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April 2011 | # 10 Indian edition

Supported by

“The idea was concocted and brewed in 2009 over a cup of masala chai...”

“I’d like to think that I don’t really have a style to my work...”

“I see we will reach a point of brink until we learn from our mistakes...”

Masala Tee 08

Wake Up Mr. Singh 12

Mayank Mansingh Kaul 30

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

0 Collaboration Anna Muoio 02

Beyond Borders Pham Huyen Kieu 06

Tied-up Gabriel Dawe 15

Sujata Keshavan

Opinion Piyush Pandey 22

MD and Executive Creative Director, Ray+Keshavan



Cover Story



Plastic Birdcage 10

Satyajit Das 18

Sujata Keshavan 24

RBI-Newshibition 26

SPA 28


Design Focus!!

Abhijit Bansod Studio ABD, India

Kigge Hevid CEO, Index Awards, Denmark

Adil Darukhanawala Editor, Economic Times, Zigwheels, India

Kishor Singh Business Editor, India

Dr. Inyoung Albert Choi Professor, Hanyang University, Korea

Kohei Nishiyama Founder, Elephant Design, Japan

Anaezi Modu Rebrand, USA

Madhukar Kamath Managing Director and CEO, Mudra Group, India

Prof. Anil Sinha Head, Visual Communications, NID, India

M P Ranjan Professor, NID, India

Anna Muoio Principal, Social Innovation, Continuum, US

Prasoon Pandey Corcoise Films, India

Anuj Sharma Designer, India

Rajesh Kejriwal Kyoorius Exchange, India

Aradhana Goel Designer / Strategist, Ideo, USA

Rodney Fitch CEO, Fitch, UK

Cathy Huang President, China Bridge Shanghai

Shilpa Das Head, Publications, NID, India

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

Dr Soumitra R Pathare Psychiatrist, India

Christopher Charles Benninger Architect, Studio CCBA, India

Shrikant Nivasarkar Founder, Nivasarkar Consultants, India

David Berman David Berman Communications, Canada

Subrata Bhowmik Subrata Bhowmik Design, India

Deepika Jindal Managing Director, Artdinox, India

Sudhir Sharma Designindia, India

Essam Abu Awad MIDAS, Jordan

Suresh Venkat CNBC, India

Hrridaysh Deshpande Innoastra, India

Uday 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

Editor in Chief Sudhir Sharma Executive Editor Gina Krishnan Copy Editor Ashvina Vakil Editorial Coordinator Sonalee Tomar Research & Design Coordinator Preethi Bayya Layout & Production Pradeep Arora Subscription & Logistics Seema Sharma Finance Kuldeep Harit

I am writing this note from Bellagio, Italy where I am attending a workshop on Design Anthropology, Indigenous Knowledge, and Culture-Based Innovation, with 16 design anthropologists, indigenous knowledge experts, and industry innovation consultants from Denmark, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, China, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, India, Canada, and the United States. What struck me at this meeting as different from other such conferences and workshops is - that, very learned, intellectually decorated people spoke from the heart. I have seen too many meetings and discussions which become a showplace of terms and knowledge rather than a reflection of what people feel with all those accomplishments. We designers are an emotional lot. We need to think from the heart and stop parading our knowledge as a badge. That knowledge needs to transform us and anything we do into something better. So many people around the world are realizing the power of design and want to use it for social good. A call on the Designindia e-group evoked great response from many designers to the crisis in Japan. Work done from the heart. we are publishing a few of these selected posters in this issue. I hope Japan recovers soon. Sudhir Sharma Editor in Chief

Art & Design Pradeep Goswami, Sayali Sancheti Illustrator Santosh Waragade Assistants Anil Burte, Yamanappa Dodamani Publisher INDI Design Pvt Ltd Address India India House, 53, Sopan Baug, Balewadi, Pune - 411045, India Phone: +91 20 6510 6407 Vietnam Haki Advertising Ltd, 142 Le Duan Street, Hanoi, Vietnam

Icograda International Design Media Network Participant

April 2011 | # 10 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.

POOL printed on

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The Design Of Human Capital: The Grace Of Small Gestures The Power of Creative Collaboration: The Footsteps Project is a creative collaboration between Grameen Foundation, Continuum, Center for Creative Leadership and CoCoon Consulting. The team blends expertise in microfinance, leadership development and innovation to tackle the challenge of developing an innovative learning solution to address the talent gap in the microfinance sector. The team has spent considerable time in the field doing ethnography and is now developing solutions to prototype back in the field later this year. -Anna Muoio

Anna Muoio ( is a Principal at Continuum, a global innovation design consultancy that designs experiences that improve people’s lives and drive business innovation.

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The (Human) Price of Money A woman walks out of her home and through the fields of her village to the nearby well. She steps to the edge and holding her two small children in her arms, jumps in. Elsewhere, a woman drenches her body in kerosene and sets herself aflame. It takes two days to die from the burns covering her body. Dozens of stories like this, painful in their stark detail and testament of human desperation, surfaced one after the other last year, from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, as women who had slipped into a cycle of debt from microloans that they could not repay resorted to suicide as the only perceived way out of their personal financial crises. As scrutiny grew on the practice of lending small amounts of money to the poor, the sheen around the microfinance industry began to dim. Questions mounted around the perceived practice of predatory lending, granting multiple loans to the same client and alleged coercive repayment tactics. Fierce debates ensued about the ‘soul of microfinance’. The government stepped in to regulate. The flow of money in Andhra Pradesh, India’s fifth largest state, where 1/3rd of the country’s $5.3 billion in microfinance loans transacts, came to a halt. Whether microfinance is portrayed as ‘good or bad’- a facile and reductivist debate that followed the unfortunate events in Andhra Pradesh - is not the point. Microfinance is the most radical innovation in financial services of the past decades. Though microfinance alone was not conceived as a panacea to poverty, it’s often placed on this pedestal. But when microfinance is matched with other development services - entrepreneurial and life skills training, advice on health and nutrition, sanitation, and the importance of educating children (a practice known as ‘microfinance plus’ or ‘livelihood promotion’) - it is a potent piece in the poverty puzzle. As the dust settles on this recent debacle and the industry moves to right itself, the fact of need remains: In India, 42% of the country’s 1.2 billion people - around 500 million people - lack access to formal banking

services. Globally, that number is close to 3 billion. The need for microfinance is both pressing and real. The events in AP have laid bare a more systemic issue in the microfinance industry. And it’s a challenge that afflicts any sector on the jet-stream path of expansion: How to grow sustainably, and to do so in a way that keeps the human need of the people it is meant to serve at the center of every aspect of the business. Yes, business. Proponents of missiondriven microfinance, mostly non-profits who put financial inclusion ahead of profit, bemoan the commercialization of the industry; but the practice of lending money to the poor has become big business.

