveiled the World Design Impact Prize, an innovative and interactive design prize dedicated to recognizing, empowering and stimulating socially responsible design projects and initiatives around the world. Starting 22 February 2011, ICSID will begin accepting nominations from member organizations for exceptional industrial design led projects and initiatives. Over 160 ICSID member organizations will vote online to determine the prize winner through a collective internal selection, developed to involve local and regional communities. The selection process will bring together a tremendously accomplished group of leaders, pioneers and educators from the international industrial design community. The official voting will be preceded by a public review process in which all nominated design projects and initiatives will be visible online for the public to view, critique, rate and share throughout their networks. The prize winner will be announced at the XXVII ICSID General Assembly to be held on 27-28 October 2011 in Taiwan (Chinese Taipei).
@ rameshsrivats In CAT, first you get the Marx, then you get the Karl. <<< The correct rehash 2 POOL | 2.11 | #8
Headlines Alpavirama Film Festival Announced As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, the 2011 South Asian Short & Documentary Film Festival is being organized by the Dept. of Film & Video Communication from 18 to 20 February. Alpavirama 2011 will have four sections: a South Asian Competition section, a Special Package of films from Hong Kong, a Retrospective of NID Film & Video student films, and a Seminar on ‘Creative Seconds? - Ads, Promos and PSAs’. For film buffs this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity!
Connecting Concepts in Ahmedabad A unique exhibition called ‘Connecting Concepts’ will be held at NID in Ahmedabad from February 8 onwards. The exhibition is an initiative of Premsela – Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion, The Netherlands Architecture Institute and Design Cooperation Brainport, and is part of the Dutch Design Fashion and Architecture Program.
At first view ‘Connecting Concepts’ is an uncommon collection of objects and images that hardly seem to relate to each other. There is fashion and products and graphics and buildings and technology, but what brings them together exactly does not reveal itself straight away. A closer look however reveals that the exhibition is about design as a creative activity. The focus is on what happens in the thought process behind the exhibits, ‘backstage’ as it were, rather than on a blunt display of more or less familiar examples. Similarities in the thought process behind various objects constitute the structure of this varied collection.
@INDIDesign Icograda features interview by Sudhir Sharma, Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine http://fb.me/Ayc3ONgd www.poolmagazine.in 3
Opinion INTERACTION DESIGN: A SYMPHONY OF DESIGN AND COMPUTING By Dr. Dinesh Katre What would it feel like if day-to-day objects, including the surrounding environment, intelligently sensed your needs or proactively helped you in crucial situations or educated and entertained you? Such interactive agents or devices could be disguised in the forms of virtual pets or virtual friends or teddy bear toys or whatever you may choose. We are on the brink of such advancements in the field of interactive and ubiquitous computing, which is proverbially mayavee - meaning ‘illusion of reality’ in the ancient Sanskrit language. Sounds quite like the witchcraft from a fairytale, but it is entirely up to the ‘interaction designers’ to ensure that such revolutionary technology applications are designed with humane objectives. Interaction designers have the unprecedented opportunity to work handin-hand with technologists to design and develop interactive products. Their ability of abstraction and artifaction has found a place in the creation of prati srishti – meaning ‘alternative world or parallel universe’ in Sanskrit, which is the digital world or virtual world! With this I have introduced two important Sanskrit words, in addition to the already co-opted concept of avatara. These are some of the most imaginative metaphors humans have ever conceived. Such metaphorical ideas are shaping the larger field of user experience design, which encompasses ancillary topics such as interaction design, user interface design, information architecture, usercentered design, usability engineering, etc. Just as ‘cognitive science’ contributed to the ‘information processing model’ of the computer, ‘interaction design’ is contributing to its ‘user experience’. Unlike any other branches of design, a huge amount experimental research is happening in the field of interaction design. There is great curiosity and enthusiasm among students, professionals, academicians and researchers to contribute to building the body of knowledge for user experience design,
which is still evolving. With computers, design is increasingly becoming part of ‘science and technology’. It is not seen just as artistic craft. Perhaps this is what is newly unfolding in design, which illuminates further the difference between ‘design’ and ‘styling’ as rightly pointed out by the late Prof. Dashrath Patel in his interview published in the 6 December 2010 issue of POOL.
I would say that computer as a medium has proved to be the most powerful vehicle for taking design to its users. Interaction design has every potential to play the most important role in educating the illiterate, in creating employment for the poor and in building the bridges between diverse cultures. Interaction design or experience design has been around in the fields of architecture and film-making but it is comparatively passive and subtle to understand. However when driven by computers or smart devices, it has become possible to design objects which could intelligently respond and help you with required inputs. I recall David Cuartielles’ experiments with physical interaction that he carried out by involving students of interaction design at K3, Malmo University, Sweden. I remember him describing a chair which would produce funny sounds to entertain the person seated on it or the pot which would intelligently sense and simulate the growth of a plant. Students of electronic art and interaction design are
now learning to use electronic sensors and programming of devices as part of their craft. Interaction design has given birth to a new breed of designers who will be programming computing devices in order to design. But these topics are still in the furnace of research and development; they are yet to become common place. At C-DAC, my team has developed touch screen kiosk based interactive learning applications for museums. We are designing interactive games based on the thematic galleries of a museum, such as. miniature paintings, coins, Harappan civilization, etc. One of the applications designed by us uses the webcam for capturing a photograph of the visitor. Then the visitor is able to decorate his or her picture by superimposing the images of crowns, traditional headgears, armors, weapons and ornaments from the library and take a color printout of this picture as a memento of their visit to the museum. Such interactive applications are proving to be great crowd-pullers! Apart from this completely new paradigm of physical interaction, there are several forms of software applications on desktop, web and mobile platforms and a variety of embedded devices, wherein interaction design plays an important role. Internationally, communities of interaction designers, usability practitioners and user experience designers are growing very rapidly. India being the largest software exporter enjoys a significant part of the global UX community. However, as far as the Indian scene is concerned, interaction design hasn’t found its due place in the e-governance domain, which is perhaps a common trend in most developing countries. The educational programs on interaction design or user experience design in India need to mature further. In my opinion, these courses are strongly user-centered design oriented. More interdisciplinary collaboration between computer science and design is required
@UnnamedEntity Considering the number of times #TOI uses the words: blocks, pulls out, flips, collapses, unbalanced - you’d think they were playing Jenga. 4 POOL | 2.11 | #8
Critique for these courses to effectively address the ‘interactivity’ in interaction design. In recent years I have been receiving many inquiries from aspiring candidates who wish to pursue doctoral research in Human-Computer Interaction but are unable to find universities and institutes who recognize this topic. Indian universities are either totally unaware of or confused about who should own this topic - Computer Science or Design Department? The ideal answer is both. I completed my Ph.D. in humancomputer interaction in year 2005 from the Computer Science Department of Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, and my research was also hosted and sponsored by C-DAC Pune. In year 2006, Industrial Design Centre of IIT, Mumbai launched its Ph.D. program in design and now there are at least two dozen research scholars who are doing research in different design related topics. I think this is an important milestone for Indian design, as for the first time we have formally set out on the path of knowledge creation for design. More such doctoral programs should open up for aspiring design researchers in India, as innovation and research are two sides of the same coin. Models of multidisciplinary collaboration should be evolved and replicated for everyone’s benefit. To sum up, I would say that the computer as a medium has proved to be the most powerful vehicle for taking design to its users. Interaction design has the potential to play an important role in educating the illiterate, in creating employment for the poor, and in building bridges between diverse cultures. The symphony of design and computing will play out provided we as interaction designers don’t lose our spontaneous creativity to systematic engineering procedures! Dr. Dinesh Katre, head of the Human-Centered Design and Computing Group at C-DAC, Pune, and author and editor of two books on the subject, talks about the significance of user experience design For more info. www.hceye.org
The Art Of Criticism Rahul Bhattacharya, Managing Editor of Art&Deal, a magazine for contemporary Indian art, throws light on the job of an art critic As an art critic what do you look for when you view a piece of work? RB: I look for many things actually. It is important for me to understand and appreciate an artist’s journey. Maybe it’s only then that I try to contextualize the artwork in that journey; all the time (almost in parallel) I’m trying to locate that journey and work, both historically and art historically. But remember, somewhere much before I realize it, my own taste comes in, affecting my reading of both the artist and works.
How can art critics influence an artistic language? RB: It largely depends on how the concerned artists or curators are as people, how strong, how weak, how ambitious, etc.
