The sugar baroness is back in action after a gap of two years. Rajshree Pathy, Chairperson and Managing Director of Rajshree Sugars and Chemicals Limited, (also the first woman president of the Indian Sugar Mill) is back with her initiative India Design Forum after a gap of two years.
IDF is part of the larger Make In India week to be held in Mumbai between 13th-18th February to showcase the potential of design, innovation and sustainability across India's manufacturing sectors.
IDF has been invited by the Government of India to hold a one-day conference on 'Empowering through Design' on February 17 at the MMRDA Grounds BKC.
"There is no platform in India that addresses concerns regarding design. Design is not understood clearly in India. Design is in everything we do. It is the intervention between processes that makes for user friendliness. It is not decorative," Pathy states.
Pathy is critical that in India there is no communication on the efficacy of design and there is no`genuiness' in it. "We don’t communicate on design effects. Design is about making a process, product, system effective. Apple is effective because of deisgn.Wipro has acquired a design company because it understands its importance."
Though Make in India is about manufacturing, Pathy says that there is a lot of scope for industrial design in products, automotives, manufacturing process, etc. IDF will highlight the importance of design at the forum.
The India Design Forum – (IDF), was founded in 2012 by Pathy and her daughter Aishwarya. IDF aims to create an atmosphere conducive for the design community to collaborate, influence policy, facilitate funding and business opportunities, as well as interact and engage nationally and internationally to found a strong network of individuals with a common interest – creating value through Design intervention..
“We have been able to bring about awareness for design with policy makers, corporate and initiate cross cultural debate,” says Pathy, of IDF’s impact in two editions. “We have been working with different players to see how we can create an India-lead designer.”
The IDF is having its third edition after a two-year hiatus. Pathy said the reason for the gap in having a third edition of the IDF was because getting funding for the event and tying up with speakers takes a long time. “Though we put in funds ourselves, we would like to have large corporate to play a pro-active role to help take the message on a wider scale. When the government invited us for the Make In India event, we decided not to host the event last year and do it this year,” she said.
The inaugural address of IDF will be by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation. Regarding the unusual choice for a IDF event, Pathy says, he was chosen as he has designed everything at the Foundation himself. He has been chosen also because he is contemporary in his designs, Pathy explains. “The centre’s elliptical Dhynalinga dome is the largest in the world,” she says.
Pathy says that India needs a lot more design schools than what we have at present for us to be able to compete in a global arena. “
The government should allocate more funds, infrastructure, incubation centres so that the Make In India effect percolates down. On its part, IDF plans to host smaller events in Tier II and III cities so that younger designers there can get a chance to come to the fore.