“We’re asking these managers to be like mini-CEOS of business units.” —Head of Operations, Ujjivan How Big, How Fast: A Cautionary Tale “I now had one goal for SKS; to grow, grow, grow as fast as we could. We could practice microfinance in a way that would serve more poor people than anyone had ever thought possible,” writes Vikram Akula, founder of SKS, the largest and fastest growing MFI in India, in his autobiography, ‘Fistful of Rice’. SKS has been the poster child of growth for the class of for-profit MFIs called NBFCs, essentially organizations operating as banks with the exception that they cannot accept deposits. Akula started SKS in 1998 with $58,000. Twelve years later, it now serves 7.7 million clients through 2,403 branches. With an A-list team of venture-capital backers (including Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems, and Silicon Valley based Sequoia Capital), SKS was the first MFI in India to IPO. Last year, the IPO raised $358 million that valued the Hyderabad-based company at $1.5 billion.

Before the IPO, Akula sold shares worth $13 million, making him a very rich and very controversial man. He became the face for the challenges of an industry that serves a real and unmet need, but that also bares the risk of loaning money to poorly educated borrowers with little financial literacy and often, with little repayment capacity. It’s a world where reputational integrity is paramount and where any misstep can create the perception of impropriety, if not villainy. But the truth is: the market of supply and demand abhors a vacuum. SKS’s growth - audacious to some, exemplary to others - is a hard-driving attempt to fill that need. And the tea leaves of this story offer lessons about the art of smart growth. Sustainable growth is not simply about leveraging financial capital, creating smart algorithms to manage risk, streamlining repayment processes or implementing high-tech MIS systems. These are the basic ante for a sustainable enterprise - especially one operating in infrastructure-challenged regions of the world. Rather, the answer’s simplicity belies its complexity. Smart growth is about smart human capital management. That is, focusing on people: unarguably any company’s most valuable asset and often the last lever dusted off and pulled in an organization’s growth machine. Focusing on its people is critical to microfinance’s success. Microfinance is about work in the field, the daily work of painstakingly bridging the ‘last mile’ to penetrate underserved regions. To bring access to financial services to those who have been excluded. The heart of microfinance does not reside in the urban headquarters of an MFI. It lives in that fragile space of human interaction around one of the most sensitive of human topics: money, the vehicle to people’s aspirations and dreams and as has happened too often recently, their downfall. The field is where the lofty mission and vision of microfinance is enacted day after day. And it’s work that’s done, in large part, by people who are unceremoniously referred to as middle managers. How MFIs effectively scale the human capital of middle managers, on which the rest of the business depends, is the root of the growth challenge at hand. And it is a 3

Collaboration complex challenge in which human centered innovation and design are playing a key role. The Design of Human Capital The work of a middle manager in microfinance is demanding. More like a micro-CEO, he guides a complex and critical cadence of activity: disbursements and collections, the bustle of loan officers and branch managers in the field, the processing and reporting of volumes of data, customers at risk of default, the response to an endless stream of emerging and unpredictable problems, the translation of policies and targets into action and a work environment that is fluid and dynamic. Middle managers just don’t ‘manage’, they lead from the middle, where microfinance’s mission is manifest as it truly is: a demanding, detail-driven business that strives to give people the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. It’s not an easy job. The MFI industry has identified that one of the biggest obstacles to its sustainable growth is the lack of adequate talent at the middle management level. There are simply not enough people with the skills needed to do the work effectively. Efforts to address this talent gap have been varied in both approach and outcome. For instance, SKS, in 2008, touted its ‘factorystyle recruitment and training’ approach as one of the means to fuel its 200% annual growth. As part of its ‘acceleration strategy’, this method required training over 450 new loan officers per month. (Loan officers are the frontline employees and first point of contact for clients seeking loans.) Here the image in a slide from an SKS presentation outlining this approach speaks a thousand words: A line of stick figure people (aka ‘inputs’) entering a factory training complex, as if on a conveyor belt, and coming out on the other side capable of managing others, or so the illustration implies. Just like that! Just in time!

The real crux to developing talent in this context was illuminated by the managing director at Ujjivan, a Bangalore-based MFI: “How do you develop people to be comfortable trying to get answers for which there are no answers?” Or, as another executive at BASIX, a livelihood promotion MFI with over 3.5 million clients, framed the talent challenge: “We need people who have the ability to see and think big—but with a heart. We need people who can create something out of nothing.” The field does not need Excel jockeys or financial modeling wizards. The field is not a spreadsheet with straight lines and square boxes to be controlled and manipulated in one dimension. It’s a fluid, dynamic and multi-dimensional environment where, as one middle manager based in a remote region of Assam in northeastern India put it, “You never know what problems it will throw at you. All you know is that each day will bring a problem you haven’t seen before.” We’re not talking about a training challenge; we’re talking about how to help

Other current training and development solutions, in both MFIs and universities, do not adequately serve microfinance’s micro-CEO corps. The interventions are either too formulaic and tactical or too expensive and infrequent—often delivered only at the behest of specific grants from donors.

@AnandBhushan Dear Liver, TeaBag me for all I care! Love Anand 4 POOL | 4.11 | #10

people solve messy, non-textbook and human issues that defy predictability or formulaic answers. In short, how do you develop people’s capacity as leaders—and tap into their full potential as humans to manage human dilemmas. Here are a few of the scenarios middle managers shared as examples of the kinds of non-textbook challenges they face: One of your customers defaults on her loan and runs away, leaving her family behind. Her husband shows up at your office with their children in tow, hands you the kids and says they’re now your responsibility. The area you manage is hit by a flood and is a disaster zone for three months—fraying the tenuous thread your clients had to financial solvency. But you still have formidable monthly targets to meet. Do you demand repayment? The religious leaders of your region are urging your clients to default on their loans claiming that microfinance—especially the practice of lending to women—violates basic tenets of religious law.

Developing leaders in this context means focusing on those capabilities that defy teaching ‘by the book’ or via in-classroom lectures (training solutions that exist today). Some of the competencies we identified as key to develop in middle managers were skills such as: learning agility, selfawareness, discernment, problem solving, decision making, independent thinking, and innovation, to name a few. It’s a leadership development model that maps the route from developing self in order to work with and through others and only then to be able to manage the work effectively. It means creating a learning solution that will work for people who will use it—not one that will be convenient for people who will give it. This means understanding at a very fundamental level what the ‘user’ needs. And this is where human centered innovation and design play a big role.

point that was about inquiry, not about rejiggering existing solutions for ‘export’. This disposition towards understanding the user drove our learning in the field: Who is the middle manager? How does he learn best? What capabilities does he need to be the most effective leader? We let the field - and the people who work in it - guide us through this inquiry. Meeting the human need is the first step; aligning it with organizational objectives is the second step.

Human centered innovation is the practice of putting people’s needs at the center of any solution: what people value, what they’re trying to do in the world, what matters to them, what frustrates or delights them. These questions pulled us back to a starting

—Managing Director, Cashpor

“Middle managers are the backbone of the organization. We cannot do anything if they’re not here. They implement our strategy.” Bringing It All Together What does this look like when you put all the pieces together? We are starting to develop the shape of a solution: An

integrated learning system that brings the learning into the field in innovative ways. It’s a system that is designed for distributed organizations with staff who live and work in remote areas and don’t have the time, or the luxury, to learn. The design attributes that will give this system ballast and keep the solutions relevant to people span from experiential (“I learn by doing”) to adaptive (“It’s what I need when I need it”). It’s a system that seamlessly guides the middle manager through a learning journey in ways that are low cost and sustainable: a difficult but essential balance. That takes into account each moment, from awareness to assessment, feedback to reinforcement, and creates an excitement along the learning continuum that the process of developing an individual’s full potential should embody. Developing human capital in microfinance is not a nice-to-have; it’s a must-do. This is especially true when the industry’s success depends on the grace of small gestures that unfold every day in the field as people work to help the world’s poor in their struggle to lift themselves out of poverty.

