RN’s Michael Shirrefs is talking to Ishan Khosla who returned to India from the US five years ago and quickly realised that the rapid rise of the Indian Tiger economy was coming at a cost. In the headlong rush to be a big global player, India was at great risk of losing its unique design traditions.
As India’s huge metropolises become ever more infatuated with the gloss and mystique of global design trends, alarm bells have sounded amongst many who see a downside. With a very wealthy new Indian middle-class being seduced by the power of ‘the global’, a vast number of distinctive local design skills and knowledge systems are being ignored or marginalised. This has prompted a counter-push from high-profile designers and commentators, aiming to elevate the profile of the myriad, rich design traditions across India’s length and breadth.
Ishan Khosla is one of those who believes that, for this to work, new designers must be decentralised and trained closer to these sources of India’s material and aesthetic identity — only then will these materials and artisan skills gain high status in the eyes of a domestic audience and thus be proudly promoted on that global stage.
Ishan Khosla — Indian designer, based in Delhi, and Head of Visual Communication at the Sushant School of Design
Interviewer + Producer
© 2013 — Michael Shirrefs & ABC RN