Reecha Kulkarni / February 28, 2018
If you missed hanging out with cyborgs, dancing with design icons and sipping on unending cups of delicious coffee, we’re here to rescue you from the fear of missing out. From humorous discussions to awe-inspiring people, here are some of our favourite moments from ID Symposium 2018:
1 When Ron Arad recounted his first memory in design at a scrapyard
The legendary designer and architect, who is known for the construction of the Design Museum Holon and the creation of eccentric pieces (including an uneven ping pong table and a sprung steel wheel bike), was asked about his earliest memory in design. After graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, he revealed, “It didn’t take very long for me to realise I’m not cut out to work for somebody else. Especially after lunch.” Soon after quitting his job one day (after lunch), a chance discovery of a car scrapyard led him to an abandoned leather seat. Soon after, he created his very first design: the Rover Chair.
2 When Neil Harbisson showed us what a banana sounds like
” I went to a doctor and I said ‘I’d like an antenna implanted in my head’ and he said, ‘Sorry, we don’t do this here,” Neil Harbisson’s first attempt to surgically become a cyborg was rejected. Being born colour blind, Neil had designed an antenna that would allow him to listen to colour of high frequencies. His second attempt changed his life, when an anonymous doctor drilled the antenna in his skull. The ID Symposium audience sat captivated as Neil weaved melodies out of ordinary objects: “I really enjoy composing music with my food, especially with salads. There’s a lot of colour in salads”.
3 When Michelin star Chef Alain Passard decided that Indian cuisine is on top of his list
“If there is one place in the world where I really enjoy food, it is India,” Chef Alain Passard said, in conversation with Priya Paul, the Chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels. The discussion on ‘Food as Art’ went on to describe various aspects of produce and plating, a passion of the Chef himself, who’s three Michelin starred restaurant L’Arpège has continued to celebrate the art of plating, with a focus on vegetables. However, we think Alain was smitten by butter naans and biryanis, as he mentioned that he would “pass on the message” to the Michelin guide that they needed to take notice of Indian cuisine.
4 Javier Mariscal’s party on stage
Complete with hoots and ‘kaboom’ sound effects courtesy Javier Mariscal, the second Big Bang took place in the dark ID Symposium hall while he described the inception of colour. The iconic artist and designer presented his illustrated film about the history of colour, with props, singing and a lot of dancing. With dedicated numbers to every primary colour, the audience witnessed his silly energy let loose on stage.
5 When we found Parmesh Shahani at the end of a rainbow
Godrej India Culture Lab’s Parmesh Shahani gave us a session on ‘Living with Colour’ in a sharp purple suit, a green bag and bedazzling shoes to match. With a focus on gender fluidity and sexuality, Parmesh’s presentation featured photographs from LGBT protests, dialogues on masculine roles while being peppered with photos of his own colourful ensembles.
6 When designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee walked in
Renowned Couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee took us to back to his enchanting childhood in Calcutta, with accounts about his ‘Perceptions of Colour’. From hand-rown boats to an unpainted school to peeling paint on his own home, Sabya’s down-to-earth accounts point to his love for faded colours, or “half colours”. However, he firmly believes that India is a land of colour and that is what he tries to represent in his work.
7 When Takaharu Tezuka revealed that his wardrobe is entirely blue
While his wife wears red, his daughter wears yellow and his son wears green. As Takaharu’s presentation went on, it was apparent that the architect’s colourful family influences his playful insight on architecture: that it should make people happy. Along with giving the audience a step-by-step understanding of some of his best known projects including the ‘Roof House’ for the family who loved to spend their weekends on the roof and the oval shaped Fuji Kindergarten, Takaharu explained that there were many who weren’t sure about the structures being safe for children. However, he laughed and said quite simply, “When you create an environment so safe that children don’t get hurt, you don’t give them a chance to adapt, to develop motor skills and to learn to help each other.”
