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In India Again

It has been a long time since I have posted in this blog the last time. 2009 – I was one of the first exchange students and scholarship holder from New Passage to India. What a great time at NID!
Now – being in India again, I am taking the opportunity of quickly posting my purpose of stay here in Pune.

Currently, I am following my Masters studies in Automotive Design at TU Delft, the Netherlands. Since this is my final semester, I was searching for a great opportunity of pursuing my Thesis project under guidance of an automotive company in the Indian context. I am very happy to join the global company Tata Motors Ltd. in Pune for 6-8 month. Getting the chance of working for Tata Motors will hopefully provide me a comprehensive understanding of the automotive design process. It will give me an insight in how the Indian companies are structured and how the work culture is defined. It will be of great value in terms of gathering knowledge in Indian transportation and networking.

During several stays in India before, it became visible to me that India’s identity is getting diluted due to western products that are launched in the Indian market. Designers are responsible for providing modern and high-tech solutions based on a strong Indian identity. I believe that the socio– cultural context and the people are the two most important factors that should be taken into consideration in order to design meaningful products suiting the context. For mentioned reasons, I want to embed the Indian identity in my design proposal for the vehicle I have to design for Tata Motors.

My first weeks went very exciting. Working in an Indian company is structured differently compared to German companies. I am very looking forward to the coming months.

Kristian Groth


Cross-cultural topic: Gender Codes

Weller, Krämer Du Tarzan Ich Jane, You Tarzan Me Jane, Gender Codes

Weller, Krämer, Du Tarzan Ich Jane, You Tarzan Me Jane, Gender Codes

In everyday experience, do we really have to make that decision whether we are ›Tarzan‹ or ›Jane‹? This book, filled with findings from a gender coded world, helps to answer these questions.

The usage of stereotypes and Gender Codes in design and merchandising of products seems to be a secret recipe for success of businesses.

The comparison of ›findings‹ – objects of our daily life – demonstrates some aspects of Gender Design. The gendered assignment of objects is often surprising and legible on different features.

The coded objects are completed with examples that spare any Gender Coding and differentiate by function, ergonomics or preferences of utilization.

Product descriptions and press releases of manufactures or sales & distribution are complementing the ›findings‹. Some objects are additionally presented as they are shown in advertisement or on promotional websites.

Quotations on terms such as Gender, Gender Codes, Diversity etc. present a general overview of gender relevant terms.

The collection was compiled as part of the research project »Gender-specific design of products and usage concepts« by the Hochschule Hannover and the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin and seeks to illustrate in a vivid fashion the category of gender and the classification of gender in design.

Birgit Weller, Katharina Krämer
You Tarzan Me Jane
Du Tarzan Ich Jane
July 2012, Blumhardt Verlag
300 Sites
ISBN: 978-3-932011-85-6


Congratulations to Siddharth Dasari, Silvia Recalcati and Giulia Peretti


Siddharth Dasari from NID is exchange-student at Hochschule Hannover. The work is a great visualization to the topic Universal Design Thinking.

„On December 3-4, students from 12 universities gathered for the Visualizing Marathon 2011: Berlin. Held at the Urania Berlin, this was the last event of the Visualizing Marathon 2011 program, which engaged students in data visualization competitions throughout the world. Students were challenged to visualize the impact of demographic shifts on Germany’s economy and healthcare system. With the country’s population expected to contract by 20% in the next 50 years, the European economy in crisis and government spending under scrutiny, students were tackling a critical issue — a point that Greg Farrett of GE emphasized during his welcome to the students. Expert designers Moritz Stefaner and Gregor Aisch offered students valuable tips and techniques during their workshops and answered questions after participants had the opportunity to delve into the data. Over the course of 24 hours, the teams of students took their projects from concept to sketch to finished visualization.

Congratulations to Siddharth Dasari, Silvia Recalcati and Giulia Peretti for their winning visualization, The Grand Aging Debate. Jurors praised the project’s sophisticated grasp of the topic and its polished presentation. As an overall image, it succeeds in immediately conveying the sense of an impending societal problem, and on closer inspection many details emerge to bolster the analysis.”


