The Future of Design: Craft an Emerging Movement
The discipline of design is comparatively a much newer one in the Indian context. There is till date no hindi equivalent to the word design. The handmade traditions in the country have certainly given an identity to the idea of ‘Indian Design’. Be it the field of fashions, textiles or interior architecture: each of these newly formed design disciplines were shaped by the craft techniques and inherited knowledge of the communities along with modern ideologies on design. The recently formed sector of design gained popularity with the ‘India Report’ by Charles and Ray Eames which later also established the first formal design school in India. Prior to this many schools focussed on teaching disciplines of art, craft and architecture as allied or emerging disciplines of modernised thinking.
With a country like India, the future of design needs to be thought holistically: where each stakeholder needs to play a crucial role be it a craftsperson, a designer or a consumer. There are a variety of arguments that need attention: should the design landscape in India be a continuum of traditions and form a deep rooted indian identity or should it be forward looking and aspirational of the global trends. The craft sector in India is the second largest employment sector and is a powerhouse of talent and creativity. The future of design in India needs to acknowledge the presence of such knowledge and this could pave the way for a new movement for design in India. The design industry is challenged not only by local contexts but through multitude of global issues as well. This paper tries to address how design has evolved and transitioned in the Indian context and suggests how craft can be an avenue that could hold clues for design in the future.
This paper discusses the inherent qualities of craft that are seen in the diverse landscape of India. It further elaborates on the idea of design and craft in the past and present. Towards the end the paper summarises with possible ways in which craft could pave the way for a new movement in design.
Key words: Craft, Design, India, Craftspeople