The Design Village: New Ways For The Future

Sourabh Gupta,FounderThe Design Village from Delhi, National Capital Region is a multidisciplinary, futuristic, experience driven design institute which believes in impact through design'. For TDV, design does not only solve problems of today, but also proposes new ways for the future. To fulfill this ambition, TDV aims to nurture and educate individuals by giving them a choice to not limit themselves to any particular field of design. Students may choose to not specialise in a particular discipline, but can be independent non- silo designers who can impact and change the world through design in any and every medium imaginable.

"Design today is about altering conditions, changing behaviors, creating experiences, finding new meanings, building identities and evolution. And therefore, design education today is about critical thinking, communication, collaboration, cultural awareness, civic engagement, collective responsibility and creative leadership", mentions Sourabh Gupta, founder, The Design Village.

TDV believes that since the world is changing rapidly, we have careers that never existed and many have become redundant. Therefore, it encourages students to think macro, develop broad interests and skills, embrace diverse experiences and spread knowledge across multiple domains. The projects chosen by students at TDV reflect the societal challenges that exist today. From addressing the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, to considering taboos of gender violence, menstrual health, inclusivity, community engagement and others are undertaken and successfully completed by them.

Standing Apart
The unparalleled curriculum of The Design Village is a resultant of a joint Indian-Dutch proposal on new perspectives for Indian Design Education called 'Indeed', compiled in 2011. Set on the pretext of designing contemporary, bold and forward looking thinking, the pedagogy nestles in creating designers of tomorrow who break moulds of conventional and question the impermanent. "To address the ever evolving needs of our learners, TDV houses a Fab Foundation certified Fab Lab that has pushed the envelope of creative prowess into high fidelity prototyping. A state of the art Mac Lab coupled with path breaking AI and VR equipment is reshaping our endeavor towards mindful technology. Our recent collaboration with Google Fit Bit to work in the domain of palliative care furthers our penchant for a forward looking tomorrow", says Sourabh.

"Our current graduate, Himanshu Tiwari in their final design project aimed to bring awareness to the urban youth about the bleaching of corals and how humans have invaded in their ecosystems by becoming the cause of phenomenon like coral bleaching through an immersive experience integrating Augmented Reality, three dimensional projection mapping, and mixed reality as modalities the experience takes one through a journey that begins with a close to life experience of corals in their unaffected form to human actions and its effects and culminates at a rather bleak but provocative image of bleached corals", mentions Mridu Sahai, Co-Founding Member with pride.

The Design Village's alumnus, Pradeep Singh's Final Design Project 'Market of Selves' is a critical and speculative design intervention that calls for action. While rendering a picture of the future from which we look at the present. The present looked back upon is constituted by capitalism with an emphasis on commoditization becoming the object which is critically proliferated into the future leading to a speculative scenario. The project speculates human commoditization as a means of income caused by the loss of jobs due to automation. Humans are thus thrust into market relations that 'empowers' them by commodifying themselves.
The market-determined domains under which humans are commodified are data, bio-products, genetics, social relations, and neural. Each develops respective critical thresholds morphing human commodities.

One of the key attributes of a villager is awareness. A design villager is aware of themselves, their values, and the reality of the world around them. This awareness helps to develop their identity as a designer.

A design villager must be compassionate. Through sensitive exploration and mastering different approaches by working independently and together in groups, the villager's compassionate character enables them to understand the world; and where, why and how to intervene in it.

A design villager constantly pushes boundaries and takes up challenges that may not have been considered before. Therefore, they are connected with real life issues and are not afraid to tackle them, making them courageous.

In order to make a difference through design, a villager must be methodical, relentless and unfazed by setbacks to trials and tribulations. This test of one's endurance and patience helps to make a villager perseverant.

International Relations
TDV has an inspiring international board of professors and professionals that have been instrumental in developing its curriculum. The international board of advisors ensure that the philosophy flows seamlessly in all TDV's activities. It focuses on monitoring the quality of content through faculty development masterclasses, student lectures, workshops and give TDV an international network of visiting faculty to come and inspire villagers. The advisors have been a part of TDV's early days and now help to translate the vision of the village into action.

Scholarship Opportunities
A need to give opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds regardless of their social andeconomic circumstances led to the development of a holistic scholarship programme at TDV. Its scholarship policy aims to support an individual's manifesto of an independent journey, serving as their identity through their passion for design. At its core lies the notion of a collective that builds a village replete in fair play.

Merit based scholarships are appointed to high scoring candidates in the entrance examination. Students continue their scholarships there on for later years through their progressive merit scores.

Need based scholarships are available through a pool of founders charitable endeavors. Also, scholarships are offered to students with single parents, parents serving defense, whose siblings are pursuing their education at the institute. Various international bodies such as Charpak extend medical and housing benefits to TDV students going for international semester Exchanges.

Design Programmes Offered at Tdv
The institute offers seven pathways in Bachelors of Design in Interaction and UX Design, Fashion and Textile Design, Product Design, Space and Interior Design, Graphics and Communication Design, Transportation and Mobility Design, and a manifestation independent B. Des.

Masters of Design in Fashion and Textile Design, Product Design, Space and Interior Design, Graphics and Communication Design. And Integrated Masters in Design [five years] as well, keeping up with the new education policy and aiming at new multidisciplinary work opportunities.

A design villager has the capacity to envision dreams and the skills to realize them, making them a thinker and a doer

Operational Excellence
TDV campus presents a unique design experience. Envisioned by the design team at Studio. Archohm, one of the leading architectural firms in the country, the community thrives within an erstwhile Kattha factory, closed in 2014 due to many pollutants. A factory which had 150 workers, now is an educational space for as many students and more. "The Design Village is proud to be housed within a repurposed building, which is far more sustainable than constructing a Greenfield campus. New life has been instilled into spaces, by transforming what was, into what is. Cold storages now act as large classrooms and a chemical pit is the heart of the village acting as a think tank and a place to meet, discuss ideas, and celebrate. While a boiler which produced enough steam to run a steam engine sits as a backdrop to our student spaces among many such machines", concludes Mridu.

Education at The Design Village is based on certain values that drive the pedagogy that includes: Intrinsic Motivation - Students understand why they are learning, what they are learning, how it matters to them and eventually to defend what they stand for.

Personal Responsibility - Learning to learn, learning to dream and learning to do - the tdv way , by taking personal responsibility for one's learning journey.

Responsibility & Freedom - Encourage students to take responsibility by giving them the freedom of choosing their own journey.

Inspiration & Confrontation - The education is focused on stimulating curiosity, on the art of asking the right questions, as much as on finding the right answers.

Lifetime Learning - Villagers are students for life. learning and teaching is shared among students and teachers.