Writer UR Anathamurthy was instrumental in Bangalore becoming Bengaluru. In November 2006, when the city symbolically made the shift, his intent, he wrote in an essay, was to give the city “the ability to belong to the world at large even as one is rooted in one’s Kannadaness”. Even as Bengaluru ByDesign takes over the city from November 23, the focus of the 10-day festival will be on transformations, from the handmade to technology and sustainable interventions.
From installations and exhibitions, to workshops and conferences, the festival at multiple venues in the city, hopes to bridge the gap between what is design and what people imagine to be design. Some of the highlights:
Kavya Madappa’s Bluecat Paper presents Unchained Symphony – Birds, a site-specific installation. At the grand marble stairs of UB City, abstract forms of paper birds will rise towards the high-vaulted ceiling and soaring arches of the mall, symbolic of freedom and flight. “We make handmade paper from cotton, coffee and corn husks. We have nearly a 1,000 birds for the 80 steps there,” says Madappa.
Closing the Loop
At St. Mark’s Circle, Total Environment will display its strength in sustainable practices through green installations and landscaping. Designed as a twirling ribbon, the green pods will house various stages of construction, from plumbing to electrical wiring. “As a company that provides experiences in sensitively designed structures, we hope these pods will help people see the craft involved in making a home,” says Founder-Chairman, Kamal Sagar.
A pop-up called “Museum of Everything” at Kafnu, curated by Sarayu Hedge, will have everything — from origami lamps to recycled cork décor, glass jewellery to organic garments.
London-based designer Karolina Merska honours the traditional pajaki (pah-yonk-ee) paper chandeliers, famous for drawing inspiration from architecture, costumes and flowers. “I will visit Bengaluru’s flower markets and decorate my installation at UB City with fresh marigolds instead of paper flowers,” she says.
It’s a Wrap
Bengaluru’s Town Hall has become synonymous with protests. Festival Founder Suprita Moorthy wants to change that with a makeover that will drape handmade textiles from Aadhyam around its Tuscan columns. “With pure ikats and Banarasi brocades, we will play with colour and contrast. We hope it will direct people’s gaze to its architecture and purpose,” she says.
Director of the festival
What are the changes you have seen in the design industry since the inception of the India Design Forum (IDF) in 2012?
When we started IDF in Delhi, it was something very new for the city. People were aware of art but not design and conversations on design thinking were very new. Now there are several design exhibitions, events and talks, all of which is very good for designers as it allows them to present their works outside their own studios.
How has design made a difference to your life?
Design is really a way of thinking about how to make a product or create an experience. Design is not about decoration, it’s about ease of living, minimising wastage and being sustainable and affordable, otherwise design is meaningless. For me, starting IDF has been the most fulfilling experience, as I am passionate about spreading this message and removing the idea that design is elitist or about luxury.
What are the three things to watch out for at the Bengaluru ByDesign festival?
Bengaluru ByDesign is a city-wide, all-inclusive event that makes people stop and think differently about their city and its spaces. It opens up new dialogues on preservation, conservation and celebrates the city for its architecture, craft and so much more. The Town Hall pillars dressed in fabric, the UB city mall stairway clad in beautifully cut paper collage and the workshops everywhere are amazing.
How do you think design can become mainstream?
With the growth of the automotive industry, the real-estate boom, the lifestyle industry like furniture, household products, jewellery, clothing and IT, design is already mainstream, though people are not aware of it. Designers are wanted for all the above businesses. More schools need
to come up across India for our fast-growing requirements.