The Eames state in their report,”The change India is undergoing is a change in kind not a change of degree”. If this were to be taken into account, India most definitely needed a design institute, because India had already been practising “destructive creativity”, which involves continuously iterating and overthrowing old designs to make place for new and apter ones.

The design institute, the Eames proposed, was to come under the ministry of commerce and industry, and governed by a board of governors, of which one could preferably be the director of the institute. The institute could serve not only to teach but also as a resource to industries and the government and to encourage research. The Eames then go on discussing the structure of the institute of national importance.

One particular thing that stood out in the report was the design of the Indian vessel “Lota”, which amazed the Eames. “Lotas”, if analysed properly, are very well designed in terms of the quantity of liquid they can hold, and how they themselves are to be held. The Eames suggest that to go about designing a product like “Lota”, one would have to first come out of the conventional thinking about how a vessel looks, and take each factor into consideration one by one, fulfilling each before going to the next. The approach they discuss is relevant even in present times when it has become imperative to not give oneself to conventional thinking, and be caught in designing the same thing with a little variation.

The discussion about the design of “Lota” got me into believing that even when a formal design education was not prevalent in India, people’s needs got a product designed over time after countless iterations, and a formal design education would have only acted as a catalyst, to hasten the process, and maybe even improved the quality of the designs, not only usability-wise but also aesthetically. Another interesting takeaway would be that such widely used products are not designed (or at least marked to be designed) by a single person, but instead get inputs from a mass section of the society before finally taking shape.

Priyank Agarwal