Parco – The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio

Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 3
You might hesitate in asking the person next to you to move a little. And there are many out there who would soon forget to maintain distance.
As social distancing is now a new way of living, book your Parco seater now!

Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 5

 

NOW’S patented designer products to help your staff/ visitors maintain distance and wait without exposing themselves to risk.
Parco offers personal space with a sanitizer, tissue roll, charging point, seat disposable, basket and bin in each section.

 

 

Parco is a 4 seater rest zone which is meant to sit with legs stretched especially in commercial areas. It is meant for places like malls, offices, hospitals, airports, libraries, hotels, children’s park, exhibition ground, trade centres, gardens, resorts etc. It can be used indoor or outdoor.

Parco means Park in Italian. It is inspired by the nostalgic feeling of sitting under a tree with legs stretched in a park.

Parco’s purpose is to give a person relaxation, a feeling of being close to nature, sit with legs stretched and have a personal space, a sense of privacy despite being in a public space. It has 4 partitions or wings to divide individual/ isolate space.

Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 7

It can be highly customised as per user needs. The following can be added:-

1) A side table can be attached to it for charging phones, laptops, a space to keep kindle or e-notebooks.

2) A moveable table to eat or write & read.

3) A hook to tie leash of their pet.

4) There can be inbuilt music system.

5) Also solar light in the centre where there is space for the planter and concealed lights below the seater adds to the sensory experience of the product.

Materials – It can be made in economic materials like steel for railway stations, plywood, plyboard and Mdf or can be made inexpensive outdoor wood like pine and HDPE.

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Parco has a cantilever structure and can take up to 400kgs of weight. It can be put against a planter/ column/ pole in the centre. It is a fit to install the product and comes in 10 components.

 

Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 11Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 13Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 15Parco - The rest zone for social distancing, by NOW the design studio 17

 

Materials – It can be made in economic materials like steel for railway stations, plywood, plyboard and Mdf or can be made inexpensive outdoor wood like pine and HDPE.

Parco is a need driven design product. Commercial spaces lack a place where one can sit with there legs stretched and have privacy. It is truly designed to fill the gap of sitting comfortably in a public space.

It’s a design patent.

Making of a Place, by Abin Design Studio

Abin Design Studio

Making of a Place

An exhibition narrating a serendipitous sequence of events that comprise placemaking in small-town India; an ongoing story of how a tiny spark introduced an entire community to the power of design; demonstrating how architecture can expand its sphere of influence further than defining the visual and material culture of its immediate context. It showcases how design and technology are adapted to suit local constraints, and most importantly, celebrates the cohesive efforts of local influencers and the huge gamut of people involved in the successful realisation of peri-urban projects. Making of a Place presents Private, Public and Community-driven projects of multiple scales through the dual lens of intent and process.

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Located on the banks of the Hoogly, Bansberia is a municipality about 55 km north of Kolkata. Being born and brought up in this community, Ar Abin Chaudhuri is well versed with the inherent culture of this Bengali town. Inhabited by people that embrace festivities, celebrations and an unparalleled fanaticism for football as a way of life, it is no surprise that its citizens are a tight-knit social group. Hangseshwari Temple and Ananta Basudev Temple are historical icons that influence the socio-religious activities of this area. One of the largest festivals celebrated here is ‘Kartik Puja’, an annual event that brings in hundreds of thousands of people to see the temporary pavilions or ‘pandals’ erected by numerous local community clubs in honour of their deity.

1

Of Places and People

In 2012, while already a member of one of the community clubs in Bansberia, Abin decided to assist with the design of their yearly pavilion incorporating his professional expertise with the engagement of enthusiastic club members. It needed to be simple and easy, yet create an impact. Limited funds meant optimising the use of available resources and involving many helping hands. However, the most vital aspect was the intent to instil the importance of good design as an idea to the community at large.

Thus came about the Bamboo Pavilion, generating an immensely positive response from the locals and visitors alike. With the massive audiences, it attracted, this installation proved to be a great opportunity to initiate a large number of people to the idea of a designed space. It exposed the influence that architecture can have to one’s perception of space, its effect on one’s mood, and its ability to re-imagine convention.

Media exposure, while reinforcing the impact of the pavilion to its patrons, played a key role in the events to unfold thereafter. Impressed with the temporary pavilion built in the municipal grounds of Bansberia, the local Government in Kolkata wanted a similar permanent public installation for the beautification of a prominent junction along the main arterial road in a planned township in the city.

Bamboo Pavilion gained international recognition, several months after its dismantling, when the Museum of Modern Art, New York selected it for being showcased in their publication and travelling exhibition, ‘Uneven Growth, 2014’. It also received ‘The International Architecture Award, 2015’ from The Chicago Athenaeum. News of its global reach imbibed a heightened sense of pride to the community back home. Conversations started veering back to the Pandal as people started discussing their personal experiences at the internationally renowned, award-winning Pavilion. This in turn strengthened the idea of a space having the ability to affect its users physically and mentally.

2

Labour of Love

News of the accolades earned by the Bamboo Pavilion began circulating through the local grapevine to regions around Bansberia as well. Adisaptagram is one such town in the Hoogly district a couple of miles away. Upon learning about this news, Mr Das, owner of a few brick manufacturing units and a respected, influential person in the region, sought to approach an architect to build himself an extension for his home. Going against the norm of employing civil contractors and masons for any building works by appointing a design professional was, until then, something unheard of. Hearing about the neighbourhood boy running an architectural practice in the big city, he was encouraged to approach Abin Design Studio for their services.

Pool House, as it came to be known, was the first-of-its-kind consigned project in the vicinity. With initial inputs from the client, the suggested program comprising a swimming pool, gym, guesthouse and lawn for this residential extension spoke volumes about changing lifestyles in peri-urban areas. The client also found comfort in giving freedom to design with a modern outlook. What started as a casual social favour, ended as a sophisticated and complex manifestation of ADS’ expression.

The design explored subtleties of detailing that would work within the parameters and challenges of small towns while still providing a global outcome. The client took a great personal interest in the process for this project. From the dynamics of spaces to the articulation of materials, he found an overwhelming appreciation for the craft of architecture as well as the skill of the people involved in the making. He spent a lot of time in conversation with Abin to learn more which led to a profound friendship between the two. He also conversed with the local craftsmen employed at the site and attained an in-depth understanding of their contributions. The workforce was well looked after because of his respect for their craft.

The powerful and very human outcome of such treatment was felt strongly in this project. People wanted to work here and put in their best efforts as well. Pool House showcases exemplary finishing in spite of labour-intensive workmanship and complex detailing. It also brought to light the hidden talents of local craftsmen. A few stories surfaced where it was realised that had it not been for the opportune timing of this project, many of the worker’s talents would remain hidden and the trajectory of their lives’ would have taken a very different turn since some would even have resorted to joining local political gangs. The process behind the project had a lot to reveal about its human context.

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Two Needs, One Deed

Inspired by the account of one of the woodworkers at the Pool House where his life transformed from being a political worker to a skilled craftsman, Abin felt a responsibility to do something for the local community.

It led to the idea of setting up a workshop and material research unit which would provide a backbone for explorative and execution works taken up by Abin Design Studio; a co-beneficial system that would provide support to the practice and stable employment to improve the livelihood of locals.

The Adisaptagram Workshop was thus established in Adisaptagram. Having been able to provide employment to 20 locals by the end of the first year, it proved to be a successful endeavour. ADS is currently in the process of a massive expansion of the workshop and hopes to provide job opportunities to more people by moving more of its back-end work off-site.

