THE TRANSFORMERS

Five women with dif­fer­ent back­grounds have one thing in com­mon; their love for de­sign

India Today - - CONTENTS - By RIDHI KALE

“We cre­ate an en­chant­ing re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence”

Walk into a Good Earth store and be ready to be sur­rounded by de­sign in­spired by tra­di­tion, pre­sented in con­tem­po­rary lan­guage. Anita Lal opened her first store in Mum­bai in 1996. Since then, not only has she changed the In­dian mind­set, but has also ed­u­cated peo­ple about their her­itage.

Good Earth, in the next five years

Good Earth is a jewel-like or­gan­i­sa­tion, so it’s not go­ing to be large and im­per­sonal. A fo­cus on qual­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity al­ways takes prece­dence. Go­ing for­ward we’ll con­tinue to cre­ate en­chant­ing re­tail ex­pe­ri­ences.

What’s a typ­i­cal day like?

Once I’m up and ready, I check emails, catch up on my go-to de­sign feeds and in­spi­ra­tion gal­leries. I am in the of­fice be­tween noon and 5 pm. Here I spend time brain­storm­ing with the cre­ative team on de­sign and prod­ucts fol­lowed by meet­ings with de­sign part­ners, think­ing, de­sign­ing, and men­tor­ing. I have no life apart from work, ex­cept my grand­kids. When they come, I pack up for the day.

What in­spires you?

Na­ture, his­tory and travel. Our Good Earth fam­ily of master ar­ti­sans, de­sign­ers and crafts­men never fail to in­spire me. The event that most in­flu­enced me was the ex­pe­ri­ence of view­ing The Pad­shanama at the Na­tional Mu­seum in Jan­uary of 1997. One of the great­est works of art, the ex­hi­bi­tion of 44 minia­tures from the Royal Li­brary, Wind­sor, gave an ac­count of the life of Mughal em­peror Shah Ja­han in the 17th cen­tury. The depth of colours and lines in the paint­ings left a deep and last­ing in­flu­ence.

De­sign trends for 2017

Ori­en­tal in­flu­ences are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity. Our Sham­bala an­nual de­sign col­lec­tion cel­e­brates this. For tex­tiles, Jaipur’s hand­block prints on lux­u­ri­ous fab­rics of soft muslin and cot­ton pique will for­ever re­main favourites. The colour pal­ette for the sea­son is largely based on the Pan­tone colour of the year ‘Green­ery’ and its in­ter­pre­ta­tions.

“An ar­chi­tect is a visionary and so­cially re­spon­si­ble fig­ure.”

Anu­pama Kun­doo started her prac­tice in 1990 and her build­ings (tai­lored to the cli­mate and the cul­ture) marry ma­te­ri­als with forms. Think­ing out­side the box is her forte.

Choos­ing sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­ture

When I grad­u­ated in 1989 this term was not yet coined. I grew up in Bom­bay watch­ing im­bal­ances in ur­ban de­vel­op­ments. At the Sir JJ Col­lege of Ar­chi­tec­ture we learnt about the role of the ar­chi­tect as a visionary and so­cially re­spon­si­ble fig­ure. When I moved to Auroville, I en­coun­tered a so­ci­ety that as­pired for a high qual­ity of life with less en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. My prac­tice grew there among oth­ers who were ex­per­i­ment­ing with al­ter­na­tive tech­nolo­gies, and I had the right en­vi­ron­ment to de­velop my­self.

Favourite projects

I like Wall House (near Auroville) be­cause it cre­ates an am­bi­ence of well be­ing, and a sense of peace and beauty and strikes a good balance be­tween the in­side and out­side. I also like Creativ­ity, Ur­ban Eco-Com­mu­nity Pro­to­type; SAWCHU which is an open pub­lic gath­er­ing space; Kranti’s Res­i­dence in Pune; Li­brary of Lost Books in Barcelona and my lat­est project of Full Fill Homes (lego-style low-cost homes con­cept). Fi­nally, both my in­stal­la­tions at the Venice Ar­chi­tec­ture Bi­en­nale (2012, 2016).

Who in­spires you?