Do different people respond differently to art? RB: Oh yes, different people respond to art differently at different points. Also responses change when you are viewing, reviewing, collecting or investing.
What kind of insights can an art critic/ historian/curator/writer bring for lay people? RB: The job of a historian is to document history analytically. I don’t think that an average art historian is even interested in the lay person. Like a scientist who works away in the corridors of universities - it’s only when such work is discovered and packaged that it comes into the domain of the ‘lay person’. For a critic, interpretation has always been a very important role. This is a bit double edged - at one point it is the critic who ‘reveals’ meanings and journeys embedded in a work, but in doing so he becomes a distorted translucent layer between the audience and the work. The curator is increasingly playing the role of packing and re-presenting art and artists to the audience. Often the curator also generates the text which gives the works or an exhibition a certain contemporary context, but the curator himself is subjected to the critic and the historian.
What is the role of an art critic - for the artist and for the audience? RB: The roles have changed historically. Some say today the curator plays the role critics would earlier play. For both the artist and for the audience the Utopian role of the critic is to generate dialogue. De facto, this generation of dialogue has to have an economic function. Thus existing economic environments have a very important role to play in framing possibilities and requirements from art critics. Yes, art critics still ‘judge art’ but I don’t think it’s their function; that is more of a fallout of their knowledge power burden.
What do you think is the most fulfilling aspect of an art critic’s job? RB: Meeting a whole host of exciting artists, and letting their journeys expand my thoughts about life and expression. Being a critic is also a toehold into writing contemporary cultural history, which is very exciting for me.
@bangdesign Interestingly Dept for Indl Policy & Promotion calls for assistance in financial, technical & admin models. Nothing about design Ed itself @NID www.poolmagazine.in 5
Residence & work place of Christopher Benninger
0 What was your vision when you started CCBA? CCB: My idea was to have a very ‘arty-farty’ small studio that just studies each problem and comes up with a beautiful, unique and intriguing solution. It was started when I was 52 years old and I saw it as a kind of entertaining retirement past time. The reality is that my vision was a very dayto-day idea of the craftsman designer. It was really Ramprasad who had the BIG VISION and started putting us out there in the public eye. He thought India needed an iconic ‘design house’ in the European sense that would also drive the public vision, and be a ‘tastemaker’. How has the journey been? CCB: It has been like a path that meanders in a beautiful forest, then hits undulating rolling green hills and then starts up a steep
That, according to urban planner, architect and designer Christopher Benninger, is what should be the essence of Indian design. A much respected name in design circles, he studied architecture at Harvard where he later taught, and City Planning at MIT. In partnership with Akkisetti Ramprasad, he created the Pune-based Christopher Charles Benninger Architects (CCBA). He has designed the capital city of Bhutan and numerous award-winning architectural projects, each of which bears his unmistakable stamp. India House, where he lives and works, is a sterling example of Indiaspecific design, and it is from there that he shares his thoughts on ‘mass production for mass consumption’ and where Indian design is heading. mountain ghat! But it has always been a wonderful journey where we saw clients become patrons and then our close friends. There were landmarks along the way, like when Harish Mahindra selected us out of a ten architect panel that included all the giants and one midget, me! Then we won the ‘Designer of the Year Award’ from Inside Outside, and then the ‘American Institute of Architects/Architectural Record/ Business Week Award’ in the year 2000. These were all great catalysts that made us realize our potential. I feel my role has been in the studio; also I like making friends and networking. But Ramprasad has reached out to the media and into the Internet-sphere. I feel we share a path, and that our complementary teamwork has made the studio the ‘tastemaker’ Ramprasad dreamt of. Every moment has been exciting and that has made us stick to
@Sudhir_indi Excited to have launched “INDI industrial design” finally... 6 POOL | 2.11 | #8
the dream like a drug drives an addict. Yes, design is our opiate! What was the turning point during your career? CCB: The turning point was the day I decided to leave academics and retire into what I thought would be the quiet life of running a small ‘workshop’ studio. But that was like opening the floodgates in a dam that caused a small stream to grow into a great torrent. We started CCBA with a budget of Rs. 25,000 per month. There were just five of us in 1995 and that grew to 20 architects within a year. We had jumped into the river and we had no choice but to swim. Our first projects were for Lokamitra, a Buddhist leader with a great vision, who saw architecture as a fillip to his dream. Then we were asked to design the Kochi Refineries Headquarters building in Cochin.
We started the YMCA International Camp Site at Nilshi, and projects kind of drifted in. Whenever we chased after a project it never materialized. The idea of starting the CCBA studio and my personal relationship with Ramprasad are one point at the same time. The story of CCBA is a narrative of partnership, complementarily working and sharing. We decided to completely change our lives and do something daring and totally new. We decided to be who we are and not fall into a pattern of seeming what society wanted us to be. What has been your one landmark project? CCB: There is no question that the Mahindra United World College of India was the one landmark project that tested our abilities and creativity, and also projected us into the media. This was a large project with the Mahindra family at the helm. Anand Mahindra was young, but he had a great sense of design and always encouraged me. That is what I mean by a patron of the arts, as opposed to a client. The United World College had great names like Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles, Homi Sethna and Queen Noor attached to it. It was the first truly international learning center in India. There is no doubt that our image was polished by this project; and the educational experience at the college has also been enhanced by our design. What is the future of design education? CCB: In India we spend too much time teaching what cannot be taught, and very little time teaching what young designers
need. We can never teach creativity! But we can teach skills, technical systems, specifications, and building construction and give students ‘live’ experiences on construction sites. Studios are places where people who are already creative can learn presentation skills, how to speak in public, how to work in teams and they can be made sensitive to design issues like user friendliness, contextuality, sustainability and the like. The future of design does not lie in boring government-recognized schools and institutes that are just qualifying factories that work like Xerox machines printing out one more copy after the other. Our design graduates just learn how to pretend to be designers. They learn that if you wear all black clothes or really sloppy clothes you are seen in the uniform of the designer, even though you have no ideas! We are simply teaching people to be actors in the narrative of design and not the designers of the future. We have to teach people to discover themselves and learn to BE. We are likely to go back to the old guild way of learning, where apprentices learn in the studios, and on construction sites and on factory floors. This was the beginning point of the Bauhaus and was the essence of Walter Gropius’ concept of education. He saw the industrial revolution generating a new marriage between the crafts and the designer. We have lost that essence and are creating a tribe of marketing and branding managers. What do we need to do? CCB: We need to train designers right from the construction sites up into the studios.
