Some days ago I visited the IIM (Indian Institute of Management) campus, with its majestic brick structures designed by none other than Louis I. Kahn. The geometry of the structures, and the awe they inspire, makes this place worth a visit. Yet students here, (we met a friend there) say they get bored and tired of their campus, and many structures have non-functional weird little corners, wasted spaces, and in the monsoon water comes right through the huge circular openings. But architecture is not my real concern.
It seems IIM and NID were established almost at the same time, just few months apart, way back in 1961. Today IIM has considerable ‘brand value’. Everyone who’s anyone in this country will know what IIM-A is. Much fewer will be aware of NID. And even fewer will know what ‘design’ per se, is. Is this the fault of NIDans, who live in a lovely sheltered world, should we educate the outside ‘no-designer’ normal humans about what we do? So that maybe they will have a better understanding, more respect, and hence be willing to pay more to us? Is that what mangers do? Perhaps. Or maybe India (and perhaps the world) is at the stage where managers are needed more. This is a debate that is never ending. In a country of nearly one billion people, NID has had 4000 graduates till date, and there are maybe five design studios in India worth mention. Maybe design is still to come of age here. Till then, NID remains a strange name for many.