Three generations of a family in Thiruvananthapuram excel in different fields of design
Whenever the 45 members of Vijayagiri family in Thiruvananthapuram come together, it represents a symbiosis of art and design.
Three generations of designers, architects, structural engineers and artists stand testimony to the creative passion and the quest for innovation that define the lineage of one of the oldest families in the city. The patriarch of the family, the late Captain A.R.S. Nair who served in the Indian Army and later with the Kerala Police, was a down to earth person with a flair to innovate and build things, recalls Sasikumar, the eldest of his six children— five sons and a daughter.
“He had a full-fledged workshop at home where he used to repair everything, including his cars, and make objects of all sorts. My mother, Visalakshi Amma, was also artistic and proficient in drawing, stitching, and knitting as well as in cooking.”
Gopakumar, Sasikumar’s brother, who heads Kumar Group Total Designers, an architect and consultancy firm that designed Taj Residency, Kozhikode, and the HDFC building in Kochi and the Gandhi Park, Putharikandam maidan, and KTDFC Trans Towers in Thiruvananthapuram said: “The atmosphere at home was one of creativity and innovative thinking. As children, we were encouraged to be creative”
Mr. Sasikumar was known for his talent in drawing and his sister Girijadevi as an artist.
Mr. Gopakumar won accolades as a painter from the Lalitha Kala Akademi. Among the other siblings, Harikumar took to industrial design, Ravikumar became a structural engineer and Vijaykumar turned to product design.
Mr. Sasikumar served in the State Town Planning Department and was involved in several major projects. He later became the planning advisor to the Government of Oman. Mr. Ravikumar, during his career in the PWD, was part of a select group which designed the Legislative complex.
An academician, Ms. Girijadevi dabbles in interior decoration, fashion designing, flower arrangement and painting.
Mr. Harikumar, director, Global Advanced Design Studio of Whirlpool, the U.S.-based multinational, has won many awards, including the Edison award for socially responsible product design, while Mr. Vijaykumar is a professor in product design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.
“The younger generation of our family has also excelled in art and design,” says Mr. Sasikumar.
Despite being in different parts of the world, the family spends a few days together every year. This year, the family is organising a family art exhibition to showcase their artistic skills. Around 100 folios and paintings of the family members will be on display at the Jawahar Bala Bhavan here for three days from Friday.
A book authored by Mr. Vijaykumar, 100 Design Methods, will be released on the occasion.
“We are also organising a painting competition for schoolchildren to promote budding talents. The proceeds of the exhibition will be donated to Asha Bhavan, a home for destitute women,” says Ms. Girija Devi.