Homes and gardens

Taking design to the masses

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A week-long festival, Designuru 2.0, in the city had architects and others engrossed in discussions and workshops, multiple exhibits, outdoor installations and more. By Nandhini Sundar

The concept of design is oft considered an elitist indulgence, where only those having the means can associate with it. This is so whatever be the segment addressed, be it clothes, consumer durables, products, spaces, with design entering the sphere as a lifestyle choice for those who can afford it. Shattering this view is the recently concluded week-long design festival, Designuru 2.0, hosted by the Institute of Indian Interior Designers, Bengaluru Regional Chapter (IIID-BRC), with the explicit objective of taking design to the masses.

The festival, hosted along with Art Mantram, had multiple exhibits along with engrossing discussions and workshops, enthralling both students and the general public who participated actively. Besides the outdoor installations that changed every day, indoor exhibits prevailed, ranging from landscape photography to city works that gave insight into the city’s urbanscape and development, social projects undertaken under the CoDe Studio of IIID-BRC, as well as academic exhibits.

The first day of the festival saw an absorbing discussion on architecture and tradition by Namith Varma of Gayathri and Namith Architects and Ravindra Kumar of Pragrup along with other leading architects of the city. This was followed the next day by a thought provoking discussion on Bengaluru’s wards and the work done in them. The discussion, initiated by Sensing Local and moderated by Architect Naresh Narasimhan of Venkatramanan Associates, posed some very pertinent questions such as who participates in the ward meetings, how effective are these meetings in hearing the grievances and redressing the same, how good are the local planning efforts and the devolution of power.

The multiple issues as well as the persistent, unresolved grievances that the wards universally face were pointed out, with possible ways of redressal discussed. Stating that Bengaluru was perhaps the only city in the country which is still ‘recoverable’, Naresh Narasimhan lamented that “all solutions currently opted for are like a band aid, the problem recurring again.”

Design is not confined to buildings or urban spaces alone but forms an integral part of any product. Design has an important bearing on how usable a product is, determining the final experience the use of the product entails. Discussing with the panellists the nuances of product design and the entire ecosystem that goes with it was Ranjan Malik. “Every business ecosystem is a value transformer, from raw material to finished product, and it goes through a sequence of roles. We need to theoretically map these roles and ask why this ecosystem should exist”, observed Malik.

The fifth day of the festival witnessed a unique presentation by Mistry Architects, the outdoor installations opening up new vistas of recycling and reuse, the imaginative exhibits prompting the visitor to search within, identify the various forms of wasteful practices each had so far indulged in without paying attention.

An interesting panel discussion followed with Sharukh Mistry of Mistry Architects participating. Issues were raised by the panellists on design and its connect to the planet, in taking responsibility of the finite resources spent, in preserving and valuing planet earth, designing and planning not just for humans but in the context of the ecosystem where it prevails, connecting the design to the site, addressing the ecology and the multiple layers that prevail that need integration into our education system.

Seeking solutions

If design has to be taken to the masses, an integral part of the design is public spaces and the manner in which the city and the urbanscape are designed. A scintillating discussion was held on city works, steered by architects Vijay Narnapatti and Dimple Mittal of MayaPraxis. Issues plaguing the city and the absence of concerted design and the evident fallout as a result were addressed, exploring possible modes of action and corrective measures.

No design festival is complete without the active participation of leading architects and their works where the discussion centres purely on the projects executed. The concluding day of the Designuru festival hosted 20 leading architects from Bengaluru where their residential projects were displayed and the architects had a chance to question their fellow architects on the design intent of each of the projects showcased.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 2:25:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/taking-design-to-the-masses/article29854555.ece

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