But it has to start where things are made on the ground and move to where performance standards are evolved, where design criteria are articulated, and where evaluations and assessments of options take place. How do we do this? We look at the education of marine ‘shipees’! They spend six months in basic grounding, six months at sea, and back to the workshops and theory classes for six months and so on and so on through their entire careers! Both feed on the other and working / learning becomes a way of life! We need to learn from the way we teach doctors too: Grey’s Anatomy, a book that includes all of the human building systems like drainage, water supply, electrical, structure and air conditioning gives a clue! Grey’s Anatomy teaches the entire system in one book! Do we do this in architecture and design? No, No, and No! Let’s get down to basics and then let’s get into the history and the theory. Medical students are thrown into the wards early on and they start to practice. We are sending people off to America and the U. K. for postgraduate education to learn more theory to be able to bull shit! They have never read a book; they have never spent six months on an Indian site; they do not know what the investors look like! So we at CCBA are involved in de-learning architects in our studio! They come with very theoretical ideas; they come with some studio work under teachers who have never built a building and some scores on exams and great qualifications. But they come illiterate into the craft of architecture and design. So my studio is a kind of incubator for in learning architecture! My seniors like Ramprasad, Daraius Choksi, Rahul Sathe, Harsh Manrao, Deepak Kaw
@StylePile I posted 3 photos on Facebook in the album “StylePile Style Icons” http://fb.me/RLff9oKu www.poolmagazine.in 7
Cover Story and Shivaji Karekar are the great teachers. Shashi Mohandas who rejoined me after 20 years in the U.K. is a great mentor. The good designers stay for six or seven years; the mediocre ones go off to America and to the U.K.; most of the girls get married; and then we are left with the hard core architects! Out of ten, we get three! There are now at least seven potentially great young architects in my studio. It is a joy to work with them. What defines Indian design? CCB: What should define Indian design is a better question! First we have to stop being mirrors of the West and the Japanese. We have to be ourselves! We have to look at our local materials, our craft people’s skills, our traditions, our climate, and the solutions of our forefathers. Our designers cannot distinguish between design and decoration! Unfortunately, what defines Indian design today is sycophancy. Copying! Mindless knee jerks to mundane foreign architects, designers and branding experts! We have forgotten who we are. We are a nation of 118 crore people! We have more schools of architecture and design than the USA! We are a larger community of designers. We have three times as many journals and magazines on architecture and interior design as the US! Let’s get our act together and look inward. Let the foreign architects and designers come to India to learn from us. We have to start leading ourselves and stop being servile followers! We have to be who we are and not seem like something we are not. Indian design will flow from that unique identity! Where do you see Indian design 50 years in the future? What do you think is the next big landmark moment? CCB: This is very clear - the next big challenge is the people of India! We have Special Economic Zones, why not Special Habitat Zones that create an integrated habitat for our masses of people who will work in these factories? Why not start conceptualizing the future of India in terms of our greatest asset, the people who build India with their own hands? There are humongous townships to be created that integrate human resources development, basic amenities, habitat, employment and production and high-end knowledge based services. Designing these complex urban centers is the challenge. The new ‘urban
corridor’ is being created by a bunch of foreign architects and town planners who have made a mess of their own countries. They know nothing of poverty! They know nothing of our country! We have to await their utter failure, which is inevitable, and then show our true colors! I suppose we have to go through this period of ‘foreignisms’ before we can find ourselves. Our own designers need to discover their own dignity before the government and the private sector will respect us. But the next 50 years is a golden age for Indian designers. Is there any such thing as ‘Indiaspecific’ design? CCB: This is an interesting question! Is there anything like a ‘Japanese design’ or a ‘Finnish design’? I think so! I think Frank Lloyd Wright could only have built ‘Falling Water’ in America. I think that Suzlon One Earth can only have emerged from India! We have our own roots and traditions; our own history and our own vocabulary; we have our own regional motifs, signs and symbols. We have our own ‘timeless way of building’ and our own timeless way of making things and these are great things! Look at India House; it is nothing but an Indian Haveli! It could not have been built in the Hamptons of Long Island or in Sausalito north of San Francisco! Is there any such thing as European design…I wonder? They are all building stunts and anal-retentive babies screaming for attention! But yes, we have Indian design! What is the essence of Indian design? CCB: Every society evolves its own story and narrative. In these stories there are signifiers and signs and symbols. There is also climate. There are also limited materials and building techniques that have grown up over the centuries. India also has its own culture and society and way of navigating social space that the West does not understand. We work as large families! The definition of yours and mine is very different here. So out of all of this comes what I call templates of design, or prototypes. What are my house and my studio? Together these two functions are a template of the traditional haveli organization of space! There is an ‘in-between space’ in the front where the public is welcome and where they can enjoy art and lotus pools; then one enters through a portal to a more exclusive space, the courtyard; the inner sanctums of the house and the studio come next; and
then the art gallery, which is our personal collection in the subterranean space fed light by skylights coming down in from the central courtyard. The underground space could be the traditional kotari where precious goods are stored. The central courtyard is the bramasthan that collects positive energy. There is an east-west axis with an iconic statue of Shiva welcoming the morning sun! Everyone understands all of the signs and symbols within the reliefs on the facades as an emblematic language. When they see a Nandi, they know that a Shiva will be inside to welcome them. Indian design builds up a set of expectations that are then fulfilled. That is why we call it ‘India House’. What would be the highlights of an India-specific design? CCB: Ever heard of fly paper? We have flies all over India that are both a nuisance and a health hazard. Where is the design for fly paper that flies land on and get stuck on? When complete it can be rolled up and tossed in the garbage! That is needed in every village, and in every garden restaurant, and in every house! What I mean is that we have to begin to address our own specific problems. You see an automobile is an automobile is an automobile, and it is an automobile. The design really does not change from country to country or road to road. Yes, the suspension and air conditioning can be tweaked here and there, but it all boils down to a steering wheel, an engine, and two lights in front and in the back and four wheels! The drive shaft and the chassis and the doors and the glass windows are all international in nature. The only thing Indian about a car is the price! The technology of the Nano was simply, very judiciously, adapted to price. Can tweaking foreign products for the Indian market be called Indian design? CCB: This tweaking game is being played in every field from architecture to bathtubs! But the international design community will never understand the basic Indian ‘problematique’! Let me tell you very simply what is the essence of Indian design - it is making more for less for more! That is, it is ‘mass production for mass consumption’. We need to mass-
@hypnosh RT @BorowitzReport: In Iran, tonight is the annual People Have No Choice Awards. 8 POOL | 2.11 | #8
produce essential items at low cost, but these items cannot be ‘Chinese’. ‘Chinese’ as a brand just means cheap, it does not mean durable and functional. Product designs have to address our problems and be functional and durable. We need more of these items for less cost for more people. Maybe the Nano in spirit is that essence - but that is still too costly! Will these designs be cost effective? CCB: Of course they will have to be cost effective! That is the essence of India’s efficiency and our lean on eternity! The fact that I can run an international design house and earn a mere $2,000 a month, and be considered rich in India, is just a part of the story. The Audi crowd in India will vanish. I find it a joke to see this flaunting of consumerism, while insulting the essence of Indian culture, which is austerity. It is the essence of our economy and the essence of our design. More for less is the Indian spirit! Look, the idea of Gandhian Engineering comes from a great scientist named Dr. Ramesh Mashelkar. He has been preaching ‘more value for less money for more people’ across the world and I am his chela! I can either keep on being the tastemaker of the elite, or I can become a great designer by focusing on the real India! I want to do that.
What is a good example of Indiaspecific design? CCB: I feel my site and services project in Chennai in the late 1970s where we designed a ‘housing process’ rather than a housing product, was very Indian. The idea was very simple: people know how to build walls and roofs with their own hands…but they do not know how to get a plot of their own, electricity, water supply, sewerage and an access road. Design what they cannot design and let them build what they can build. That was a great design theme and it resulted in about 15,000 shelters being created for very low-income households in a joint venture between the people and the government. This was my first conscious concern to produce more value for less money for more people and is a template by which we can address the problems of access to shelter. Made in India or Made for India? CCB: India is fortunately a huge and a very young nation! It means the consumer profile is large and youthful. These are people who have grown up in hard rural conditions on the whole. They know what they need and what they are looking for. Any great company is looking at the Indian market. Any good designer should go to a village and live there for three months and they will come back with one hundred new
and very good ideas. If they don’t they are bad designers! Functional or Aspirational? CCB: Aspirational is a four-letter word! It means expensive, a bit out of reach, but if you take on a bit more EMI payments than you can afford, you can move into an anti-social community, gated and overpriced housing scheme. This is a concept for the upper middle-class who want to mingle with the lower rich, or nouveau riche class. It is a great idea for perfumes in shopping malls, or for a housing scheme, where you have a product that is just a wee bit out of reach for the middle class. Aspirational is silly. Either you can afford it or you can’t. ‘Deserve and then desire’ is what I say. Don’t make yourself unhappy by spreading your legs beyond your means. Unfortunately designers are becoming the handmaidens of the consumer society that lures people beyond what they need or can actually afford. Good design should give these people functional and durable products at less cost than what they expect. The products should be less costly year by year, and they should look more and more attractive. They should be ours! We must Be and Not Seem in order to do this! www.ccba.in
@daddy_san Adding long, animated transitions between two powerpoint slides is the same as buying a Hummer to compensate for a small organ. www.poolmagazine.in 9
Young as she is, Pratishtha Tiwari brings a fresh perspective to her photography, shooting edgy fashion pictures with the same ease as she captures a tranquil moment in Nature. The 22-year-old freelance photographer holds a Bachelor of Design in Fashion Communication from Pune’s Symbiosis Institute of Design, where she majored in Photography and Styling. A musician and an enthusiastic traveler who likes well documented holidays, she points her camera at the unexpected. Pratishtha works with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24mm-105mm f/4 Lens but, she tells Pool, her dream camera is a Sinar… When was the first time you took photographs? Did you immediately know it was something you wanted to pursue further? PT: I clearly remember my first few photographs - I must have been about ten. I remember stealing my father’s Yashika camera from his cupboard and running to take a shot of my grandmother’s false teeth which had always intrigued me! After the first few blurred shots of the sparkling teeth, I shifted my attention to my brother - his toothy grin has since then been framed in my room as my very first proper photograph. These stolen shots as a child soon grew into a passion for photography, which I firmly believe I inherited from my father. I developed a sense of responsibility when I was appointed the official photographer for the annual school magazine. In 2006 I enrolled into design school, hoping to be a graphic designer. Having studied photography as a module, I started seeking life’s meaning in light and shade, color and contrast.
