Tuesday, December 25, 2007
  National Design Policy and more.
Yes, it's been a year since I've written on this blog. And another Pune Design Festival 2007 was organised, this time with yours truly (me) being the Chairperson. I think when one is so involved in designing and doing other things related to design, one does not write that much on the subject. And this is a personal opinion out of my own experience.

A look at what major design events happened in 2007:
1. The National Design Policy got launched. (finally!)
The Government of India has finally taken a good interest in design as an important field like medicine, engineering,etc. And on
8th of February 2007, the Union Cabinet approved the 'National Design Policy'. For more details:


2. Pune organised the second Pune Design Festival 2007. Here's a gist:

Pune Design Festival 2007

(20th-24th November, Pune)

A festival organised and managed solely by designers for the design fraternity, industry and public to enable Pune become the Design Capital of India.

The Pune Design Festival 2007 saw many vertical components-
1. Design competitions for school (India's first design competition for school children), college and non-design students.

2. Workshops for students: The first on Culture and Design by Lisa Yong and Wai-Loong Lim of YStudio, USA; Mukund Athale, Sarvasva Designs Pvt Ltd and Anirudh Natu,Symbiosis lnstitute of Design. The second workshop was on Strategic Branding taken by Anil Chouhan, Onio Design and Sanjay Jain, MIT-ID. These workshops were held at respective institutes.
3. Visions Workshop: A brand strategising workshop for corporate, management, decision makers and SMEs. Conducted by Eero Miettenen, Design Director, Nokia Design, Finland; Pankaj Sapkal, Short-path and Balakrishna Mahajan, Ticket Design. Held at Multiversity School of Design.

4. Exhibitions:
- Pune, its heritage and culture by INTACH-Pune Chapter
- National award-winning works of Indian Institute of Interior Designers(IIID).
- Showcase of works by designers of Pune, under the umbrella of Pune Design Foundation.

5. Conferences:

Spanning two days, 26 speakers, 8 moderators and encompassing fields of design like Product and Industrial Design, Design Management, Business, Culture, Environment, Automobile, Usability, Interaction Design, Colour Trends, Design Education, Communication Design, Architecture and Music + Design.

The conference had insightful and inspiring presentations by Padmashree Dr.Vijay Bhatkar, Freeman Lau-Hong Kong Design Center, Eero Miettenen-Nokia, Bhargav Mistry, Lisa Yong- YStudios, Jos Oberdorf-NPK Industrial Design, Satish Gokhale-Design Directions, Latika Puri Khosla-Freedom Tree Design, Neeraj Chandra-Britannia, Sudhir Sharma- Elephant Design + Strategy, Dr.Dinesh Katre-CDAC, Anurag Sehgal- Experiential Design Lab, Pramod Khambete- Tech MAhindra, Ajay Jain- Renault India, Nachiket Thakur- Mahindra Composites, Kiran Kulkarni- TATA Motors, Abhimanyu Kulkarni- Philips India, Nishma Pandit-Ticket Design, Girish Doshi- Navkar Architecture Studio, Christophe Francois - Institut Superieur de Design, France, Nachiket Thakur- Bamboo Vishwa, Prof.Pradeep Pendse- Welingkar Institute, Ampat Varghese-Srishti, Anirudh Natu-Symbiosis, Sanjay Jain- MIT-ID.

The Grand Finale was a presentation by Alessi- represented by Chiara and Giovanni Alessi.

One of the highlights was the Design Honour 2007 given to Shrikant Nivsarkar, President IFI, for his contribution to the design field.
1. Dhimant Panchal, MIT-ID
2. Ashwini Deshpande, Elephant Strategy + Design
Sammeer Chabukswar- Persistent Systems
4. Anand Palsodkar, Elephant Strategy + Design
5. Manoj Kothari, Onio Design
6. Nachiket Thakur, Bamboo Vishwa
7. Hrridaysh Deshpande, Elephant Multiversity - School of Innovation
8. Harshwardhan Gupta, Neubauplan Machine Design Studio

The Festival was a great success by the very fact that a group of designers could come together to organise such a large event and have such great content. And this being the second year only of Pune Design Festival; it still saw a huge number of eminent Indian and international speakers.

