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UTTISHTA VARANASI I am currently a final year student at NID, specialising in Product design. Having an interdisciplinary design education combined with my passion to travel and explore different cultures has allowed me to have a lot of insights and exposure into the applications, effects and responsibility of design. I believe that there is no ‘best’ design; as the next better iteration is still left to be made.



National Institute of Design B.Des,Product Design (Final year) Dubai Modern High School Class XII -ISC

Ideation Research Sketching Digital Rendering 3D Modeling Drafting Photography Video Editing Physical prototyping

experience Speaker at India HCI conference, Student Design Consortium, IIT Mumbai 2016 Internship at Echostream, Gangtok 2016 Second Runner Up at the Autodesk Swarm 2016 Internship at Prinitalia, Italy in Furniture Design 2015 Promotional Videos for College festival 2013-2015 Representation at the Harvard Model United Nations 2012 Represented the UAE in the World Robotic Olympiad 2010 Top 3 in the National Robotics Olympiad 2009,2010,2011

software Adobe Creative Suite Microsoft Office Rhino Keyshot Invision AutoCAD Sketchbook Pro Final Cut Pro X

languages English Hindi Telugu Arabic Italian (basic)






can we make making more sustainable and energy efficient?

can we utilise the unlimited potential of our suns energy to facilitate the increased interest in maker culture through simple optics and mechanisms to bring about a more sustainable way of making?

THE SOLAR CUTTER We have an increased amount of interest in laser cutting and its applications. Maker culture is on the rise. However, the energy efficiency of our current CO2 laser cutters is as low as 5%. With the whole world looking at sustainable products as the future, why not make the product making these products more sustainable as well?

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HOW DOES IT WORK? The sun’s rays are focused using a special lens. They are further focused using the iris diaphragm mechanism. The focused beams are strong enough to cut through the any laser cuttable material, wood or otherwise. Unlike a traditional lasercutter, its not the laser that moves, but the job. An automated, photosensor based tilt mechanism that ensure the device is always pointed at the sun.


The commands are input into the cutter, and the material is placed.

The device then angles itself towards the sun for optimum sunlight.

Using an advanced algorithm, the job commences.

The solar cut job is received.

PROTOTYPING AND TESTING A smaller prototype was created using MDF, a fresnel lens, and some old DVD drives to simulate an XY plotter. On the right are the results of testing, and proof of concept, which were ultimately successful.

can a simple product save 11 million sandwiches?


We can’t have what is beyond our reach. Thats why we design. So that we can have what we can’t. When we can’t access the leftover spreads, like nutella or jam, from jars, it becomes waste. On an average, 1 additional sandwich can be made from each jar. If we account for just Nutella’s sales figures worldwide, thats a staggering 11 million more sandwiches a year. 11 million sandwiches being wasted. Glass jars that can be easily reused are thrown away in favour of new ones, due to lack of a tool that can help them clean them easily. What a waste.



Done through online surveys and personal interviews with users from houswives to students to sandwich store owners. The results revealed that the problem, while not one of urgent importance, is prevalent and requires a product solution.

Task analysis done in varied conditions and among varied users from the 5th to the 95th percentile to determine the pressure points during the excercise of emptying out a jar. This led to several new insights and findings.

market study


The four preferred tools for jar scraping and spreading; the spoon, the knife, the silicon spatula and the finger. While the knife is the best for spreading, the finger and the spatula are optimum for removing the leftover spread.

Rapid sketching keeping in mind target audience, ergonomics, novelty, materials etc.


Quick prototyping through various materials such as styrofoam, PU foam, polystyrene, acrylic and silicon. The final two concept direction is displayed below, going for a flat, space saving design.


the jar scraper The mt scraper uses simple straight folds to give a strip of plastic multiple functions. The combined functions of scraper and spoon ensure you always manage to ‘mt’ the jar. Designed to be sleek and thin enough to enter any jar, and scoop out the parts from every corner. The spoon function allows the user to use the product even when the jar is full.




Final prototypes which underwent rigorous user testing to test ergonomics, and scraping effectiveness.


Creased Polypropelyne for the main body and soft silicone for the scraper portion, as well as the white scraping portion. The creases will act as hinges for the change in forms.


Ergonomically sized with a length of 200mm and a varying width of 6-75 mm, the scraper fits both your palm and your drawer perfectly.


Keeping in mind the middle class urban Indian, material and manufacturing costs, and the market prices, the product will cost about 200- 250 INR.


The proposed packaging to give the impression of the scraper in a dirty jar.

how do you teach something that people don’t want to learn?


financial literacy among the Indian youth


What does that mean? Young Indians have a good financial behavior, i.e. they have a high propensity to save and consume, and to plan their finances. However, they do not have the knowledge or the attitude towards the financial system to actually plan and take action.


What does it lead to? As seen in Western context, low financial knowledge and poor utilisation and distribution of financial resources leads to problems such as bankrupcy during times of financial contingency. This misutilisation of resources also causes a snowball effect where the ‘poor remain poor’, and and are unable to afford a higher level of living and education.


What’s needed? More and more young Indians have bank accounts but are unaware of the financial repurcussion of not utilising or misusing financial services. This is because they don’t see the need to handle their finances, and that finance is a ‘dry’ topic for another time.

Research Only 24% of young Indians exhibit a high level of financial knowledge, and only around 40% exhibit a positive financial attitude. However at 68%, the Indian youth have an excellent behavior towards their finances.