4

A Forest Enchanted

The 2015 Kartik Puja Festival was a theme to celebrate 50 years of inclusion of indigenous Forest Tribes into the community. Because of the notable Pandal done previously, Abin Design Studio was asked to commemorate the celebration with a temporary pavilion designed in keeping with the theme.

The Pavilion of Canopies was designed to allude to the symbiotic relationship of man with the forest while pursuing an agenda to promote sustainability and co-existence with nature. It also manifests a contemporary take on the mythical Indian pilgrimage to temples hidden in remote jungles.

The pavilion was received with much appreciation by the visitors along with specific observations referencing the play of volumes, the effect of lighting, and the abstracted adherence to the theme. There was a certain influence on the perceptions of the audience this time around and a marked paradigm shift in the approach of the community members towards understanding the concept behind the design, not just the physical installation itself. 

5

Full Metal Jacket

While the Pool House was under construction, another resident from Bansberia happened to notice and be impressed by the work that was happening there. Looking to build an extension for his residence as well, he was motivated to approach ADS for professional help as well.

The House of Sweeping Shadows posed a different challenge altogether. A small shell of a two-storey building already stood on the plot in question. Conceived by the client’s father, the structure was built in the prevailing style by local masons as a composition of decorative columns supporting a pitched concrete roof. While the client wished for a contemporary recreational outhouse with a much larger program, he was reluctant to break this building for sentimental reasons.

The resulting complex, comprising a program very similar to that of Pool House, was a very different design expression to any precedents. The composition of masses, boldly crafted metal extension with the soft verdant landscape, and the dark hues complementing the open skies over the reflective water body made for a serene, contemporary extension to the client’s residence. 

6

Turning a Corner

At a busy intersection in Bansberia were three adjacent plots that one gentleman had procured over time. Visiting the Pool House and House of Sweeping Shadows encouraged him to approach ADS for his private residence. The client’s prime requirement was that of a 12-foot tall boundary wall for ensuring privacy and security.

After due analysis of the corner plot for Wall House, it was observed that building a tall boundary wall along the road-adjacent periphery would prove disastrous for this collision-prone junction. Reluctant to give up the idea of a tall boundary wall, it took Abin a period to six months to reason with and convince the client to appreciate the difficulty of the situation. It was finally agreed upon for the wall to be taken in at the corner and enable clear sightlines around the turn. The space outside the wall was landscaped with low-height shrubbery as a vibrant enhancement of the pavement.

Minimal setbacks and an unavoidable boundary wall prompted the idea of integrating the wall into the design of the House itself. Enveloped within this strategically articulated feature wall, the house is designed as an inward-looking series of masses with internal courtyards to bring in light and ventilation to the harmonious sequence of spaces inside.

7

Club Culture

As a policy towards the promotion of sports and extra-curricular activities, Bengal’s state Government offered a sum of 2 lakh rupees to all state clubs and associations in early 2017. Football has always been an integral part of the cultural fabric of Bansberia. One of the local coaching clubs approached Abin Design Studio to build a clubhouse made especially to facilitate young passionate footballers in the area.

Excited to engage in a project for the people of the neighbourhood, ADS jumped in with both feet to develop the Waterfront Clubhouse. A working design and rationalised budget were arrived at after due consideration of constraints, manpower and resources with an outlook towards easy maintenance and upkeep in the future. A funding strategy was formulated to ignite interest amongst the local community and influential people in the area. The Studio requested their city-based associates to contribute raw material creating a material pool that kick-started the entire process. Collaborations with local builders and engineers further economised the venture.

The resulting clubhouse structure is now a symbol of culture and community recreation where children and adults alike come together to celebrate, collaborate and hone their athletic skills. It is a space that goes beyond its utilitarian identity to integrate all into an emerging public place. A philanthropic initiative by Abin Design Studio with support from benevolent community members, this project is a manifestation of the hope for a better future of a rural community in a developing nation. Assessment of this project goes beyond numbers and facts into the challenges it faces and how it addresses the contextual needs.

8

Double Take

Another association came in the form of a collaboration with the region’s Panchayat. As is the Government’s convention, a budget of 2.5 crores was allotted for the construction of an auditorium in Adisaptagram for private and public events. Planned to be built in the typical format of Government convention hall, the local councillor was insistent that they could do better than a cookie-cutter ‘decorative’ facade and really add functional and aesthetic value with a contemporary approach.

This Adisaptagram Society Hall came with a lot of constraints from the governing bodies. With the intent of reaching out to a people at large, Abin Design Studio took up the project embracing all the conditions set forth. The building had to be devised with minimal changes to the existing footprint, it was to be built by a contractor whose primary expertise was in the construction of road-side municipal drains, it needed to be within the specified budget with no room to overshoot, and in accordance with unnecessary bureaucracy, red tape, and impractical protocols.

ADS came up with various architectural solutions that explored better spatial arrangements without deviating too much from the original footprint, designing simple yet effective details that could be carried out by an inexperienced contractor. The use of local materials and methods was proposed that would work within the budget even if it meant providing their professional services pro-bono. Scheduled to be completed by mid-2020, the design hopes to invoke a sense of appreciation for architecture to the community and a notion that there is always room to improve from conventional presets. While the Government does take responsibility to provide infrastructure, as a community if we take up the initiative, we can play a significant role in enhancing our experiences.

9

Gods of Men

On the other side of the intersection from the Wall House is a ‘Thakur Dalan’, a permanently covered podium reserved for frequent rituals of various deities and focal venue of religious festivals. During the construction of the residence, the patrons of the trust that maintains this pavilion approached Abin Design Studio for effective intervention.

For the conception of Narayantala Thakurdalan, the relationship of the people with the place was observed over a span of several weeks. How some people would offer their prayers twice a day while many visited only occasionally. A few devotees spent considerable amounts of time offering obeisance while others simply bowed their heads from their cycles as they rode past. This place of worship played a different role in each person’s daily life and this provided cues for the design of the space.

Although the existing structure held immense sentimental value to the people of Bansberia, they were quick to take on ADS’s suggestion to rebuild completely when they saw how the new proposal respected the same idea and sentiment of the place. Seed money was provided by influential clients and funds were collected from members of the community to inculcate a sense of belonging and ownership. The studio also contributed to the project while putting the ADS Workshop to good use.

While the final outcome was well appreciated by the community, it must be noted that some feedback was received where it was felt that the previous structure, having had a long-term association with the members, seemed more ‘at home’ than the new one.

10

One Step Further

Meanwhile, the client of Wall House procured another parcel of land across the street from his home as a parking lot for his vehicles. ADS was initially approached to provide for a garage structure but convinced the client to use this opportunity for doing a lot more and think of how it could give back to the community.

The Gallery House was thus planned as a garage on the ground level with a multi-purpose activity space on the upper level intended to be used by the neighbourhood. Encouraged to maximise the public utility of this building, its design was conceived to extend into the street, both visually and physically. As a decision to introduce another architectural expression to the community, the building took cues from Bengal’s terracotta temples. Exposed brick masonry walls inlaid with ceramic blocks define the building character as a contemporary expression of the inspiration.

Inspired by the way the building was coming up, the client decided to let go of his initial requirement of a garage and embraced the suggestions of re-purposing the ground floor has a community hall while the upper floor houses a multipurpose-room, a sitting area and a pantry. The multipurpose-room was to be used primarily for providing tuition classes and yoga sessions to the local community. At night, this space functions as a dormitory for resident staff. The client enjoys a sense of pride and joy of ownership seeing the space put to good use.

