Research & Publications

Design Research Chairs

NID Asian Paints Colour Research Chair

The first year of the NID Asian Paints Colour Research Chair focused on the operations, structure refinement, and development of a colour lab at NID. This involved initiating and creating alliances with overseas labs and developing an operational model for ongoing projects. Initially, about four major projects focusing on Indian sensibilities were targeted. In its second cycle, the chair focused on building colour expertise for the areas of design and business. Projects focused on developing colour trends, establishing a colour finish, and texture standard. The chair helped develop a contextual research on the Indian colour palette and its applications in diverse fields.

Currently, the Asian Paints-NID Colour Research Lab project has been working on various activities that look into colour culture and colour sensibilities. Research is being done on four main areas: Colour of Civilisation, Colour Cognition, Functional Colour, and Future of Colour Experience. The first phase of the project will involve data collection on individual differences in colour preferences, colour similarities, and colour performances. Data collected on colour symbolism and the methodology developed for the study of basic colour terms and focal colours would be applied to the study of the influence of natural environment. In the second phase, the data acquired in the first phase will be used to guide investigations on practical questions related to interior design, architecture, public and private spaces, automotive, fashion, and consumer behaviour.  The project will investigate and understand colour reception at the latent level and also why it varies across individuals. The three main research questions that will be included in the ambit of this project are: colour reception at latent levels and why it varies across individuals, the interplay of natural and social environment and its role in influencing colour perception, and finally, how colour acquires meaning and the cultural significance of the same. Research work done in both phases of the project will be comprehensively documented.

Ravi J. Matthai Design Research Chair for Design Innovation and Management

Design education is a fundamental part of the educational spectrum. Design education should be linked at the levels of schools, universities, and the industry. The Ravi J. Matthai Design Research Chair for Design Innovation and Management intends to  enrich school education, and in the process, also encourage heritage crafts and design research itself. In its first year, the activities under this chair involved interaction and discussion on policy, curriculum, and teachers training with individuals from educational institutes.

As a result of interactions with educationists, researchers, and design experts, many thought provoking insights were gained. The chair came up with several recommendations; the first among these was the setting up of a Centre for Design in Education at the NID campus. The proposed centre would facilitate sustained groundwork, conduct programmes and workshops for teachers and enable them to employ design methods in educational practice. This centre could develop a curriculum for design, introduce a master’s programme in design for trained teachers, invite inputs from master craftspersons, develop resources materials, and conduct workshops and conferences on an annual basis. In its second cycle, the chair focused on a project titled—Designing the Curriculum and Methodology for Training of the Trainers. A teacher’s role should be to inspire students and teach them “how” to think rather than “what” to think. Teaching design requires a very different set of aptitudes, attitudes, and skills which may not be possessed by a graduate or a practicing professional. This project is an attempt to revisit the educational system followed in design institutions and develop efficient human resources, who could, in the near future, bring an optimistic change for the betterment and growth of design education in the country. The comprehensive research work done on this project has been documented and will be published eventually.

Jamsetji Tata-NID Universal Design Research Chair

NID, in collaboration with the Dorabji Tata Trust, Mumbai, has constituted the Jamsetji Tata-NID Universal Design Research Chair; the key aim of this chair is to search for comprehensive models for socio-economic-cultural development of the marginalised and disadvantaged people. It intends to conduct projects and undertake design research in the following areas: design for elderly population, design for rural health, design for digital inclusion, design for indigenous communities, design for traditional crafts, design for children with learning disabilities, design for indigenous communities, design for traditional crafts, design for children with learning disabilities, design of products and services for persons with disabilities, barrier free access, and Environmental Design.