What subjects do you enjoy shooting? PT: People! India is inhabited by some of the most beautiful people in the world. Each part of the country boasts of a style very unique which is expressed by the people who live there. Their smiles, frowns, clothes, lifestyle say a million things about them and I love a shot which can capture it all in a frame. I think nothing is more inspiring than the colors in a bazaar. I love the extraordinary capability of a simple market to turn mundane experiences into something that is awe-inspiring...bangles in different hues displayed together, the candy floss vendor weaving his magic in pink, neon lights sparkling against the clear night sky, or just a bunch of colored chalk lying forgotten in a basket. And fashion. The potential in fashion is infinite. You can take a simple shot and do wonders with light, space, shadows, silhouettes... the list is never ending. Professionally, I started with doing a fashion shoot for renowned hair stylist Sana Poonwala and the energy of that
shoot is what led me to pursue fashion photography and styling. Do you think designers make better photographers? PT: Yes. When you study design you study multiple aspects like styling, color palettes, and layouts which play an important role in photography. Designers consider the perspective in macro unlike photographers who are limited to frames. For me the look and feel of the experience is very important, which is why I feel as a graduate in fashion communication I can see the larger picture. Do you feel the need to travel to interesting places for inspiration? PT: Good photography, to me, is the ability to turn something commonplace into something inspiring. Mumbai as a city, with its multiple dimensions, offers an interesting perspective into the lives of the people who live there - their issues, the cross cultural conflicts and the fast paced lives. These experiences against the backdrop of the sea and the skyscrapers
@atulkasbekar People have a habit of glorifying players thru history as d best ever n not realizing that someone in the present could well be that! 10 POOL | 2.11 | #8
@MisEntropy So you still think the internet is free? - http://bit.ly/hFI82S www.poolmagazine.in 11
are a joy to capture. A walk to the nearby market or a stroll on the beach poses limitless possibilities to capture the essence of this city. What I love however is capturing the dichotomies of this city and harmonizing them in one frame - the corn vendor against the model at the Fashion Week, the turbulent sea against the semi constructed building - all exuding an experience which I so closely associate with my days in college. Which are your favorite pictures? PT: My favorite has to be of the Mountain Dew bottle. I took the shot sitting bored in Surat one day, and I love it for its abstract quality and multiple dimensions that barely reveal itâ€™s a mere bottle. The shading of the green is what I love most about the photograph. Who are your favorite photographers? PT: Prabuddha Dasgupta and Vishesh Verma. What sort of work have you done so far? PT: I worked with Pradeep Mandhani for the Lakme Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2010 and styled for Cloud 9 Calender 2009. Currently Iâ€™m working with Siddarth Mishra on a few projects. What sort of photography/ assignments do you look forward to doing in the future? PT: With a background in styling I am most comfortable doing fashion photography. The energy in a photo shoot to me is very inspiring. I feel there is still a lot of scope in fashion photography and a creative freedom which is rare in all other forms. Photographs to me are like poetry - multi layered and offering a perspective into different dimensions with the play on mood, light, color and silhouette. The Lakme Fashion Week gave me the opportunity to capture these different dimensions, on the ramp as well the mood off stage. I look forward to working on similar assignments for fashion magazines and doing a few independent exhibitions.
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Reviewed Newly launched into the often hugely expensive world of filmmaking Shraddha Sakhalkar makes a case for direct-to-edit filming techniques Seamless, hassle-free, revolutionary, direct-to-edit, and tape-less are words and phrases that have been flying around in the digital cinematography market for some time now. They have been zooming past the faces of independent filmmakers, feature filmmakers and even film students all over the world, while all these entities stood staring, goggle-eyed with open admiration. All with good reason too.
Let me give you a scenario. An independent filmmaker scrounges around for funds to kick-start his/her latest project. A lovely digital camera is hired. Then a bucket-load of the precious little funding is spent on purchasing the tapes on which the filmmaker will record the footage. After the shoot and before any actual editing takes place, the filmmaker will have to walk to and from fire-blazing hell. It involves hiring equipment per hour. This process is the one where tapes are digitized real-time. That is, one minute of tape takes one minute to digitize. Another bucket-load of the meager funds is spent on this process which slowly kills the filmmaker from the inside as he/ she sits hour after hour digitizing the tapes, crossing fingers, hoping that there are no dropped frames or glitches. But what takes the cherry on the cake is the fact that magnetic tapes deteriorate over time,
so itâ€™s not like our poor filmmaker can rely on the tapes for backup (which have to be re-digitized in case they ever need the footage in the future). For the next film, repeat actions all over again! This is more or less the process for a film shot on a digital camera. Rest assured a film shot on celluloid will have a procedure that is much more expensive and time-consuming. With such a scenario to face, who would not be eager to usher a tape-free world of digital cinematography? After spending eons babysitting tapes during digitization, filmmakers pulled at their hair and binged on coffee. What else could the poor chaps do? They thought they had been freed from the expensive clutches of celluloid but here they were resigned to a medium that did not match up to film. It did provide considerable economic relief. Independent films, especially documentaries have thrived after the digital advancement in filming technology. Studios lost monopoly over the production of films and the rest, as they say, is history.
There have been remarkable advancements in the 21st century in the arena of film technology. Needless to say, direct-to-edit set-ups are significant but a logical step in the forward direction. It
might not sound as earth-shattering as the RED camera but it will have taken one giant leap in making the access to filmmaking that much easier to a filmmaker with a story to tell. For established filmmakers for whom money might not be a big concern, there are several reasons to adopt direct-to-edit set-ups. For starters, the recording media that most of these cameras use are re-recordable. There is a wide range of the same to choose from according to requirements. They range from CDs to flash drives and the Solid State Disk. A one-time investment, they can be reused endlessly during their shelf-life. Each shot that is taken is saved as a separate file.
Logging footage could not be made any easier. Simply erase the unusable shots and name the rest according to convenience. Such sensible data management. But nothing can beat my favorite feature. A simple copy-paste of data and the footage is ready to be imported into your editing software, free of digitizing and transcoding. Precious time is saved and the filmmaker is free to lose hair and sleep over other issues. firstname.lastname@example.org
@demagazine Design, home-fashion, objects, tableware all at Maison Objet starting today in Paris www.maison-objet.com www.poolmagazine.in 13
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Bitten By The
Doodle Bug Maheswari Janarthanan has made a career out of doodling! Strictly speaking, a doodle is a drawing created while the creator’s attention is on something else. Daydreamers doodle. Bored school kids doodle. And Maheshwari Janarthan doodles. But when she does it, you can almost believe that there is some thought behind her vibrant creations - her doodles are much more than squiggles in the margin of a notebook. The 24-year-old Chennai based freelance designer and illustrator took to doodling after she quit her job in 2009 and found herself with a lot of time on her hands. “I really started doodling in 2010 when I wanted to design my own folder and gift wrapper. My first doodle was that of a little girl’s face for my folder. It was not until April 2010 that I took up doodling in a fullfledged manner,” she remembers. Once she began, the doodles began to take interesting shape. “Everything inspires me, whether it’s music or people or words, books…anything and
everything,” she admits. “Inspiration is all around us.” Armed though she was with a B.Sc in Visual Communication, majoring in Animation, Jayanthi found that her forte seemed to be in ‘creating little characters, designing and taking pictures’, and that’s what she now focuses on. “I have a few clients like Masala Chai, The Red River (collaboration work), and Anirudh Swarnkar to name a few,” she says. “I love working with all of them. They give me full freedom which is very important for any artist.” What she looks forward to doing is home décor projects. “I want to launch my own home decor products and stationery under the name ‘little one’s doodles’,” she says of the future. Meanwhile, ‘little one’s doodles’ is the name of her blog, where she puts up her colorful and striking doodles. “One day, I was chatting with a friend and suddenly we came up with the name ‘little one’s
doodles’ - my being short and always doodling was one of the reasons for it,” laughs Maheshwari. And perhaps there is a bit of the dreamer in her after all. Her favorite illustration is one called ‘I had a dream’. “I was listening to this song ‘I was a little girl, alone in my little world’ by Priscilla Ahn and I loved it immediately! It was so me…I could completely relate to the song. I live in this little magical world of mine, always dreaming and creating little characters…so I immediately started illustrating it,” she recalls. Art, photography, and interior design also interest her, but it’s doodling that gets her fingers flying. ‘Have the courage to follow you heart’, proclaims her status on the blog, and it looks like she for one is taking her own advice!
