Design, what is it?

By Oshi Ubeja

What does “Design” mean?What do product designers, fashion designers,architects, textile designers, graphic designer and the like do?

Let us take an example of a suitcase the design of which has been modified overtime to suit human requirement.Man has been travelling various destinations during which he has needed to carry supplies and food for his aid. To solve this problem, he created a luggage.In early 1800s, the luggage was made of cowhide on wooden frames built for rugged conditions. They were though heavy with no water proofing. Thus in 1870, a French trunk maker released its wicker trunk known as ‘Moynat Trunk’ which was waterproof and also light in weight. Until 1900s, several modifications were done on size, shape and material of the luggage bags to carry things other than just clothes like the cameras and cigars, but these bags were skid by animals on wheels or loaded and unloaded by men and women on their back.Then came a man named Pilot Bob Plath with his innovative design of luggage on wheels with an extended handle. He called it ‘Rollaboard’ and launched wide scale production in 1989, with his company ‘Travel Pro’. Further,a man named Don Ku invented collapsible tow handle to make the bag more flexible to carry.

Image 1: 1800s Luggage Bag
Source: https://www.pamono.com/striped-trunk-from-louis-vuitton-1870s
Image 2: Rollaboard – Robert Plath
Source: https://in.pinterest.com/pin/539939442818672300/?lp=true

Alike the design of luggage, every other thing has been modified to suit the changing time, need and lifestyle or to resolve its unsaid flaws, in order to improve human experience. ‘Design’ is essentially ‘everything’. Our day-to-day activities all rely on the products and merchandises which have been designed,innovated and evolved over time to suit our comfort. Thus there is nothing called as a ‘perfect design’.It is a process of development to suit the consumers or client’s specific utility and requirement.It is a never ending process and that is what makes this game interesting.

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Design: Yesterday, Today and Forever…

DBy Mr. Elhanan Lucius Christian

What do you think will happen if creativity and design do not exist? Ever since the primitive era, design has been constantly evolving and has been a source of inspiration to mankind. Let us go back in time and cherish the design evolution over the years.

The earliest millennia consisted of the ancient city of Harrappa, the Great Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge and the architectural grandeurs of the Greeks and the Romans.There was the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylonia designed in 600 B.C., one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is described as a remarkable feat of engineering with an ascending series of tiered gardens! Later in the Renaissance period, art and architecture walked hand in hand.  Leonardo-da-Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’, and ‘Monalisa’ are considered a masterpiece of art. Michael Angelo with marvellous sculptors like ‘Pieta’, ‘King David’ and his painting frescos in the Sistine Chapel, Rome shined in Europe. He was also the architect of St. Peter’s Basilicain the 16th century.

During the 17th century, love story between Mumtaz and Shah Jahan can be perceived in the monument constructed with white marble known as the famous Taj Mahal.  Likewise, a mother’s love is eloquent in Bibi-ka-Maqbara designed in Aurangabad. Many other mosques like the Rani Rupmati Masjid, Jama Masjid, and Sultan Ahmed Shah’s Masjid still speak out the Moghul Art of that time.

As we go beyond UNESCO’s Heritage City of ancient Ahmedabad, a spoken-out Ellis Bridge was constructed in the cherished memory of Sir Barrow Herbert Ellis during the Victorian period. Moving further, Sir Edwin Lutyens along with Sir Herbert Baker provided a language to our democratic voice in the form of Parliament House, the most significant building in our country. Examples of modern architecture in the form of Sanskar Kendra and the Mill Owner’s association building was contributed by an all-time great Swiss-born French Architect Le Corbusier which defines the present city of Ahmedabad.

Presently the design has assumed more dynamic shapes, dimensions, formations and presentations with the use of advanced techniques and devices. It has now made our life more comfortable with a desire for excellence! So many avenues have now opened-up in design innovation, design thinking and strategy, design-research, value-addition and product diversifications. It is thus safe to say that design is an ongoing process and will continue to pay tribute to mankind in the ages to come too!

