Designed for Happiness

Even though music is central to Bacardi NH7 Weekender,the venue design and graphics are just as important in building the festive cheer.

Written by Debjani Paul | Published:October 18, 2013 12:53 am

Last year,people walked into the NH7 Weekender venue and looked around,taking in the sights. There were few who didn’t stop short in front of the lake,where a giant hand snaked out in the popular rock salute. “Oh how clever,it’s the ‘Rockness Monster’,” many were heard saying,with a chuckle. In and around the stage areas,there were scores of guitar plectrum-shaped graphics adding to the visual atmosphere of the festival. Weekender Peth,said one icon,while others read Aga Bai or depicted the iconic Osho chappals.

So what goes into making these designs work? The preparations for the upcoming edition began in April,says Sameer Kulavoor,Director and Illustrator at Bombay Duck Designs,which has been designing graphics for the festival since 2011. “A lot goes into it. We have to start with the initial concept. Last year,it was plectrums,this year it’s faces,” he says.

“We have to look for city-specific quirks. For example,some of the plectrum icons in Bangalore were different from those in Pune,like the one which said: ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’,along side the picture of an autorickshaw,” he adds.

The graphics this year are themed on the many faces of the festival. “You see so many different kinds of people with different faces,attitudes and dynamics. We’ve tried to cash in on that aspect — the people who make the festival what it is. The Dewarists stage,for example,has a lot of folk-meets-country-meets-rock music,so even though the design looks like a face from a distance,it’s made up of folk instruments and motifs,” he says.

While the graphics team follows a universal theme every year,the venue designers have a more independent system. So one year,there may be the ‘Rockness Monster’,and another,there is a ferris wheel.

If anything,the fest this year is going to be even more colourful,promises Vijay Nair,CEO of Only Much Louder,the organisers of Bacardi NH7 Weekender. “We have worked with a collective of designers,and there’s a lot of focus on art and design,as well as fresh inspirations for the different stages and areas,” he says. Nair adds that The Dewarists stage this time will be about journeys and maps — plotting the journey of musicians who have featured on the different seasons of the travel-music show by the same name.

Kulavoor adds,“The true spirit of a festival lies in its vibe. It’s not just about the music,but the experience. So you don’t want designs that are just there for people to look at; you want people to look at them and chuckle.”

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