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?