@Chakraviyuh All frozen assets are a liability. Including family jewels. www.poolmagazine.in 15
Architects Darshan Soni and Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi of Wireframe get the prestigious ‘red dot’ stamp of approval for Spire, their Japanese fan shaped wall clock
Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi, Darshan Soni As timepieces go, this one is certainly striking. Inspired by the movement of the Japanese folding fan, Spire, from the term spiral, is based on the transformation of a line into a circle. The hour and the minute hands of this unusual wall clock constrain the spiral form at two ends. The spiral form of the clock unfolds and folds in the rhythm of a Japanese fan. Designed by Darshan Soni and Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi of Wireframe, an Ahmedabad based architectural practice, Spire was recently awarded the ‘red dot award 2010’ (design concept). The ‘red dot design award’ is a coveted international product design prize awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany to honor outstanding design quality and trendsetters. Instituted in 1955, the award is much sought after by designers and producers across the world. Winning products are displayed in the red dot design museum in Essen, and among these this year will be Spire, which shows time through the interesting play of mass and void. The beginning of any particular hour is represented by a mass contained within the longest and the shortest blades. As the hour progresses, the mass keeps changing form. At the end of the hour, the mass leaves a void that represents the next hour. At this moment the blades turn quickly to transform the void that represents the next hour into mass. Thus, the cycle of the next hour begins.
The passing of time in seconds is represented by flashing LEDS located on blade tips, thus adding a delicate touch to the clock’s appearance. The base of the clock houses all the electronics and mechanics required to run the clock. The entire motion sequence of the clock is controlled by a microprocessor. The base and the blades of the clock can be made from various combinations of materials such as copper, stainless steel, wood, translucent/ opaque acrylic. The wall clock can be easily converted in to a pedestal clock or a table clock by mounting the mechanism on a pedestal. The ‘red dot’ was awarded this year to 180 concepts, picked from more than 3,000 entries from 55 countries. For the immensely pleased duo, the award is recognition of their creative talent. “We discuss a lot of ideas when we are working and taking breaks and have started making notes and sketches of these ideas so they don’t flow away with time. ‘Spire’ is a result of one such talk while working. We decided to take it to the next level and send it for the red dot award,” they say. The two designers took a week to develop the sketches into a complete representation of an idea, and what a fruitful week it turned out to be! Darshan and Ekaggrat met and began working together while studying architecture and discovered they made a good team. They rented work space in 2008 and Wireframe was born, a formal extension of their collaboration. Wireframe aims to create
a ‘sublime yet strong’ architectural idiom, and all design work and projects are seen as opportunities to explore and orient in this particular direction. Their first major project came from a relative of a friend who wanted them to design a farm house. “We did a conceptual presentation for it using ship containers,” they recall. “We are a design firm with architectural, interior and product design projects. Our main focus is on customization in design along with typical practice. Customization is a field where there are not many options for clients or architects to explore unique ideas. We feel we are suited for customization since have an eye for detail, and knowledge of mechanics and digital tools.” Inspired by Nature and mechanics, the duo admires Zaha Hadid, Louis Kahn, and their mentors Late Anant D. Raje and Late Kurula Varkey. Slowly but surely they are building up Wireframe, and hope in time to have a manufacturing unit for their products. When they are not designing, they are off doing their own thing – Ekaggrat is a biker and has a strong interest in mechatronics, while Darshan is an avid photographer. Both of them love to take road trips on their Enfield bikes. “Our dream project would be to design a space station,” they admit, and whether they will achieve that only time will tell. They’ve got their eye on the clock meanwhile – in their case, it’s an award winning one! email@example.com
@pbrenden Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.. 16 POOL | 2.11 | #8
@aadjemonkeyrock Packing my stuff... 2 weeks South Africa with only carry on is a bit of a challenge... www.poolmagazine.in 17
DYP-DC-Pune Brief overview Established on 6 January 2010 and based in Pune, DYP-DC Center for Automotive Research and Studies is a joint initiative between the DY Patil group, a highly regarded educational organization, and car design guru Dilip Chhabria. In addition to being the promoter, Dilip Chhabria is the chief mentor of DYPDC. Size of campus DYP-DC is located on a beautiful 100-acre campus in Dr. DY Patil Knowledge City. The Center has state-of-the-art facilities including all hardware, software and other equipment required for the programs.
Need/purpose for organization A serious dearth of talented automobile designers, and increasing interest among young aspirants to learn automobile designing gave birth to DYP-DC Center for Automotive Research and Studies. Number of students Currently there are 41 students in the undergraduate and post graduate automobile design programs. Number of courses Undergraduate Program in Automobile Design Post Graduate Program in Automobile Design
Important dates for admission Admissions are on a rolling basis – there is no last date for acceptance of application forms. An application is considered as soon as it is complete in all respects and submitted. Applicants are advised to submit applications as early as possible in order to be considered on a first come first served basis. Applications are accepted from January onwards of each academic year. Faculty DYP-DC’s team consists of members with professional experience, and outstanding records in teaching and research. They are ideally positioned to provide students with skills and current industry trends, as their own work obliges them to keep constantly abreast of new tools and techniques. The team consists of a combination of six full-time and other visiting faculty from India and abroad. The Center has a strong visiting faculty program.
Faculty development programmes DYP-DC faculty attends regular workshops on design and other areas of interest. Upcoming events Automotive Sketching workshops all over India. Contact Ms. Ramandeep Arora Ph: 020 – 3061 9505/6/7/8 firstname.lastname@example.org
What a ride!
The Busride is a Mumbai-based studio specializing in the design and construction of architectural, corporate, retail and entertainment environments among others. The brainchild of Ayaz Basrai, the Studio is engaged in several path breaking projects in various cities.
