Twenty-four-year-old Utkarsh Gautam has yet to graduate from the Industrial Design Centre (IDC), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay, but a bus designed by him will soon run on Bangalore roads.
The second year Masters in Product Design student’s bus — with ergonomically-designed, stackable workstations, panels for natural lighting and dust filters — was adopted by the Azim Premji Foundation’s school-on-wheels programme for migrant labourers in April.
Gautam’s foot-long model will be on display at the Design Degree Show 2007 at the Nehru Science Centre and the IDC between May 25 and 31, along with 25 other designs, including a re-design of the Indian Railways’ AC chair car seating, a cellphone for the illiterate, workstation for people with Cerebral Palsy and car interiors for the elderly.
Now in its 15th year, the show has seen increasing industry interest in student’s projects. “When we started, it was tough to get industry participation. Today, we have three to four companies willing to sponsor our student’s projects every year,” said Ravi Poovaiah, head of department, IDC. This year MIDCO, GE Plastics, TVS Scooty and the Azim Premji Foundation have sponsored some of the projects.
Petrol pump manufacturer MIDCO had guided Neha Bharshankar (24) through the creation of a compressed natural gas dispenser model. “The market today is looking for a compact, saleable and economic piece. While Bharshankar had a design in mind, with our industry experience, we provided suggestions to boost its feasibility,” said MIDCO vice-president Zaki Kazi.
For the students, the thrill of hobnobbing with industry persons was the best part of the experience. “I got a chance to meet officials from the sponsor HSBC, chassis designer Ashok Leyland, and Carrier just before the bus went into production. It felt like I was part of the production process,” said Gautam.
In addition to student-industry interaction, this year, the show aims to reach out to prospective designers — high school students.
Workshops on auto design, game and toy design, animation, brand identity design and music video design will be organised at the IDC between May 29 and 31. “Across sectors, companies are setting up their own design houses in India. These workshops will get students excited about product design,” said Poovaiah.