Past as Future: Imagining Design Minus Modernism

By Arvind Lodaya.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Gandhi’s 1907 critique of modern industrial culture anticipated its disruptive and alienating impact on traditional communities, livelihoods and cultural integrity. Ignoring his warning, India chose the route of modernization through industrialization in an effort to eradicate mass poverty and attain parity with the rich nations. Design was introduced in the same context. While industrialization and globalization have indeed benefitted certain sections of society, its serious impact on the environment and its lack of impact on the historically backward sections of society compel us to revisit Gandhi’s ideas as a possible inspiration to design a more sustainable and egalitarian future. This paper proposes a design approach that sidesteps modernism (and its nostalgic perspective of the past) and the development of a bottom-up theory drawn on certain non-modern practices that could open up an alternative future.

Keywords: Design, Modernism, Sustainability

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.121-128. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 539.574KB).

Arvind Lodaya

Senior Faculty, Department of Three-Dimensional Design, Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, India

Arvind Lodaya trained in Industrial Design, but his work spans virtually every design discipline. He consults with industry, NGOs and activists, and has taught at various institutes of design in India. He has co-founded a environmental NGO and a strategic design consultancy. He has curated new media artworks for Srishti's exhibit at the Ars Electronica 2005. He was the HP Labs-Srishti Research Chair for 2006-07, and is on the steering group of the Nokia-Srishti Design Research Studio. He is also on the board of an NGO that works on women's development issues in a backward region of Gujarat. His current interest is integrating design with nature and spirituality.

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