While Ayaz claims he would have enjoyed being a night watchman if he hadn’t turned designer, it’s obvious that he’s thoroughly enjoying the process of designing interesting spaces. This is one busride he’s not going to want to get off! “Practice unconditional optimism,” he advises other young design entrepreneurs. “I don’t think designers can be any other way. We don’t have the luxury of cynicism.” Pool urges Ayaz to make an unscheduled stop… What is the story behind The Busride? AB: The Busride Design Studio is just about four years old now. I was working with a brand consultancy in Dubai for two and a half years, running a division that handled spaces and exhibitions. The idea of moving back home and setting up a studio doing all manner of experimental and high-energy work really seemed waiting to happen. I did freelance for six months though, to sort of identify the right size of studio to set-up, and then started off The Busride. I think at the time we set up, Mumbai was (and still is) going through a serious renaissance. Places here are more experimental, stylish, part of an ‘international cool’ that is extremely soulful and grounded as well. Caution mixed with a lot of ambition. It gives this amazing city a buzz like no other. Dubai just lacked that buzz and soul. So it seemed really obvious to move back, and set up something in a city that gives you so much energy, rather than sapping it out of you on a daily basis. We started the Studio with just me and my brother, Zameer, who’s an architect from CEPT. When he left to do his masters at MIT, Ipsit, a batch mate of his from CEPT joined us. He’s been the backbone of the studio for the last three years now. Farzin is the newest entrant – she’s a rock star architect from New Zealand and has just completed her first year with us. Zameer
also moved back recently to rejoin the studio. We’ve had a lot of people, trainees, exhibition designers and diploma students coming and going too, but the core team is a very tight team of motivated people, and we’d love to keep it that way! What was your first major design project? AB: It was the Smokehouse Grill in Delhi. We had done a few other venues before, in Kolkata and in Mumbai too, but Smokehouse really raised the stakes for us. It was our first experience working with Riyaaz Amlani from Impresario, and understanding a complex, loose yet tightrope brief to create something that’s timeless yet edgy, experimental but comforting; it was a place defined by paradoxes. It took a very interesting non-linear approach to the design process, everything was sampled and iterated, a lot of on-site work and hands-on-ness was required, so it was immense fun. I think more than anything, Smokehouse broke a lot of stereotypes about the way we approached our own work; it instilled a serious respect for the F&B maestros, chefs and bartenders, and really pushed us into a super-exciting new world of hospitality, that has I think, given us our most exciting works since. What were the first reactions to your enterprise from clients? How do you bring in new clients? AB: We had a great response. Almost all of our work has come from referrals - I don’t
think we’ve gone for a single pitch as of today. It’s a tribute to the maturity of the city to a large extent - you don’t need to dress in a suit and drive a fancy car to get work. Mumbai really looks beyond that. So we rely totally on word of mouth referrals to get new work, which I believe is the best way forward. Our website is purely for an online display of work, and to provide basic contact information. I really think the practice of pitching for projects should be rejected by all design studios; it’s a dirty practice that’s a remnant of the advertising agency influence on design. There were agencies in Dubai who offered design free of cost to clients willing to spend a fat amount on media. A few of these retarded guys take away from the seriousness with which all of us view communication design, and the creation of environments. We’ve worked with a pretty diverse bunch of people, from the channels (MTV India, Disney and Channel V) to corporates (we designed the Sony Music Headquarters in Mumbai). Most of our work has been with a new wave of restaurateurs. Riyaaz Amlani from Impresario, Farhad Bomanjee of the Kala Ghoda Cafe who we’re initiating some work with, and a whole bunch of new age guys who’re pushing the format. We also do a lot of work with Shantanu and Nikhil, and recently Preeti Chandra, designers whom we’re working with for their store
@UrbanGiants Bought a nice Bose surround sound system for my office iMac yesterday, should be good for
multimedia demos! #bose
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designs. In addition, we’ve worked with educational institutions (MAEER MIT in Pune to design their design institute’s manifesto and architectural direction). How did you build sustainable differentiators into your enterprise? AB: I would like to think that we’ve been very honest with our processes. We’ve tried to actively inculcate parallel influences; most of our team has influences ranging from history and theory, to jewelry and shoe design, illustration and graphic novels. We’re constantly looking for the next fun thing to try. All of us are buzzing with new experiments to try in projects, and it’s a high energy environment overall. Hopefully clients can sense that in us, and allow us to really fly with seemingly strange ideas. How did you tackle the twin challenges of expansion and scalability? AB: We’re actually really conservative about expansion. I’d like to think that we should expand more in terms of our impact on the city, our scale and vision of projects, and scale up our thought processes, be a lot crazier and much more insane. Somehow larger offices lack soul in a way, and I think we’d consciously remain boutique. What was your first restaurant design project? How has the journey been since? AB: The first restaurant design project we did was the Venom Club in Kolkata,
in association with 100 Watts Design Studio. It was a nightclub, with attached F&B. The journey? It’s been a blast! Hospitality has always brought out our best – it’s allowed us to express a lot of our own personalities in our projects, which is immensely satisfying. It’s been a great learning experience working with different target audiences (we’ve designed Udipi restaurants as well as high-end fine dine outlets), a variety of cross influences (Smokehouse Grill being acid jazz, smoked meats and natural materials, while Smokehouse Deli is travel, AfroCuban Bossa Nova music, and the occult) and different city types. We’ve worked extensively in Mumbai and Delhi, and we’ve got a loose grip on what works in these two places. We’ve also, on the flipside, done a lot of work in Kolkata, but are still completely clueless about what works there! I think the most important learnings have been internal; we’ve all realized that to do interesting work we need to be interesting people, so we’re trying anything and everything once! It’s the most scalable model we could think of! Designers typically create lot of IP; how do you safeguard your IP Rights? AB: Actually, we’re big believers in the copyleft movement; anything and
everything that goes into the public sphere is open to interpretation and plagiarism. I think ideas only evolve and get better if left to evolve in a free environment. It’s weird how architects who’re spearheading conservation movements, crafts development and social projects are so guarded about their sources and contacts - almost losing sight of what it is that they’re trying to achieve in the first place. Open source is the way to go! What are Busride’s future plans? AB: We’d working on a split studio idea, nine months in Bombay and three months in Goa! We’ve also made a list of collaborators we’d like to work with in the near future, people doing amazing work in their own fields, like architect Rahul Mehrotra and BLOT, so we’d like to use the next year to cement these relationships and do a lot more insane, meaningful work! What we would love to work on is a redevelopment project that converts part of the harbor district in Mumbai into an art district, with public promenades, art galleries, installation art spaces, a vibrant and buzzing hotel and restaurant scene; one which opens up an entire district of the city that none of us are familiar with. We’re working out a proposal for the same, so interested readers please call us!
@anaggh India is a massive country where preferences change every 15kms and customer loyalties shift every Rs. 10/www.poolmagazine.in 21
Design Entrepreneur SMOKEHOUSE DELI – AYAZ’S PERSONAL FAVORITE The Smokehouse Deli posed a unique challenge - to create a fun, informal, buzzing Deli space, which turns into a mood-lit, quieter and more romantic evening space. We conceived of an entirely hand-illustrated space, where there is an increasingly eccentric
interaction between 2D and 3D elements. The design takes an irreverent, fun look at ‘serious’ restaurant design; objects exist as a parody of themselves. The Smokehouse Deli was an experiment in satire. We feel it’s important to provide an alternate view to surface ornamentation, a fresh perspective to the nature of what is SEEN as decoration. The
@justdesign Italian-Designed Space Saving Furniture http:// bit.ly/fMICfq 22 POOL | 2.11 | #8
Deli has a very distinct style and mind space of its own, which is now developing into this chain of hand-made restaurants. It is immensely scaleable and universally applicable, and takes on context with illustrations varying with different environments. It allows us to be extremely flexible where the design is concerned. www.jointhebusride.com
@AnandBhushan Gtalk with my Aunt: I’ve joined Facebook. Me: WTF! My Aunt: What’s the problem? Me: Nothing. That means “Welcome To Facebook”.... www.poolmagazine.in 23
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Point of View
Usability Is Design
A Balasubramaniam predicts that designers will soon be chanting the mantra of usability Traditionally, product design has been all about designing the device: making it function better, making it appeal to the intended user, and saving costs to the manufacturer and the customer. The design of a message was however left to the communication designer: to convey a message effectively so that the audience gets it. The lines of demarcation are blurring and suddenly everything seems to boil down to usability: the spanking new science that is driving design in all its myriad forms.
Designers will soon be united with this single concept of ‘usability’. While traditional domain areas will continue to exist, new designers will evolve who will be driven by this common concern for usability. The lines are blurring also because the user is now also the audience. The device is fast becoming a medium of communication. Take iPod, for example, a simple enough piece of product design that suddenly became an icon of our times. It is not just an exciting mp3 music player, it also works seamlessly with iTunes, a website that sells music. It takes into account how the user uses the product and builds a delight into the product usability. It redefines the concept of how a personal music player is bought and used and seamlessly builds usability into all its components: the product, the interface and the website. ISO has an interesting definition for usability: ‘The extent to which a product
can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.’ Isn’t that what design is supposed to be? To make anything effective, efficient and delightful is the prime concern of every designer. It has always been empirical and emotional. It is now a measurable science thanks to the advancement in the usability sciences. A Samsung phone can look suspiciously similar to an iPhone in the form-factor but the interface design in both the products are so different that it gives each product the identity that defines them. So while the essential plastic molding, glass casing, aluminum unibody can be the domain of the traditional product designer, what is increasingly defining the product’s character is the intuitive interface, the associated website, the ease of navigation, and the downloadable apps. In that sense, product design itself is becoming more complex to include the interface and usability. Any new product, besides being esthetically appealing, must be easy to manufacture. Designers will soon be united with this single concept of ‘usability’. While traditional domain areas will continue to exist, new designers will evolve who will be driven by this common concern for usability. And they will focus on the whole experience. This new evolved breed will be at ease with the traditional manufacturing processes as well as digital technology. This new breed of designers will apply design thinking to work analytically as well as intuitively. This will bring about the birth of the networked designer who does not just work in his own little ‘silo’ but with all domains that contribute to making the experience better. And usability will be the glue that holds them together.
A Balasubramaniam is a trained product designer who founded January Design. He is now partnering with IT domain experts to launch jé Design Experiences which focuses on this new method of working on design assignments.
