20 May Well, frankly
The idea of blogging has been on my mind for a while now and I’m glad this dream project is finally taking off. Albeit, its a bit daunting really, having built this up so much in my head, I didn’t realise writing for an audience would be so nerve racking. I am putting my point of view out there, but is the world ready for me? Yet what better time than now when our phones have become an extension of our limbs anyway. Our dinner tables, morning toilet routines, kitchen experiments, workout regimes are all guided by our devices, hence, more to stream, read, grasp.
In this lockdown, I’ve been trying to engage myself with more cerebral content. I’ve finally given up on the Friends reruns and explored the Netflix lexicon which introduced me to ‘Abstract’. For those of you who are familiar with the show, good job! And for those who aren’t, please take some time out from the infinite scrolling and do yourselves a very creatively fuelling favour.
Every time I watched a new episode, I sat with my diary of notes and wrote about the designer’s journey, inspiration, highs, lows and quotes that stayed with me. Like when Olafur Eliasson talked of “design as a positive narrative and how it can change thinking into doing” or Neri Oxman spilling the magical formula of “knowing when to say why and in the same breath say why not?” I have used that line myself! pats back.
Then there is Tinker Hatfield, known for the magic he created with Air Jordan’s for Nike. An architect by degree, a sportsman by passion and a shoe designer by pure chance. His three decade journey is inspiring in so many ways.
I am not big on podcasts but recently subscribed to ‘Clever’on Spotify and heard about the prolific work of Ayse Birsel (pronounced eye-shay) Turkish born-American designer, Ayse studied Industrial Design in the United States and went on to becoming one of the most sought after creatives in the world today. With companies such as Knoll, Herman Miller, Toto, Nike, Tiffany & Co. and more in her portfolio, her design philosophy and pedagogies were very honest and relatable.
She started her career in the 1980’s as a young-female-foriegner trying to convince multinational companies on why her designs and ideas will make a difference. She raised pertinent questions; For instance, “Why aren’t there enough female industrial designers when the majority of consumers are women” She also fought for democratisation of design with pure talent that was backed by gumption. The kind of enthusiasm that motivates young designers like myself.
A perennial challenge I face as a woman entrepreneur in a field majorly governed by my male counterparts, is being subject to the fantastical argument that ‘men are better equipped at labour intensive fields than women’. Traditionally too, crafts such as carpentry or metal-smithing are practised by men whereas women are taught softer skills such as sewing and knitting in most parts of India.
Maybe someday, our studio will stand as a testament to change and we’ll train and employ women carpenters to work shoulder to shoulder with our team of craftsmen. When in the true sense of the word, we will collaborate with craftspeople.
Written by Vrinda Mathur
with edits from Gunjeet Sra, Founder, Sbcltr Magazine