On Saturday night, December 2nd, 2006, I attended a small pre-pre-conference party at the farmhouse home of Hari Nair, Director, Global Consumer Design Centre, Asia, Whirlpool. That is when I discovered that the world is truly very small, particularly when it comes to design, for Hari is the elder brother of Vijay Kumar. Vijay is one of the faculty members at the Institute of Design, IIT Chicago, where I worked as Director, Graduate Admissions from 2002 to 2005 and an alum of NID, Ahmedabad, where I’d dropped out of the postgraduate product design programme in 1990. Vijay was senior consultant with Larry Keeley at Doblin for more than a decade before he joined ID as professor. Apparently, when Hari joined Whirlpool, Vijay had forwarded my case study to him, hee!
Also there were Jatin Bhatt and his wife, Nien Sao – both from NID, who teach respectively at the National Institute of Fashion Technology and the Pearl Academy – as Jatin says, they’re direct competitors who just happen to be married J I finally got meet Poonam Bir Kasturi as well, she is one of the founders of the Shristi Academy of Art and Design, Bangalore and the designer who created the open source design model for “The Daily Dump” I wrote about extensively earlier this year.
As usual, when a bunch of designers meet, talk turns to shop. And in India, shoptalk usually includes issues with cultural relevancy, the crafts sector and of course, the bottom of the pyramid.