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A new institute for aspiring designers

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The course to start in August

The reason for the industry frequently seeking help from outside for its design needs, is the fact that organisations such as the NID did not replicate its models or expand in time.

Pune , June 15

Legendary film-maker Raj Kapoor's old farmhouse, set amidst 125 acres of dense greenery, at Loni near Pune, is gearing up to house the design institute where some of the country's future designers will be groomed.

Come August, and 120 aspiring designers — hoping to make their mark in spheres as diverse as industrial, product, transportation, interior space, graphic design and animation design, among others — will start their course at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology's (MIT) new Institute of Design.


And charting the course of their future will be Prof H. Kumar Vyas, one of the co-founders of the National Institute of Design's (NID) Industrial Design Programme. Prof Vyas has now joined MIT's Institute of Design as Chairman of the governing council, and along with Dhimant Panchal — who was once his student and is now a colleague, is already designing the course curriculum.

The curriculum, according to Prof Vyas, will aspire to create a design community that will develop design as an aid to small rural industries and handicrafts.

Dedicated to research

"The design school will be dedicated to research as a part of its training in the indigenous design idiom," Mr Sunil Karad, Executive Director, MIT Institute of Design, says.

Does India need another design school to add to the existing ones that churn out designers who are believed to spend their years of education on designing things of no significant value to the average man on the street?

Broad spectrum

"It is a fallacy to say that designers just cater to a select few. We are the ones who design everything from small hand-held tools used by mechanics to the water cooler that is used in homes and offices to the most sophisticated automobiles."

The country desperately needs designers across the spectrum of applications. While the existing design schools, between them, produce about 300-400 professionals, there is a need for at least a thousand if one considers the rate at which the industry is growing, he says.


Prof. Vyas adds that the reason for the industry frequently seeking help from outside for its design needs, is the fact that organisations such as the NID did not replicate its models or expand in time.

"We have only begun to realise the importance of having replicated the successful model. China has 300 design schools churning out 7,000 designers every year and they will soon dominate the design landscape of the world," he says.

Mr Karad says, "There is a growing appreciation of the value adding and even intangible role that design can play in harmonious economic growth, upgradation of quality of life and in developing uniqueness and differentiation. "Approach to design in the 21st century needs to reflect the emergence of knowledge economy and the convergence of media, communication, entertainment and information," he adds.

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