Delhi-based graphic designer Shweta Malhotra began an online graphic design experiment last year called “Something Cool Every Day”. A ‘Dear Diary’ of sorts, she created one art work a day, which was the sum of her observations, “from fashion and travel to personal experiences”. Much like a digital sketch book, the 365 graphics now form a large poster. It hangs on the wall of Alliance Francaise’s Galerie Romain Rolland. There are Bollywood outfits, including Raj Kapoor’s costume from Awaara which resembles Charlie Chaplin’s iconic suit, and Zeenat Aman’s blue hippie floral outfit, that set a nation grooving to Dum Maaro Dum, alongside beachside selfies with friends. Even a tap running dry during Delhi’s summers. “I experimented with different elements comprising graphic art — illustration, typography, photography and mixed media,” says Malhotra.
Participating in the fifth edition of DesignXDesign exhibition “20under35” in the Capital, 32-year-old Malhotra is one of the emerging designers to exhibit her work. The others include textile designers, architects, and product designers, who give a glimpse into the trends and issues that stimulate them. DesignXDesign, a joint initiative of Alliance Francaise de Delhi and Studio IF, includes presentations, round tables and exhibitions with designers throughout the year, geared towards creating awareness about design.
Rows of 28 clutches, strung with jute strings decorated with wooden toy parrots, fish and elephants are Sakshi Gambhir’s affirmation of what her studio Ootpataang (Hindi for unusual and less ordinary) stands for. “For every project, I usually try to work with a new art or craft cluster. This makes sure every time we have a fresh range of products and visual language,” she says. Birds peep through clutches, a red-and-black fish made in Madhubani style swims past, and triangles, lines and circles, found in Warli art, morph into human figures.
Meanwhile, through her label Injiri, textile designer Chinar Farooqui revisits handmade textile traditions in her clothing and interior products. Named after the Madras checkered textiles exported to west Africa in the 18th century, the word “injiri” means “real India”. True enough, for the “Kala Cotton” project, Farooqui worked with handloom weavers from Kutch to make white T-shirts, purses and cushion covers. Her label is constantly on a lookout for a new “living textile techniques”, since most techniques are getting harder to work with as many weavers are leaving the handloom industry and techniques are disappearing altogether.
And taking us all the way to the western Himalayas is Under Mango Tree Architects and Designers for their work in progress. On display are diagrams and sketches, objects found on-site and an architectural model. Says Gaurav Sharma of the firm, “Outside immediate project specific aims and influences we believe that architecture and design must cope up with issues that contemporary society throws at it.” Their recent work includes a creative adaptation of a derelict cottage in Shimla; the new Institute of Making at the University College London; a tele-medicine centre in rural Nepal and an ecology-led masterplan for a village community in Haryana.
Despite the inspiration and creativity at the exhibition, what was missing were industrial designers. However, this was a refreshing look at how young designers are engaging with communities and bringing their multifaceted experiences into their work.
The exhibition culminates in a Closing Walk on February 25 with the 20 designers, at Alliance Francaise, 72, Lodi Estate.
Contact: 4350 0200