My for­ma­tive years were in­flu­enced by Le Cor­bus­ier, Charles and Ray Eames and modernist architects. Charles Cor­rea had an im­pact on my mind. Meet­ing Lau­rie Baker and oth­ers, who ad­dressed the con­cerns of the un­der­priv­i­leged had a deep im­pact. I fol­lowed the work of engi­neers who pro­duced spec­tac­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture with their struc­tural in­no­va­tions, like Pier Luigi Nervi, Frei Otto and Buck­min­is­ter Fuller who en­cour­aged the idea of ‘think­ing with the hands’.

“De­sign is all com­pre­hen­sive”

Ra­jshree Pathy is the founder of In­dia De­sign Fo­rum (IDF). She cu­rated and ad­min­is­tered CHAKRAVIEW at Lon­don’s in­au­gu­ral De­sign Bi­en­nale in 2016, which was In­dia’s first of­fi­cial en­try to a cre­ative brand­ing event of this scale.

How did CHAKRAVIEW hap­pen?

The in­stal­la­tion CHAKRAVIEW was orig­i­nally con­cep­tu­alised for the in­au­gu­ral Lon­don De­sign Bi­en­nale, themed ‘Utopia by De­sign’. The bi­en­nale fea­tured in­stal­la­tions by architects, de­sign­ers, sci­en­tists, writ­ers and artists from over 30 coun­tries, who each pre­sented their def­i­ni­tions of how ‘the world reimag­ines the world’; it served as the op­ti­mum plat­form for In­dia De­sign Fo­rum (IDF) to present brand In­dia as a pro­gres­sive and in­no­va­tive global econ­omy ex­pressed through its cul­tural her­itage. The work presents a unique blend of the so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and re­li­gious cli­mates that will al­ways char­ac­terise the coun­try and scenog­ra­pher Su­mant Jayakr­ish­nan, artist Hanif Kor­eishi and film maker Av­inash Ku­mar of BLOT were brought in to cre­ate it.

What is de­sign?

Most con­fuse de­sign with lux­ury and art. De­sign is about com­bin­ing func­tion with aes­thet­ics. It is about in­no­va­tion. It is the com­fort of the chair you sit on, the ease of op­er­a­tion built into your phone, the tech­nol­ogy of the car you drive. The gen­eral per­cep­tion is a very nar­row def­i­ni­tion’, un­der­stand­ing that it im­pacts ev­ery­thing we do, how it be­ings har­mony in our liv­ing and work­ing en­vi­ron­ment all be­gins with in­tro­duc­ing cre­ative think­ing from ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion lev­els. It is all com­pe­hen­sive.

Trend watch

Sus­tain­able build­ing ma­te­ri­als will be used in ar­chi­tec­ture. Light­weight struc­tures will be used for prod­uct and in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tions. Colours will be more from na­ture than bold.

“A colour plan is as im­por­tant as a busi­ness plan”

Pas­sion­ate about colour and de­sign, Latika Khosla, a trend fore­caster, al­ways thinks ten steps ahead.

Be­com­ing a colour con­sul­tant

My fi­nal th­e­sis at NID was about un­der­stand­ing colour as­so­ci­a­tions for home ap­pli­ca­tion. I reached out to craft men­tors like HakkuBhai Shah, to Manu De­sai, an ad­ver­tis­ing pro­fes­sional, and Charles Cor­rea, ar­chi­tect and town planner. Later, my path led me to con­nect with pro­fes­sional colour or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Color Marketing Group USA and the AIC, the sci­en­tific as­so­ci­a­tion for colour. For the long­est time I’ve been associated with the Scan­di­na­vian Color in­sti­tute, a uni­ver­sal sys­tem for colour de­sign. I now con­duct colour cour­ses and un­der­take projects.

Chal­lenges faced

Ini­tially the idea of colour de­sign and its im­pact on in­dus­try was not known. An­other chal­lenge is that colour im­pacts ev­ery stage of prod­uct con­cep­tion. A colour plan needs to be fol­lowed as as­sid­u­ously as a busi­ness plan.

Five colour trends for in­te­ri­ors

Trop­i­cal green­house, you can recre­ate a trop­i­cal for­est with nat­u­ral tex­tured fab­rics. Be bo­heme rep­re­sents a kalei­do­scope of pat­terns and colours in sun­set hues. Deep

dive is a hy­brid mix of ex­otic plant and sea forms. Grey and yel­low is a cere­bral pal­ette with bold graph­ics and strong con­trasts. Moody mono­chrome is neu­tral but sen­sual.