Picture 1: Artist’s re-creation of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, constructed c. 8th–6th century BCE. (Reference: http://famouswonders.com/hanging-gardens-of-babylon/)
Picture 2: One of the medieval Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal depicting the love story between Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. (Reference: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/252)
Picture 3: Mill Owner’s Association Building at Ahmedabad. (Reference:https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/ahmedabad-india-design-architecture)
Picture 4: Heydar Alijev cultural centre in Azerbaijan designed by Zaha Hadid, an example of present day contemporary architecture. (Reference: https://presentationfolders.ca/construction-materials-modern-architecture/)
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How design can help resolve water crisis?

How design can help resolve water crisis

By Udhaya Shankar

We know that earth is covered with 70% water, of which 97.5% is salt water and 2.5% is fresh water. Even in this 2.5%, glaciers account for 69.5%, ground water account for 30.1% and surface water 0.4%.

Globally 80% of the waste/untreated water flows back into the social ecosystem. World Economic Forum ranks water crises as the world’s third greatest risk by impact. In our contemporary world the migration of people towards urban context is at higher rate. The world population is growing rapidly, in which the birth rate is three times the death rate (15,000 birth/hr. > 6,316 death/hr. – as per UN July_2018 report). This is the crucial problem of the developing countries since it leads to creation of slums and the consumption of unhygienic water. Hence the demand for portable water also increases rapidly at a higher rate.

Our country is responsible for 25% of the global annual extraction of groundwater. According to the World Bank, India will exhaust its fresh water by 2050 at the current rate. (Source – Clean India Journal). Currently only 25% of India’s population has drinking water on their premises. (Source – World Health Organization).

In Ahmedabad the ground water level ranges from 80.4 m – 565.4 m. The city has 16 stepwells but the sad part is most of them are dried-up or lack maintenance.’ (Source – India Times)

Every community, one way or another is affected due to water contingency. There are places where water is available, but it causes more harm than do good. Due to poor infrastructure the untreated water/ unhygienic water goes into ecosystem thus causing health related issues. The other places are simply deprived of portable water. Therefore, as designers it is our responsibility to provide sustainable measures to save water while planning.

On an average, 168 litres of grey water is generated by a family of four members per day, which can be treated through several innovative strategies in design. This water can later be utilised for other activities like gardening and flushing instead of letting it drain away into sewers.


How design can help us in solving the problem?

For a sustainable development, the basic strategy is to integrate the 3R’s while designing.


Reduce – use the low flow fixtures:

We should enhance the efficiency of plumbing fixtures, thereby minimizing portable water use. We must take care by using water efficient plumbing fixture where the flow rate is less than 8% of the base line criteria.

Reuse – use the treated waste water:

We must treat waste water generated on site to avoid polluting the receiving stream and make use of treated water to reduce the dependency on potable water. There are many simple strategies to treat waste water. One such method is known as the Root Zone Method.

Recharge – Rain Water Harvesting:

Rain is a precious resource, we must make use of it and don’t just let it just drain away to ocean. We must enhance ground water table and reduce municipal water demand through effective RWH system. We can design rain water harvesting system to capture at least ‘one day rainfall’ runoff volume from roof and non-roof areas.

It has been rightly said:

“The war of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water.” – Ismail Serageldin


We must work diligently to save it.

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Design Strategies for User-Centric Interior

By Ar S. Shadab Alam

User centered interior of retail store— provide designers a better understanding of designing spaces which are humanistic, inclusive, and resolve peoples’ day-to-day issues. It can be successfully achieved by consumer observation and participation. How a customer will perceive the product or the merchandise is determined by how the layout of the store will guide and interact with them. The design also requires to have the direct reflection of the brand which plays an important role in staying in competition with the present day e-commerce trend. Thus the key challenges which require utmost attention while designing a retail store interior are –

  1. How to create a user-centric experience which encourages customers to come visit the store? and,
  2. How will the store stand out from its competitors?


  1. Visual Merchandising Strategy

It is the core strategy. It is how the store speaks, and how the store communicates with its customers through visual graphics and presentation of the merchandise. A well designed entrance, strategically placed furniture, fixture, promotional graphics and product display together help create a unique customer experience. It is what influences the customer behavior and makes their journey unique, efficient, and memorable.

