When I graduated from Mechanical Engineering I opted to stay in India.
Most of the others in my batch? Headed off to the US.
In India I then did postgrad at NID. I elected to stay in India and ended up in Delhi, starting my own studio.
My whole cohort/ group of friends? They headed off to the US.
5 years after graduation, just like Vineet and Abhishek, I too did a 6 month stint at Hitachi. I had been deep into Japanese literature and Cinema from my NID days. My close friend’s aunt was a professor of Japanese at a University. Japan was everywhere in my New Delhi of the 80s. I reached Japan – and my brain exploded. It was transformative. The secret sauce? The Japanese goal, in the factories I interned in, was quite simple. It was perfection.
Everywhere I went in Japan I would encounter a conversation about the source of their dna. One country that they considered a source was India. For the spiritual side to Japanese life there was much to be learned from Nalanda and Buddhism. Like many Japanese, Hirano san my local Japanese healer in Melbourne looks forward to his trips to Bihar in India.
For their cultural side, for their writing, calligraphy, the ceramics, for their notion of perfection? For the past 1000 years or more the source has been China.
Today we are in a global period that we Designers (and others) refer to as Japandi. Its Japanese aesthetics meets Scandinavian Aesthetics. So you have Muji and then you have Ikea. Then you have all the other Japan obsessed like Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Steve Jobs of Apple and the CEO of Oracle.
Japandi may be ending! It probably and quite surely is.
But the question that remains is? If you are looking for the most mind expanding design work in the contemporary period.
The most beautiful? Yes.
The most risk taking? Yes.
If you are really looking for the most mind expanding design work in the contemporary period on this planet – where should you look?
You know, everyone knows my answer to that. So I shall not say.
But hey while you make up your mind. Here is a link for you.
Click on the magnifying glass, the search icon, and ask it a question. Say ‘designers in India’. Then sit back and have a feast.
Remove India and put in a city. Let us say Zagreb?
Enjoy growing up.
Lots of love from your Uncle Sam