As a state striving to revamp its infrastructure amid instances of monsoon-time damage to property, Kerala has woken up to the need for development with a long-term vision. Beyond just the replacement of lost infrastructure or new facilities, the administration has realised the virtues of lending focus to design and architecture if the idea is to ensure sustained progress.
It is with this in mind the state government is hosting a major festival this year-end. The December 12-14 Kochi Design Week, or KDW as it is called, will discuss at length the global trends in design and architecture so as to employ them in the state’s renewed efforts to rebuild itself in the wake of the 2018 flood that was replicated in a lesser measure the subsequent rainy season as well.
The idea of the three-day event in Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city is the creation of a sustainable ecosystem through innovative design enabled by visionary thinking and technology, according to organisers. Not surprising thus that architecture will be the chief subject the delegates will discuss in the second and third days, while the inaugural day will focus on design.
The event, billed as India’s largest annual international festival of its kind (visit https://kochidesignweek.org/), seeks to function as a harbinger to the aim of making Kerala a major hub of the world’s design and architecture. KDW gives creative minds a platform to meet and brainstorm on new facets in design and architecture. Laying special tracks for design architecture and interior designs will be a highlight of KDW 2019 being organised at the vintage Bolgatty Palace by Kerala’s Department of Information Technology in association with Asset Foundation. Into its second edition this time, KDW will also chart an exclusive ‘Design Island’ to host the annual event besides set up of design installations across Kochi’s high-visibility areas.
KDW will witness the assemblage of more than 5,000 design professionals, architects, interior designers, thought leaders, policymakers and government officials besides the general public. Curated by leading experts, the event will also hold exhibitions and installations.
Featuring speakers of international repute in design, architecture and city planning, KDW will be addressed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan., Among the speakers are International Council of Design President-Elect Johnathon V Strebly, World Design Organisation CEO Srini R Srinivasan, CRG Architects founder-partner Carlos R Gomez, ARG Design CEO-architect Gita Goven, its Managing Director Alistair Rendall, Habitat Technology Group architect G Shankar and architect-academician Kavita Marugkar, besides sound designer Resool Pookutty, contemporary artist Bose Krishnamachari of Kochi Biennale Foundation, HPIC Chairman S D Shibulal, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, IxDA president Alok Nandi of Architempo, Amazon senior manager Shibu Damodharan, Microsoft Country Head Lathika S Pai, Accenture MD Charulatha Ravi Kumar, Titan Company Chief Design Officer Revathi Kant, Thomas Garvey of Carleton University, Biren Ghose of Technicolour India, Lydia Thornley of ISCA London, David Ludlow of University of West England, Marta Piekarska-Geater of Hyperledger, Robby Schwertner of CryptoRobby and Jane Thomason of Fintech Worldwide.
Some of the other prominent speakers include National Institute of Design former director Pradyumna Das, IIT-Mumbai Industrial Design Centre head G V Sreekumar, Kerala Startup Mission CEO Saji Gopinath, Asset Homes MD V Sunil Kumar.
Among the experts to share their expertise at the sessions will be Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose and IT Secretary M Sivasankar.
Overall, the event seeks to give the concept of sustainable design its deserving focus in various domains such as technology, urban planning and architecture, notes IT Secretary Sivasankar. Also, KDW 2019 special officer Arun Balachandran, Kerala Chief Minister’s Fellow (IT), points out, “The huge success of the first edition of KDW has made everyone realise the criticality of the role ‘design’ plays in transforming our cities and societies into sustainable ecosystems of the future.”
The KDW 2018 had showcased technology options of use in any rebuilding phase as installations for various stakeholders to experience them. Ideas that emerged out of that edition were distributed to relevant departments for their reference.
The upcoming Design Week will host alongside it a Maker Fest 2019 that will see the country’s largest congregation of youngsters with an innovative mind. The fest, slated to be held on December 14, will be an Indian continuation of Maker Faire held in the US, bringing to Kochi makers, innovators, technologists, enthusiasts and artists from different parts of the country.
Further, KDW is holding a competition for students in Kerala to come out with creative ideas towards rebuilding the state’s infrastructure in the wake of floods this monsoon and last year. The candidates can express their vision through write-ups, posters, paintings, photographs and short films ahead. The prize monies total Rs 1 lakh.