A design lab’s learning program enables professionals in various fields to innovate with sustainability at their projects’ core.
At a time when sustainable development is the need of the hour, a city-based co-working space and design lab named Maker’s Asylum is set on inculcating that approach in design culture. Its recently concluded D.I.V.E programme is their attempt to persuade budding designers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and businessmen to go about their ways with a sustainable approach.
The learning programme, created by Maker’s Asylum in collaboration with a French business school named XAVIER-EMLYON Business School, comprised 45 participants from multidisciplinary backgrounds. For Vaibhav Chhabra, the founder of the co-working space, there is a dire need to have a social impact on society, and it needs to be done in a sustainable way.
“We have practically consumed a lot of resource for our planet. We are realising things are not in the best shape at the moment, especially with the kind of problems that we are facing. Therefore, when people are planning to start their company, projects, and initiatives or even businesses, sustainability should be very close to their hearts, because everything is ultimately for the planet,” he opines.
The 20-day bi-annual programme has its participants go through a design-thinking process, identify community problems, research and recognise the solutions and prototype them, and then also find ways to make it sustainable – both financially and developmentally. Expanding upon one of the projects by the participants, Chhabra reveals: “There was one solution about using virtual reality experience for school students so that they can experience monuments in a much more immersive manner. Through this project, the students will be able to see how the monuments originally were and how they are now, thus sensitising them about the urgent need to care and preserve our monuments.” Another project dealt with creating an energy meter that will enable its users to compare their readings so that they look out for energy-efficient and cost-friendly alternatives.
Further, Ashley Fernandes, the Chairman of Emlyon, highlights the need of businesses to have sustainability as its basis when he says, “Adding business skills and the economic component to the process increases impact to the solutions developed, by providing answers to the financial viability of projects.”
For 25-year-old Tanya Chauhan, the learning programme helped her find a constructive way for female expression. The architect, who was joined by four other members in her team, sought to find a public space for women in congested urban slums. “During our field visit, we met a lot of young women who don’t have the space to express themselves,” reveals Chauhan, who collaborated with a bamboo artist, a Dharavi resident, and two French business students on her team to come up with a public space installation structure called Bindi.
Talking about Bindi, which is designed to be installed in small parks, the architect shares that the structure will not only be in collaboration with local craftsmen but will also use recycled materials. Chauhan concludes: “There are seven panels around the structure which make it complete. Every structure has these khadi portions that will be decorated with feminine symbols and abstract art. Moreover, the whole structure is very collaborative with the local craftsmanship.”