The third time – MOU


Prof. Birgit Weller is not only here to prepare and discuss the content of the Indo - German - Joint Degree Universal Design Thinking Master with academics and the industry. Another reason for her stay at NID Bangalore and Ahmedabad is the extension of the existing MOU - the memorandum of understanding. The faculty from Hanover are very happy to sign the MOU per pro the Vice President of HH, Prof. Dr. Günter Hirth. Pradyumna Vyas Director of NID, signing the MOU was pleased about the fruitful cooperation in the research project and the Competence Center Universal Design Thinking. For the future a lot of more topics to develop a german-indian-design-collaboration has been discussed with him.


First experiences with Metal Rapid Prototyping by Indo German Tool Room (IGTR)

The basic form is adopted from the natural form. In this case, designer adopted the form of scorpion for his product. The recommended material or this product is Stainless steel. Because this product required high strength along with high corrosion resistance properties, as this product will be touch of water and humid atmosphere. Making a mockup prototype with conventional machining was an option but the shape was the limitation in this particular project. Thus, we decided to go for rapid prototyping.

Now in India, Institutions like NID, IIT has RPT facilities and Industry also offers serviced in this area. But nobody has In-house Metal Rapid prototyping services . This process is introduced by Indo German Tool Room (IGTR), Ahmadabad in India. Since Franklin Kristi, who is voluntarily involved in design detailing process studied from IGTR and currently working with NID has taken up this project further for metal prototyping. Even IGTR has not done any commercial/research based work on this machine, and they were also curious to take this project as start up event. Hence, this was the first project of metal RP in its kind, we faced lots of difficulties from the initial stage. We had to convert the 3D model in to various formats to stick to our dimensional parameters. During the conversion the model deformed (see fig 1.0). This requires some more work on 3D model.

We tried making the first RPT, which unfortunately scaled down automatically by 50% by the machine. The componene required 110 mm length and the output component was not having length more then 55mm.

After the first attempt we went for the other try and this time we got the better output. Still we are not satisfied with the surface finish, IGTR also assured us to make one more prototype of same design once they work out the technical difficulties resolved. Please see the images of final prototype in process.


Tim Krahmer, Student Designer; Exchange Program Universal Design Thinking NID–HH; University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover- Germany
Franklin Kristi, Technical Consultancy from NID
Ketan Panchal, Prototyping Process-IGTR
Rapid Prototyping Machine: Concept Laser, laserCUSING® , Germany


Competence Center Universal Design Thinking at HTW

The establishment of the competence field “Universal Design Thinking” at the Berlin University in 2010 following a mandatory consequence of a research carried on for years and dealing with the issue. The National Institut of India, the Hochschule Hanover and the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin are researching together at the Competence Center Universal Design Thinking at HTW Berlin. The content of this cooperation is extremely fruitful and the exchange of students and graduates is very successful and rich of good results. V Ravishankar, NID and Birgit Weller, HH during her stay at NID have discussed the focus for the collaboration.



in prep. Indo-German Universal Design Thinking Program

Indo-German Universal Design Thinking Program at NID Bangalore, Hochschule Hanover, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin: Start 2013


A responsible activity for a sustainable future, Universal Design is a philosophy and a way of democratic design thinking. It is about designing for everyone, takes into account human, gender, social & economic cultural diversity and differences. As an approach it looks into the needs of all with respect to usability and comprehensibility of day to day utilities and services panning diverse users from elderly to children, able to disabled in providing meaningful design solutions.

Knowing India, the ‘fitting to the existing’ habit of it’s people, issues such as populous congested spaces, literacy, migration, lifespan health, disabled population, Universal Design as a professional entity becomes pertinent.
Today with the growth of IT industry coupled with equally energetic manufacturing sector, the India centric global view the various business and design stakeholders in industry and the Government seem to be encouraged and aligned to develop the concept of contextual localized design of products and services usable by diverse population. This vision of progressive and contextual attitude towards designing for all can only be addressed and driven by a Universal Design Thinking and approach. The Universal Design approach by the industry would provide the much needed meaningful discriminators for their products and brands and eventually make good business sense for the future.