@ooomz Question of the day: Whats the difference between the old and new home screen icons of Twitter for Android? 5

Beyond Borders

Vietnam focuses on design The Vietnamese design industry, though fledgling, is growing rapidly, says Pham Huyen Kieu, one of the founders of the Haki Group. Mr. Kieu juggles a number of roles including Senior Consultant and Creative Director at Haki Branding, CEO at Haki Advertising, and Creative Director at ImmortalHaki. He was also instrumental in establishing the Vietnam Graphic Design Exchange. One of the leading lights of the design industry in Vietnam, Mr. Kieu talks to POOL about where it is heading… How is Vietnam different from the rest of the world in terms of design and creativity? It’s not very different. In Vietnam, in the 20 years after the wars, the creative market developed very fast – we have enough agencies, famous design houses and about 4,000 other local firms and studios to meet the needs of the emerging economy. It can be said that in Vietnam, like in any other developing country, the industry of design innovation has had all the services and resources required to develop the market. On the other hand, after many decades of wars, the design field has not received much attention on the national level. There has been a lack of education and training systems for esthetic industrial design in general, and in particular, subsidized economic limits in the application design and manufacturing business. The Vietnamese must work a lot for their young design industry. In Vietnam we have parallel markets for multinational corporations and local firms. Vietnam’s people are creative and skillful, but can sometimes be perfectionists, and lack innovation. In brief, the design industry is growing rapidly along with the economic boom in Vietnam, and we have the cultural background and desire to learn. Vietnam has a very rich heritage of art, fashion and food. How do modern businesses reflect this? Vietnam is one of the leading countries in the textile and garment world; however the fashion industry is still new. The Vietnamese know about fashion shows and fashion designers, interiors, cuisine…they try to blend the former Communist style with a more continental, liberal, friendly and tropical style. Overall, traditional values in some aspects have not been exploited well; young people in Vietnam

tend to be influenced by foreign trends, they are curious to learn more about the expanding world, and tradition remains neglected. Tell us something about design in Vietnam today. In Vietnam design is reflected primarily in the media, partly through the entertainment field, and interiors and fashion. Other areas such as digital design are still in embryo stage; the field of industrial design hasn’t grown because the manufacturing industry in Vietnam is still to grow. And yet, we have a foundation of vibrant art that reflects in our painting, photography, fashion, traditional theater, arts and handicrafts... that will be the base for modern design. What about young designers in Vietnam? They are really quick, very well adapted to the changing needs of society, intelligent and eager to learn. Their weakness is their lack of proficiency in foreign languages and low productivity.

diverse culture, market oriented attitude, and productive mind make it unique. How do you think Vietnamese and Indian designers can collaborate? There are so many things that we can cooperate on, but it is still difficult because in Vietnam we lack professional design promotion agencies and associations at the national level. We have just informally gathered some designers and graphic artists – this does not reflect and represent the remaining 40,000 designers, graphic artists, and craft artisans. In my estimate, 80% of our designers are young people under the age of 30. There have been some craft based exchange programs between India and Vietnam in recent years, but that is too small compared to the potential of the two countries.

What is your impression about Vietnamese design vis-à-vis other countries in the region? Difficult question! I personally admire the Japanese designers - Vietnam should strive to achieve such heights.

I think India and Vietnam also hosted a two-year design project, calling for the voluntary participation of interested designers. Your schools such as the NID, and our HIFU should help bring together teachers and students annually. And Pool has taken a good lead to reach both professionals and students, giving us a vibrant and vivid window on the Indian design world. I do hope that you will carry a permanent column on South East Asian design; Vietnam will surely be an active collaborator.

What is your impression of design in India? Very impressive! The influence of traditional values is constant and vivid. Indian design doesn’t merely focus on tradition; it also has a more international sensibility. Based on my observations of designers or design companies that I know, I would say Indian design is unique! The combination of an extraordinary and

Where is Haki placed in Vietnam’s design scenario? Haki is a group of independent units, which focus on brand building for clients. It includes Haki Brand, a leading consulting brand in Vietnam with more than 300 projects in 10 years; Haki Design with 17 years experience and one of the busiest design houses providing multidiscipline services from book to bottle,

@chanchalban9 Based on psychologic study, a crush only lasts for a maximum of 4 months. If it exceeds, you are already in love. 6 POOL | 4.11 | #10

and gift to web; and Haki Advertising, one of the top 10 local agencies according to an independent assessment of the FTA in 2009. Our focus is highly creative brand management for all businesses in Vietnam, from the state-owned groups to local traditional labels. We help businesses, organizations and individuals launch new brands and identities every week. Haki is located firmly in the minds of marketers when it comes to branding. What are your future plans for Haki? We want to make it a Vietnamese company capable of global operations, ranked Number One in terms of projects and rich experience, and the ability to meet changes in the economy. We will build big brands in Vietnam through comprehensive services, ranging from creation to management and brand communication. We are moving vigorously - we expect to double staff strength this year to meet all areas from strategic consulting to interactive design. What inspires you? The logos I designed in the past, and will design in the present and future, and the dream of Vietnam’s world brands. I also dream of a big industrialized design house named Haki. And I love reading printed publications such as How, DesignWeek, and now Pool!

slug here

SOME LIKE IT HOT! Others prefer their tees uber cool! Sheikha Mattar-Jacob and Noelline Besson of Masala Tee have created a frothy line of tee-shirts that reflects their addiction to both tea and tees! They’ve thought of every pun that you can think of in connection to tea, and more, and used it to their advantage! Not surprisingly, the name ‘Masala Tee’ evolved over a cup of tea one hot summer afternoon in Delhi where ‘tea-totaller’ friends Sheikha Mattar-Jacob and Noelline Besson, originally from Singapore and France respectively, now live. “The idea was concocted and brewed in 2009 over a cup of masala chai, literally,” exclaim the two expats. “Masala Tee is inspired by both tee and tea culture. Tee, the tee-shirt, encourages obsession in the wearer and is worn with attitude everywhere around the world, being an affordable, cool and integral part of the wardrobe. Tea, the drink, is shared in nearly every culture around the world, offering inspiration,

warmth and mindfulness. Tee and Tea is not merely a drink or a tee-shirt. It is a feeling, a way of life!“ For the two ladies, Masala Tee is symbolic of a quintessential product of India. “We love the apt pun on words. There is a nice zing, and we think it witty and fun. In short, it is memorable, cool, spot on, witty, and quirky.” And so it is…the different collections for men, women and children feature images of moustached turbaned men, bejeweled beauties and elephants and other animals - the true masala flavor of India as seen from a Western sensibility. “We decided to play around with people’s visages. And India has so much to offer on that front,” says Sheikha. “Beautiful people and animals…. beautifully decorated.” The tees are made

from sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and bamboo fiber, and are embellished with embroidery or Swarovski stones. And of course, each tee comes in a tee bag! “Masala Tee is a mixture of uber cool and piping hot green organic tee brewed to perfection. That’s our USP. It’s a mixture of quality, purity, and style with a quirky edge to it,” describes Sheikha. The partners have creative and marketing backgrounds, which obviously helped when they set up their company, Tee Wallah Etc. Sheikha has 15 years of experience in advertising and marketing, and Noelline has worked as a freelance designer in France and India for the last 10 years. At present it’s just the two of them doing everything. “We’ve learnt to think, strategize, organize, plan, and execute big when in fact the

@BillBell2010 Bogusky Garbage Designing a new kind of search engine that ranks proven scientific data more highly

than opinion...

