We Designers are the ones with the wherewithal to understand the several connections between disciplines. It’s fair then that we ought to take the lead in making sure that products (and services) are designed responsibly. While Designers do have a responsibility towards justifying the fees they take from their clients, they have a much larger responsibility to the clients’ customers.
Design should be used to create the spark, not just to fight the fire.
The highest value comes from a designer’s work when products she designs can keep users delighted, safe and comfortable while simultaneously ensuring the planet is safe and well.
World Trade Centre, Rotterdam, 25th September 2009. Indo-Dutch collaboration summit focused on Industrial Design. Hmmm … (Design Crossover).
Why they invited me to speak is still somewhat of a mystery considering I dropped off the Industrial Design radar towards the end of the last millennium. I guess it could’ve been because my company, Ideafarms, has been able to maintain a growing relationship between India and Europe over the last 8 years through projects and partnerships with Dutch and German corporations.
I’ve never been a champion of networking – I’ve actually often criticised some of my friends for using networking to get ahead – but am quite overwhelmed having been in the midst of some of the most ‘conscious’ designers of today. Jeroen Raijmakers of Philips and Jos Oberdorf of NPK Design are inspiring to say the least. I’m grateful to Ruchita Puri for the opportunity to meet them at the event.
From whatever was presented, it looks like good design can be really good business. There’s a case to be made out for a design collaboration without borders. Couple of good reasons here …
1. European design reflects high quality, the idiom being minimalistic and functional. Whereas India’s design sensibilities are more embellished. Their combination will raise the aesthetic appeal without compromising design values.
2. Pure economic tenets come into play when we see the sheer number of people both on the supply side (design talent is plenty in India) and the demand side (India is emerging as one of the largest markets). Leveraging the ‘great Indian talent pool’ is an opportunity.
3. The life sensibilities of India’s cultural make-up have always been in the mould of sustainability, something the world has woken up to only recently. Add to this the rich craft-based traditions and you have a universal design paradigm that’s as powerful as Buddhism.
Jump into this conversation folks. You don’t want to be left out. Really!