Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ColourNext Dialogues 2012

Asian Paints and CKS -Centre for Knowledge Societies recently had an unveiling of 4 decor and colour directions, through 4 installations and a colour palette corresponding to each. "ColourNext is an innovative trend forecasting initiative for Indian interiors, developed by Asian Paints and conducted in collaboration with the Center for Knowledge Societies. The ColourNext process includes gaining an understanding of emerging societal trends and changes in consumer behavior, and thereafter predicting their impact on design and d├ęcor choices."
In short they engaged with society at large and not just those who work with colour. Last year when I was contacted by the CKS team to be part of their research I didn't know I would be called for a panel discussion a few months later to debate the merits and demerits of the 10 routes they had narrowed down on. It was a new experience for me to be seated with industry experts and design academicians who had devoted entire lifetimes to their chosen fields. That was 4 months back, and so it was with curiosity and anticipation that I went last week for the ColourNext Dialogues, the unveiling and the constructive evaluation of the 4 installations and colour palettes that finally emerged.

Aditya Dev Sood, Founder and CEO, Centre for Knowledge Societies
"ColourNext Design Dialogues was an intimate gathering designers, architects, academics, sociologists, cultural critics, design students and writers, Dialogues was a fascinating half-day discussion on the four social trends identified in ColourNext 2012." Design!public
After the initial round of introductions and a brief round of discussing what colour meant to us, we moved on to the point of the afternoon which was to have a dialogue about each installation and the corresponding colour palette.
The 1st installation we saw was titled "AWAKENING" and was unanimously interpreted as having spiritual connotations. The upsweep of the white drapes, the quiet and the grace of this installation clearly gave the feeling of ascension and hope with its multi leveled and layered silhouettes of flying birds.



It was interesting to see the energy that each installation seemed to emanate which in turn infused the people around it. While 'Awakening' inspired an almost reverential silence hush, the next installation "HEADRUSH" had everyone excited to share their many interpretations of it.


Panelist Aparna Piramal Raje interprets the installation. Panelist


All the installations were designed by Trapeze, the Design Collective.

We then moved onto the opposite side of the spectrum with 'Small joys' which was a cozy homey collection of nostalgia, comfort music, old memories and an interactive drawer pileup of touchscreen paper boats which all of us had a lot of fun playing with.

Sarita Sundar of Trapeze and Nien Siao of Pearl Academy were panelists for this installation



Joshua Karthik of Asian Paints asks the participants and panelists how they would use the afternoon.

Two things came to my mind and stuck after the afternoon of healthy debate and discussion around each installation. I remembered Amartya Sen's 'The Argumentative Indian' in which he quotes from our scriptures to our political history, to reinforce the strong tradition of this country's affinity to dialogue and debate as a legitimate method to arriving at decisions. Parallel this with how CKS and Asian paints have assimilated and included many prevalent voices and then analyzed and distilled them to come up with 4 decor/colour directions that truthfully represent India's decor temperament. And what we get is the picture of how it is possible to take on the daunting task of trying to give a design voice to this country that is 28 states each speaking a different language and many timelines co-existing simultaneously.
The second thing that really spoke to me was the stance of transparency and the willingness that both CKS and Asian paints have taken to share and grow the knowledge repositories that have been painstakingly and diligently put together. To not hold on but to hold wide open so that there is a healthy give and take in an atmosphere of design and knowledge sharing. A shining example of generosity and I will say Indianness in the sad days of SOPA and PIPA.
And for all those who have managed to survive this lengthy and verbose post and are actually curious to know more, do click the CKS link to see the very many interesting projects they are involved with. And the Design!public blog to read about their design innovations and primarily the many design dialogues they initiate and sustain on a regular basis.
The ColourNext team gave each of us a kit, which comprises of a look book and a work book, but that's another post.

7 comments:

Arch at Rang said...

Sounds like a great workshop with so many experts in the field sharing their views.

Did receive an invitation for CKS workshop in Mumbai. So glad you posted about it:-)

Ambika said...

Very interesting! Simply loved Headrush, it is magnificent!

~mE said...

This might be out of context..but i Looove your hair

Miss Stovetop said...

So great to see old colleagues randomly. I worked at Lemon when I started out as a copywriter and before moving to Bombay. Have so many connections with you now Vineeta - Wasim, Payal, Shimauli, Riddhika! All friends from school or ex-colleagues :)

Anu@My Dream Canvas said...

Very interesting!

pRiyA said...

what a great platform and what an varied array of professionals. I was reading through and looking wide eyed at the pictures of the installations and thinking 'such great events are organized in mumbai...'
but at the end of it all, i have to commend you on the way you've designed this post- the colour panels that compliment each picture, the lettering, the design...this is an interesting post indeed but it also 'looks' fabulous.

Anrosh said...

thank you for sharing your experience and congratulations on being in the panel vinita.

this is exactly what i would call it as the politics of color. few "experts" come to decide what is good\better\best. How and where are the traditional indian color experts who created sustainable color for everybody since centuries??

In fact on an informal chat with a colleague who is highly respected in his field said , we are looking to the east for " thought leadership" ( not the easterners who have developed a western mode of thinking, but easterners seeped in the richness of eastern ancient knowledge " Can you tell me where to look for ?

Coming back to your post, it stumps the westerners how indians can embrace hues of color in every form, pattern, texture and it makes them giddy to the point of non understanding how we harmonize them so easily, but after reading this post, i think we are going much away from it.

Dashrath patel of NID said very well , there is a difference between design and styling. if I take the same analogy - I would say at this forum - Color was styled ? - and that's where the politics of color is.

-Just my point of POV. And no offense meant to anybody
anrosh