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resources are small,” they admit, and they’re doing a pretty good job. When they decided on the Masala Tee brand, they realized it had to be visually arresting first and foremost. “Our brief was that it had to be moving - you had to smile, laugh and feel something when you associated the brand name to the visual to the idea to the concept. So, it had to be visually appealing with clean lines, lovely, urban. And it needed to be appreciated (and shared) all around the world.” Masala Tee is all that. Already it has a following around the world, and there is a lot of support for Masala Tee for Humani-Tee, an initiative to build close relationships with the community. A percentage of the sales proceeds go towards humanitarian organizations helping

women and children in India. The duo is concentrating on working as a design/ concept house, churning out tees with new ideas for different market segments on a regular basis. “We are working with a manufacturing outfit for production and setting up a distribution channel in and out of India. We also sell directly from our eboutique: .” Inspired by Japanese Zen and minimalist designers and quirky underground street designers, Sheikha and Noelline are single minded in their focus. Tees are their USP and will continue to be so. “A good designer is intuitive to things around her, and this is manifested in her thoughts/ ideas/execution. A fine sense of detail, color, wit and humor are prerequisites. The result can be Magic,” they say. “We

want to be able to tell a story and move people. And get them to share that story.” The enterprising ladies seem to have perfected their story to a tee. “Affordable ready to wear is the fastest growing segment as the world grows more cost conscious. The sustainable fashion industry will grow bigger in the next five years, albeit from a small base and despite many challenges, as the world gets more educated on and influenced by green buzzwords such as ‘organic’, ‘fair trade’ and ‘sustainable’,” they predict. And when that happens, Masala Tee will be out there, refreshing, eco friendly, and fun! Meanwhile, Sheikha and Noelline are busy “brewing more green tees with new flavors”. But naturally.

@anexasajoop To the Desert and Back, @kollyglot writes about our trip to Kutch with @turmericdesign, @sharmaeshan and Broti. 9

More Than Fine Feathers

Nikhil Dudani’s blog ‘Plastic Birdcage’ is a funky look at life and style

What does a stylist do when he’s not at work styling models and shoots? He experiments with his own style, slipping into a forgotten shirt, or two, from the bottom of his wardrobe, combining it with eclectic accessories, and topping off the whole look with striking headgear and some edgy attitude. And then he posts the results on his blog. Nikhil Dudani’s ‘Plastic Birdcage’ is an arresting collection of photographs of models, designers, stylists, fashion writers and others connected with the colorful world of fashion. He features in several, making pithy observations about his attire or life in general. Words are not the focus of this blog – the pictures do all the talking. “Plastic Birdcage is about my personal style, people on the streets or events, runway shows, photographs, home projects, travel, my editorial work - anything that’s part of my life,” he reveals. His day job is as Assistant Style Editor for Marie Claire magazine, a portfolio that gives him ample access to the wacky, sometimes bizarre, subjects of his blog. You are as likely to find him exclaiming over Captain Spock’s sartorial preferences as at the color of a passing cab! “I always had a diary or a file which had piles of images and writing and ideas all scribbled on it and I never knew what to 10 POOL | 4.11 | #10

do with them. So I kept storing them away for reference in the future, which is what actually led me to start my blog in many ways. It made it easier to keep track of things and not lose them. I am a hoarder; I never run out of space on the web,” confides Nikhil of his foray into blogging. Plastic Birdcage is two and a half years old and has a decidedly select share of followers. “I started blogging when I had a five month break between jobs and felt the need to bring ideas and imagination to life. I don’t drive traffic to my blog - it has about 35 followers, less then I do on twitter where I am highly inactive! I have an account on where I connect my looks to my blogposts.” Like most creative people, blogging gives him immense satisfaction. “It’s nice to know that my blog will always be there in some form about a memory of a time in my life. And of course, it’s good to know that there are people who appreciate it,” says Nikhil. “Blogging has helped me to realize that individuality, whether subtle or over the top, is really what everyone is about. No two people are ever alike. Plastic Birdcage allows me to document how I see the world and all its details.” Nikhil’s professional commitments don’t allow him to spend much time updating

his blog, and in fact his posts are pretty sporadic, something he intends to change soon. “My work keeps me busy so blogging takes a back seat sometimes. But mostly my work and my blogging have a symbiotic relation and support each other. However, I’m pretty much always up to blogging when I feel that something is interesting enough to document or to make and then I can spend hours on it without sleep,” he admits. “It’s always nice to see blogs with influences of where the blogger is from or their lifestyle,” muses Nikhil, adding that his favorite blogs are for her stories, for discovering artists, and jakandjil for his imagery. “Imitation is unavoidable,” he says, and while it’s possible that Plastic Birdcage may inspire someone else to do something similar, he’s not particularly worried. He’s well on his way to getting closer to his “alternate universe”, and he does it in his own unique style. 11


Wake up call! Illustrator/designer Karan Singh’s website is intriguingly called ‘Wake Up Mr. Singh’ and his use of bright colors and striking images is enough to leave anyone wide eyed! What kind of work do you do? I’m into all sorts of work, ranging from motion to sculpture to jewelry to fashion. I’m inspired by anything and everything, but lately and most significantly, the movement of futurism and space. My work is mostly digital though I do incorporate some traditional methods within my work from time to time. I mainly create my work in the vector format and as a result have an affinity to Adobe Illustrator. Describe your style. I work specifically in the vector format and most of my work lately is inspired by space and the future. I’d like to think that I don’t really have a style to my work but rather an approach or methodology in executing work. That is, I have a process by which I conceptualize and create my works. Usually, ideas start on a piece of paper which gradually evolve into the finished illustration. What was your first project? The first commercial illustration work I did was for Computer Arts magazine in the UK. I was studying in Sweden as an exchange student at the time and it was an amazing opportunity for me. Since then they’ve been a consistent client! Is there a conscious divide between commercial projects and personal stuff you do for fun? Not really. I think if you find a client who trusts your ability and openly communicates what they’d like, it doesn’t really feel like work at all! Personal projects are unrestrictive and allow for freedom to experiment without any real deadline. However, it’s the things I learn whilst doing these personal works that often instigate commercial projects. Clients usually choose my personal projects as references for what they’d like me to create. I enjoy working on both facets of illustration, both have their own strengths and drawbacks.

