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25 Under 35


DxD: 25 Under 35


Thank you!

It’s not often that people want to hear me speak.

Even my three year old, Kabir, routinely says, “Papa Enough” !!
But when Lakshmi asked, Rahoul can you say a few words, I thought the tide just might be changing …..!!

And so having been given sanction, and as the curator for a part of this show, I would by means of an introduction like to begin by talking about design as the articulation of intent and the beginning of dialogue.

As an act architecture and design are both culturally situated and situating, through its articulation and through its dialogue, it is an agency of both continuity and of change.

However, without tenacity and perseverance, without a commitment to design as a  field of practice and of inquiry, without the generosity of both spirit and mind, few things of any consequence or meaning can be achieved.

And when such commitment is demonstrated for an extended period of time, it becomes representative of its people, and its city, ultimately, finding its place within the continuum of a professions development and history.

And so on behalf of the entire design fraternity gathered here tonight with gratitude and in admiration I would like to thank Prof. Chisti and Ms. Lakshmi Chand Singh for having spearheaded Design by Designfor close to a decade.Along with all the other people in the Design by Design family they have over the years volunteered both time and expertise in creating community and dialogue, through the organising of exposes, workshops and exhibitions.
It has been a labour of love for all of them and I believe the time has now come for it to be publicly acknowledged.

But this would not have been possible, without the support of an enlightened institution like the Alliance Francaise.

It’s plain for all to see that they generously provide such a beautiful venue and support the Design by Design initiative in so many other ways too, but that’s not enlightenment. Through the leadership of various directors both past and present, along with their teams and the numerous programs and events that they run, the Alliance Francaise, since its inception sixty years ago, have consistently been strong proponents of cultural advocacy and exchange. A dialogue much needed in today’s world, through publicly accessible programs that help our communities further comprehend our own complex culture and that of others, they embody the French triad of “Liberte, Egalitaire, Fraternite”.
And so, thank you to you too!

But now I have a confession to make.

Many of you don’t know that I am Lakshmi’s husband, which by extension and imaginationmakes me Design by Designs damadji!!

And as the “damadji” am allowed certain privileges that may not be extended to the other people here today.

Most notably, this has to do with time and hence if I over shoot what has been allocated to me, you will have to bear with it. As I said earlier itis not often that I am asked to speakin public and I don’t want to squander any opportunity I getwith a captive audience.

The reason why we are here tonight is to celebrate the opening of the eighth cycle of the exhibition 20 under 35 and hence I think its only in order for me to speak a little bit about my role as the curator for the architectural component of this exhibition and thereafter what it means to me to visit it.

So here goes…

At the outset, I don’t like curation.
It sets up a binary in a world of multiplicities.

The act of including some practices and excluding others is in no way an indication of either talent or quality of work. In fact, if any thing it betrays an inadequacy on the part of the curator for not being able to conceptualise a more encompassing framework.

And so, for those of you whose work is not represented here, let it be known that many years ago, I too did not make the cut, nor for that matter after all those years have I made it now!

But I do believe that it’s those of you who fall outside the common narrative, the ones who push the elastic limits of artistic and cultural production, you are the ones that will ultimately form the avante-garde and whom in time history will remember with kindness.

And for those of you whose work is presented here, I am not going to congratulate you, for this is not a badge of honour. It is a reminder that as architects and designers our work resides in the public domain and in that we have great social responsibility, so do enjoy your moment under the lights but come tomorrow its back to the grind.

And for those of us who are here to see the exhibits, I would imagine that it would not be out of place for me to say that the borders of design disciplines are being re – drawn constantly to address the exigencies of the moment. Architecture and design are now being consumed and communicated in ways that was inconceivable only a few years ago.

You will notice that the architectural projects at this exhibition represent a conundrum faced by many design practices today – on the one hand is the comprehensibility associated with the transposition of global images. The ratification achieved by their publication in the global press and on social media contrasts sharply with the desire to build an architecture that is at once rooted in the nuances of a socially constructed and materially manifested site.

Yet, to be adept in one’s metier and to be in a position to demonstrate to a public at large that your architecture is an expression of, and to borrow a term from the wine world, terroir, would be a point of aspiration for even the most seasoned practitioner. And so, presented here this evening are some of the directions that this may take.

And lastly, before I overstep my damadji privileges, I would urge you to view each exhibit not only in isolation but also as part of a greater collection of artistic production. And while doing so, as both the consumers and producers of design, when we go back to our studios later tonight or tomorrow morning, do recall what Mark Twainso eloquently said,

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.’

Thank you and good evening.

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