De­sign­ers to watch out for

Safo­masi for nar­ra­tive tex­tile prints, Rub­ber­band for mul­ti­col­ored books, Jenny Pinto for lights, Scholten & Bai­jings for ce­ram­ics, Chris­tiane Muller Van Toll for tex­tiles and Next Architects.

With so much in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion for her de­signs, one for­gets that Brinda So­maya started So­maya & Kalappa Con­sul­tants (SNK) in 1978 in a gar­den shed in Mum­bai.

Study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture

My par­ents be­lieved in driv­ing through the coun­try and we would go to many small places and towns. One of my ear­li­est rec­ol­lec­tions was go­ing to Na­landa, the an­cient Univer­sity in Bi­har and I re­mem­ber very clearly the im­pact that had on me. My sis­ter, who is three years older than I am, was the first who went into ar­chi­tec­ture school. I used to watch what she did, what she worked on. There was never any doubt in my mind from the age of 13 that I wanted to be an ar­chi­tect. Af­ter my ma­tric­u­la­tion, I won the Amer­i­can Of­fice Schol­ar­ship. Af­ter I re­turned to In­dia, I joined JJ Col­lege of Ar­chi­tec­ture and went onto com­plete my masters from Smith Col­lege in Bos­ton, USA.

Who in­spired you?

Un­for­tu­nately the late 60s, early 70s, was not the great­est time to be study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture. Ar­chi­tec­ture was taught in a very rigid man­ner and there were words like ‘space’, ‘spirit’ and ‘con­text’ that did not even come into our prac­tice. In other ways, it also in­spired us to do a lot of things on our own. At Smith Col­lege, I stud­ied so­ci­ol­ogy, an­thro­pol­ogy, pho­tog­ra­phy, his­tory, and it formed the ba­sis for what led to the ethos of the prac­tice that I have to­day in So­maya and Kalappa Con­sul­tants. Ar­chi­tec­ture is a tech­ni­cal pro­fes­sion. It is not just ideas, magic and sparks; it is trans­la­tion of all these el­e­ments into real­ity. It is a lengthy and dif­fi­cult job.

Chal­lenges you faced

My early years of prac­tice were rather iso­lated as I had not worked in any large pres­ti­gious firm nor had I worked with in­spir­ing architects whom I could look up to as men­tors. Per­haps this iso­la­tion in a way gave me the strength to fol­low my dream and what I be­lieved in. Maybe if I had fol­lowed the more con­ven­tional route I would have con­vinced my­self that it would be im­pos­si­ble for a sari-clad young woman work­ing in the world of the 70s to set up her own prac­tice.

“Ar­chi­tec­ture is a tech­ni­cal pro­fes­sion, it is not just ideas, magic and sparks.”

Wil­low Naqashi trin­ket box and bowl

ANITA LAL Cre­ative Di­rec­tor, Good Earth, Delhi, Mum­bai and Ban­ga­lore www.good­earth.in

Wall House in Auroville by Anu­pama Kun­doo

ANU­PAMA KUN­DOO Ar­chi­tect, Anu­pama Kun­doo Architects, Auroville and Spain anu­pa­makun­doo.com

CHAKRAVIEW in­stal­la­tion at Bikaner House dur­ing the Serendip­ity Arts Fes­ti­val

RA­JSHREE PATHY Art con­nois­seur, de­sign afi­cionado and founder, In­dia De­sign Fo­rum, Comi­ba­tore and Delhi in­di­ade­sign­fo­rum.com

Grey and yel­low theme from the Free­dom Tree col­lec­tion (top); the deep dive theme is a mix of plant and sea forms (above)

LATIKA KHOSLA Colour Con­sul­tant, Founder and De­sign Di­rec­tor, Free­dom Tree, Mum­bai www.free­domtree.in

So­maya & Kalappa did the restora­tion and retrofitting of Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices head­quar­ters in Mum­bai

BRINDA SO­MAYA Ar­chi­tect and Ur­ban Con­ser­va­tion­ist So­maya & Kalappa Con­sul­tants (SNK), Mum­bai www.snkin­dia.com

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