Kochi Design Week - Scale Magazine

Kochi hosts India’s largest design conclave

In its second edition, Kochi Design Week held from December 12-14 aims high, bringing experts from across the world to position Kerala as an international destination for design companies.

Arun Balachandran, Chief Minister of Kerala’s IT Fellow differentiates India’s largest design conclave, the second edition of Kochi Design Week (KDW-2019) to be held from tomorrow over three days at Bolgatty Palace, as a celebration of design.

Kochi Design Week - Scale Magazine

“This three-day-design festival will indeed be a place to exhilarate design in all its senses.”

Arun Balachandran

Chief Minister’s IT Fellow

Government of Kerala

Bringing together experts from across the world to discuss the global trends in design, and architecture, Kochi will come alive with discussions and deliberations, taking a lead in solutions for various real-life problems that the state or the world faces. All this in a celebratory nature, this three-day-design festival will indeed be a place to exhilarate design in all its senses.

Painted in unconventional color patterns, seven auto-rickshaws have begun plying in the city as part of Kochi Design Week (KDW) beginning tomorrow generating new-age ideas about building sustainable infrastructure.

Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas flagged off the multi-hued three-wheelers at a function in the collectorate at Kakkanad ahead of the KDW.

From music and dance performances in the evenings to graffiti designs and unconventional design interventions, these three days will  paint the city of Kochi red with its creativity across spheres.

Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will address the valedictory session of the conclave on December 14.

Shri. S D Shibulal, Chairman, High Power IT Committee (HPIC) and Co-Founder and Former CEO of Infosys, will inaugurate the event on December 12 at 10 am.

The mega event will witness the assemblage of design professionals from India and abroad, heads of various design companies, architects, interior designers, thought leaders, policymakers and government officials besides the general public. The summit is being organised by the Electronics and IT Department of Government of Kerala in association with international bodies such as the World Design Organisation (WDO) and Interaction Design Association (IxDA).

The presentations and deliberations will focus on making Kerala a global hub for design companies and the newest trends in design in various domains.

“The summit is being held at a time when there is an increasing awareness that design is an inevitable reality in almost all segments and not a luxury, as it was considered for long,” said Shri M Sivasankar, Secretary, Electronics and IT, Govt. of Kerala, at a press meet last week. “One of the aims of the event is to provide design inputs for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the product ecosystem.”

SCALE gets Arun Balachandran to talk about this great initiative in design.

SCALE: How will this legacy of the Kochi Design Week be carried forward? How will this kick-start a conversation in design that brings about results?

In most of the places, the design festivals are organized by private organizations, while in Kerala, the design festival is being organised by the Government of Kerala and that makes a huge difference.

If you take the national scenario, it has been established that Kerala is a major contributor and supplier for creative talent. And Kerala is abundant in human resource talent. That gives us a major boost to help instigate an industry of creativity. Kochi Design Week - Scale Magazine

Kerala has already made a name for itself with one of the country’s best tech-start-up hubs and we have been used as a role model to develop policies for start-ups. Our model has been followed to design an ecosystem for incubators, accelerators, initiated community-level participants, including grassroots level initiators. We will be replicating the same ecosystem for a creative hub. From the next financial year, we will be creating a new Centre of Excellence for Design. Any designer can walk into such a place and experience the best facilities in design, hardware, technology, supported by all the facilities needed like Fablab, 3d printers. The facility will have the government as a facilitator but it will be run by experts in the field. All the major names in the design and tech industry will take the reins of this facility.

Besides attracting big players in the field, it will have facilities to incubate start-ups and other nascent ventures.

Taking a cue from the previous edition of the Design Festival, Silicon Valley-based Lumium Design has started its unit in Kerala. More companies, including social media majors, have shown a keen interest in coming to Kerala, and parleys with them are on.

SCALE: Which are the events that you are looking forward to, personally, at the KDW?

Curated by leading experts, KDW 2019 will chiefly hold sessions on design and architecture, besides holding exhibitions and installations. A food fair, which will exhibit 100 specially chosen items, has also been planned at the venue, highlighting the significance of design in food craft. These popular dishes will be selected from 20 restaurants in and around Kochi.Kochi Design Week - Scale Magazine

Another highlight of this year’s event is the charting of an exclusive ‘Design Island’ for the hosting of the annual event and setting up of design installations across Kochi’s high-visibility areas, besides laying special tracks for design architecture and interior designs.

Personally, I will be looking forward to the Sound Design session by Resul Pookutty.

SCALE: How can KDW distinguish itself from the other design fairs around the world.

The design biennales around the world are much more academic in nature while the Kochi Design Week intends to celebrate design, where all the leading design heads are congregating and discussing their thoughts in design, and networking to create solutions where needed. The Art Biennale in Kochi is a place where you tend to have a journey inward, think deeply and move around alone, delving on each installation on

a solo-experience while the Kochi Design Week is about collaboration. This is all about networking and celebration. The short-span allows for this kind of close interaction, unlike the Biennale which is spread over a longer period of time. While there are research and sharing of knowledge, this design festival will kick-start a conversation on design in a celebratory tone

  1. The KDW 2018 had showcased technology options of use in any rebuilding phase as installations for various stakeholders to experience them. There will be free entry for the public after 6 pm.
  2. The Kochi Design Week (KDW) next month is set to host alongside the three-day event a Maker Fest 2019 that will see the country’s largest congregation of youngsters with an innovative mind.
  3. The December 12-14 KDW at Bolgatty Palace here will feature the Maker Fest on the last day, as the Indian continuation of Maker Faire held in the US. The Fest here brings together makers, innovators, technologists, enthusiasts, and artists from different parts of the country. Besides workshops, it will showcase their collaborations and share the delegates’ ideas, projects, products, and activities.
  4. The list of speakers includes top representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, TATA Elxsi, YouTube, ISCA London, Indigo Airlines, Titan Company, and PWC. Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty will also share his experiences and insights.
  5. A program fusing traditional Kerala arts in a way that appeals to new-age sensibilities will be staged after the inaugural day’s technical sessions at the KDW venue in Bolgatty Island of the city. Titled ‘Under The Tree’, the presentation by premier cultural institution Kalamandalam will feature more than 100 artistes.
  6. Entry will be free for the public on all three evenings for the programs starting at 7 pm, organizers said.
  7. Well-known playback singer K S Harisankar will lead the concert by Pragathi, which is celebrated for its independent trilingual project named ‘Bodhi, Mukthi, Gathi’.
  8. Kochi-based Thaikkudam Bridge is set to premiere a live show of its latest music project ‘Namah’. This will be the debut Kerala presentation of the album composed as a salutation to music maestros across the globe.