@adbroad my fave titles: Wrongologist and Dinosaur Digger RT @bud_caddell: Amazing list of TED speakers announced http://bit.ly/gqpwI0 www.poolmagazine.in 25
I Laugh I Cry
I Laugh I Cry Films, a New York based joint venture by Sania Jhankar and Reema Dutt, is all set to capture the imagination of the audience through films that ‘educate, inspire, and share stories across cultures’. The two young filmmakers met at New York University where Sania did a major in Film/TV and minor in producing, and Reema majored in broadcast journalism and economics with a minor in producing. While at NYU the duo produced several short films together, many of which gained accolades on the film festival circuit. Sania also works as a senior editor with USA Studios while Reema is an associate with a public relations firm. The director-producer team has had varied experience ranging from acting and classical dancing to directing and producing, which they intend to creatively put together to make a success of I Laugh I Cry Films. Currently they are engaged in the pre-production of a TV Series on golf for a travel network, and the preproduction of an American feature film with a legendary Indian actor. On the anvil is a set of commercials to be shot in the US and India. There are more scripts lined up, but for now Sania and Reema team up to talk to Pool about the business of filmmaking… @StephenAtHome It’s great that they took the N-word out of “Huckleberry Finn.” Now get to work on “Moby D-Word.” 26 POOL | 2.11 | #8
How did you decide to ‘take the leap’ and start a film production company? ILIC: We always discussed and played around with the idea while we were both at NYU. We’re both interested in production in various capacities, and our abilities complement each other, so we thought I Laugh I Cry Films would be a good endeavor. Sania is the director and Reema acts as the producer. We’re interested in making the same kind of movies and we’ve worked well together in the past. After making several short films together, some of which were highly appreciated in the film festival circuit, we thought this would be the next best step post-NYU to gain some momentum and get our names out there. We cover all aspects of production - we have our own original scripts written by Sania, but we also help with pre-and-post production for other projects that can be affiliated with I Laugh I Cry Films. We’re really open to all kinds of opportunities, and while producing films/TV series is our main focus, we definitely skew to other areas.
had to offer. We’re new and growing, and combined, we have a vast range of experience, so clients were happy with our ability to be flexible and really cater to their needs. Some simply wanted pre-production advice and suggestions just to have an intelligent conversation about their own projects. Others sought us out for production assistance in regards to pilots or commercials - so really the flexibility of our organization has satisfied our clients. Also, we give one-on-one attention - essentially both of us are always personally in touch and available for meetings, etc. so that’s also been really great in fulfilling our clients’ needs and has positively impacted our organization’s reputation. Also, because we’ve worked with production companies like MTV, ABC News, Focus Features, USA Studios and others, our knowledge and experience base is quite solid. And we are conscientious of each other’s strengths it’s always better when you have a partner to consult.
How did you land your first major film project? ILIC: Currently, we’re working on our own feature film, which to us, is our first major project because it’s directly related to our technical and creative efforts. From the four scripts written by Sania we decided to go with the most doable and the one with the most modest budget - Butterflies of Bill Baker. It’s been worked on for almost five years - she’s been through about seven drafts, so now we’re definitely in perfect form to proceed with the project. Basically, she had this script, we were ready to make a feature, and we started developing the project. As we progressed more and more things fell into place and it became a very realistic endeavor for us. So now we’re in pre-production. Along with the script, we have attached a legendary actor, an established cinematographer and Neelmudra Films is interested in helping out with domestic and international distribution. It’s a film about Bill Baker, a kind and simple man, who suffers from a destructive night terror disorder. While he can only be relieved with a dangerous and mind-altering technology, Annie, a ten-year old girl who is his only escape for happiness, disappears.
I Laugh I Cry Films is a film production house dedicated to developing and producing original films that educate, inspire, and share stories across cultures. Our scripts are focused on captivating and emotional topics, which emphasize relevant social issues.
What were the first reactions from your clients? ILIC: To be honest, our clients were very happy with our work and what we
What challenges did you face in your earliest days? ILIC: The challenges change over time. Initially before we even launched our website or even thought of a film production house, we had to decide and brainstorm exactly what our goal was, what would be the core of our work and how would it be unique. Once you nail down these aspects, it was focusing on the approach. In our case, we spent a lot of time discussing the visuals for our website. We didn’t want them to be boring and something people have seen before. It must go hand in hand with your mission statement - that’s another challenge, trying to convey yourself in an original but appealing way. Basically, you’re trying to
stand out amongst hundreds of websites, so you have to be particular. We relate our style of film-making to simple storytelling - we wanted to maintain that raw structure for our website. We got an artist to draw and paint the images for our web pages rather than create common tabular structures in photo shop. After that, the two main challenges were (and still remain to some extent) getting traffic to our website so we can attract more clients and raising funds. How did you manage cash flow in the early years since projects can be long-drawn? ILIC: Well, projects - be they film, TV, news, or anything - are always budgeted beforehand. You can’t begin to consider a project until a budget is in place and until you have at least half of that money in your hand, or you at least know where it is coming from. So regardless of whether a project is short or long, we always know beforehand what the cash flow situation is. The key is to be proactive and make sure the money is being used where it is supposed to be. This is essentially the duty of the producer and if you have a producer who is on his toes, you should be fine. You need to be able to anticipate if there are departments that will go over or under budget. Also, we like to have a ‘cushion fund’ - an amount to dip into as a last resort in the instance that you need more funds. Things are unpredictable on sets and in production, so regardless of how prepared you are, sometimes things will go awry. So anticipate and plan; this way when things regarding the budget and cash flow go off track, it won’t be startling. That’s what we do. But to be honest, thus far, we’ve managed to stick to our planned budgets from the beginning. The more of this that is done in pre-production the less financial pressure you have during production. Our motto in developing I Laugh I Cry has been to be active and balanced. Hence, we deal with two kinds of projects: our own creative ventures (our in-house productions); and projects for individuals and other companies that we provide services for. So, our goal is to raise funds from outside projects and use them (and other resources, of course) towards inhouse productions. I think this balance makes our business structure unique and circular – it’s consistent and continuous.
@rameshsrivatsYay. Just got reminded by @mojorojo’s tweet that the Mac App Store opens today. *Runs off to pawn wife’s jewellery* www.poolmagazine.in 27
Young Talent How different / evolved is your business model today? ILIC: The foundation of I Laugh I Cry Films is our mission statement - that we are a film production house dedicated to developing and producing original films that educate, inspire, and share stories across cultures. Our scripts are focused on captivating and emotional topics, which emphasize relevant social issues. With a wide range of genres, our films are conducive to small budgets, efficient turnarounds, the introduction of new talent, and engage global audiences of a large demographic. That’s it - that’s the spirit of ILICF, and the business model varies depending on what project we’ve taken on and in what capacity. Though the foundation is concrete and well-defined, the actual kind of work is really a fluid thing - and maybe part of that is because we don’t want to be tied down to any one way (especially at an early stage) - it’s something we want to develop naturally so maybe ask us again in five years? What emerging opportunities do you see for entrepreneurs like you? ILIC: Fundraising becomes an important part of an entrepreneurship - any venture needs money. Thanks to the Internet and various social media outlets, the world is so much more connected and it is easier and more possible to seek out interested parties (donors, investors, etc). There are websites that help you raise funds creatively. For example, we are using kickstarter.com to raise funds for our film http://www.kickstarter.com/e/CmRoy/ projects/666320654/butterfliesof-bill-baker-a-feature-film Networking is practically a requirement for an entrepreneur. You don’t have to have money to have friends or to even just know someone who knows someone. It’s all about who your friends’ friends know. To approach the right people and that one person who will give you the break; you’ve got to be ready to tap into all your resources... to leave no stone unturned. Use facebook for more than amusement. Connect with people, even if there are no immediate gains in the picture. You really never know where your next job, your next supporter, your next investor is coming from. It’s an age when you can connect with so many celebrities through twitter. Act smart, be proactive
and certainly write to whoever you think may remotely be supportive. Send 100 emails to several people every week, and 10 people will respond and one person will get you what you need to get started. We do try to work on projects already in place or try to help those who are already making headway, but need steering. And when it comes to our own, we target the groups to collaborate with that are specific to the content and form of the project we are working on. For instance, when we made A Refugee (film about Hindu-Muslim riots) we ended up getting sponsorship from an organization called Hindi USA. For Grey (a film about the racial issues in 1920s) we approached Afro-American Institutes with a similar agenda. And since
Networking is practically a requirement for an entrepreneur. You don’t have to have money to have friends or to even just know someone who knows someone. It’s all about who your friends’ friends know. To approach the right people and that one person who will give you the break; you’ve got to be ready to tap into all your resources... to leave no stone unturned. Use facebook for more than amusement. our current feature film has a science and medicine angle, we look at collaborating with neurology research centers. More specifically, since our lead character runs a vintage car dealership in our film, we are targeting car showrooms as well. What are your favorite films? ILIC: Well obviously there are too many to list but we love the classics like Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, It’s a Wonderful Life, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Singing in the Rain, Ben Hur, Dr. Strangelove, etc. These movies really defined the basis of American Cinema. In European Cinema, French New Wave films like The 400 Blows are always stimulating.
