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Kochi Design Week to host discussions on renewed development and revival in Kerala

Expert talks, master classes, workshops and invigorating discussions on the new facets of design await experts and enthusiasts at the second edition of the event in Kerala, India.

by Meghna MehtaPublished on : Dec 11, 2019

With a focus on design and architecture for a sustainable infrastructure, the government of Kerala, in India, is hosting a global design festival from December 12-14, 2019. The second edition of Kochi Design Week (KDW) will take place at the Design Island, Bolgatty, Kochi, the most cosmopolitan city of the southern state.

As a state striving to revamp its infrastructure amid instances of monsoon-time damage, Kerala is turning towards the need for development with a long-term vision. KDW is charted to discuss at length the global trends in design and architecture, so as to employ them in the state’s renewed efforts to rebuild itself in the wake of the 2018 floods.

The three-day event has been developed with an idea to formulate a sustainable ecosystem through innovative design, with technology and visionary thinking. Thus, architecture and design would be the key topics to be discussed by the delegates.

Bolgatty Palace – the venue of the Kochi Design Week | Kochi Design Week | STIRworld
Bolgatty Palace – the venue of the Kochi Design Week Image Credit: Courtesy of

KDW not only offers creative minds a platform to meet and brainstorm on new facets in design and architecture, but also is an attempt to make Kerala a hub for the world’s design and architecture.

KDW 2019, to be held at the Design Island, has been organised by Kerala’s Department of Information Technology in association with Asset Foundation. This year, KDW will also set up design exhibitions and installations across Kochi’s high-visibility areas. The event is expected to see an attendance of more than 5,000 design professionals, architects, interior designers, thought leaders, policymakers and government officials besides the general public.

With reputed speakers from architecture and city planning fraternity, KDW will be addressed by the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan. Among others, Amit Gupta (Founder, Curator, Content Director, STIR), Johnathon V Strebly (President-Elect of the International Council of Design), R Srinivasan (CEO of World Design Organisation), Carlos R Gomez (CEO of ARG Design) and G Shankar (Group architect of Habitat Technology) will address the audience at the event. Chief Secretary of Kerala, Tom Jose, and IT Secretary M Sivasankar will also be present among the experts to share their point of view at the sessions.

Architect and urban designer Bijoy Ramachandran at the Design Summit at Kochi Design Week 2018 | Kochi Design Week | STIRworld
Architect and urban designer Bijoy Ramachandran at the Design Summit at Kochi Design Week 2018 Image Credit: Courtesy of Kochi Design Week

Some of the other prominent speakers include former director at the National Institute of Design, Pradyumna Das; Industrial Design Centre head at IIT-Mumbai, G V Sreekumar; CEO of the Kerala Startup Mission, Saji Gopinath; and MD of Asset Homes, V Sunil Kumar.

Multiple art, design, technology and innovation contemporaries will also address the audience - sound designer Resool Pookutty, contemporary artist Bose Krishnamachari of Kochi Biennale Foundation, SD Shibulal (HPIC Chairman), Kalyan Krishnamurthy (Flipkart CEO), Alok Nandi (IxDA president of Architempo), Shibu Damodharan (Senior manager at Amazon), Lathika S Pai (Microsoft Country Head), Charulatha Ravi Kumar (MD of Accenture), Revathi Kant (Titan Chief Design Officer), Thomas Garvey of Carleton University, Biren Ghose of Technicolour India, Lydia Thornley of ISCA London, David Ludlow of University of West England, Marta Piekarska-Geater of Hyperledger, Robby Schwertner of CryptoRobby and Jane Thomason of Fintech Worldwide.

Maker Village at Kochi Design Week 2018| Kochi Design Week | STIRworld
Maker Village at Kochi Design Week 2018 Image Credit: Courtesy of Kochi Design Week

“The event seeks to give the concept of sustainable design its deserving focus in various domains such as technology, urban planning and architecture,” notes IT Secretary Sivasankar. Also, KDW 2019 special officer Arun Balachandran, Kerala Chief Minister’s Fellow (IT), points out, “The huge success of the first edition of KDW has made everyone realise the criticality of the role ‘design’ plays in transforming our cities and societies into sustainable ecosystems of the future.”

On its last day, the Kochi Design Week will host alongside it a Maker Fest 2019, an Indian continuation of Maker Faire held in the US. The fest will witness a congregation of makers, innovators, technologists, enthusiasts and artists from different parts of the country. Further, KDW is also hosting a competition for students in Kerala, to bring about creative ideas towards rebuilding the state’s infrastructure in the wake of floods this monsoon and last year.

Auto-rickshaws painted in unconventional colour patterns for the Kochi Design Week | Kochi Design Week | STIRworld
Auto-rickshaws painted in unconventional colour patterns for the Kochi Design Week Image Credit: Courtesy of Kochi Design Week

Kerala is also scheduled to get by 2020 a Centre for Excellence that will work as an incubator for design professionals. The need for the same arose after the KDW 2018, with the government proposing an establishment. “Any designer with creative idea can approach the centre and brief about one’s ideas and the plan to implement them. He or she will get all necessary support,” said Arun Balachandran, Chief Minister’s Fellow (IT), Government of Kerala. The Centre for Excellence will be built at the Integrated Startup Complex in Kalamassery, and will be run by globally reputed companies in the field.

In order to promote the 2019 event, and lure as many people possible, seven auto-rickshaws painted in unconventional colour patterns are also plying in the city. These have been designed by students of the International School of Creative Arts (ISCA).

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