In view of this, the Universitys of Applied Sciences & Arts, Hochschule Hannover, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin and the National Institute of Design in its continual process of evolving, innovating, adapting itself into the global scenario in design education and practice has joined hands with ideal partners to initiate research and start a Joint Master’s Program in Universal Design. All partners envision this program to create design professionals who will bridge the gap between thought and product, able and disabled, between privileged few and common mass , in few words, an ethically responsible and viable design for all. This is further to the setting up of the JRD Tata Universal Design Research Chair at NID which supports student and faculty led projects in core areas of present concern for a positive future impact.

The objective of this Joint Master’s program in UD is to develop professional human resource in Universal Design Thinking and Practices addressing ‘Diversity & Future’ in the India and European Context. It is to create professionals with competence in system level design development for public spaces, work spaces, products and services for diverse users with a universal design approach. The student mix will be multidisciplinary from Germany and India.

In this context NID R&D Campus in Bangalore has organised a Round Table 15th February 2012 to share and enrich the Master’s Program curriculum concept involving faculty members from Ahmedabad, Bangalore and external domain experts (e.g. Yahoo, HP, …)
Prof. Birgit Weller from HH, Hannover, Germany and V Ravishankar, Sr Faculty , NID R&D Campus Bangalore in cooperation with Prof. Katrin Hinz HTW, Berlin for the last two years have been working on Joint Master Program design and have prepared the blueprint to get started.

The curriculum will be research intensive with students working on projects spectrum of products, spaces and services related to core areas of immediate concern which would have positive future impact.


Impressions from Namrata Shenoy

Universal Design Research  – Overview

The DAAD scholarship awarded to me through the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Hannover) proved to be a thoroughly insightful and enriching experience. It provided me with the invaluable opportunity to consciously identify and appreciate cultural differences with an ability to withhold judgement while doing so.

A ‘universal’ approach

In today’s world that is increasingly becoming global, it is essential for any culture to be able to understand and respect the diversity of backgrounds we possess and this scholarship is a step towards a more informed, more tolerant and above all, more harmonious community. Without this sense of understanding, it is meaningless to talk of a “universal” approach that merely focuses on physical aspects of design. These layers of culture, behaviour and emotions have to be added in order to make the design more meaningful to all and thereby more universal, knowing that problems due to age, health and income are present in different forms across different countries.

My experience

From nuances in packaging to behavioral tendencies and linguistic complexities, the project spanned a series of impressions attained as a first time visitor to Europe. My focus area being ‘The concept of personal space within public spaces’, I derived the possibility of speaking to a multitude of people, understanding their mind-sets and perceiving how the concept of space varies across cultures, in the process affecting one’s behaviour and body language. The inherent factors of climate, tradition and purpose add to the complexity of this subject and by living in Germany, I could fathom the meaning of these factors while drawing from my background as an Indian resident with a background of design.

Overall, I am grateful to the DAAD (German Academic Exchange), the Hochschule Hannover – Prof. Birgit Weller, Marie Kuprat and the National Institute of Design - Ravi Shankar, India for enabling me to embark upon this fascinating journey that bridges the gap between two very different, yet very similar cultures of Germany and India.



Ravi Shankar’s impressions… a sketch.

Few years ago my first trip outside India, I arrived at the Frankfurt airport from Bangalore, stood still for a few minutes watching, in anxiety and Wow! My heart racing to adust to the high heeled pace and efficient setting. It was like a foreign film I thought and then felt ok about it, having seen many of them since a kid. A world very different from where I come, I say that that even while we all are in the 21 century! I came back with the memory of walking in and out the virtual screen and I visited Berlin again after 2 years.Ravi Shankar in Hamburg

I stayed at Prof. Birgit Weller’s home this visit for a couple of days. She is a very warm, affectionate and straightforward person, full of optimistic enthusiasm, love for life Birgit is. It was wonderful working with her on the proposed joint Universal design curriculum, FHH – HTW and National Institute of Design where I teach.