Since we love films that provoke along with entertain, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Bend It Like Beckham, Forest Gump, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pretty Women, Love Actually, Sherlock Holmes, Cast Away, and The Dark Knight are certainly our favorites. Animated films have definitely come a long way in terms of story and character. Our personal favorites are Madagascar, The Incredibles and the latest - How to Train Your Dragon. In regards to Hindi films, Pakizaah, Mother India, Padosan, and Silsila, are definitely classic favorites. We do enjoy the ’90s Hindi movies that we grew up watching - Andaaz Apna Apna, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege. Honestly, the list is endless - there are many films that just make you smile, or evoke deep emotion, or are just technically beautiful - favorites seems to vary based on mood, and that’s the beauty of films, isn’t it? Which director/filmmaker you are inspired by? ILIC: Among many, the ones that come to mind are Mira Nair, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Martin Scorsese, and Brian Grazer. What is the one project you really look forward to? ILIC: As of now, Sania is looking forward to working on Roland Joffe’s big production, Singularity, to be shot in India in the next couple of months. But right after our first feature, Butterflies of Bill Baker, there are two more films in the pipeline - A Moment in Time and Grey.
Grey has a much bigger budget because it is a 1920s period drama. In this 95-minute feature film, the audience is introduced to 20 year-old Henry Harrison, the heir to The Harrison Vaudeville Company run by his intolerant father. Through his passion for tap dancing, Henry befriends a black stage actor, Anthony and his life takes a new turn, which introduces him to a new community and his love Georgia. And just as he settles in, one blow of reality shakes his ideal world and forces him to return to his roots – this time a man. A Moment in Time is an ambitious venture about three stories interwoven over a period of six months in Mumbai, New York and elsewhere. They involve a successful American architect who after an accident
@AntarYaami I feel like touching the coir strand that the locals just made. I am such a novice at being a tourist 28 POOL | 2.11 | #8
loses the confidence to love his lighthearted girlfriend; a loving Indian mother who has to make the decision of giving birth to a disabled child or commit the crime of abortion; and two American teenage girls studying abroad - sharing and living their cultural differences and similarities across the borders. How has the journey been so far? ILIC: The journey has been fantastic! That’s not to say it’s been easy, or that it’s ever gone exactly as planned, but we’re really enjoying it. It’s just started, so each project, each task, each conversation is exhilarating! I think what also makes it so rewarding is that we get to work with each other, and we work with each other so well. We’re really close friends and I’m sure people would assume that at some point or another issues would come up, but honestly, we both have our strong points and since they complement our company so well, we’ve never run into problems when working with each other. We’re really able to enjoy the process because it doesn’t feel like work - it’s really quite inspiring. We feed off of each other’s energy and productivity, and since in the end, we have the same goal, our priorities are complete aligned. Now we’re just looking forward to the future! What is your advice to upcoming filmmakers? ILIC: Persistence is the key and if you really love doing what you do, it is not hard to pursue it! Try, try, try, try everything! AND make do with what you have - be resourceful. Use what you have wisely. Try and make a fabulous short film that exhibits your technical and creative abilities, but something you can afford. We strongly believe, and have personally experienced, that a small budget is never an obstacle when it come to an honestly done film. That’ll give you not only good experience, but confidence and a great reel to circulate and show people. It’s all about getting your foot in the door, once you have one concrete contact or interest, just run with it. If you love what you do the process should be exciting and inspiring for you. Let your work adorn you with all the positive energy from the universe.
Craft Fashion Textile Rahul Mishra has come a long way from a village in rural India to being acknowledged as one of the finest talents in Indian fashion today. A staunch advocate of Indian handloom fabric, Rahul’s designs have a contemporary global silhouette with a hauntingly Indian sensibility. From the rusticity of Indian arts and crafts emerges urban fashion that is breathtaking in its simplicity and stunning in effect. Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, this award winning designer from the National Institute of Design handles his amazing journey through life and the world of design with unshakeable aplomb. His portfolio is varied, and already his accomplishments are many. He has long spread his wings internationally and the invitation to be a part of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum’s prestigious exhibition on modern designs in 2012 is just another testimonial to his formidable talent. He shares with Pool his inspirations and his dreams…
Where do you see yourself in another 3-4 seasons? RM: There is no specific target I have set out for myself, but I just want to be better with every season…by continuing to do what I believe in. A Paris Fashion Week showing is probably on the cards. However I am enjoying my work right now and want to do a few more interesting things like getting into product design and mounting my first photography exhibition.
What do you believe in? RM: I believe in love; love for work, life and the present. I strongly believe in Gandhian philosophies. Gandhiji once said: Before you do anything, stop and recall the face of the poorest, most helpless, destitute person you have seen and ask yourself, ‘Is what I am about to do going to help him?’ I am a dress maker and need to utilize fabrics/textiles for my creations. I try to use traditional textiles created in the
villages of India as much as possible for all my garments to contribute whatever I can, through employment and empowerment of the craftsmen/weaver from rural India. What would you like to achieve? RM: I dream of establishing a super luxury brand, which will be ‘Handmade in Rural India’. This brand will be based on the Gandhian philosophy of khadi or homespun cotton to support the rural economy of India.
@desicreative I’m just straddling the fine line of a creative dilemma and that thing on my head is a grecian sword: http://bit.ly/gtf56G 30 POOL | 2.11 | #8
@H_FJ Nice that googling â€œevolution of the cellâ€? finds scientific sites, and then populates them with ads for:
cellphones. #good #one, #google
I don’t see myself a billionaire but I want to make thousands of rural Indians prosperous though my creative ventures. I am right now working on designing a sustainable system for crafts and handlooms in rural India…the big dream is to implement it through corporate backing and government support. We are also working with a few NGOs to start a vertically integrated system in different parts of India, which will involve all the processes from Farm to Final Product. It will also help farmers to introduce organic methods in farming. How has the journey been so far? RM: The journey so far has been more like a fairy-tale, but I have always had a strong belief in my childhood dream. I come from a very humble background my schooling till standard five was in my village Malhausi, for a humble fee of `7 per month. I never thought I would see myself as a designer one day; in fact till standard 12 I never knew what design or designers were all about! But there was always a strange belief of making it large one day, and that belief still prevails.
Who would you like to thank for your achievements and fame? RM: NID as an institute is most responsible for all my philosophies and achievement. In some way studying Apparel Design also helped; I had skipped a lot of my classes to look around the campus and learn about different disciplines like textiles, graphics, animation, product, etc. Each and every thing at NID was like a teacher for my learning, it was like a complete new world for me. What are you working on now? RM: I am planning shows in Riyadh and Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am also working on a research-oriented project for the last one year and will soon launch ‘RAHUL MISHRA’ for that market. The project involves creating a high-end traditional Saudi clothing range for women by using completely handmade and organic material woven in different parts of rural India. What are your latest inspirations? RM: Lines are my new inspiration. I am working on creating a range of textiles
through woven textures for my new Autumn-Winter Collection. The collection is called ‘LINEAGE’, which literally means lineal decent from an ancestor or biologically a sequence of species, each of which is considered to have evolved from its predecessor. It is a synonymous philosophy of our traditional Indian craft and handlooms. It was a very interesting finding, which I came across when I was visiting various handloom villages while shooting for a documentary for National Geographic Channel. It is fascinating to know how diverse textiles from various regions of India are connected to single ancestry. ‘LINEAGE’ is an attempt to portray this connection. What would you like to say to upcoming designers? RM: It is very important to know ‘why’ you do what you do, rather than knowing ‘what’ you do or ‘how’ you do it. Just believe in your passion and keep reminding yourself that you are unique. Keep striving for excellence in whatever you do. It is all about getting just one thing right in life. firstname.lastname@example.org
@ WebDesignMagz 20 Completely Free Logo Fonts http://bit.ly/gEUM9g #fonts 32 POOL | 2.11 | #8
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Designindia POOL Magazine issue no 8 for february 2011