DE­SIGN­ING THE FU­TURE

India Today - - LEISURE - —Madhu Pan­dit

Ioften won­der why peo­ple do not have vo­cif­er­ous opin­ions about the ar­chi­tec­ture of Delhi. Clothes, fash­ion, film, food and mu­sic draw a lot of en­gage­ment from all kinds of peo­ple, but ar­chi­tec­ture does not, de­spite im­pact­ing their ev­ery­day lives. The city is like an un­fin­ished jig­saw puzzle, where through the cen­turies, out­siders and con­querors have ar­rived to mould it in their own im­age. Even the Bri­tish tore down stretches of the city af­ter the Revolt of 1857. More re­cently, the BRT’s con­struc­tion (and de­mo­li­tion) has added to the ur­ban night­mare. Who does not feel a vis­ceral punch in ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a frac­tured city like Delhi?

But there is hope. The de­sign and art fairs be­ing held these days are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. I would like to be­lieve that the fairs these past few years have shown that good ur­ban de­sign can im­prove lives. If this is Dal­rym­ple’s ‘city of djinns’, per­haps it is fit­ting that the de­sign fairs also ap­pear like ge­nies, once a year, at NSIC in Okhla. To get there, one must ne­go­ti­ate the traf­fic of Govin­d­puri, an area that al­ways looks like it’s cel­e­brat­ing Na­tional De­cay Day. Then, round­ing the metro fly­over, the squalor sud­denly stops. You find your­self in a dusty park­ing lot, with ush­ers ea­ger to di­rect you to a vi­sion of the fu­ture in a pav­il­ion some dis­tance away. Hope­fully, that fu­ture will not re­main just a vi­sion.

I’d like to be­lieve the fairs have showed good de­sign can im­prove lives

A view of the dec­o­ra­tion pav­il­ion

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