This journey of realising multi-scale projects of both private and public nature, some even being driven by the members of the community, seems to reveal a dual narrative. One follows the architectural intent of bridging the gap between private and public through sensitised design, both metaphorically and functionally. It highlights how an architectural intervention, even in its isolated private realm, can include a community and make a difference. Another gives insight into the process followed in transforming an idea into a tangible reality. The people, trials, challenges, and adaptations involved show how certain key design features can be adapted to suit financial and working constraints without compromising on the desired effect, all because of an initial idea that rippled onto a wide spectrum of people and their perceptions.

डिझाईनच्या दुनियेत: The World of Design

डिझाईनच्या दुनियेत: The World of Design 70

माणसाचे एकवेळ माणसावाचून चालेल, पण वस्तूंवाचून मात्र अडेल. हे वाक्य काहीसे अतिरेकी उध्दट वाटेल, पण ते सत्य आहे. आत्ता तुम्ही जिथे कुठे बसून हे वाचत असाल, त्याच्या आजूबाजूला सहज एक नजर टाका. माणसे असतील किंवा नसतीलही, पण  ‘वस्तू’ असतीलच. हातातले वर्तमानपत्र, मोबाईल फोन, डोळ्यावरला चष्मा, बुडाखालची खुर्ची किंवा सोफा, समोरचे दार, शेजारचा चहाचा कप, दारातल्या चपला, अंगातला टीशर्ट…मोजू तितक्या कमीच!
या वस्तूंशिवाय आपण कसे जगू? माणसांनी वस्तू घडवल्या की वस्तूंनी माणसाला? या सगळ्याची सुरुवात कधी आणि कशी झाली असावी? म्हणजे  मोबाईल फोन ‘जसा’ आहे, तो ‘तसा’ कसा घडला असेल? खुर्ची किंवा सोफा आज जसे आहेत तसे घडेतो कोणकोणत्या टप्प्यातून गेले असतील? हे सगळे कोणी, कसे, कोणत्या मार्गाने आणि दृष्टीने घडवले असेल? आपल्या रोजच्या वापरातल्या वस्तूंचा आकार जसा दिसतो, तसा तो घडत येण्यामागे आणि बदलत राहाण्यामागे कोणता विचार आणि शास्त्र असते? या सगळ्या प्रश्नांच्या उत्तरांची वाट एका संकल्पनेकडे जाते : डिझाईन!

डिझाईन म्हणजे काय ? हा प्रश्न समोर आला म्हणजे आपल्या मनात अनेक समज-गैरसमज निर्माण होतात. कपड्यांवरचे डिझाईन, रांगोळीचे डिझाईन, बाटलीचे डिझाईन, घराचे डिझाईन, मोबाईलचे डिझाईन अशा एक ना अनेक मानवनिर्मित गोष्टींचे उल्लेख करताना आपण डिझाईन हा शब्द सहज वापरतो. बरं या शब्दामागचे व्याकरण शोधायला गेलात तर आणखी वेगळी गंमत सापडते. ‘डिझाईन आजच्या जीवनशैलीचा एक महत्त्वपूर्ण भाग आहे’ , यात डिझाईन हा शब्द नाम म्हणून वापरला आहे. ‘या टी-शर्ट मध्ये तुमच्याकडे अजून काही डिझाईन्स आहेत का?’ , यात डिझाईन सर्वनाम म्हणून वापरला आहे. ‘घराचे डिझाईन बनवण्यासाठी आम्ही आर्किटेक्टला भेटणार आहोत’, यात डिझाईन क्रियापद म्हणून वापरला आहे. मी म्हणत होतो ती गंमत तुमच्या लक्षात आली असेलच. डिझाईन हा शब्द कोण, कोणासाठी आणि कुठल्या अनुषंगाने वापरतो आहे त्यावर ‘डिझाईन’ या शब्दा मागचा व्यवहारातला अर्थ आणि हेतू ठरतो. जॉन हॅसकेट नावाचा एक जाणकार म्हणतो की ‘डिझाईन’ हा शब्द इंग्रजीतील ‘Love’ या शब्दाप्रमाणे आहे. ‘Love’ या शब्दाचा उपयोग कोण, कोणासाठी आणि कुठल्या संदर्भात करतो त्याप्रमाणे या शब्दाचा अर्थ बदलतो. उदाहरणादाखल त्यांनी बनवलेले एक रंजक वाक्य येथे नमूद करतो “Design is to design a design to produce a design”. या शब्दाचा उगम इसवी सन १३५० ते १४०० काळात लॅटिन भाषेत आढळतो आणि ऑक्सफर्ड शब्दकोशाप्रमाणे याचा अर्थ एखादी गोष्ट कशी असावी किंवा दिसावी हे ठरवण्यासाठी असणारी पद्धत किंवा कला असा होतो. इथे एक गोष्ट नक्की नमूद केली पाहिजे की कलेचा उगम आणि मानवी अस्तित्वात असणारा कलेचा आवाका हा मानवी संस्कृतीत डिझाईन पेक्षा हजारो वर्ष जुना आहे. मग या सगळ्या विचारांच्या कोलाहलात डिझाईन ची व्याख्या मांडायची झाली तर एक प्रयत्न असा असू शकतो तो म्हणजे “आपल्या गरजा पूर्ण करण्यासाठी आणि आपल्या जगण्याला अर्थ देण्यासाठी मानव निर्मित पर्यावरणाला घडवण्याची आणि आकार देण्याची मानवी क्षमता म्हणजे डिझाईन”. ह्या मानवी क्षमतेचे प्रमाण आणि आवाका आजमवायचा असेल तर हा लेख तुम्ही जिथे बसून वाचत आहात तिथे आजूबाजूला जरा नजर फिरवून बघा. मग ते घर असेल, ऑफिस असेल, ग्रंथालय असेल किंवा रेल्वेचा डब्बा असेनात; एक मात्र नक्की की त्या पर्यावरणातली प्रत्येक गोष्ट ही मानवनिर्मित आहे, इतकंच काय तर त्या पर्यावरणात असणाऱ्या झाडाला देखील आपण आकार दिला आहे किंवा त्याची वाढ आपल्या गरजेप्रमाणे आपण नियंत्रित केली आहे.

थोडक्यात काय तर ह्या पर्यावरणाला आपल्या गरजा आणि अपेक्षांच्या कक्षांमध्ये घेऊन मूळ स्वरूपात असलेल्या खूप कमी गोष्टी आज आपण भूतलावर अस्तित्वात ठेवल्या आहेत. या लेखमालेचा उद्देश मानव निर्मितीच्या कक्षा नाकारणं नसून डिझाईन क्षेत्रात मानवाने केलेल्या प्रगतीच्या कार्याची दखल घेणे हा आहे. उपलब्ध साधन सामग्रीचा आणि तंत्रज्ञानाचा वापर करून निर्मिती करण्याची आपली क्षमता हे या भुतलावर असणाऱ्या मानवी अस्तित्वाचे द्योतक आहे. इतर कुठल्याही प्राणिमात्रांमध्ये ही क्षमता इतक्या प्रगत थराला पोहोचलेली दिसत नाही. केवळ ह्या क्षमतेमुळे आपण आपला अधिवास आणि सभ्यता एका विशिष्ट प्रकारे घडवू शकलो आहोत. ‘ डिझाईनला’ भाषे इतकंच महत्व आहे कारण माणूस हा ‘माणूस’ असल्याच्या सत्याला बळकटी देणारं हे द्योतक आहे. मानव निर्मितीची ही क्षमता अनेक मार्गांनी आपण अस्तित्वात आणत असतो. जसे की स्थापत्यकला, बांधकाम, अभियांत्रिकी, प्रॉडक्ट डिझाईन, फॅशन डिझाईन इत्यादी. थोडक्यात आपल्या जगण्याला द्विमितीय आणि त्रिमितीय आयाम देणे हा यामागचा उद्देश. दैनंदिन जीवनातील वस्तू, संवाद आणि पर्यावरण मग ते घराशी निगडित असो, कामाच्या जागेशी निगडित असो, रस्त्याशी, सार्वजनिक ठिकाणाशी किंवा आपल्या प्रवासाशी का निगडित असेनात प्रत्यक्ष किंवा अप्रत्यक्ष रीत्या आपण या जगण्याला आणि जगाला आकार देत असतो.