The Executive Committee of the Festival was:
1. Darpana Athale, Chairperson, Pune Design Festival 2007.
2. Nachiket Thakur, Vice-Chairperson, Pune Design Festival 2007.
3. Satish Gokhale, President, Pune Design Foundation
4. Ashish Deshpande, Vice-President, Pune Design Foundation
5. Sudhir Sharma
6. Mukund Athale
7. Hrridaysh Deshpande
8. Prakash Khanzode
9. Samyak Pungaliya
10. Pankaj Sapkal
11. Balakrishna Mahajan
12. Nishma Pandit

Sponsors: Principal Sponsor -Sakal; Industry Partner- MCCIA, Associate Sponsors- Think3, MIT-ID, Forbes Marshall, DSK School of Animation,Gaming and Industrial Design, Vishwakarma Institute Creative-i, Competition Sponsor- Symbiosis Institute of Design
Supported by: Designindia, NID, Intach-Pune Chapter, IIID, Kyoorius Exchange.
Organised by: PUNE DESIGN

Pune Design Foundation

Pune Design Foundation is an association of design professionals & thinkers from Pune and surrounding region determined to make Pune as the design destination in India.

Pune Design Foundation has Communication designers, Industrial Designers, Usability & interaction designers, Accessory designers, design & brand managers, design researchers and design educationists as its members.

Mission of Pune Design Foundation is to promote the cause and awareness of design as a necessity to good living and better business. The ‘Foundation’ believes that Pune region has strength of around 500 design professionals, a number that is bound to increase due to growth in the engineering, Auto and IT industry in this region.

Pune Design Foundation aims to;

1. Create a strong network of designers and create a platform for sharing design thinking and case studies

2. Increase the awareness of “good design” amongst the “people” and ”industry” thru out-reach programs, events and museums.

3. To spread design awareness at school level so as to inculcate design thinking in young minds as well as provide structured guidance to improve higher design education.

4. To undertake design of public convenience as a key program to elevate general life of common people

5. To identify and help integrate regional cultural values, crafts and traditions.

6. To link up with national and international bodies to help promote the Pune region as a design destination.

7. To become a voice of the design professional community at government policy level.

The Pune Design Foundation has been instrumental and has actively participated in the formation of the “National Design Policy” which was unveiled this year in February 2007.

3. CII_Design Summit

This was in Bangalore and the focus was on the National Design Policy largely. But with a great presence of international designers, this summit also saw a focus on 'innovation' as the next word instead of design. Brand Experience, Culture, Design 3.0 were some of the other buzz words.
The next Summit is slated to be in Pune. :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
  A long hiatus...
...but one can't stop blogging!
It becomes an addiction, irrespective whether people read your blog, miss you when you were not active in the cyber world and even wonder where you have disappeared.

Currently am writing on 6 blogs- 3 of which are design-based. And all because the design activity in Pune has become a whirlwind affair that has literally catapulted the industry here.

I'm talking of the
Pune Design Festival 2006 held obviously in Pune the last weekend. An unique thought process wherein for the first time the design industry has come together to build a foundation of professionals in the field and like-minded academic institutions and corporates. So the festival was conceived and executed by the Pune Design Foundation group, as of now comprising 9 design companies and 2 academic schools based in the city. My company being one of the design firms there. :)

The best part of this festival and foundation being established was the overall synergy within the design firms, as opposed to the normal competitive attitude most designers have. And the following statement is being made very objectively and not as a Punekari, but the attitude is a city-based one. When I used to work with a architecture magazine from Bombay, I used to often visit Pune and meet the architecture fraternity here and was amazed to see that there was(still is) a wonderful co-existence between the firms here. They would visit each other often, look at and share their views on the other's projects, gather as a group and talk design, share ideas, visit different cities and other architecture practices... something I've never seen people in other cities do. In Bombay, there are people who are close-knit and share work, but not to this extent.

Delhi is another topic altogether. The politically inclined city makes its views very strongly felt even in the design group. People are secretive, fiercely competitive, will not allow anyone go ahead of them, extremely insecure of their clients, work and space... leading to a society that is wary of every other person who is termed a 'designer'. They talk of knowledge-sharing on one hand, but will not disclose the name of their structural engineer, lest he be 'poached'!

