Friday, 22 May 2015

Snippet * 20     C o n t e m p l a t i v e   S P A C E S

What a wonderful space to have in a University!

Image: Jin Hyo-suk

Originally an underused parking lot, this is now a vibrant, contemporary rest space for University of Seoul students. Titled the 'Rest Hole', this is a combined design effort by University of Seoul architecture students and UTAA design firm.

Image: Jin Hyo-suk

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Pebble Art

Have stones ever been a source of wonder to you? They have been to me, every time I find one that has a line of color, a swirl of a pattern or a hint of mica. Not to forget one of my favorites - Amber (called a stone but actually resin), millions of years of history safely encapsulated. Stones - grey, black, yellow, reds - each is a carrier of a story, the journey it has undertaken and the events it has witnessed.  

Sharon Nolan, from Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada uses stones to create pictures that tell a story. Materials become tools in an artist's hands - a means for personal expression. Sharon's pebbles beautifully convey emotions..

Using pebbles, sea glass, twigs and more, the artist creates pictures that reach out to the viewer. 
Sharon has a knack of choosing her materials just right - a curve in the silhouette where it is required, an edge here, and, just the right combination of color - as in this lovely group of coastal houses above.

"...To say as much as I can with as little as possible." Sharon Nolan

Aren't these artworks captivating? It's hard to believe that stones can convey so much..

Sharon has mastered her chosen medium. Note the picture (top left) - the choice of stone sizes and types perfectly conveys the setting and mood, like a realistic watercolor would.

These animal compositions are adorable!

I have never come across sea glass on my beach outings...The ones in these pictures must have been tossed around for hundreds of years to have such nicely rounded edges. And, what lovely colors!

Special moments..

 And more..

I can't have enough of Sharon's Pebble Art. Time to head to her Etsy Shop?
All images: Sharon Nolan

Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat   
"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat

Saturday, 9 May 2015

M A D E  i n  I N D I A

Text: Hina Nitesh

European designer duo Jonas Grier and Liane de Selys had been living and working in India for a long time before they decided to launch their own label - JOLI. The venture that began about five years ago is a result of the designers' deep understanding of our country. 

In their works, the common man and the contemporary urban scenario in which he thrives, is represented. Combine this with the traditional craftsmanship and you have an exclusive product - one that is 'Proudly made in India'

The design concept is simple - elements seen on a day to day basis on the streets are taken as inspiration. As a design exercise it is broken down into simpler elements and at times integrated with other local elements to create an exclusive final piece which has not lost its original feel. 

Their products tell the story of both the rich heritage of the country as well as the life its citizens lead in the present. It is probably this human link that makes their products vibrant and appealing across class.

As designers, they acknowledge their role towards a sustainable future. For this, they ensure that their products are made with the use of existing materials and new raw material is not produced for them specifically. For instance, their printed lungi bags are made from actual lungis.

The other aspect is that for them there is no compromise on the quality. They have recognised the skill of Indian craftsmen and hence for them their products are associated with the tag of 'proudly made in India'.

Originally intended to be a handbag line, Joli today has diversified into sectors like apparel as well. However, despite the expansion, the theme of representing the core of contemporary India remains undiluted.

Sometimes, all that a designer does is look at things from a different perspective. This is precisely what this team of two designers from Europe has done. 

What we in India would perceive as standard, has not only been questioned by them but given a whole new definition. The best part is the link with the roots that always remains and the pride that each product has in it.

All Images: Courtesy : JOLI, Proudly made in India
Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat   
"Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

F O L D E D...

Text: Hina Nitesh

Monsoon arrives early in God's own country. These days our evenings are soaked with pre-monsoon showers which act as a dampener as far as the boys' cricket is concerned. The silver lining however is puddles of water in which they row their own boats. Making boats with the help of Origami or the art of folding paper is one of the first crafts that children learn. 

In its traditional form origami starts with a square sheet of paper which is folded in different ways to create a sculptural product. There is no concept of cutting the paper or gluing it for making the right shape. Origami miniaturizes products of daily life, making them like toys in the hands of kids.

Image Courtesy: 1.Coralina tablelight 2. Pineapple Lighting 3. Torus Pendant Fixture 4. Seven Star Pendant Light

Image Courtesy 5&6. Laura Kishimoto at, 7. Shige Hasegawa at

 Clean lines and simple geometric forms are the hallmark of origami sculptures. The end product can be as big as the square paper can allow it to be or like modules smaller paper sculptures can fit into one another to create a larger form. Mathematical concepts too are incorporated in the design of origami models.

Image Courtesy: 8. Embedded Project China. Klein Bottle House Australia

'Out of the box thinking' is a term which all designers are familiar with. This encourages them to find solutions of a problem in places where no one else would even think of looking. Call it inspiration or call it concept, designers have borrowed techniques from nature, from crafts, from things around them to create a totally different product.

Image Courtesy: 10. strictlypaper.com11.

Image Courtesy: JamberJewels at 
Of late designers are using the minimalist concept of origami to create practical life size products. It helps designers by enabling them to incorporate flexibility into the final products. With a few twists and turns, a 2D object can be turned into a 3D useable one. This also helps in simplifying product packaging.
Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy: Natalia Ponomareva at

What is is about origami that makes it so popular? Is it the simplicity of the technique or the fact that it is easy to do? For me, it is the fact that the same sheet of square paper by the act of folding can be transformed into so many different things.  

Image Courtesy:

 The same concept is used in creating architectural marvels, consumer products, furniture, jewelry and for those who think it is too rigid and geometric, it might come as a surprise to see fashion designers using it. In fact, the  graphic designers too have used the clean lines origami patterns for designing logos which convey the right thought.

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:Top. Pepe Heykwood oop at www.innerdesigncom, Bottom.
Visually, origami has a child-like simplicity to it but for can be used for recreating complex forms as well. A little research on the internet informs me that the concept has been developed for deploying car airbags and stent implants from a folded position1 

Image Courtesy: wood carpet by Elisa Strozyk at

The plain lines and the geometric forms take me back to my own childhood when endless sheets of coloured papers magically turned into flowers, birds, boats, planes, fans etc.  And when I see the boys making boats to float in the puddles of rain water, I can see that the art form is timeless and waiting to be exploited to its full potential by the designers. 

Text & creative layout copyrights: Onthedesignboat   
  "Like" our facebook page & stay connected with On the Design Boat