मानव निर्मितीच्या क्षमतेला ‘डिझाईनला’ जर इतके आयाम असतील तर ते जाणून घेण्यासाठी आपण सुरुवात करणार तरी कुठून? याचे उत्तर मानवी उत्क्रांतीच्या इतिहासात दडलं आहे. काळाच्या अनुषंगाने उलगडत जाणारे उत्क्रांतीच्या इतिहासातले हे थर डिझाईनची गोष्ट सांगत जातात. ह्या गोष्टीची सुरुवात होते सुमारे पंचवीस लाख वर्षांपूर्वी आफ्रिका खंडात, जेव्हा माणूस हा अन्नाच्या शोधात भटकत होता. स्वतः शिकार करणे किंवा इतर हिंस्त्र पशूंनी केलेल्या शिकारीतला वाटा खाणे हेच त्याच्या उपजीविकेचे साधन होते. भटकंती करणारा हा मनुष्य प्राणी निसर्गात आढळणाऱ्या सर्वसाधारण दगडाला घडवून प्राण्याची त्वचा आणि मांस कापण्यासाठी एक हत्यार किंवा साधन बनवू लागला.

 

या हत्याराकडे निरखून बघितलं तर तुमच्या लक्षात येईल की याची एक बाजू मजबूत पकडीच्या दृष्टीने जाड आणि गोलाकार बनवली गेली आहे तर दुसरी बाजू बारीक आणि धारदार आहे. अनेकदा हिंस्त्र श्वापदांनी खाऊन संपले ल्या शिकारीत माणसाला केवळ राहिलेल्या हाडांचा हिस्सा मिळे. अशावेळी या हत्याराचा वापर हाडी फोडून त्यातील अत्यंत पौष्टिक अशा ‘बोन मॅरो’ नामक द्रवपदार्थ काढण्यासाठी केला जात असे. वैज्ञानिक दृष्ट्या असाही एक कयास आहे की माणसाच्या मेंदूच्या विकासात या बोन मॅरो सेवनाचा महत्त्वपूर्ण वाटा आहे. आज भागणाऱ्या भुकेच्या आनंदापेक्षा उद्याच्या अन्नाची भ्रांत माणसाला कायमच सतावत असते. मनुष्य प्राणी आणि जनावरांमध्ये या हत्याराने सगळ्यात मोठा फरक घडवून आणला तो म्हणजे गरजेइतक्या मांसाचे भक्षण झाल्यावर, उरलेल्या अन्नाचे तुकडे करून माणूस ते भविष्यासाठी साठवून ठेऊ लागला. निसर्गात आढळणाऱ्या साधनसंपत्तीचा वापर करून बनवलेल्या या गोष्टींनी मानवी उत्क्रांतीच्या इतिहासाला एक महत्त्वपूर्ण कलाटणी दिली. आपल्या डिझाईनच्या जगाला इथून सुरुवात होते, चला तर मग येथून पुढे येणाऱ्या लेखन मालिकेत आपण परिचित जाणवूनही अपरिचित असणाऱ्या या डिझाईनच्या दुनियेत फेरफटका मारुयात.

Story originally published in Lokmat

Keep Walkin – Alberto Giacometti’s masterpiece

Walking Man II - Design Dalda
Walking Man II - Design Dalda
Walking Man II – East Wing – National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Photo ©Design Dalda

Walking Man II is part of the famous series of six Walking Man sculptures in which Alberto Giacometti (1901-66), a highly feted Swiss sculptor and one of the greatest artists of the 20th century created an epitome of the human condition. Giacometti’s walking man is on his own, he doesn’t look at you, he is on his way, his posture – that of a walking man, his expression – full of purpose, his gaze – fixed on the distant horizon, the future – a distant one, even a difficult one, determined he strides decisively, forward in order to discover, to understand, as if he has a goal to pursue, the rough texture – of a man of the soil, of hard work. Impenetrable yet disconcerting, this figure exalts a universal impact which exerts an intriguing fascination on the spectator.

I discovered Giacometti in photographs taken by French master Henri Cartier Bresson, two images stayed with me, in one Giacometti is walking in his studio with one of his Walking Man sculptures on his right and another more erect, static sculpture to his left and in another Giacometti is crossing a street on a wet rainy Parisian day with a raincoat partly hung over him. While I finally got to see Walking Man II, placed somewhat nonchalantly in the connecting corridor of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, I wanted to make sure that my phone captures a decent image of the masterpiece, I waited for people and clicked as they walked past, this image gave me some sense of satisfaction.

For those interested in reading more about Giacometti this link is quite comprehensive https://www.fondation-giacometti.fr/en Incidentally in 2010, ‘Walking Man I’ in a Sotheby auction sold at a sum of 104.3 million USD which at today’s rates comes to a whooping INR 700 crore.

Urban Nomads- Housing for on-site migrant construction workers at Thane by Aniket Risbud

Housing for migrant construction workers - Aniket Risbud

Text and Images: Aniket Risbud

Urban Nomads- Housing for on-site migrant construction workers at Thane by Aniket Risbud 77

Project Description
A construction worker, who actually materialized the designs on construction sites and is an integral part of the construction industry often gets neglected. If we trace the architectural history, even though the architectural world has moved on from a hut to tall skyscrapers, the living conditions of workers has not evolved much.
The prototype is a cube of size 2.8m x 2.8m x 2.8m, elevated from the ground by 150 mm to prevent rainwater and insects entering in. The specialty of the prototype is its flexibility where structural MS framework is constant and walling panels are variables. As per the availability of materials, funds, climatic zones and other barriers, the users can change the walling material.

For instance, here the walling panels used are tetrapack sheets as they are lightweight, durable, environmental friendly and keeps internal temperature cooler than aluminium sheets. As per the construction site location one can replace tetrapack sheets with bamboo mats, cement sheets or even aluminium sheets (for cold climatic zone)
Internal layout of the prototype is evolved by studying compact spaces like a railway compartment and tiny houses. The design also allows the users for personalization. Metal cup hooks are welded to the upper MS framework. One can put curtains, hang their belongings or dry their clothes on it. During festivals they can use them to decorate their unit too.
SALIENT FEATURES OF THE PROTOTYPEThe prototype design is a product of rigorous thought process and research. The proposal not only enhances user’s comfort but also attempts to integrate their habitual behavior in the form of an opening cum informal seating.

Its generous nature makes it unique from the conventional designs. The salient features of the design include:

  1. Comfort – The design ensures user comfort with the help of proper natural light and ventilation. The upper flap has a dual role- it helps to drain the rain water and allows natural light and ventilation.
  2. Adaptive – The design adapts with respect to the needs of the user and the function.3. Stackable
    The prototypes can be stacked in case of site constraints. This ensures adequate user comfort in spite of having a compact site. The G+1 module can be access with the help of add-ons like a passage and ladder4. Modular
    The design is modular in nature, hence easily replicable. The modules can be modified according to usability. Cluster or liner arrangements can be done as per the requirement.
  3. Easy to erect and dismantle – This simplifies the process, minimizes the time taken by the workers to set up the proposed dwellings.
  4. Versatile – The prototype can be arranged in different fashion to house various activities. For example- the same unit can be used as a crèche, a canteen, toilet block, a medical room for construction workers.

