IIID Design Yatra: Taking design to where it matters

Bangalore December 05, 2016: It is not just about designing for the elite few who appreciate and solicit design. It is not just about letting one’s creativity flow unhindered, manifesting as an iconic piece that unfailingly grabs the attention of every passer-by, serving as a talking point amidst the designer fraternity. It is not even about identifying and picking the sensible modes of design that speak the language of sustainability and minimal consumption.

IIID Design Yatra: Taking design to where it matters

It is about taking design to those segments that matter most; avenues that have hitherto failed to see its presence, segments that would benefit most by their introduction and manifestation. It is about taking design to the masses. The IIID Bangalore Regional Chapter chose to do just that from Nov 12th to Nov 24th,  take design to the masses and decided to do it in the most unique arresting manner, by being part of a Design Yatra on four Nanos currently traversing through the entire country.

As part of this Design Yatra, a panel discussion was held on the modes of achieving this objective, with eminent city architects and social personalities participating. The discussion veered around the manner in which the designer fraternity can make a difference and make design permeate the masses and the public spaces, leading to the emergence of better managed spaces, both public and private, irrespective of the income levels or social strata addressed.

Architect Gayathri Shetty, Chairperson IIID BRC set the tone when she stated, “Step beyond the role of just being an architect and collaborate with the common man, as when it comes to the city, what makes the difference is the collaborative effort.”

Social activist Anita Reddy pointed to the challenge of integrating the poor with the rest of the society to make design work, given the minimal spaces in which they dwelled. She added that the city has to look consciously on what is required and implement rather than take ques from what is prevailing overseas. “Cost effective need not spell as cheap. Rather it is better housing for the poor. We need to be inclusive in our planning to see a better city emerging. It is not about building homes but building communities.”

Ravichandar, Chairman and Managing Director of Feedback Consulting pointed to the insensitivity of the government where action is more to address crisis than recognising public spaces are fast shrinking. “Design fraternity needs to come up with concrete solutions and work with the government.”

As a solution, IT professional, David Faria suggested separating the planning and development functions from the government. “Currently there is no comprehensive plan on how the city is required to grow. You need to have the vision of what is required and design will move in accordance.” For a world class city, the people should be held responsible for the upkeep and quality of the public spaces, he further added. “This will also rule out all haphazard developments that are currently the norm.”

For theatre personality Prakash Belawadi, it was question of finding a common cause to make a change. “A common cause and representation of the masses can bring in the change. Traffic congestion for instance is a great leveller as it affects everyone, from all strata of society.” He further added that for design to be accessible to the masses, it should be available without involving a huge cost. “Instead of looking at it as slum development, the perspective should be affordable housing for the poor.”

Added Architect Namith Varma, Gayathri and Namith Architects, “The need to collaborate and make a difference should come from within and we need to work with NGOs to bring in the difference. Instead of looking at development from profit motive, it should be from a selfless angle of making a positive difference.”

The panellists suggested coming up with 200 teams of architects, each team to address one ward of the 198 wards that currently prevail in the city. “Each ward can be studied in detail, matters such as mobility in the ward, healthcare, education, public spaces, utilities and infrastructure can be discussed and addressed. This would help evolve a city plan where private parties can participate”, stated Belawadi.

Summed up Architect Ravindra of Pragrup, “Many unused areas in the cities have become beautiful parks with the initiative of the residing communities. Besides giving visibility to such initiatives, we need to create an architectural emblem that celebrates the inherent culture and ideas of the spaces addressed.” This would influence the way the city would evolve in the coming years, he averred.

The four design mascot nanos will be in Mangalore on Nov 24 & 25 and then proceed to Goa on Nov 26, 2016.