I visited HTW design faculty and Prof. Katrin Hinz took me around the facilities of prototying workshops, animation & photography labs, and the highlight was the Game design faculty who are doing amazing things with new technology aids. Prof. Katrin made possible to arrange for a meeting with Dr with whom we shared the proposal of the joint Universal Design curriculum for his views and support to take further. He was extremely positive and enthusiastic about the collaboration. I made a short presentation to the communication design students on UD & India, a glimpse! and also sat through their work on packaging, where I found similarities in approach to ideation with NID.Ravi Shankar, Katrin Hinz, Neda Rajabi, Birgit Weller

This second visit was not like walking out of a movie set, I actually lived the experience, felt the depth of emotions, values, joys of being, in talking, conversing with Katrin, Birgit, and friends. I made a short trip to Hamburg, a lovely city, slower pace than Berlin I felt, rich city I was told before the wall, I found maybe it was a little like Bangalore I knew 20 years ago!!

Tim Oelker, a designer who has a fine office in the most desirable place in the world took me around a boat trip explaining the traverses of Hamburg along the water channel. We visited Stilwork, a collective of contemporary design stores. It was a coffee table book experience, live and physically I am there! The best part is Tim made it look so daily life.

While on the ferry we talked about each others’ professional design practice experiences and they were similar in terms of the clients mindset, etc! Tim’s colleague asked me how I felt about my first trip to Germany, I said like walking into a movie set, she looked disturbed, didn’t seem to accept it, then I explained to her that it was only a feeing of mine considering the place I come from which is in state of chaos in comparison. Incidentally she had not heard of Bangalore!! This set me thinking. My young cousin of her age in Machilipatnam, south eastern coastal town in India wouldn’t have heard of say… Stuttgart or!!

I don’t hear music or any of the kind of sounds in routine day/night activity in Germany, I mean while one takes a walk along the streets, even in the evenings. Not talking about weekends, guess lot happens, sound and merry!!

When I a mean day to day to work , I think you should play music in the trams and trains of Germany. This will relax the atmosphere for all, more for the visiting people from other countries. Maybe even a TV, this will make people converse, even on silly topics outside of their homes with others. Which all people do across cultures, etc. Which is good and sustainable way I think and are glimpses of existentialist societies actually. I am doing my job, you are doing yours, the TV episode is the snack and life is the daily meal to chew and ruminate. This continuance and acceptance of life comes without stress, comes when the older lady in the tram chats up with you when you have one year old in the arms or pram and have stepped into the tram. It also happens when I ‘am able to or allowed to’ affectionately and naturally smile or make comic faces at the little one which we usually do in India.

You have worked very hard to be where you are, highly respected and adored for your caliber, dedication to work, resilience and proficiency world over. You are extremely warm at heart people, very friendly and helpful when you get talking.

So let’s begin with music and some noise around,… its okay! Am sure you are ok too but neither of you all want to take the lead doing it. You maybe feel it is the Govt’s job or the Bahn’s job. No , it can happen through a private enterprise or the tram driver’s love for radio and he likes to play it loud. Maybe the Tram driver is the guy. In India we have Rajni Kant who had a humble and mundane beginning as a public service employee is today a super star in the movies, fills millions of hearts with his dramatic presence on screen and music.



German Indian Friendships

It is some time ago, that we went to India, to take part at the universal design workshop in 2009 at NID, Ahmedabad.
This was a great experience - Furthermore we had the chance to meet some wonderful people.
Luckily we had the chance to come back to India again, to study at NID for half a year.
Most of our former friends were still there and helped us to get access to the unkown way of life and structures in India. Without them it would have not been so easy for us to live in the Orient.
Some of these people also got the opportunity to come to study in Germany in 2010, some not.
But one followed our invitation and made the long way to Germany and stayed with us from December 2009 to January 2011.
It was a great experience for us to meet him again - somebody who never stood in the snow in his life before and we hope, it was also a great experience for him, too :-)
During the stay, we to showed him around in in northern Germany and let him be a part of our lives here.
We choosed some of the pictures we made over these 3 weeks, just to show how important this friendship is for us. We enjoyed the time with our indian visitor and of course we hope to see him again soon.


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