THINKING ABOUT DESIGN is a publication on design and related interests.
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Friday, April 16, 2021

@IICDJaipuredu Varta Series : Beyond Business: Design for Social Equity - Deepankar Bhattacharyya

 Prof. Anu Jain, Dean IICD was in conversation with Mr. Deepankar Bhattacharyya on Design for Social Equity. Mr. Deepankar Bhattacharyya is a member of the first under-graduate batch of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He believes that if we are to effectively negotiate the evolving complexities of our human built world, modern Design has to evolve beyond a stand-alone area of study and practice and must actively collaborate with other fields to create multidisciplinary processes that appreciate holistic views of our world and its infinite diversity. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Design 5.0, Reclaiming the profession - Deepankar Bhattacharyya

 The current trend of understanding Design as an activity which can be used for solving the ‘big problems’ of the day has its roots in the thinking of individuals from outside the profession who have discovered the virtues of human centred iterative approaches towards so called wicked problems where ambiguity is high. 

This is undoubtedly a good thing but when they believe that the subject of Design itself needs redefinition in these terms with consequent revamp of design education goals and curricula, practising designers need to take notice and revisit our roots and understanding of what it is that we do. 

Is design primarily a problem solving activity? To my mind, it is not. 

Modern Design from its roots in the world of craft, products and communication has grown to embrace experiences and services leading to a certain culture of design that becomes an integral part of human made systems. 

Systems that are imbued with the consequences of what designers do, have a certain quality of ease and delight for all those who interact with such systems. This happens at the interfaces between the various systems and sub systems that we build and people who use these systems. Systems in the area of our physical spaces such as cities; transportation systems; our buildings;  systems of governance, law and education, all benefit. 

These interfaces are complex and nuanced, humans are complex and nuanced. Human made systems which are negotiated by people, who are also part of the system, for all kinds of activities, the process of living itself, must aspire to our highest ideals and offer possibilities for limitless and multiple ways of fulfilling all that we love, desire and want to become. Physical, emotional, spiritual. 

Designers work at these interfaces trying to understand and work with the complexities inherent here, always wanting to improve upon and transform the ordinary and usually difficult interactions that we have with our habitat, our transportation, our relationships with governance, law, health, education.  

People are different from one another. We in India are yet to synchronise our understanding of time, space, order and hierarchy with the systems that we have inherited from other cultures and world views that have hitherto defined the prevailing world order and definitions of modernity and progress. Should designers not address this deep dissonance? 

Should not these interfaces between the variety of human beings and all the activities that define her/his life in a world which is increasingly human made and distant from the natural world be the principle concern of design education and practice? 

Design notes: 13-12-2020 - Deepankar Bhattacharyya

 It really is time to increase weightage of subjects like drawing; craft studies and practice; form, material and colour studies; music etc. in the school curriculum. Apart from reading, writing and arithmetic the connections and relationships between various subjects could do with more emphasis. Time for some holistic approaches. 

May even go some way to help get past this current fascination with ‘design thinking’ as an added bonus. Problem solving will automatically become more holistic for everyone. This kind of thinking will find integration with other more critical and analytical approaches. 

The profession of ‘Design’ can be left to focus on the relationships of human beings with all that is given to us by nature and all the systems that we build within it. The complex interfaces between who we are and can be and the worlds we build, tangible and intangible.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.