And these views are being said out of experience and very close observation. An example that happened to ‘yours truly’… a Pune-based client asked my firm to be part of the ongoing work in terms of execution as it is convenient, economical and one can also keep a good check on the project if the design firm is from the city itself. We were asked to meet and collaborate with the designer, who’s based out of Delhi. We did meet him as designers first and were in turn met with silence, a very cold attitude and a sense of thousand walls coming up around and between us. Basically we realised that he felt we were competition to him! Then when we said the client asked us to meet, he was flabbergasted, sweated a bit and was in a hurry to leave…so we finally had to convey to him that we were only planning to execute his project and not take his job from him. That is when he relaxed, just a little bit, and muttered something to the effect that he may not mind and will get back. Phew!

Why are people so insecure? In a field that is only going upward and in leaps and bounds, there is definitely work for everyone. And finally is this not the age to come together and build?

Sunday, September 10, 2006
  A paper on Indian Architecture.
Influence of Hindu India on Islamic Architecture.

India had been subject to invasions from as early as the 3rd century BC, but the powerful assimilative capacity of Indian culture had absorbed the culture of the earlier invaders - the Greeks, the Huns and the Sakas. The same phenomenon did not take place in the case of the Islamic culture; and though there was some kind of absorption it was not complete. The reason for this was the attachment of each to its own religion. The Muslim religion was militant and aggressive, while the Hindu religion was spiritually tolerant indeed and flexible, but obstinately faithful in its discipline of its own principle and was standing on the defence behind a barrier of social forms. Yet, mutual contact brought about an interchange of ideas and mutually influenced each other to a great extent. Underneath the ruffle and storm of political strife, there developed a mutual respect for each other and this manifested itself in many fields.

Islamic architecture in and around Delhi retained much of the characteristics in both form and detailing of Persian Islam, with only the court at Delhi able to attract and pay the best Muslim architects and artisans from abroad. As one moves away from the main power centre, the regional Islamic satraps – whether governors of the Delhi Sultanate or newly-independent Sultan – patronized an architecture which slowly began to assume a very different identity. This identity was not constant throughout, but varied from place to place, and depended chiefly on :
a. the distance from Delhi, which determined the level of dilution of ‘pure’ Islamic principles;
b. the economic condition of the regime, responsible for the quality of finished and materials used;
c. the local artisans available in the region and their specialization and experience; and
d. local Hindu architecture, which served as direct or indirect inspiration for Muslim examples.
If the Qutb Minar merely had sinuous carving which hinted at the Hindu craftsman at work, examples further away from Delhi illustrated both a riot of carving as well as formal aspects directly influenced by Hindu architecture. The main areas that produced a substantial body of architecture and can be said to have evolved a ‘style’ of their own are Gujarat, Punjab, Bengal, Malwa, some parts of south India and Kashmir.
A fusion of cultures - Indo-Islamic Architecture

"On the one hand was the rhythmic mind of the Hindu, on the other the formal mind of the Musulman." The quote from a venerable early architectural historian serve to highlight the utter difference between Muslim and Hindu building types. There were other variations apart from the merely formal: the presence of carving in Hindu temples which was forbidden in Islam, decorative lettering on mosques and tombs which was unknown in Hindu art and architecture, the Hindu propensity for a single stone and the Muslim penchant for inlay work. However in spite of this wide gulf, over the years a certain symbiosis did come into being between Muslim designers and master-builders and the Hindu craftsmen who carried out their bidding. Both benefited from the other's knowledge and what slowly evolved was a distinct new style of architecture - Persian in inspiration but very Indian in execution. Long referred to as Saracenic, it is now more properly termed Indo-Islamic.
(This is a rough cut introduction to a paper on Hindu influences in Muslim architecture. The idea is to observe the architectural language of both religions with respect to each other.)
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
  Design Yatra, Goa (September 7-9,2006)
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Design Does Matter!

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Location: Pune and Mumbai, India

"Read me, O Reader, if you find delight in me, because very seldom shall I come back into this world." ..................................... An architect turned product designer and writer... And actually? :)...Very very mad,a lil sad, a complete dreamer, a tad impulsive, extremely intense and passionate, quite ambitious, definitely honest... downright crazy too! My tag line: 'don't kill a dream...execute it!'

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