Trophy Design for WADe India: Scalable Design Systems by rat[LAB]

Trophy Design for WADe India: Scalable Design Systems by rat[LAB] 139

”Drawing curvilinear and natural forms brings in greater risks and responsibilities to drive ‘Elegance’ into the output. As a design studio, we take this quite seriously through a precise use of Design Technologies that can aid in creating design systems that can be deployed at various scales – be it a large skyscraper or a hand-held trophy.” says Sushant Verma, Design Head of rat[LAB] Studio, New Delhi, who co-created this vision along with his team of experts at the studio.

Trophy Design for WADe India: Scalable Design Systems by rat[LAB] 141
Fig: WADe Trophy of three variation (from left to right) Silver Trophy, Gold Trophy, Bronze Trophy

WADe Asia is a platform created for the recognition and documentation of exemplary works produced by women in the field of design – art and architecture. As a part of WADe Awards 2017, rat[LAB] was commissioned to design a celebratory trophy that can abstractly represent womanhood and celebration that the award signifies. This was through a two-stage open competition floated by the organizers wherein the studio participated with their conceptual idea, later developed into a fabricated product in a short span of time. The trophy itself is conceived to be a celebration of women‘s contribution to the vast field of design and art, and recognize the top women designers with the award. The trophy design by rat[LAB] Studio embodies the team’s interest in contributing to the uplifting platform for Women Architects, Artists and Design Entrepreneurs in Asia.

SCALABILITY
“Scalability is integral to nature and natural systems. As a design studio, we embrace this scalability and work towards ‘Scalable Systems’ and ‘Design Technologies’ that can be used to articulate objects of various scales. From a skyscraper or high-rise tower to small furniture or a trophy, similar systems can be deployed. We used potentials of Computational Design & Parametric Design to encapsulate the essence of celebration and womanhood in this Trophy design.”
Scalability being the primary agenda of the studio, it is imperative that the trophy design should also incorporate scalability in its design process. Scalability refers to emulating the design process of one scale, say -architectural, to another scale, such as product design as the studio takes deep inspiration by the philosophy of UK based Industrial Designer and Architect Thomas Heatherwick who has often quoted “Products and Buildings are the same. Whether something is a Christmas card or a masterplan for a site that’s eight miles long, we’ve found it’s exactly the same process that you’re going through,” said Heatherwick in one of his famous interviews with Dezeen.

rat[LAB], as a studio, is frequently involved with design projects ranging across scale – from architecture, urban, interior design to art installations. Most of these projects are developed with the help of advanced computational design methods. Computational design allows designers to incorporate a rational and insightful approach to design. With little ingenuity, this process can be emulated at different scales with required modifications.

With the idea of demonstrating scalability in the trophy design, the design studio adapted the design process from another on-going project of a skyscraper that the studio was involved in. Just as the skyscraper design is based on a set of parameters, trophy is also designed keeping in mind some important parameters such as stability of the volume, materiality, ease of holding, weight, method of fabrication etc. The optimum form was developed after considering all the aforementioned factors. The whole process was streamlined by using computational design to make the design more rational and optimum.

Trophy Design for WADe India: Scalable Design Systems by rat[LAB] 143
Fig: Design process using ‘W’ to represent Women in Design.

The form is ideated as a fluidic interpretation of the letter ‘W’ that sits as a miniature tower. The cross sections were subjected to parabolic curve to make the design more elegant and mathematically-controlled for fabrication process. The tips were extruded to give the form a triumphant look which was an abstract indication of victory. The trophy was created in three variations in gold, silver, bronze colour to denote hierarchy of merits, as per the brief.

GENERATIVE DESIGN
Using an Algorithmic Process, the geometry is subjected to an evolutionary process wherein the design can be evolved with each year of subsequent awards, if feasible for organizers. This allowed creation of a generation of forms for the trophy, all of which can be easily fabricated using conventional methods. This also ensured creation of multiple iterations, which could be evaluated against fabrication methods, time, costing, etc. to finalize the idea for WADe Award 2017.

Trophy Design for WADe India: Scalable Design Systems by rat[LAB] 145
Fig: Evolutionary Process to create multiple iterations of designs for Trophy for present and future

Fig: Trophy is sectioned in shape of ‘W’ and end-strokes of ‘W’ are extracted to symbolizes celebrating hands in the air

The stylized sectioning pattern seen in the trophy presents the tangible robustness in the design. Each horizontal section embraces the letter ‘w’ that demonstrates the solidarity in the design and unity for the cause and also enhances the letter ‘W’ which is synonymous with Women of WADe. The spatial balance is achieved by taking center of gravity into account. The mass and volume of the trophy is carefully designed to increase slenderness in the form and also be more comfortable to hold in hand. The mass is thoughtfully distributed between the upper and lower part to achieve an optimal division of weight which makes it easier to hold in hand and stable on its own, without any base support. The idea was to have a stand-alone and monolithic piece without any additional support, just as what the award recognizes. The sections are parametrically extracted by contouring the surface profile. The bottom base of the trophy is scaled up in two dimensions for more stability. It is designed to have a larger cross sectional contact area when it is kept on a plane. The parametric sectioning technique has also been used in various projects at different scales in the studio to create a fluidic language for larger spaces. To increase the grip of the trophy, horizontal grooves are introduced. The grooves are overlaid on the surface gracefully and break monotonous texture of the surface by giving a visual contouring effect.

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Fig:The form is subjected to parabolic curve for ease in holding. The wide base provides stability to the trophy.

The fundamental design parameters are permuted to form an entirely new visual perception while maintaining the coherency of idea of the trophy. The trophy design was resolved more as a design problem than a mere object of art. Besides the elegance of form, beauty of proportions and harmony of idea, other factors such as ease of fabrication, material efficiency as well as cost of production were taken into account intrinsically into the design process.

Fig: A representative symbol for collective celebration as the trophies are configured differently in a set

Final result is an artistically magnificent trophy with slender look that emanated opulence, confidence, meritocracy and women empowerment. The form is designed to create a feminine look that shatters patriarchy.

FABRICATION PROCESS

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Fig: A part of fabrication drawings for casting process

Fabrication was very critical to the design process as there were tight constraints of time and resources. 3D printing was one of the methods tested to create moulds for a monolithic cast-iron piece for creating a robust trophy. Various methods of CNC cutting metal sections were also tested but casting was the finalized process owing to time constraints. The contour lines that form an integral part of design language, were engraved by hand on the solid form, to save time and cost, instead of piece by piece assembly as in the case of other sectioned elements designed in the studio previously. The most notable aspect of the minimalistic trophy design is the way complexities are exemplified in the design process through a simple execution to drive an elegant result.

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Fig: Finished detail of trophy

INTEGRATED COMPUTATIONAL DESIGN APPROACH

Computational design is defined as the usage of computer systems and algorithms to design. Computational Design allows ideation and testing of a large number of variations in small frame of time since they are based on parameters rather than mere geometric modeling. Parametric design process also helps in aftermath of design i.e. in fabrication or manufacturing. Fabrication or manufacturing data can be easily obtained from the design process, which in turn helps us determine the performance or efficiency of the design which reflects back in the design iteration decisions.
Similar to any other design projects undertaken by the studio, the design of WADe Trophy is also designed using Computational Design methods. The whole design process, from conception to fabrication, computational design is a integral means.

The software resources used in the computational design process for this project are Rhino3D and Grasshopper3D that allows NURBS based modeling and a parametric control of geometry, respectively. These are currently state-of-the-art tools that can be used by designers to create a multitude of scalable systems.