Who are your major clients? My biggest clients have been the likes of MTV where I contributed illustrations for their clothing range, GQ magazine where I created illustrations to accompany an article, and lately some work for Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Square Pants. Tell us more about the GQ project. The brief was to create an illustration to accompany an interview with Indian Olympian shooter Abhinav Bindra. Apparently, he was shy and didn’t want his photo taken so they asked me to illustrate a portrait of him! The response was positive; they liked the execution but the praise was subdued as we were all working to a tight deadline and were relieved it was complete! Is there a story behind any favorite project? My favorite project to date has been working with my agency ‘The Jacky Winter Group’ and K.W. Doggett, a paper company here in Australia. The brief was to create an illustration inspired by a phrase about dogs (as that is K.W. Doggett’s signature) and I was assigned ‘A Dog’s Breakfast’. I’m really pleased with the results and consider it one of my favorite pieces. What is the best and most encouraging feedback you have ever received and from whom? I think the best advice I’ve received is from being a part of international art group Depthcore. They’re a bunch of talented like minded artists who continue to support and push you to improve your work. Do have any icons or mentors? My mentor for the past few years has been Romanian illustrator Matei Apostolescu. We’ve collaborated on art pieces and become good friends without having even met each other in real life. I admire his talent and appreciate his support.

What has been the biggest learning so far? My biggest learning experience has been the past six months where I’ve taken the leap and committed to working as a fulltime freelance illustrator. It’s a challenge as I am responsible for running all facets of my business ranging from accounts to new business to creating the work itself! Thus far it’s been an enjoyable life lesson.

Clients usually choose my personal projects as references for what they’d like me to create. I enjoy working on both, commercial and personal facets of illustration, both have their own strengths and drawbacks How would you describe yourself? I consider myself an illustrator. I enjoy graphic design and would love to create more identities, typefaces and layouts but what I do right now is not design. Design is problem solving. Illustration is somewhat subjective, despite having a brief I have certain freedoms which I don’t have in design. I’m a bit unsure about calling my work art. It’s a touchy subject for a lot of purists who still believe the only forms of art are those by traditional means. Digital art is art but I think I’m far too shy to call my own work art. What are your plans for the future? I’ve got the travel bug and as a result would love to live and work all over the world. I’d love to work in Tokyo or Copenhagen or Stockholm.

@Karthik so idiots put a tick in front of their name to make their account look like a verified account? How smart. 12 POOL | 4.11 | #10 13

Hope-Japan The sun will rise again A tribute to the indomitable spirit and courage of the people of Japan. In ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ there is always hope... Nature has inflicted its wrath in full force and these are difficult times for our friends in Japan. We salute their undying spirit, urge them to rediscover the samurais within each one of them, and fight against these destructive forces to emerge as the ‘shou sha’ (winners) they have always been. A batch of Post-graduation students of Strategic Design Management at National Institute of Design, India show their support for the people of Japan in the form of a series of posters in response to a call given by the Designindia forum. NID students took this as a classroom assignment under the guidance of Professor Anil Sinha.

Aanchal Sood, Akshata Malhotra, Alomi Chishi, Ankur Gupta, Anvika Kapoor, Disha Kaushal, Jaskeerat Bedi, Madhumanti Ghosh, Nidhi Gupta, Richa Thakkar, Roli Agrawal, Subhash Gupta, Suganth Chellamuthu, and Vaibhav Vyas with Prof. Anil Sinha

Nothing can shake our LOVE for You

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..and LIFE still goes ON

Strings Attached Mixed media and installation artist Gabriel Dawe’s stunning creations with thread contain hidden stories. The awardwinning and much lauded artist tells us what lies beneath his colorful, fluid and eye-catching installations‌ 15

Tied-Up Mexican beginnings I was born in Mexico City where I grew up surrounded by the intensity and color of Mexican culture. I obtained a Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree from Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, after which I worked as a graphic designer in Mexico. In a bid to explore a foreign land, I moved to Montreal, Canada in 2000 and that’s where I started experimenting and creating artwork, which eventually led me to explore textiles and embroidery - activities traditionally associated with women and forbidden for a boy growing up in Mexico! After seven years in Canada I moved to Texas to pursue graduate school at the University of Texas at Dallas where I am presently a candidate for an MFA in Arts and Technology.

Hidden stories One of the major themes of my work is human vulnerability. The experience of being human might be the result of unique circumstances, but underlining these circumstances is a universal quality which connects us as a species in ways we don’t always understand. From the moment we are born, that which is invisible - such as our parent’s expectations, the attitudes and beliefs they teach us, social norms, rules, regulations, fears, pain, joy, love - starts shaping who we are to become in the world. My artistic practice often involves taking these invisible things and making a visual representation out of them. I create artwork that aims to generate an experience that can go from

the intimate, with the small pieces, to the fully immersive, with the large scale installations. My goal is to make viewers aware of those structures so they can reflect on how they affect their life, both in positive and negative ways. The inspiration More than anything, there is a need inside me that drives me to create. I am constantly doing something and get restless when I’m not. I find it hard to try to pinpoint the things that inspire me, mostly because I think there are so many of them. Art would be the biggest inspiration, in particular an artist whose work is labor-intensive and obsessive in nature.

Gabriel Dawe

@smitenator I got retweeted by @LeeUnkrich I shall have a great day today! :D 16 POOL | 4.11 | #10

Picking up the threads Before doing the thread installations, all my work was small scale, and I felt the need to think of something that would greatly increase the scale of my work. The opportunity to do something big in scale came in mid-2009 with the invitation for a show that took place in early 2010 curated by Charissa Terranova, then director of Centraltrak, where I was (and still am until May) an artist in Residence. The title of the show was ‘Transitive Pairings’ and the premise was to have an artist that worked with fashion in one way or another, work with an architect to make an installation. Reflecting on what the show was about and what I could bring to the collaboration, I came up with the idea

of making an architectural structure with thread, which is the main material of fabric and clothing.

up surprised by things I hadn’t expected; this is very refreshing and keeps the work interesting for me.

Experimenting for that show is how I came about the Plexus installations and I started the first one covering one wall in my studio. It’s been a bit over a year, and I’ve done five of them so far; by the end of the year I will have done at least five more.

The future In early April I have a show at Centraltrak, and I will be sharing the gallery with a fellow resident, Cassandra Emswiler. Right after that I will be doing an installation in Austin for the Texas Biennial, and I will also be taking part in the Dallas Art Fair at the Conduit Gallery booth, showing my non-installation work. I also have a residency in July at the Luminary Arts Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

The story unfolds The journey so far has been really amazing! So far each one I’ve done is bigger and more complex than the last, and I learn new stuff with each. Even though I have a pretty good idea of what the end result is going to be, I still end

@neilhimself Good night universe. Good night wife who thinks I am Satan because I follow 666 people. Good night #MyNightInHaiku writers. Dream sweetly. 17


For architect Satyajit Das, photography is a way to capture images of a transient world

“Photography is a secondary process that comes from my being interested in architecture,” says Satyajit Das. “My interest in people, communities and how they live forms the basis, and photography is simply one of the best methods to capture those moments that tell the story about the surroundings.” Based in the UK, Satyajit is in the process of setting up an architecture/graphic design firm called Blacbox Studio which will look at branding and graphic design solutions all the way to designing buildings and creating solutions to how we live. It’s what he’s trained to do, but his designer’s eye also works well behind the camera, and has ever since his mother made him document childhood birthdays with “far too many pictures”.

