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#puneonmymind: Falguni Gokhale on how Pune is ready for next wave of design leadership

Design talent – students and professionals thrive in the relaxed atmosphere of the city and its vibrant culture. Pune now offers services of many top-notch design firms, has accessible fresh talent and a great design ecosystem to help bring innovative ideas to reality

pune Updated: Jul 11, 2018 14:46 IST
Pune,Falguni Gokhale,design leadership
Falguni Gokhale, founder, design directions (HT PHOTO )

Design can make our lives better in small and big ways. It can transform businesses, help create better products and places, it can bring people together, can change lives.

Design is now accepted as a valuable part of the innovation-led processes in any company.

More than two decades ago when I was a design student, there were only two design schools in India – the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad ( NID) and the Industrial Design Centre at IIT, Mumbai. Design as a profession was hardly heard of.

I met my husband, Satish Gokhale, at NID and we decided to settle in Pune because his family resided there. Though this decision was mostly for personal reasons, it also seemed the right choice then, because Pune had many big and small engineering and manufacturing companies with an emerging professional outlook and an appetite for growth. We knew we could offer our services in product design and graphic communication to them. We were one of the first design firms to base ourselves in Pune. However, we had to work very hard at explaining and educating possible clients, the value that design could bring to their products, services and communication.

Fast forward to the present. Today, Pune is considered a design hub. So what changed?

Actually, many things happened.

The engineering and manufacturing industries grew. The software industry prospered. (Pune has one of the highest number of software companies in India.) They along with the general wave of progress all over India, in the mid-1990s - fed the nascent design profession in Pune. The successes of first few Pune design firms attracted more and more design talent into the city by way of more professional design studios and students.

Pune is known as the Oxford of East, with more than 100 educational institutes and nine universities. And so, design education found a natural habitat in many of these institutes. Today there are more than 12 design schools in Pune alone offering courses in industrial design, automobile design, user interface design, graphic design, fashion and textile design, etc.

Design talent – students and professionals thrived in the relaxed atmosphere of the city and its vibrant culture. Pune now offers services of many top-notch design firms, has accessible fresh talent and a great design ecosystem to help bring innovative ideas to reality.

The very popular and the must-go-to Pune Design festival, that held its 13th edition early this year, is a great platform to share, learn and network for all design related topics for designers, design students and design companies from India and across the world. It is a collaborative effort of the enthusiastic design companies of this city in their endeavour to put Pune on the map of design.

The economic impact of good design is now widely acknowledged. The 21st century design context demands an inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary type of thinking - with designers working as a part of a diverse team. Relevant design research will matter.

The next wave of design will involve intense and immersive digital experiences, and will be a very important part of IoT .There will also be a lot more customisation of products and services. Pune has all the necessary talent, infrastructure, knowledge base and ecosystem for designing and producing these experiences.

With Pune slated to becoming a smart city, design for the public issues and spaces will be a priority and the Pune designers can help design efficient solutions for traffic and garbage issues and public transport.

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First Published: Jul 11, 2018 14:44 IST