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Fig: Different permutations of the form generated using a generative approach

Through the design of this trophy, rat[LAB] Studio has attempted to demonstrate two paradigmatic changes that are taking place in the global design industry – ‘scalability’ of design systems and a shift in ‘design tools’. The blend of two has led to an ‘elegant’ solution for a trophy design that has symbolized the award that WADe represents and acknowledges.
“rat[LAB] Studio congratulates all the winners of WADe Asia Award 2017 and wish them the best to continue with their great works. This one is for all the Women, and to the Men who walk by them.”

Design Process:

Project Details:
Design Studio: rat[LAB] – Research in Architecture and Technology (www.rat-lab.org)
Design Team: Sushant Verma and Adarsh Desai
Client: WADe Awards
Project Duration: 1 month

Seeking The Fabled Place In The Sun: In Memoriam – Charles Correa

Seeking The Fabled Place In The Sun: In Memoriam - Charles Correa 160

If truth be told, we don’t really want a place in the sun.

Neither, it seems, do we want a place in the shade. With the urban populace increasingly opting for glitzy, air-conditioned glass boxes, the idea of a public place – especially one that exists on the cusp of the built and the unbuilt – is rapidly devolving into a somewhat post-modern statement of exclusivity and affluence. When one can stand in the atrium inside a shopping mall, why would one choose to sit in the garden right outside it?

Somewhere between consumers who balk at the sun and producers who choose to shut it out, the relevance of deliberate spatial transition is eroding – at great cost to our resources as well our cultural ethos. It is clear that we either do not understand the importance of this deliberation, or are unable to implement it. On Charles Correa’s 87th birth anniversary, we turn to one of his most profound essays to rediscover this elusive element.

Charles Correa’s work took careful consideration of transitional spaces and their impact on Place-Making

The essay – which was originally delivered as a lecture in 1983 at the Royal Society of Arts, London – is somewhat metaphorically named A Place In The Sun, a misnomer that Correa acknowledges even as he prefaces his speech. Pondering over the unique challenges that practicing architecture in the Indian subcontinent poses – including, but not limited to, climatic constraints and cultural demands – Correa proceeded in this lecture to identify the three key issues that accompany the practice of architecture in the country, “The first concerns our relationship with built form; the second energy-passive architecture; and the third, housing the urban poor”.

“I shall try to relate them, one to the other, and set them in the context of a fourth issue,” he writes, “one that is crucial to India (indeed, to the entire developing world) – and that is, the nature of change.”

Correa speaks about this relationship to built form with great gusto – emphasizing the role that built spaces play in the Indian way of life, and how the adaptation to the tropical climate manifests itself through blurring the lines between built and unbuilt. He compares, even, the role that buildings play in popular iconography – describing how little red brick-boxes signify a schoolroom in the West, while a guru with his pupils sitting under a tree conveys the same to Indian sensibilities instead.

He further comments on how this marked difference in typological perceptions has always existed; indeed, the colonnades of the Greek temples lose their significance beyond an ornamental screen as we move northwards – their ability to create a leisurely atmosphere in a place of pause lost in the cold winds, where nothing but ‘boxes’ can comfortably thrive.

“This, of course, makes for a difference in our perception of what is architecturally desirable and significant. If one lives in a cold climate and is continuously involved in the production of boxes (and mutants thereof), then one becomes obsessed with the surface-patterning, the coding, the tattooing of those boxes.” he says, “and architectural photography, in journals and books, reinforces this obsession – since the printed image dramatizes two-dimensional patterns, but is quite incapable of communicating any sense of the ambient air.”

He puts special emphasis on this disconnect between the East and the West – and especially on the need of understanding the role that this ‘ambient air’ plays. His stance is clear – in a country like ours, with its balmy weather and abundant sunshine, it is inadvisable (if not completely illogical) to follow the conventions set down in snow-ravaged places. While the ‘tattooed two-dimensional patterns’ in journals and magazines look immensely appealing, they have little relevance to the physical space we inhabit.

Correa continues, in his essay, to speak about understanding the nuance of this physical space, and harnessing what it offers us in greatest abundance – the sun. His discourse mentions the ritualistic role that sunlight plays in traditional eastern architecture – both as a constraint and as a design element – while also speaking about its mitigating effect in resource-strapped nations. His notion of providing even the poorest of the poor the sort of shelter that not only provides refuge from the elements, but derives tranquility from them, has been amply manifested in his various housing projects.

The housing projects undertaken by Charles Correa focused heavily on the livability of outdoor spaces and their potential for promoting social interaction

In fact, what we generally hold as his ‘signature’ elements – the brick-and-plaster materiality, the shaded courtyards, the occasional whimsical pop of colour – are not really his signatures at all. His architecture transcends mere elements, and embraces a philosophy instead – a philosophy that is rooted in asking the right questions, that aspires to a higher truth; the material expression and transitive nature are only a yield of it. When he speaks about the ‘two crucial roles that an architect must play’, he stresses upon the necessity of establishing an order and stimulating growth – although he refers specifically to the provision of housing, in this context, it is not difficult to see that these must become the guiding principles of all architectural endeavors in the country if we are to transcend the role of mere plan-makers.

Correa’s sensitivity towards context and culture has created a cohesive body of work that is its own identity and endorsement, and has gained a timeless quality despite its modernist origins. His buildings, in fact, embody the modernist revolution on the continent far more prominently than most contemporary steel and glass boxes in the metropolitans ever have, despite the former’s purported traditionalism. One must note, at this juncture, that modernism necessitates the fulfillment of function – which a blatant disregard of environmental exigencies cannot achieve.

“‘There are no great men’, said Stendhal apropos of Napoleon, ‘there are merely great events.’ And, one could perhaps go further and say: there are great issues. For we are only as big as the questions we address. And this, to my mind, is the central riveting fact of life for architects in the Third World”, Correa wrote as a parting note, “Not the size, or value, of the projects we are working on, but the nature of the questions they raise – and which, we must confront. A chance to grow: the abiding virtue of a place in the sun.”

Now, more than ever, we must heed his words and strive to create this place in the sun – or shade, as it may be – independent of typical influences, determined in our own sense of purpose.


You can read A Place In The Sun and other essays by Charles Correa in his book A Place in the Shade published by Penguin Books.

Architectural Internship in India – Chitra Vishwanath opines

Chitra Vishwanath on Architectural Internships
Student internship is a quintessential part of an architectural education. However, it is increasingly becoming an unmitigated ordeal for many within the community. Affecting both students and practicing architects, the workforce imbalance and issues of ineptitude have created an unfavourable – and often exploitative – situation.  

Inviting the opinions of architects, educators and students, we strive to start a conversation about what can be done to improve this situation. Below, Chitra Vishwanath shares her opinions  about the issue.


Architectural Internship in India - Chitra Vishwanath opines 164

There is a need to look at internship very seriously.

The large number of students in the country is not commensurate to the available offices. There is also a limit to the number of students that an office can take in. When such is the case, what are the responsibilities of the students as well as the schools of architecture?

Most of the times, the student selects an office to apply to, while the office selects the student on the basis of the portfolio sent in. Both of these are legitimate processes. However, this comes with its own set of problems:

Authenticity of Portfolios

There is little to no input from the institutes when it comes to verifying the subject matter of the portfolio. The office, then, must take the contents at face value. We trust that what is represented in the portfolio genuinely belongs to the said student. However, there have been instances where a student’s performance was contrary to the skills displayed in the portfolio.

Here, I question the role of the institute – shouldn’t it validate the authenticity of the work?

