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Practicing Design in Modern India

By Adil Afsar, Assistant Professor, Sharda University | Thursday, 21 Sep 2017, 12:39 IST

Design in India as in every part of the world comes from a need to develop, grow and evolve in solving the issues around. This has been a basic instinct of humans since their birth on this planet earth. Even every single species, which exist, tends to develop, grow, and transform the way it has never been able to in their own specific manner. Thus, designing is a basic desire not limited to humans but extends far beyond to every other living race that exists. As humans have always transformed, adapt, and evolve dramatically with great ease and amazing adaptational potential. They have outraced all other living species. Humans have been constantly arranging new resources, designing new systems to sustain their living, reducing human effort by increasing the comfortability level. They have developed new tools/techniques to identify new materials, resources and ideas to achieve a better way to life challenging the prior one.

Design in India has been transformed and evolved dramatically with the changes the country have gone through. The first flush toilet was designed in India during Indus valley civilization, which is one of the best examples of how design aimed to solve an existing issue during the time. The land of the country has been through a major transformation from the Stone Age to the modern times driven by traditions, culture, beliefs and industrialization as well. As India is moving towards the modern era of digitization it still holds its roots to how the inhabitants have survived through such bold changes and sustain their identity of belongingness.

Practicing design in modern India is a great opportunity with a major challenge, which goes hand in hand with the issues of today through design with its roots in the past. The young designers and architects of the country hold a major responsibility in this scenario to retain the spirit of the India alive while looking and addressing towards the challenges of the future. As after the internet, the country is evolving dramatically and in great pace as never before. The needs of the user also tend to be changing very rapidly. A product designed today can be outdated in no time in this rapidly emerging economy and does not stand firm for a longer period of time-solving the issue it was meant for.

The most important factor to be taken into due consideration is sustainability. This has to be a collaborative approach among the designers, architects, engineers and the craftsmen. These people hold on an utmost responsibility to forecast the needs of the future. This forecasting and visualization of -"How the future will be?" is the tool to attain sustainability in the profession. Sustainability is not limited to conserving or preserving resources, material and labor for next generation. It is also about the sustenance of each and every aspect of the society. It's about sustaining the culture, traditions and beliefs the people of the country holds. It is about ensuring the artisans to sustain who acts in a very pivotal character in the modern society to maintain the connect with the roots people belong to. The designer here also plays an important character to explore the potential of the craftsmen, understand the technological advancements of the generation and unites with the emotional values to complete package for a balanced sustainable society.

It is not just the design which has to be delivered with the project, but this is also a key feature to what kind of value addition are you doing to the whole project. It is this value addition which differentiates the designer from any other contractor. The instinct is to think out of the box. This value addition is not merely a physical thing but extends its horizon connecting the user intangibly with space, design and its feel. It is a true emotional and spiritual experience, which does the value addition to the work with its arms stretching into 3 major aspects.

  • Function
    This is a basic key element, which every user reason for. It is the utility factor which pushes the consumer ahead and gets something designed.
  •  Lifestyle
    The design is not merely left to solve an issue or fulfill a need. It is much beyond that. It pushes one to upgrade its lifestyle. It is changing the overall experience of the user innovatively and makes it more interactive to communicate the user.
  • Trend validity
    This refers to an understanding of markets trend and fusing it well with the upcoming addition to it. The validity of the trend is a major concern in this case, as a trend change so rapidly in order to increase the consumerism. It is the designer's duty to understand the needs of the future so that the design does not go obsolete very soon.

To start anything one has to start small and very basic. If Small projects are executed well it will lead one to a number of contacts through references. In India, the people are very social and the society and culture offer a lot of incidences together, meet and discuss. These are the places where projects fall and here the client develops confidence in a designer who is young only after the consent of the client he has been referred from. This generates the confidence of the client in the designer and makes him trustworthy. Of course, there are several ways of marketing and increasing the reach to a number of clients. This is one of the oldest and the most trustworthy trial and tested method to get clients since ages.

This is the best answer to the question - "how to get the right client". Being the right designer to the client is the basic skill and tool for a successful project. Thus refers to understanding the client's brief, formulating requirements, and become genuinely interested in the client's problem and need. This is the time when the designer is needed to be in intangible connect with lifestyle and issues of the client. This also ensures the delivery of the exact, optimum balance of design solving issues, adding function and upgrading the lifestyle.

Designing is a constant journey of experiences and learning. It doesn't contain any fixed formula for a perfect design. Its constant evolution of oneself and one's skills encountering different conditions at different situations with each projects one go through. This design road helps you to explore, play, create and discover oneself personally and professionally hand in hand like no other profession. The young designers, artists, architects of the country hold a great responsibility to attain an entrepreneurial approach for a sustainable development. Thus, it's never too late, and never the right time. The best thing to do is to begin.

Adil Afsar
Adil Afsar completed his Post graduation in M.Design from SPA, New Delhi. He is a practicing Architect/Product Designer and founder of "Adil Design Stoodio". He is a faculty of renowned institute, Sharda University.


July 2018
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