“I love seeing how cities erode away, as we live in them day to day. The simplicity of a slab of concrete cracking fascinates me, and makes me curious of the life that’s lived around it. What’s interesting is the transient nature of the world. It’s constantly evolving,” he says. “Great images and stories are all around us. You just need to look carefully to see the beauty everywhere. But ultimately, a good photographer is one that has a great story to tell.”

“I want to be involved in making great buildings. I want to add to the educational community, helping unlock creativity for the good of society.” His creative influences are many - Caruso St. John, Plastikman, Tim Burton, and Josef Muller Brockmann – but when it comes to photography, his favorites are the people who sit behind x-ray machines in hospitals! “Having a good eye for an image or object is a similar skill. I imagine most good designers would have the potential to be good photographers, however, to be good at anything requires practice and learning the technical side of the art (even if it is a lo-fi technique), which is still something that would be required to get to the next level,” says Satyajit.


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The young man’s journey to architecture wasn’t a straightforward one. “My family moved from India to the UK when I was 13. I studied medicine for a while and realized it wasn’t for me. After that I ran a music business promoting large electronic music events and managing artists, but I was still looking for something more, and then architecture came about,” he confides. “I studied for six years between Nottingham University and the Royal College of Art, London, and worked for world renowned Dutch architect Erick Van Egeraat for a while.”

It’s been a “fun, exciting, testing, and difficult” journey for Satyajit, as he has tried to find a foothold doing what he believes in. “I want to be involved in making great buildings. I want to add to the educational community, helping unlock creativity for the good of society,” he says of the future. And India beckons. “The country has such a strong heritage in architecture and design through its history. I’m looking forward to getting my first commissions in India, in terms of architecture - building a great piece of architecture, which resonates with the current Indian climate, as well trying to utilize creativity to contribute positively to its social fabric.”

Meanwhile he remains trigger-happy with his camera, recording memorable vignettes of a shifting landscape. “I really like those disposable cameras which you can get for really cheap,” he laughs. “There’s something quite liberating about snapping away on them. You can relax and document things without getting precious. Also I like the fact that anyone can get involved.” And so they should, before things…and cities erode so completely that they can’t be recognized anymore.

@LimeIce #TwoStepsAhead RT: @gabbar_linux: @LimeIce so i would not be surprised if they bring in Diet cola or cola condoms with a Fizz ! :-) 21


Advertising vs. Design Are the lines between advertising and design blurring? Pool in conversation with veteran adman Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and National Creative Director of Ogilvy India of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Inc.

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A lot of people say that advertising and design are closely related; in fact several advertising agencies have their own design companies. So what is this synergy? Why are advertising companies now getting into this? PP: Basically if you look for one word common to all of them, it is communication. And design communicates in its own way. So it’s the desire for everyone to learn more about communication. Sometimes visual communication is so much stronger than even words, therefore people think there is an opportunity to express themselves, to find good business in it, and I think it’s a higher level of art direction.

and so many more, that minds opened up on either side. I think design people realized that ‘one of ours is doing so well out there’!

While a lot of design people actually look down on advertising creativity, you also find a lot of them actually finding their way into advertising. PP: See, if you look back, many years ago it was very difficult to hire NID people in advertising because they thought it was not what they were seeking. After a while advertising people started thinking that the designers were too arrogant. But then the likes of NID gave advertising so many brilliant people such as Prasoon Pandey, Sonal Dabral

Recently I was speaking at Design INDABA, in Cape Town, South Africa, and it was so refreshing to meet young designers. They found what we do very interesting so I think it’s purely a question of learning from each other and using each other to enhance your own work.

Meanwhile, people on this side have realized that these people are actually so good. But I also think it’s opened up because the way design was taught earlier, a lot of designers came out thinking that they were meant to be professors and not sellers or social reformers. Design is all about NOT selling and therefore they look down on advertising people. And, advertising people thought designers were academics, not businessmen… so now I think that ice is broken.

In the UK and New York you find a lot of synergy between designers and advertising people. PP: Yes, without a doubt!

But we don’t find that here. Why? PP: I think it’s been a slow process. But it will happen, it has to happen. Do you see it happening yet? PP: I think it will have to. See, as the economy grows, and clients realize that each piece of communication that they do must add up, it will bring people together anyway. It cannot be that your designer is doing something and your agency is doing something else! The client wants two plus two to be five and not two separate and two separate. He’s actually first looking for a four, but ultimately he wants a five. You must have met many global designers. Do you find a difference between designers abroad and here? PP: I haven’t met too many designers here, so it is difficult for me to compare and comment on that. I think the kind of designers I have met internationally in different fields have been very interesting people. I don’t think I’ve had too much exposure to design people out here… maybe that’s because the two industries really haven’t come together. I would actually love to invite designers to come and speak to my people - there would be a lot of learning there. 23

Cover Story

Opening windows to the world


Sujata Keshavan, MD and Executive Creative Director of Bangalore-based Ray+Keshavan, part of WPP’s global brand agency The Brand Union, tells POOL how she created a significant niche for herself in the global Brand Identity arena

Why did you choose to be a designer? I was a student of science, who also had an abiding interest in art. I was looking for a field that combined both these interests. Design came closest to doing this. What was the turning point in your professional life? The master’s degree that I obtained from Yale University in the US was very significant. At Yale, I had the opportunity to study with some great designers who have shaped design vocabulary and thinking in the 20th century. They included the legendary designer of Corporate Identity, Paul Rand; the gentleman designer Bradbury Thompson who redefined print; the iconic Swiss teachers

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Armin Hoffmann and Wolfgang Weingart; and the celebrated font designer Mathew Carter. They often presented divergent points of view, but what each of them did was to up the ante and inspire us to reflect more critically on our own work. Which one designer has made a big impact on you? My brilliant teacher Paul Rand has been a real inspiration. He was the most intelligent of my teachers, and I understood from him the importance of intelligence in design. What inspired you to start your own practice? When I returned to India after studying

and working in the US in the eighties, I found that while the advertising industry was well developed, there were no significant employers in the field of design. I wanted to continue working to high professional standards in the area of Brand Identity, which I most enjoyed, but there were no offices that offered such an opportunity. Since I wished to live in India, my only option, at the time, was to set up my own practice. How did you attract your initial employees? My first employee was Jagadev Gajare, a highly skilled layout and finishing artist in Bangalore. He had a full time position at Ogilvy, but would work freelance for me

at night, picking up my design sketches everyday at 7 pm and dropping off finished comps and artworks the next morning at 9 am before going to his office. He soon started enjoying the work that he did with me more than the work that he did in his full time job. He continues to work with me till today, being R+K’s longest serving employee! My other early employees were mainly young designers from my alma mater, the National Institute of Design (NID), who were excited about what I was trying to do and my approach. Which has been your favorite project so far? There have been many projects that have been interesting and rewarding in different ways. If I have to choose one special one, it would be the work we have done for Jammu & Kashmir Bank. This has been the most interesting project that I have worked on because it had the most ambitious mandate: to revitalize the economy of Kashmir which had dropped off the map because of the tortured history of the state, and to leapfrog the bank in this period of strife, by a hundred years, to current international standards. All this had to be done while being sensitive to the people of the different regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, taking cognizance of their three different cultures, languages and religions. We were lucky to work with a visionary client who was totally committed to the project. I very much doubt that I will again have the opportunity to work on such a fascinating project in this lifetime. What would be your dream project? In the 20 odd years that I have been in design, my great regret is that I have not worked on a single government project. Government has by far the MOST interesting projects to offer, yet they never ever reach the right professionals, because of endemic nepotism and corruption. The scope, scale and complexity of Government projects make them the most interesting of all. After all the government of the smallest state is bigger than that of the biggest corporate house! I would love to work on projects in tourism, bringing the transforming power of design to the country as a brand, or its states, or even re-branding iconic brands like the railways, Air India, or Amul.