People have the temperament to be financially savvy; but not the actual knowledge or inclination.

How can an interface make finance fun and motivate the youth to take responsibility? The power of dreams.

dream cost calculator that takes into account inflation, time period and other factors

learning tools with the latest financial news

investment calculators and ‘to do’ lists

gifs for easy, visual learning


The app is designed to use your dreams and aspirations, and the possibility of achieving them as motivation to learn more about personal finance and the tools available for investments. The app was designed keeping the younger target audience in mind.

Inspiration and investments. Dreams and deposits. Fun and funds.

Use the prototype here: GE9B9JGUD#/screens/118084602_Bg-05-01

can the traditional skills of an artisan be made relevant today?

La is a brand based in Sikkim that aims at representing innovation, design and aspirations of the people from the mountainous regions of the Indian Himalayas. It works with local artisans and craftsmen to ensure that their craft remains relevant, while maintaining the tradition. Echostream is the parent company, also based in Sikkim, which is a mountain based design studio, that brings about meaningful, empathetic change.

Done in collaboration with Gaurika Singhal

The local artisans from Sikkim who specialsed in the bamboo weave. After understanding the context of the material, artisans and local culture, we began making products that fit each part.

Bamboo wire rack A simple, tabletop wine rack that uses that weight of the bottle to hold the product in shape. It has a thick bamboo structure which is used as a frame for the weave. The hexagonal weave is used to complement it’s triangular form. It can be laid out flat and stored with ease.

Bamboo plant rack Adding value to life, the planter is an attempt to cover up plain, ugly pots with intricate weaves. The frame is made using two thick bamboo strips which is then covered with an interlinked dual circular weave. The two concentric circles woven together make the pot more stable while giving it depth.

H 18 cm

W 25 cm

L 20 cm D 8 cm

W 20 cm

L 55 cm

D 8 cm

W 43 cm

H 22 cm

W 15 cm

what can a young designer learn from italian design?

I worked under a group of Italian furniture companies called the Italian habit, where I got to visit various firms such as Santa Lucia and Midj, and spend a short period understanding the design process, and how the process of ‘industralisation’ of a product takes place. Important takeaways from my short stint were balancing consumer needs and expectations with manufacturing capabilities, and industrial limits. I was also given the task of designing a bookshelf that would grab the attention of anyone in the room. It was to be different, and a talking point to anyone visiting its owner. Another short project was to design a sofa that fit with the design language of the existing furniture in an office environment, while maintaining the luxurious feel and official look associated with an office sofa.

Field visits to Verona and neighbouring cities, to understand and experience the variety of colour, material and finish, and understand its applications. Other visits to the Venice Bienalle, the World Expo, and the Trienalle in Milan exposed me to the history of design and the connections between art and design.

how can technology help us disconnect to connect?

can we connect?

We live in very disconnected communities nowadays. We barely even know our neighbours, and are unaware of their stories, their struggles, and their strengths. Can we still connect as human beings? All our greatest achievements have ultimately been a result of forming human connections, be it building the pyramids or stepping onto the moon. Its time to connect again. If history serves us right, the results are nothing but beautiful. Done in collaboration with Nikita Arora, Salil Parekh, Ishita Jain

the bubble machine

The aim was to show that even a simple act of standing together and holding hands can lead to something beautiful, something simple and elegant, a bubble.

The installation requires people to stand together, holding hands and two foil receptors. As they do so, machine starts to light up with a countdown of LED’s. As the last light switches on, the machine whirs to life, and the bubbles are blown towards the users.

we can connect.

The installation was installed at the Conflictorium, a museum in the old city of Ahmedabad. An area of several different communities, we invited the locals to come and see our installation.

Several of them ran around to find and friends, and made new connections along the way. The simplicity and beauty of the bubbles appealed to them, and there was an added plus to them formed by the fact that they

felt that their connections, and effort had created them. While the installation was meant for children, the adults seemed to enjoy themselves more! Adults and children alike, both always left with a smile on their faces, happy that they made

something beautiful and simple, having seen the simple bubble. It was all achieved using simple circuitry, an Arduino, a little soap solution and a lot of imagination.

how do we design the system of design?

what can design do?

what is design thought of?

Aesthetics A means to make your product stand out. Product Innovation Service design Critical thinking Research Systems Planning Behavior change Business models Human centric problem solving Policy making Happiness

Aesthetics A means to make your product stand out.

An ongoing systems project understanding how many sectors understand what design can do?

how many designers understand what they can do?

designed change

the orders of change caused by design





A - aesthetics. primary functions B - product ecosystem, services. C - organizational transformation. D - societal change. The important thing to keep in mind, is that each element is equally important. The aim of creating this model is not to show hierarchy, but to show the possibilities that design can affect.

The model was created for both designers, and those looking for designers; to help understand the extent of change that design can bring about.

Done in collaboration with Akshay Yadav, Deergha Joshi, Aparajita Tiwari, Kamana Marwah

Conducting workshops, holding exhibitions, attending design weeks, startup fairs, interviews and more, as try to understand the existing system of design.

read more about the project on

currently a work in progress

what skills does one gain after 3.5 years of design education?

quick sketching Rapid sketching and ideation on a variety of mediums, both physical and digital.

3D modeling & rendering 3D visualisation, modelling and rendering skills, with an eye for detail.

cONTACT EMAIL: PHONE: +918758615065 +971502729466

Uttishta Varanasi - Portfolio  

A short portfolio of my works as of November 2016.