Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Design Agenda - India

By Savitha Hira

Design in India

‘Design’ is progressively the watchword for India. Where have we, as a growing-design-awareness-nation reached? How close are we to our global counterparts? Or is the road ahead still full of stumbling blocks?

Industrialist, Design Connoisseur and perpetrator of the upcoming India Design Forum, Rajshree Pathy, says, “Design is still a very misunderstood word in India. Design education is still inadequate with a mere 2-digit number for a country as large as India, as compared to China’s 400 plus design schools.” The India Design Forum that proposes to become a catalyst to promote innovative design thinking and create a high level of consciousness for the power of design by bringing together global and Indian think tanks on Design, opens to an intense two-day dialogue in Mumbai this weekend. Rajshree calls it “the foremost platform in India for design solution” – an information dissemination and exchange scenario that purports to explore and engage design thinkers and those-who-matter in forging ahead a ‘Created in India for the World’ as opposed to a ‘Made in India’ label.

India Design Forum - Rajshree Pathy
Rajshree Pathy

Design Education is another aspect under the scanner as is being currently discussed at length in a dedicated conference - an initiative by the India Design Council, happening in Pune over the next two days. 

Debates, dialogues, dissemination and diligence continue to engage design consciousness, seeking, probing and attempting to deliver in a bid for India to shine the brightest. There is no doubt that creativity is at its peak – at every turn; and design is being questioned for its rootedness, identity and relevance. There are pockets of development around the country – excellent ones at that; some recognized, eulogized; others quietly operating within the social-responsibility sphere. 

India Design Forum - Dror Benshetrit
Dror Benshetrit 

India Design Forum - Renny Ramakers
Renny Ramakers

In the current awareness-rich scenario, Indian designers are marking strong footprints on the global design scene; the Design Policy for India is pursuing directional diktats; Design Intervention via the Design Clinic Scheme for MSMEs, which proposes to benefit industry clusters to create a dynamic platform to provide expert solutions to real time design problems, and in that add value to existing products; and the India Design Mark, which is a design standard, a symbol signifying design quality, after evaluating good design through a systemized process are inclusive initiatives that are propelling India as a design-recognized nation.

Design in India

So where do we as a “heritage, craftsmanship, design-rich” nation stand?  On the one hand, we have the common man, who refers to ‘design’ very frequently in his everyday jargon to differentiate one product from another; on the other we have industry experts and intense design dialogue. These dialogues are not just for the industry; it all boils down to acceptance and propagation by the layman – the user, the feedback-thrower, who is ultimately going to decide the fate of design - good or bad. How open is this layman to paying for astute designs as he is open to recognizing and owning an established brand?

Design in India
Food for thought: World over, design is being recognized and granted its due intellectual rights. Home-grown markets are spearheading international growth. India has perhaps the largest home market it can cater to, and some. Serious design considerations as the agenda-topper can make significant inroads to a multitude of issues.

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