8 The Khan family takeover
We were keeping up with the Khans on Day 2 of ID Symposium with interior designer Sussanne Khan, curator and designer Simone Arora and their celebrity mom and interior designer Zarine Khan on stage. In conversation with the Editorial and Content Director of Ogaan, Pramiti Madhavji, the trio were incredibly supportive of each other’s work and accomplishments. “Even though we’re in the same field, there’s no rivalry between us. We are each others’ sounding boards, and we are brutally honest with our opinions.”
9 We witnessed the most glamorous PowerPoint presentation
The Creative Director of Preciosa Lighting, Michael Vasku took us back to 1724 with his presentation on the Cultivation of Chandeliers. From candle-lit wall hanging for royalty to Swarovski laced chandeliers in homes today, Michael’s glittery session left the Symposium audience bedazzled.
10 When the audience could see the ‘Humour in Design’
TC De Sousa from Ferry Wharf Communications moderated the discussion, and he talked about how the craft of creating architecture or designing something could take weeks, months or even years. He set the tone for the session with, “So if the passage of time to create something is as important as the result, you better have a sense of humour”. It was followed by displays of punny objects designed by Mukul Goyal, funky paintings by Jenny Bhatt and an engaging talk by Suman Kanodia of Scarlet Splendour.
11 When Simon Velez said there’s too much meat in architecture
The legendary architect who created ‘vegetal steel’ by injecting cement mortar into bamboo chambers gave us a lesson on diet and architecture. “Architecture needs to be more vegetarian. You cannot only eat meat, you need vegetables. I eat a bit of both. Similarly, architecture cannot rely on minerals and mortar, it needs to be natural and use materials like bamboo.”
12 When Kohler’s Salil Sadanand and Roshni Vadehra began with Duchamp’s urinal
A session on blurring boundaries between art and design couldn’t have been encapsulated better than Marcel Duchamp’s porcelain urinal “fountain”, and was both Salil Sadanand’s and Roshni Vadehra’s first talking point. Gunjan Gupta, the moderator, was also in conversation with Manish Gulati of MOFA and Tarun Thakral, one of the founding members of the Heritage Transport Museum.
13 Nagabhushan Hegde’s motto: “Be a rebel salmon”
During a discussion with EDIDA Designer of the Year 2017 Rooshad Shroff, moderated by Sneha Ullal Goel, the industrial designer from Godrej and Boyce was asked about when to break the rules. “Salmon swims upstream, but you need to create new rules, like that one salmon that dares to be a rebel salmon and swim downstream”.
14 When a question from the audience stumped our panellists
A heated debate on how to “live in a city of tomorrow” between panellists Anubhav Gupta from Godrej Properties, the Co-Founder of luxury brand Apartment 9, Anuja Gupta, Architects Sameep Padora, Zafar Chaudhary and art collector Swapan Seth covered opinions on everything from changing infrastructures to Big Data. However, a plucky student’s question for his thesis stumped everyone on stage: “What are your thoughts on the need for brothels in modern Indian cities?”
15 A super-cut of the legendary projects by Massimilano Fuksas
The icon from Fuksas Architects explained his design philosophy very simply – in pictures. From the two-sided tubular Music Theatre and Exhibition Hall in Georgia to the melting metal domes of the Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, all of his projects could be considered as some of the world’s most technically daring structures that showcased the firm’s signature latticed technique.
16 Ross Lovegrove’s take on AI made it seem more natural than artificial
Since he was 16, Ross Lovegrove’s modern designs have been rooted in nature. When asked about Artificial Intelligence, he believed it was as inevitable and natural as “B coming after A” in the alphabet. “Darwin never said survival of the fittest, he said it was the survival of those who adapt”, he said, during his talk on Convergence and Sculpting Design in the 21st century. “It is our natural curiosity that allows us to adapt to any kind of situation. For example, we’re in an age where we want to explore other planets, but the fact is, we are not designed to go to space. AI is an instrument for our expansive ambition. And it is inevitable.”