The business of design

The business of design
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First Published: Fri, Feb 24 2012. 08 41 PM IST

The insiders: Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort. Courtesy: Ruy Texeira
The insiders: Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort. Courtesy: Ruy Texeira
Updated: Fri, Feb 24 2012. 08 41 PM IST
Design is in everything— from the simple cup we drink tea in to the skyscrapers which achieve the perfection of mathematics, engineering and physics. Yet, ironically, it lives on the periphery, at least in the Indian context.
The insiders: Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort. Courtesy: Ruy Texeira
In the first event of its kind, the India Design Forum (IDF) will bring together in Delhi in March world-famous practitioners, thinkers and trendsetters from across borders and disciplines, to address this gap. The event will start with Design Trail (from 2-8 March), with activities at different venues across the Capital—entry to most of these is free and open to public—and culminate in the two-day, pre-registered forum from 9-10 March.
IDF founder Rajshree Pathy, chairperson and managing director of the Rajshree Group of Companies, says: “I first want to reach out to the corporates because they are the propagators of design. Then to design practitioners because they are the creative minds, and thirdly, to students because they are the future.” Pathy plans to make IDF an annual event.
Good design is an elitist prerogative in India, there’s no argument. But artist Vishal K. Dar says, “The business of design hasn’t taken off because it’s inaccessible to a lot of people. If IDF can move into a sphere of commerce, it’s important because design is not about patronage, it’s about satisfying a need.” Dar has curated the (p)ROTO-type project, a work-in-progress, which will be shown at Design Trail.
Spanish designer Nacho Carbonell. Courtesy Tatiana Uzlova
“Everything is designed, one way or the other,” says Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the department of architecture and design at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, who will open the IDF (on 9 March) with her talk on the best design ideas of the year.
Since design permeates art, architecture, technology, everyday lifestyle products and more, the forum will address multidisciplinary issues.
Alex White-Mazzarella, director of the Dharavi project in Mumbai, Artefacting, which experiments with art for social change, finds diversity the most interesting aspect of IDF. “Speakers at the forum are artists, architects, graphic and industrial designers. It will be interesting to see how conversations overlap,” he says.
Besides design for social impact, education is high on the agenda of IDF. “We’re in a time when it’s important to foster a culture of not only innovation, but ethical and sustainable design practices,” says Pradyumna Vyas, director of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
And why can’t the need for good design be met at home? Pathy waits for a time when Indian design will come of age. “Why should India be content with being a manufacturing hub? When will a label read ‘Designed in India and manufactured elsewhere’?” she asks. This and many more questions will be discussed at IDF.
IDF will be held from 9-10 March at Le Méridien New Delhi. Registration fee for delegates, Rs 20,000, students, Rs 5,000, on first-come, first-served basis. For registration and programme details, visit www.indiadesign
Tour guide
Artwork by Siddhartha Chatterjee
Highlights from the Design Trail which precedes the forum.
5-10 March, 11am-7pm:Artist Vishal K. Dar conducts a design experiment through his interactive project ‘Prototype’, which involves the creation of products, contemporary space and art practices at The Stainless gallery, Mathura Road, New Delhi.
5 March, 4pm: Graphic design studio Infonauts presents a project on data visualization, at 24, Hauz Khaz Village, New Delhi. Entry on first-come, first-served basis.
9-24 March: Design Exhibition by Apparao Galleries and Mughal Pop by stArt&D, at Aman Hotel, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
All events open to public.
For the full schedule, visit
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First Published: Fri, Feb 24 2012. 08 41 PM IST