  1. Zoning Strategy

It is the second most important strategy of the retail store design. Customers respond to how and where the products are placed. A zoning strategy combines visual merchandising and layout design to highlight and feature high-value products. Creating zones using innovative and creative furniture layout, merchandise exhibition, and instructional signage helps separating areas of display. The product displays should also act as a speed-breaker to have the customer spend more time in the display zone.

  1. Lighting Strategy

Proper lighting is more than just making sure the customer can see and interact with the merchandise. When done well, light can help structure and influence the customer’s mood during shopping. Store design should include lighting solutions to focus and highlight specific areas of the store to draw in customer’s attention, and create an environment that works in sync with the retail brand and the merchandise offered.

  1. Signage Strategy

Signage serves multiple purpose for retailers. Apart from providing the product information for specific merchandise, it helps customers navigate the store efficiently and create the desired value perception. They also act as the graphic representation of the retailers brand and merchandise.

  1. Display Strategy

Along with the store design and layout design, strategic placement of the product merchandise display also helps set the stage for the customer’s overall experience while moving around the store. The selection of the type and placement of displays, and their furniture too play a crucial role in enhancement of the overall design.


Photo: http://tolleson.com/work/healdsburg-shed/brand-refresh/

  1. Window Strategy

Windows welcome the customers from the outside and draw them into the store. Thus, the window display requires careful attention to lighting, size of display units, type of merchandise featured, and signage. Since the customer has yet to enter the store, a window display must combine all of the visual merchandising elements to successfully pick the customer’s interest and promote the store’s brand.

Photo: Flickr/ Thai Pham

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Designing and execution of Retail Project -TOKYO Store

By Vatsalya Bajpai


Tokyo store is a store of Japanese products in India and they have 3 outlets in three cities of Gujarat which are- (1 Ahmedabad- Gulmohar Park Mall, 2. Vadodara – Center Square Mall, 3. Surat- V.R Mall.) They use to sell variety of product for example- stationary, daily need, house hold, kitchen tool & crockery and may more for that their primary requirement was that they own a store for not only display there Japanese products but the store itself orates the store of products inside so that people get attracted towards it.

Designing stage

Keeping in mind that products are from japan, we need to provide a background to products which support the products and not dominate them.

Process 1- case studies

We did many case studies (including their existing store) to frame their requirement like we differentiated the products that for how many products we need hanging display and for how many products we need shelves for display and work out the ration between hanging and shelf.

Process 2- primary design

In this we designed two type of display system, wall display system and island display system both the display system have simultaneous options for hanging display products and shelf display products now the part comes where we need to do the branding of products which is visible from far distance as well so we designed our wall rack in such a manner that its height will be of 9 feet in which the area above the human reach is used for storage and branding. For branding we used the Japanese graphic and text written in Japanese font to enhance the feeling that products are from japan.

We introduced tori gate and pagoda as Japanese element in our design. tori gate in entrance and pagoda in front of gate. Island display is being used to display their extra ordinary products and they are placed just in front of entrance door so that people get attracted towards it.

Furniture used for display purpose is kept fully modular so that in festive seasons the complete language of store can be changed, and most important aspect of this furniture is that the products of different shapes and sizes can be displayed in same rack because height between shelves is adjustable. Shelves can also be removed if not needed and extra shelf can also be introduced when needed. This kind of furniture allows us to change the language of store time to time.

Process 3 – finalizing the design

In this step we finalized our design with above thought process and made the drawings of it for execution of product and scheduled the execution of project.

Process 4 – execution

We all know that execution of project in same manner as designed or decided is quite tough but somehow, we managed to do the same we scheduled the work of different agencies and asked them to finish their work in given time. We explained them the complete procedure of work at every point of work and we noticed that to finish the project in designed manner what we require the most is perfect supervision.

Problem faced during execution of project-

  • If a slight change comes in execution it disturbs the complete work. For an instance we are doing project in shop (inside mall) where we have limited space and if single agency not completed its work on time then multiple agencies have to work simultaneously and there is a mesh between them which affect the quality of work and delay the project to organizing the work of agencies is very tough job .
  • If and decision of change is taken at site it should be worked out as soon as possible because it may also affect the other things.
  • Supervision is tough when multiple agencies work together.
  • Agencies always keep on delaying the things we need to follow up and remind them again and again about the work to make things happen.
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