What led to the deal with WPP? After economic liberalization in the 1990s, Indian companies were increasingly looking to take their goods and services to the world. While we had a decent understanding of the Indian market and consumer through the 20 odd years that we have worked in this country, we could not provide the same degree of market knowledge about the other parts of the world that our clients wished to be present in. I felt that by tying up with a truly global network, I could provide the best possible offering to my clients: Global best practices and domain expertise of large international brands combined with deep local insights and understanding. As the world’s most influential global network, WPP brought the former to the table, and we already had the latter at R+K. How would you describe your professional journey so far? Very exciting! Besides the global perspective, I believe that post the merger we have significantly strengthened our strategic capability. We now have superior capability in both design and strategy. We have become much more professional both in our approach and in our delivery. We are also able to pay higher salaries and attract better talent. Our people get to collaborate with other offices in the network and work in other geographies. How have professional practices in the design world changed since you started out more than 20 years ago? I started my practice in the preliberalization era in Delhi, which was the cradle of the License Raj business culture. Branding and design were unheard of, so I had to spend a great deal of my time trying to explain what it was that I did. One of my significant achievements was to have brought the first Apple Mac to India! Our company was the first fully Apple office, and it was very difficult as we had to send the machines to Hong Kong for servicing as there were no dealers or service centers in India. I also put in a great deal of effort to raise the standards of the eco system we worked with such as printers, sign makers, etc. Most of them worked with abysmally low standards in those days, and I was regarded as an eccentric who hung

around printing presses at all hours of day and night, making adjustments to get better print quality. Things have changed vastly since that time, and we now have professional printers who can be left to do their job. The other life altering change, of course, has been the development and access we now have to technology. Photoshop has revolutionized the industry, and we can now make the impossible possible! Design time has been drastically reduced. Things that we labored on for weeks and months can be turned round in a flash! What excites you about the future of design in India? Design is still very new to India and what we have seen up until now is not even the tip of the iceberg. This is a huge and fascinating country with one sixth of the earth’s people. There is an enormous design deficit at present, and as India develops there is a huge positive role that designers can play in shaping the way the country progresses as we lift our people out of poverty. There is scope for so much improvement in every aspect of design, in architecture, city planning, products, furniture, communication, information, etc. We need a focus on design in our education to equip us to meet the potential and challenges that lie ahead. A complete re-vamp of our education system, so as to encourage us to think and innovate is the need of the hour. What would you advise young design entrepreneurs? To paraphrase what Rabindranath Tagore said: let the winds of the world waft in through the windows of your house, but do not be blown away by any of them. What are your other interests? I love art, architecture, conservation, restoring heritage buildings, reading fiction, food, traveling to interesting places, and meeting interesting people. And finally, what are your plans for the future? For good or bad, I am not much of a future planner. I tend to coast along, seeing where each day takes me, enjoying the scenery and the ride rather than worrying about where I’m headed!

@nithinkd R u a perennially potty mouthed girl? Join twitter, a bunch of repressed women n desperate men will make u their star! 25

From the Mint

Lemon Design recently worked with the Reserve Bank of India to set up their first ‘newshibition’ on the evolution of money, banking and finance in India

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‘Mint Road Milestones’ is a unique ‘newshibition’ based on the book of the same title published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last year. The word ‘newshibition’ was coined by putting together ‘news’ and ‘exhibition’, and appropriately, this one draws not just from the Reserve Bank’s internal material, but also extensively from media reports over the years to showcase RBI’s policies through time and up to the present moment. Slated to open in Kolkata and then Bhopal, the newshibition is part of the Bank’s outreach and financial literacy efforts which commenced with the setting up of the Bank’s Monetary Museum in Mumbai. The main focus of the ten-tear-old Pune based Lemon Design was to evoke interest in and take banking and finance to the common man, besides bankers and students of Economics. The chronological exhibition takes the visitor through the 75year-old journey of one of the most reputed institutions in the country – it is in many ways the story of money, finance and banking in India. The display has been divided into nine sections representing different phases in the Bank’s evolution. The navigation is free flowing and organic, allowing the visitor to choose his own path. The design of the exhibition takes a clean and modular approach and revolves around the metaphors of authority, richness, refinement and multi-layering and structures content in a very understandable manner. The layout is dynamic and the panel structure is modular thus allowing the exhibition to adapt itself to different spaces. Pockets of seating areas enable the viewer to relax and watch the same information on a LCD screen at ease. The materials and processes used also reflect the richness and heritage to be depicted. 27


School of Planning and Architecture, SPA Brief overview India’s premier architecture, planning, design and management institute, the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) is a deemed university under the Ministry of Human Resources and Development. SPA has taken the lead in introducing academic programs in specialized fields both at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. The institute extends the scope of architecture and other disciplines to encompass industrial design activities through its vast experience in various design areas. The Department of Industrial Design (DoID) came into existence in 1992. Its founders were Prof. V. P Raori (SPA), Prof. M. R Agnihotri (SPA), Prof. I.M Chishti (SPA), Prof. G.V Soumitri, Bani Singh, Anjan Cakravarty, and H. K Vyas (NID, Ahmedabad). DoID has won many prestigious awards in the field of industrial design.

Need/purpose for organization The Master’s in Industrial Design - M.Des (ID) is a four-semester post graduate course to train graduates from various fields in the emerging area of industrial design; it aims to provide a broader spectrum of the skills and knowledge that would help them explain new avenues for design work, while improving their performance at designing manmade integrated environments. The program at SPA equips the designer to handle a vast spectrum of products at both esthetic and innovative levels. The intervention allows the designer to work in fields such as Lifestyle Products, Transport Design, White Goods Design, Medical Equipment, Architectural Products, Construction Products, Furniture Design, Visual Interface Design, and Graphic Design. Number of students Almost 170 students have graduated from the DoID, SPA.

Admission process The applicant is required to have: 1. B.Arch Degree from a recognized University or its equivalent 2. B. Arch + CEED / GATE 3. Valid CEED score (for non architects) All the above are subject to other criteria of percentage, reservation, etc. as applicable to other graduate courses at SPA. Important dates for admission Applications for admissions are to be made in March and April; a notification to this effect is made in national dailies. The academic year commences in the last week of July.