The chair began its activities through extensive work on assistive and adaptive designs. This was a preliminary step towards creating a knowledge base on Universal Design; this initiative lead to the publication of two papers.  An Open Elective called Universal Design for Social Sustenance was held at NID in January 2010. The elective helped students understand Universal Design principles through practical experiences and familiarised them with inclusive designs. The recently concluded project under the aegis of this chair was—Public Bathroom for Universal Access. Access to public toilets can be challenging for most people, especially the differently-abled. Particular attention was given to the public bathroom facilities and their use by a diverse population living in poor communities. The bathroom design will consider the needs of all users including, the elderly and those with disabilities. Bathroom use by independent users, dependent users, and caregivers was studied in order to understand safety, usability, cultural differences, and environmental barriers. The Postgraduate Programme in Universal Design in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany will commence at NID Bengaluru from the next academic year.

John Bissell Chair for Research in the area of Textile and Apparel Design Technology

NID constituted the John Bissell Chair for Research in the area of Textile and Apparel Design Technology for promoting research initiatives that add value to the socio-cultural experience in textiles. The chair identified two technologies—Nanotechnology and Plasma technology for application into textile and apparel. The wool of the Angora rabbit was selected for surface modification, with an aim to improve manufacturing processes for new products and consequently, gain a profitable market for the same. This would benefit the rural poor, especially women and rural entrepreneurs in the small scale industries sector.

Angora fibre is extremely warm and soft. Due to its delicate texture, a lot of twist is required to hold the fibers firmly in the yarn; due to this,  it is difficult to weave a pure Angora product. All these limitations resulted in reduced productivity, increased fibre loss, and limited product range. In order to overcome the above limitations,, NID, in collaboration with the Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, explored Cold Plasma Technology for surface modification of Angora fibre in order to increase the friction and cohesion between the fibres. Three years of systematic scientific approach lead to the creation of the Atmospheric Plasma Processing for Angora Wool (APPAW) technology. A Single Fibre Friction cum Strength Tester (SFFST) was also developed to measure the change in friction characteristics of Angora fibres after plasma treatment; this instrument has also been patented.  Significant work was also done on High Altitude Clothing for soldiers; wherein, the middle layer of the cloth was made of Angora fibre and polyester microfilament fabric was used in the innermost layers.  The chair also introduced Nanotechnology applications to textiles. Nano face masks and arm gloves were designed to provide protection from UV rays and break down air pollutants. Nano finish head gear using Zycrobial finish, which will prevent bacterial growth and control odour was also developed.

Autodesk-NID Research Chair in Design Education

The Autodesk-NID Research Chair in Design Education and Innovation is placed in the context of the National Design Policy which envisages a series of initiatives for imparting quality design education. The chair would provide impetus to action- research related to the teaching-learning processes at design institutions in India and other globally benchmarked institutions; this would develop a curriculum for integrating elements of design and postgraduate-level electives on design and technology based education in India. Autodesk’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) initiative has formulated three design labs at NID’s Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and Bengaluru campuses.

In its first cycle, the chair introduced a system of modularisation as a framework for curriculum development. The modular system provided the supportive framework for merging design research and design education. Towards this end, NID  Ahmedabad focused  on design research and sustainable development. NID Bengaluru focused on digital prototyping and design research. NID Gandhinagar established a common focus that brought together the main interests of the different projects on the campus. In the first cycle, the chair served as a communication tool as well as a research dissemination tool; the research work done at all three campuses was underlined by a professional and highly competitive digital dignity. Autodesk recently launched its Global Student Engineering and Design community portal with an aim to provide students across the world access to the latest 3D design technologies. More than 40,000 students and faculty from institutes all over the world have already registered on the portal.

Charles Eames Emeritus Research Fellowship

Under the aegis of the Charles Eames Research Fellowship, Siegfried Zoels and Antal Kelle did noteworthy research activities: contributions for the 16th UNESCO Creativity Workshop that was conducted in May 2010 in Germany; wherein, representatives from NID also attended this workshop. Efforts were made to motivate creativity in education through a conference: Design as a Subject in the Basic Education of Normal Schools that was conducted at Halle, Germany in November 2009. Also, these fellowships facilitated the creation of an innovative moving sculpture for Ahmedabad city. Kelle has also proposed the design for a sculpture in stainless steel that can be installed at NID Gandhinagar. Throughout their tenure, Zoels and Kelle made fruitful interactions with the students and faculty belonging to the Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and Bengaluru campuses of NID.


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