Recognizing the concerted efforts of all the elements that form an integral and an interdependent part of India’s design evolution, Nine Dot Squares was launched as an annual design initiative and movement focused towards creating a platform for the design fraternity to interact with artisans and craftsman.
Collaboratively put together by Architect Ritu Khandelwal, Shalini & Ramesh Agarwal and supported by the Indian Institute of Architects - Rajasthan chapter, NineDotSquares was a three day festival that assembled diverse artisanal communities and design influencers to educate the audiences about the roots of Indian design and the importance of its adaptability in contemporary spaces. The maiden edition of NineDotSquares was hosted in Jaipur at one of the most iconic venues of the city, Diggi Palace. Celebrating a city recognised for its rich art, architecture and design lineage, the festival also aimed at commemorating the recent title of World Craft City bestowed upon Jaipur by the World Crafts Council.
A weekend trail, the event was a conduit to the world of design with a display of regional artisanal products, reinvigorated techniques illustrated through workshops and live art demonstrations on Lime jail, Araish, Blue pottery, Stone Inlay, Blacksmithy, Terracotta Mural & sculpture, Glass Thikri by skilled artisans and craftsman. The idea was to make people understand and learn the age old craft forms of India. These workshops gave the students an opportunity to learn the craft from the master craftsmen and understand its challenges, usage and application in modern space designs. More than 100 students enrolled in these workshops.
Visitors also engaged in dialogues with design connoisseurs, stalwarts and influencers through keynote speeches, debates and conversations over Chai Chat sessions titled ‘Ignited Minds’. Key note presentation by Aman Nath, an Indian writer, hotelier, and architectural restorer addressed the entire design fraternity. In an insightful presentation, he created a strong impact on the questioning trait of a designer, instigating them to think about the roots of Indian design philosophy, its adaptation, recognition and understanding in modern times. The talk was called ‘Mera Bharat Pareshaan to Mera Bharat Mahaan’.
Vibhor Sogani, an alumnus of NID Ahmedabad talked about his ‘Affair with an Alloy’ - What started as a casual indulgence had deeper design thought and application. He highlighted the large-scale implementation of design and related challenges. Ayush Kasliwal, Creative Director Anantaya in conversation with Architect Shamini Shanker evaluated how our position in place and time affects design and thereby ‘objects becoming messages of context and culture’.
Kavita Chaudhary, Director Jaipur Rugs and Meghna Ajit, Director Beeja Foundation along with Alan Tweedie from Arts Interaction brought to light Capacity Building in Rural Communities with experiences and case in point. Product Designer Mukul Goyal liked to look at traditional craft more from its technology point of view rather than the visual language. Architect Ashmit Singh Alag amazed the crowd with the impact of psychology in the process of design. He explored how vision affects the overall perception of design and how it can be easily used to benefit the final outcome. He focussed on the theory of opulent spaces, speed lines, tree of refuge and other sensory inputs. M P Ranjan’s philosophy of conversations over a cup of chai found its exact manifestation at the event.
In essence, saluting the heroes of design and to take the dialogue a notch higher, NineDotSquares treasured, revived and sustained India’s wealthy design tradition through this initiative.
The team at X & Zero was tasked with bringing to life the vision of the founders. This encompassed playing an active role in all aspects of delivery.