Faculty Professor & HOD: Prof. Manoj Mathur -B.Arch., FIIA; Assistant Professor: Parag Anand Meshram - B.E (Electrical), M.Des (IDDC); Lecturer: Krity Gera - B.Arch (SSAA), Maters in ID (SPA) Visiting Faculty includes Mohd. Bilal Abid, Naveen Vikas Rampal, Anisha Shekhar Mukherji, Manjari Sharma, Bharat Upadhyay, Aditi Singh, Ruchin Chaudhary, Alpna Rohatgi, and Prabhat Mahapatra. Faculty development programs The faculty regularly attends national and international seminars and workshops, as well as in-house workshops conducted by the Department.

Upcoming events DoID takes part in the Auto Expo held at Pragati Maidan every alternative year. Workshops will be conducted on usage of different materials like wood, metal, fabric, paper and clay in April 2011. Contact Ph: +91 011 – 23702392 Fax: 011 - 2370 2383 E-mail: - Address Department of Industrial Design, School of Planning and Architecture, 6-Block-B, Indraprastha Estate, New Delhi 110002 29

Point of view

Changing cityscapes At a recent seminar held to create visionary plans for Delhi 40 years from now, multi-faceted textile designer Mayank Mansingh Kaul stressed on the need for cultural approaches to change. He discusses the idea with POOL. How did you get involved with the ‘DELHI 2050’ seminar? One of the members of the organizing team of the seminar had attended a panel discussion I had moderated as part of the KHOJ art-fashion residency curated by me in February 2011. In the panel discussion we had discussed ways in which we see fashion today - as an artifact in society, an instrument of change, an artistic process - and it was felt that since the seminar was inviting a diverse range of practitioners to engage with, a person from a fashion background could be relevant to dialogue with architects, film-makers, artists, and so on. Ultimately, an interaction with how fashion gets created and is played out is a lot about understanding human attitudes and motivations. What was the purpose of the seminar? The DELHI 2050 seminar attempted to raise questions and create directions related to how we see the city in 2050. Through public discussions and workshops it created a space to envision what our city can be in years to come, and the kind of ideas and efforts required to make them happen. The specific workshop that I was a part of required four panelists - an interior designer from Netherlands, a product designer from Belgium, a film-maker and architect from Delhi apart from myself, to present to an audience 10 images which we think are inspirational to us in imagining a Delhi in 2050. This was followed by a discussion with the audience. How did it go? Each presenter had a very unique way of presenting these images and inspirations, and the ‘food for the thought’ that was created therefore, was very diverse. The discussion with the audience that followed was very dynamic and revealing - ultimately all questions related to the subject led to a need

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to understand the cultural fabric of a city without which its future cannot be mapped or developed. The audience was a mix of students, practitioners and general public which further led to very layered points of view and responses. How do you foresee the future of Indian cities? Unless we create a very active ability to pause and decisively plan the future of Indian cities, I see that we will reach a point of brink (environmental disasters, riots due to cities not being able to take rural migrations anymore, severe health issues for human populations, and so on) until we learn from our mistakes and lack of proper urban planning. The issue is that since most of our cities have organically come up over the decades, it will take cultural approaches to address immediate issues. For instance, the issue of people throwing garbage on the very streets they live in - as long as it is outside their home - can be addressed, only if we go deeper and understand what is the idea of private/collective space at a psychologicalcultural level. Until then, we will only be addressing minor, surface symptoms at a superficial level, often borrowed from the models that may work/have worked on other countries. The five scenarios essential to imagining future cities are: Integrating rural landscapes: We need to bring more farm-land into cities, revive traditional-appropriate methods and technologies in waterconservation, renewable energy generation and consumption, link rural to urban-market food produce, etc. Urban populations need to be more sensitive to the large parts of the country which actually feed urban consumption. Involving the so-called ‘unorganized’ sector: This sector, consisting of small merchantsmanufacturers-sellers, is actually a huge ‘self-employed’ sector, and derives its strength from small-innovations and improvisations. Being a vital aspect of our cultural and creative economy, they need to be included in a far more inclusive way than at the moment. Reviving local traditions and heritage: Heritage needs to be seen as not just the

inheritance of ‘physical’ monuments but also intangible customs. In most Indian cities, there still exist small localities which retain local cultural forms (say the pol area of Ahmedabad, or localities like Lado Sarai-Hauz Khas village in Delhi), and these need to be revived and seen as part of the contemporary. Public spaces: Orchestrated public spaces need to allow for people of all ages and strata to have a space to spontaneously interact with the city. Gender and human rights sensitization: There is an urgent requirement for cities to show how the can create gender equality and rights for minorities (gay and transgender, religious and cultural minorities and so on). Do you think designers are conductors of change? I think that any activity which requires intentionality and decision-making lends itself to change. In this sense, yes design is intrinsically about such value creation, where its process is informed by an opportunity to define what values material, esthetic, economic and so on - a designer thinks are relevant for a time and context. In some cases, such decisions can also resist change. But we also need to understand that design, even if created for a ‘purpose’, must question the very idea of such purpose: what I am saying is that we must also allow for design to be created for itself alone and for artistic purposes, which allows us to create beauty for its own contemplation (like art) and ability to transform a viewer/user. What sort of change can designers bring about? I would like to propose a use and impact for design, beyond how it is understood today - as products, systems, thinking and so on - to any act where intention is implied. In this way, designers can allow themselves to be seen as real participants of change in society where they help in shaping all aspects of culture. I feel it’s also equally important that designers learn from nature and allow design to become a way of synergizing with nature in creating human-nature interactions. As a society, we need to find more active influential spaces for artists and designers and assume positions of leadership. As

artists and designers, we need to connect and work more closely with naturalists, scientists, biologists - people researching behavior and patterns in nature; as well as political representatives like MPs and the bureaucracy to inform policies with design thinking. Is design education in India tailored for change? To begin with, design institutions and schools in India need to become centers of out-of-box thinking-making-being. They need to create modules which question and engage with not just more diverse media and practices alone, but also with the very idea of what it means to be living today and so on! One of the biggest problems design schools in India face today is faculty, and we need to understand that it is not necessary to just look at training ‘design teachers’ as it is traditionally understood but also to infuse the design curriculum itself with more layered courses in music, art, science, popular culture, food and so on. Students are becoming more visual, and our technologies - computers, phones, cameras - are reducing our attention spans. In such a scenario, it is problematic to make students think on their own, leave alone think innovatively. One of the ways in which this can be addressed is by exposing students to diverse media, so they may start making their own connections and relations. Is borderless interaction the need of the day? I feel that in a post-modernist time, the question of whether we need it is becoming irrelevant. Geographically or across media/disciplines, convergence and such inter-disciplinary discussions are the foundation of any applied theory and practice that wants to be relevant today. However, we must not forget that as technology is being accessed increasingly by a larger number of people than before, there are many who still cannot access it and therefore get left out of informationnetworks, as well as participation in how a country or the world is shaping. The relevant question therefore is how do we make sure that this borderless interaction also includes more people?

@rameshsrivats It seems Microsoft & Nokia are going to create some new ecosystem. I hope they’ve got

clearance from Jairam Ramesh. 31


Samir Ballare

Paavani Bishnoi

April POOL 2011  

Pool Magazine for April 2011

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