Statement of Purpose Apeksha Agrawal My motivation for pursuing the Grad ID program ?Design is where science and art break even. This aphorism led me to pursue design through the medium of Interior Architecture.
What drew me to the subject was the idea of creating beautiful and memorable experiences that enhance human lives. My enthusiasm for design was further fired by the convergence of the left and the right brain to solve problems.As a young girl, I was both artistically and technically inclined.
Enchanted by the beauty of nature, I would carefully pick flowers from the neighbourhood, draw them and then pull them apart to see what they were made of. Toys followed suit. The learning that beauty is derived from making has hitherto stayed with me. This learning gained momentum during my undergraduate days at the prestigious CEPT University, where I was introduced to the rich craft heritage of my country and the role design could play in propelling it to the future. It was facilitated by an intense ‘Living with Craft’ summer program in the remote areas of Sikkim, a northeastern state of India. During which, I lived in a Buddhist monastery to document the woodworking skills of the traditional Bhutia community. The experience not only made me sensitive towards form, materials and making but also opened my eyes to how intrinsically the craft was tied to the lives of the people, both the creators and the users.
This symbiotic relationship has made me deeply curious about how products can influence lives of users and has set me on the path to find its contemporary application. My experience at CEPT University as an Academic Associate, teaching Cultural Anthropology, helped me connect the dots as to how products impact culture and human lives. Courses that I taught in Graphic Design to undergraduate students helped me develop an advanced understanding of aesthetics and its psychological influence. Interacting with an inquisitive bunch of students opened my eyes to the importance of creating a knowledge base for indigenous design and its articulate dissemination to the next generation.
Curiosity further led me to join Studio Lotus, an award-winning multidisciplinary design practice that follows the principles of Conscious Design – an approach that celebrates local resources, cultural influences and a keen sensitivity to the impact on all stakeholders. In my three years at the studio, I’ve been fortunate to work closely with brands in the domains of retail, hospitality, and adaptive reuse to create unique spatial experiences. Apart from honing my making skills, it has also led me to a deeper understanding of the importance of branding and how products and services can benefit from it.In tandem with the words of design educator Robert. L.
Peters; ” Design creates Culture, Culture shapes Values, Values determine the Future.”, A well-designed product influenced by Indian craft traditions can help ensure that the invaluable legacy is carried forth without placing financial burdens on artisans as it currently does. At its best, it can help create more employment opportunities and start a culture of innovation. In conjunction, good branding can help increase awareness amongst the consumers about the craft, aiding its development. For consumers, it can become a way to connect to their roots and make them active contributors in shaping the evolution of their culture. Why will it be a good fit for me?As an interior architect, an empathetic understanding of user needs is central to the creation of exceptional spatial experiences. The graduate Industrial Design program at ACCD with its user-centred approach can help me apply the same to the development of quality products and services. The ability to create structured thought in unstructured conditions rife with ambiguity has been a challenge that I enjoy.
AACD with its systems thinking curriculum thus, seems like a natural fit. For my ambition of contemporising Indian crafts to come to fruition, a solid understanding of business with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation is required to support an in-depth comprehension of good design, materials, and manufacturing. The framework of the GradID program at Art Center College for Design (ACCD) with its roots in design thinking and sustainable business development resonates with the intention. Having experienced a multicultural learning environment previously, as an exchange student to the University of Applied Sciences, Stuttgart (Germany), I’m positive that the diversity of students and faculty members at ACCD help foster an environment of inclusive learning and strong peer-to-peer interaction, which is crucial to innovation.
With a collaborative attitude towards problem-solving, I hope to make the most of my interactions with the diverse cohort at ACCD if selected. I’ve been fortunate to engage with a vast group of users through the practice of spatial design. However, with spaces, the purview of user engagement is limited due to the stationary nature of the building. The user needs to be in physical proximity to the building over a certain period of time to fully engage with it and the ideas it proposes. However, with products, the possibility to connect with users, across continents and timezones, is limitless.
This offers me the unique opportunity to generate widespread impact, something I’m inclined towards as a designer.What I will be doing ideally 5-10 yrs after the successful completion of the program?As per the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is well underway in India. Businesses are rapidly adopting technologies like AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, 3D printing, and robotics, offering India the opportunity to become a developed nation at an unprecedented pace. Integrating automation in businesses for higher productivity comes at a price: jobs.In a country where on an average 12-13 million people enter the job market every year, this severely hampers job creation leading to high rates of unemployment and loss of GDP. This can be countered by reskilling workers or by creating jobs that balance human and technological input. Craft is one such sector where its application can generate widespread impact.
Thus, upon the successful completion of the GradID at ACCD, I would like to return to my home country to establish an enterprise that integrates design, Indian craft know-how, and technology using the benefits offered by the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The focus of the enterprise would be design and manufacture of contemporary products and services, helping people at the grassroot level, while riding the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It will be my endeavour to use the platform to raise awareness regarding Indian craft heritage and the power of design to propel it into the future.
It is my belief that ACCD’s graduate Industrial Design program can equip me with the necessary outlook required to become a ‘designpreneur’ and contribute effectively in changing lives.