Archive for Marie

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.



Visit at Amul Mother Dairy

Impressiv to see: the biggest milkproducer in the world!amul





Cheese, Ghee & Butter

brot1Indian-German Workshop at NID Campus:

13 indian students and 9 german students worked in the last view days on the topic packaging for milk products in an intercultutral context. The differences between indian and german food culture was discussed in a very emotional and expressiv way.

To show the differences the indian students brought the german visitors to typical markest, shops and dayries. They explored while discussing the meaning of ghee, butter and cheese the different needs and types of use.


We are looking forward to a workshop at NID - January 2011

Marie Kuprat  and Prof. Birgit Weller will stay on NID for a workshop with 9 students from FHH and some students from NID:

The subject is: Universal Design Food Packaging vs. sustainability

Universal design is a philosophy and a way of democratic design thinking because universal design is a way of designing for everyone. It takes into account human, gender, social, and cultural diversity econonomic. Universal Design for sensitivity and respect for one another is essential. Universal Design approach stimulates economic growth and employment. Moreover, it is a responsible activity for a sustainable future.

Food is precious! The production of food requires large amounts of resources, such as raw materials, water and energy. An intelligent packaging takes up only two to four percent in the ecological balance in the production of packaged foods.

The quality and shelf life of foods can be increased significantly by adequate protection. Good packaging protects food during transport, provides the right amount or dosage and makes it easier to use.

• Where does the journey in packaging development take us to?

• Is packaging an environmental sin or a contribution to sustainability?

• How do people of every age and every culture recognise staple food?

• How to support a healthy diet to all generations?

• How can packaging be designed so that it can be safe and easy in use?

• What cultural characteristics need to be taken into account while dealing with food and packaging?

In a research project of the University of Hanover, the University of Applied Sciences Berlin and the NID on Universal Design Thinking 9 German product design students will work together with students of NID Ahmedabad to work on innovative and intercultural packaging solutions.

The company WIPAK supports this project. Wipak is a company that manufactures innovative packaging film. Corporate social responsibility, environmental protection and economic efficiency are the three mainstays of the Group’s sustainable Wipak concepts and actions.

The study trip is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


Research Project - Retail Environment

The retailing system utilizes Information as a key element. It’s a domain of perfect competition and the most effective way to drive a consumer the make a choice, which is the most profitable for the manufacturer and the retailer is by “correctly” representing the “Right” information. The consumer’s choice about products/commodities displayed in their “Natural” or Original state is purely experiential. It’s the “Branded” products which need appropriate explanations and sometimes, safeguarding. The consumer can be overloaded with information to make a confused choice, Can be provided with basic information to drive him for a first experience, can be lied to, to make a forced decision, or can be left on his own to make a wild choice. I’ll write about an experiential difference before touching a topic related to my research project.


From a standalone point of view, the first and biggest difference I experienced was about Mobility, Sometimes it’s takes less time in walking between two stops than using the Trains. Between any two points I had 4 choices, walking, Taxi, Train and Bus. However the transportation cost is much more than the Indian counterparts.

My Parents hometown is roughly as large as Hannover, and  for same distance I Usually have 3 (sometimes 4) choices, walking or TriCycle for short distance and City Bus and Auto-three wheeler for long  distances which are extremely over crowded and not at all inviting for people with more than 15% physical disability and in-fact, are often include health and life hazards. It is because the Shared Transportation elements in Indian cities (the Auto-rickshaw, Privatized City Bus system, the Local train system) are still able to capitalize on the emotions of the people. (large number of people obliged to reach their destination on time if not in time). And after further research and information gathering I found out that the same scenario exists in a developed country like Japan too.


Coming back to My original research topic, Retailing, I focused on the sense of time for a while. The difference in experience could be perceived as follows.

In a Micro-retailing scenario (A typical Indian general grocery store) if there are many customers, the shopkeeper and his assistant are lively communicating with the customers, may be in parallel, may be one by one, and even if the customer is not active, he/she does not feel like waiting, because when he/she is not ordering, still he/she is seeing the shop keeper talking and moving goods. So in customer’s perception, the time passes at the same pace during whole process.


In a superstore, the customer is left alone with the array of goods, and he/she is intensely and freely involved in making choices and doing the bill calculations etc. and time passes quickly in this process. When the customer finally reaches the “Queue” where he/she has to  pay, and starts waiting for his/her turn, the time slows down. The clock speeds up again when the counter clerk is rapidly swiping the bar codes and making the bill, it’s an excellant display of Motor-Coordination, by the time the customer is able to pick up even half the items from the counter, the clerk is already done with all the billing, weighing and printing process and is waiting for you to make payment.


welcome Peter Alwin and Deepak Singh

Congratulations to Peter Alwin and Deepak Singh for the scholarship from the DAAD - New Passage to India. Both of them are graduate at NID and will work with Katarina Krämer, Marie Kuprat and Birgit Weller on the research project: Universal Design Thinking. They will stay for two month at the department product design in Hanover.


teacher exchange

Marie Kuprat and Katharina Krämer stay now at NID for two months. Both of them work with Birgit Weller on the research project ”Adaptive Solutions in Universal Design”. They will report on the latest development of the project and coach a student project as young teachers on NID. They take a part in the project: „simple products” with Praveen Nahar.