Design for development

Amruta Byatnal | Updated on March 23, 2011

With a growing number of institutions recognising its potential, Pune is the emerging leader for the design market. 

A decade ago, the hub for design and design education in India was Ahmedabad. In 2011, the address has changed to Pune. Owing to the growing number of educational institutions thathave recognised the potential in this field, Pune is the emerging leader for the design market.

The trend can perhaps be traced to the entry of multinational automotive companies such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors. According to Prof Anant Chakradeo of the MAAER's MIT Institute of Design, the auto companies recently set up not just manufacturing units but also design centres in India, particularly Pune.

“This gives an impetus to the training of students as well. Industry is coming to the city in a big way. Added to the pressure from the industry, we already have the culture of education in Pune. So, it was a natural progression to set up an institute that would cater to this increasing demand,” says Prof Chakradeo.

Started in 2006, the design school offers two postgraduate courses and one undergraduate course.

Demand for designers

The growth of India as an emerging market for multinational companies is also a major factor.

“There is a growing demand for Indian designers at the international level. For a population like India, it is not a difficult task at all,” says Mr Umesh Tehsildar, Executive Director and CEO, DSK Supinfocom International Campus.

It is true that Pune has more design schools than any other city. “The awareness among young students and parents has grown. Though it is still restricted to the urban areas, a considerable number of students from non-metro cities are studying in our campus,” Mr Chakradeo said. “We talk about design wherever we go. It is essential to identify how important design is in our day-to-day life. This month, we are talking to students in smaller hamlets and towns like Sangli, Kolhapur and Uttar Karnataka.”

Aiming to make Pune ‘the design capital of India', a group of National Institute of Design students and IIT-Powai alumni started organising the Pune Design fest in 2007. Held in February this year, the fest promotes design among the layman. The Design Fest had a design show, like a conventional fashion show, showcasing new product designs.

Fest Chairman Nachiket Thakur said: “The last 5-6 years have seen an influx of industries, all of which need some kind of design. Designers support the manufacturing environment. Hence, it was a natural progression for designers to choose Pune too. There has been a multi-fold increase in activity in this field. The number of professional designers in the city has tripled in the last three years.”

Sensing an opportunity, reputed city colleges, including Symbiosis and MIT, opened their doors to design students.

“Requirement of manpower is at all levels. Most importantly, Design thinkers are needed. Just like the basic engineering or MBA degree, development can only be brought about by introducing design professionals,” said Mr Thakur.

Published on March 23, 2011

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