Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Idiom-izing New York

Sonia, Girish and Jacob's visit to Parsons, the New School of Design

Notes from New york

10th March : Girish + Jacob + Sonia

Presented our perspective on India/emerging market and shared Idiom's work and successes with the students, in the School of Design Strategies [at Parsons, the New School of Design]. Followed by an interesting discussion with a group of students. Graduating students are worried about whether (E design thinking), this higher level play of design is a fad or is here to stay, whether sustainability again is just a fad. There was a palpable energy and excitement that the presentation and discussion managed to evoke the sheer speed and scale at which things are happening in India was one of the things that fascinated everyone. Carlos Teixeira [Director, Academic Affairs] our amazing host had quite a schedule planned for us.

11th March : Girish + Jacob + Sonia

Morning: Carlos and his co-faculty members (faculty members, the program director, and career service) presented to us, what they do in the program of Design and Management at Parsons. What is interesting about Parsons, The New School is that its really five schools spread across a few streets and blocks. There is the School of Design Strategies, The School of Fashion, The School of Art, Media and Technology, The School of Constructed Environments and ADHT (Art, Design, History and Technology). Interestingly, the street was very close to the New School's heart in the early years, where anyone could walk off the street and attend a class. Corridors continue to be art galleries. 40% of the students are international. But even the international students come from reasonably affluent backgrounds and we still need to find ways to make emerging markets, sustainability and such real world issues sexy to them.
  We discussed however, the opportunity of internships and of using our design success stories as cases and the possibility of online interactions. Besides, we also committed to developing an exhibition for the Parsons' gallery, that brings alive both India and our work.

Afternoon: With Carlos, met Joel Towers, Dean Parsons and Mathew Caballero, Asst Dean, Parsons. It was nice to find out that one of the most respected design institutions in the world had quite a refreshing perspective and had chosen to be nimble. Joel talked about the New School being part of a global network, where there would be a lot of exchange in not very typical/formal/structured ways. We were all very excited about the possibility of collaboration.

Evening: The evening rocked! We presented in the Orozco room. This is a room reserved for very special occasions. Orozco (a Mexican mural artist painted a mural on the walls of this room, in a way that it couldn't be taken out. He wanted his work to be accessible by the public and not put away in a museum). Well, we made our work accessible to the cool junta of New York (finally!) But seriously we had an amazing crowd of academicians, practitioners and industry. Most that Carlos had invited, some whom Jacob and Sonia had called. We showed our E India movie, The Idiom presentation (by Sonia and Jacob) and then Kishoreji (Kishore Biyani), along with us, took questions. We started at 6 pm and it showed no signs of winding up, even by 9 pm and continued on to dinner. (The legendary) Bruce Nussbaum, who was there went on record to say that this was the most engaging discussion he had had on design ever. Even Mr Biyani was excited and enjoyed the discussion.  Most were fascinated by the scale and speed at which things are happening in India. Carlos was beaming (he made it possible and everyone was thanking him for inviting them). We made new friends, in the UN, in Panasonic, in Havaianas, in AIGA, in Smart Design and many more.

12th March

We (Carlos, Jacob, Girish, Sonia) had lunch with Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Dean, School of Design Strategies. He told us about the idea of laboratories/about the India-China School. It was a meeting that turned out to be more than just refreshing!!! We have a follow on meeting early next week to make a plan of action to develop on the emerging design education needs in India looks like things will happen sooner than later. 

Posted By Sonia


  1. Excellent! This whole visit seems so promising that I can't wait to see the outcome. and Wow, at an international arena... Exciting times for us at Idiom and seriously makes me proud to be a part of it...
    Looking forward to more bright and happening times ahead!
    Cheers to Idiom!

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