Hierarchy within the office

An office builds up its reputation on its design methodology, and that takes perseverance and creativity of the person/team that set up the practice. At no point in any office is an intern or a fresh graduate expected to handle a design charge. If the office does so, there is something amiss.

Most conscientious firms feel it is their responsibility to pay back to the society by providing internships. However, the purpose of internship needs to be understood by the interns as well as the offices.

The dictionary meaning of an intern is “A student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification”. For a student, the intention of an internship is to gain experience. Interns are thus the smallest cog in the wheel. They get the chance to learn from watching and maybe even imitating.

Most offices provide a stipend, which may or may not be equivalent to a salary. However, as mentioned before – an internship is a part of the course and therefore not a job. Further, architectural education is a long, drawn-out process and is never finished.

Ideally, the interns should apply themselves as they would as students. Einstein said – “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” and a practice expects this from the interns.

Irresponsibility of Institutes

As per the institute’s policy, practices often fill up a form for student evaluation. However, there is very little genuine communication between the institute and the practice. In fact, the institutes rarely even acknowledge the learning that the students receive from the practice.

Moreover, most offices are digitally equipped but the schools send inadequately trained interns. The office/practice is a commercial entity, not an ‘Institute’ to either teach or provide a knowledge sharing platform. They may/need not have the patience all the time to teach the basics. In this situation, it is the student who suffers. Institutes should take a serious view towards making students adept at the required digital skills.

Mindset of the Students

At this stage, it is important to learn the nuances instead of being too concerned with remuneration. When a student gets consumed with the aspect of remuneration and the “kind of work” they get, the mind gets closed to learning. In every office, something can be learnt which is of use to the student in their professional lives later.

The ideal time for internship is the 7th semester. This gives institutes the time to prepare students for internships by teaching them the necessary skills. Interns, in turn learn from real-life scenarios which they can tap into in later semesters. A student coming after the 9th semester tends to believe that he/she is already an architect. This perception colours the objective of learning and tends to make it job-oriented – which an internship is not.

My advice to students is to neither take internship lightly nor look at it as a means of commercial gain. You are at a stage in life where learning must be the primary means for self-fulfillment.

 


Architectural Internship in India - Chitra Vishwanath opines 166Chitra Vishwanath is a Bengaluru-based architect who works on themes related to ecology and architecture. She is the Principal Architect and Managing Director of BIOME Environment Solutions Private Limited.

Lights, Camera, Architecture! Exploring cinematic spaces with Sangeetha Polisetti

Who among us does not remember in stunning clarity the platform scene in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge? Or the grandeur of the Calcuttan hawelis in Devdas? Or the panoramic beauty of the indoor city of Saawariya? Beyond the memorable dialogue and multi-faceted characters, the visual memories of these movies linger with us, often continuing to weave stories even as the curtain closes.

Loud, colourful, and larger than life – movies have long been a vehicle for our fantasies as well as our aspirations, creating an exhaustive world that draws us in and leaves an impact that goes beyond the screen and often pervades our real lives. Charting this phenomenon is Sangeetha Polisetti of Lights, Camera, Architecture, who combines her pedagogical expertise with her love for cinema to deconstruct, document, and analyse memorable scenes from magnificent movies.

“The physical realm of the space cannot the erased from our memory – it definitely influences the way we think about certain things,” says Polisetti. “As rightly said in Drushyam, ‘People may forget what they heard but it is very difficult to forget what they saw.’ The way we perceive a dark corridor with a door open at the end is immensely influenced by horror movies. It is very difficult to remove all these pre-conceived notions about a space, and movies have a huge influence in forming our decisions.”

It is this influence that drives Polisetti’s initiative. “Architecture doesn’t only comprise of constructed buildings and unrealized projects of architects,” she tells us, “but also includes its evocation in art and culture. This is why I set out to address the architecture of the imagery in the world of cinema, which explores spatial design to a great degree… Although the Utopian cities and visionary buildings like those seen in Avatar or Bahubali might not be possible in the real world, a great amount of spatial understanding goes into making them appear convincing to the audience.”

Lights, Camera, Architecture! Exploring cinematic spaces with Sangeetha Polisetti 168

The brown colour palette and minimal usage of green represent the sad and angry state of people of Mahishmathi and the cruel nature of Bhallaladeva. The perspective employed here also establishes the power of the monarch and his confidence in his son’s strength, and adds drama to the conflict between man and beast.

How we perceive spaces and how we portray them is inextricably linked, each affecting the other; the depiction of space ranges from the tropic to the iconic, and drives the story forward as much as – if not more than – the characters and the dialogue. “Sometimes, space in films acts like a background – sometimes unnoticed (e.g. Drushyam), sometimes creating an impact unconsciously (E.g. Arundathi and Sakhi, where multiple scenes are shot at the same spot to subconsciously connect the viewers to the space) and sometimes to establish an impression about a character before physically introducing them (e.g. Hrithik and Farhan’s rooms in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara).”

“A scene can translate in few seconds what dialogues cannot. Visuals are a great tool to communicate information – they have more impact over the audience than mere narration does.”

The strategic placement of windows and furniture in the Mascarenhas Residence aids the telling of the story of Ethan’s rise in fame and subsequent downfall

From tracing sight-lines in Bajirao Mastaani to studying the impact of characters on the places around them in Mayabazar, Lights, Camera, Architecture applies the classical parameters of spatial analysis to the make-believe set-ups in popular cinema, proving how principles of design – especially in their scope to incite anticipation, infuse familiarity, and inspire emotion – provide consistent results despite diversity of media. “This is how I go about analyzing a scene: I watch it at least 5 to 10 times and make rough sketches – it is very important to watch it multiple times to understand the proportions, scale and relation of character with the space.”

“Every time I watch the scene, I focus on a new aspect – like once for the patterns on walls, once for the column placement, once to estimate measurements, etc. After this drill is done I decide which diagram can best describe the scene. I also try finding the script of the film online – and any other references that I can find – movies and read them, make notes, collect screenshots and then sit to write the analysis.”

“I don’t have a fixed team for Lights Camera Architecture as yet,” Polisetti tells us, when asked about the team behind the project, “It just started as an idea of combining the two things I love the most – Architecture and Films; I realized the amalgamation of both is very intriguing, and really enjoyed doing this.”

“It is mostly me working on the drawings, research and text, but my friends are a great support system. They help me with the work occasionally, mostly through providing invaluable critique; my friends, Kondal and Bindu – both architects – also helped me with the drawings for few projects. I am also currently looking forward for some collaborations to get some new ideas, styles and analysis on board.”

Sight-lines are carefully crafted in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies to evoke a sense of grandeur and romance, enhanced by the intricately detailed backdrops.

The impact of spatial depictions on the viewer’s mind often reinforces and subverts popular tropes at the same time. Given this incredibly nuanced effect, Polisetti’s work gains a higher significance than one would ascribe to a mere exploration – it is an introspection on social mores regarding spaces and how these affect the principals of architecture.

“The world of cinema influences the lives of millions of people and they tend to aspire from the architecture shown in films. It demonstrates the ways people have put meaning on the notions of the home, public spaces, monuments and landscapes. Through Lights, Camera, Architecture, I basically want to find answers to the following questions:

  • Can movies be taken as a medium to educate people about spaces and sensitize them to architecture?
  • Can they be used as a medium to understand the emotion and design of space?
  • Can we consciously make an effort and notice the unnoticed in films to better understand various aesthetic sensibilities?

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The first song of Mani Ratnam’s Geethanjali  is shot in Botanical Garden, Ooty, with careful use of lush greenery, mist and rain to establish the character of the female protagonist as a foil to the melancholy male lead.

You can explore her work in detail on her Blog as well as on Facebook


Lights, Camera, Architecture! Exploring cinematic spaces with Sangeetha Polisetti 172Sangeetha Polisetti graduated from SVCA, Hyderabad, and worked with Matharoo Associates, Ahmedabad for more than a year, till Oct 2016. She is currently working with Design Experiment, Hyderabad, and has been working on Lights, Camera, Architecture for the last 6 months.

Exploring Oritecture with Ankon Mitra

Oritecture - Ankon Mitra

Exploring the conjunction of Origami and Architecture, Ankon Mitra’s Oritecture is an imaginative exercise in blurring the boundaries between craft and engineering. Titled with a portmanteau of his own invention, Mitra describes the concept as “the infusion of the ideas, philosophy and the expression of folding into architecture and design.”

Oritecture as an initiative is only a constant reminder to myself to explore and unearth this fundamental phenomena [of folding], and emulate these guiding principles in not only architecture, but all things that I create.

Mitra’s philosophy has guided and moulded several of his projects, ranging from sculpture and furniture to entire buildings. Here are a few of the examples:

Hextile/UFO
Collaborative Project with Suryansh Chandra

Borrowing from the idea of weaving and structure in textiles, a hexagram-like form is imagined with its six arms radiating outwards – like a hexagonal sun. Origami usually generates sharp geometries – especially if created in metal – but here the idea was to represent a softening of that sharpness, creating fluid lines. Curved folding in metal was employed as a technique to achieve this idea of a benign and benevolent Sun. This is an open lattice, the lines of energy flowing and folding around the form resembling the Mandala of flowing energies around the Earth created through the interaction of the magnetic field of the planet with solar force-lines.

Oritecture - Ankon Mitra
The lines of solar energy folding around the Earth’s magnetic field is what inspired the form of the Hextile modules

The sculptures have been installed in the Nature Discovery Lounge at the St. Regis Resort in the Maldives. Individual modules have been optimized to create light-weight furniture, labelled Hextile Tables. The 0.5 mm thick aluminium sheets used to make these tables have been curve-folded, giving them a much higher strength than typical despite the thinness and lightness of the material.

Kirigami Lounge Chair (Scaled Prototypes)  – Upholstery Design and Fabrication by Kriya Studio

Kirigami – unlike Origami, which concerns itself with folding only – is a technique which allows material to be cut along with folding. It is a very effective method to make objects and forms light-weight by removing all superfluous material from the body of the form. While the folds of the Origami ensure strength disproportionate to the thinness of the original sheet metal, Kirigami ensures the form becomes even more light-weight than if it were only Origami. The Kirigami chairs are 3.5 feet wide and just as high, and made from stainless steel and upholstered with fabric and foam.

Yum Yum Cha Restaurants
 – Project undertaken by Hexagramm Design at Saket, Delhi and Cyberhub, Gurgaon

The interiors of the eateries have been conceptualized in vibrant colours, and the folded Origami décor compliments and synergizes with the Japanese cuisine. Here, Origami fulfils its original purpose – making people and spaces happy. The restaurant space soaks in themes like the Sea, Underwater World and the Rainforest Canopy. Objects are literal and depict birds, animals, plants and objects; the materials used here consist of paper, aluminium, and polypropylene.

Ankon Mitra - Oritecture - ProfileAuthor Bio: Ankon is an architect by training with a keen interest in the geometry and mathematics of plants, trees and flowers. A Gold-Medallist from the School of Planning and Architecture (S.P.A), New Delhi, and having pursued his Masters Degree from The Bartlett, University College London, he is Design Director (Landscape), at Hexagramm Design Pvt. Ltd. , working on resorts, farmhouses, hotels and residences of various sizes and imaginations. As part of his Oritecture initiative, he has conducted scores of workshops, designed interiors and sculptures for popular restaurant franchises, given a TEDx talk on the topic and hosted two solo art shows. He has also co-authored ‘Questioning Architecture’ with Gita Balakrishnan. Connect with Ankon Mitra on Facebook and Instagram

Triangulated Skin – Installation by WEsearch lab at M.S. University, Baroda

Triangulated Skin - Joy Mondal - Wesearch Lab
Location : Dept. of Architecture, M.S. University, Baroda
Software : Rhino and Grasshopper
Material : 2mm thick mount board and 10mm wide staple
Duration : 24 hours
Budget : 12,000 INR

Triangulated Skin - Joy Mondal - Wesearch LabWEsearch lab recently completed their ‘Triangulated Skin’ installation at Department of Architecture, M.S. University, Baroda as part of a design computation workshop. The installation is literally a triangulated skin made of 2mm thick mount boards which are laser cut into shape, and joined using 10mm wide staples. The method of assembly selected was low-tech to adhere to the strict duration and budget constraints, and to make the process participatory. The installation is on display at the architectural event – Reflection 2017.

Triangulated Skin - Joy Mondal - Wesearch LabThe installation is made of 400 pieces of triangles with flaps, which comprises of four sets of 100 different pieces (as shown in the diagram above). The half-cut flaps are folded and stapled to each other using simple low-tech flap to flap alignment. Because the flaps are stapled and the folds are free to rotate, the triangles can uni-axially rotate at every flap joint.

The triangles and flaps are numbered, which allowed easy one to one assembly of the triangles. As a consequence of the pin joinery of the triangles, the installation can be arranged in infinite number of ways, making the triangular skin amorphous in nature.

The installation is literally a triangulated skin made of 2mm thick mount boards which are laser cut into shape, and joined using 10mm wide staples. The method of assembly selected was low-tech to adhere to the strict duration and budget constraints, and to make the process participatory.

Foot over Bridge at Forum Mall, Bangalore by MayaPraxis

Forum Mall Foot Over Bridge-Bangalore - MayaPraxis
Location: Bangalore
Built Up Area: 100 Sq. m
Month/Year of commencement- Completion of Project: April 2015-April 2016
Photography: Shine Parsana

Forum Mall Foot Over Bridge-Bangalore - MayaPraxis
Photograph: Shine Parsana

Footbridges give the pedestrian a safe crossover over busy vehicular streets. These simple engineered structures can become beautiful public sculptures that one can walk through where public good, art and engineering can come together. Near Forum mall in Bangalore, the footbridge by MayaPraxis is designed as an efficient tubular lattice inn steel with escalators for ease of movement. The design keeps a lightness of form and an engineered beauty of structure to make it a sculptural experience.

Drawings:

 

Wellside Camac Residence, Kolkata – Architecture Brio

Architecture Brio - Wellside Camac Residence
Wellside Camac Residence, Kolkata - Architecture Brio 190

Once home of sprawling bungalows for Kolkata’s nouveau riche, the area between Park Street and the esplanade has a diverse mix of seventies office towers and fragments of nineteenth century Kolkata.
While the city densifies. Kolkata’s heritage fades away. Many bungalows fall in disrepair and ultimately give way for commercial highrises. It is merely due to the passion of individuals and a combination of long term business sense and interest in the conservation of the history of the city that certain heritage structures are preserved. The bungalow of the Mookherjee’s is such an example.

Wellside Camac Residence - Architecture BRIO

Built by Sir Rajen Mookherjee, who with his construction company built the famous Hooghly Bridge and the Victoria Memorial in a typical British Colonial style is slowly crumbling down. To compensate for the costs involved in preserving and maintaining this historical landmark, a residential apartment tower is proposed on the empty plot next to the structure. The narrow footprint that is left after leaving the required setbacks, results in an elegant and slender volume for the apartment tower. This verticality is even more emphasized by breaking up the volume in three parts. The deep vertical incisions in the facade allow light and ventilation to pass through the center of the floor plans.