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Design talk by Dr Suresh Sethi

On October 26, 2023, renowned designer and educator Dr Suresh Sethi gave a talk at the Institute of Design at Nirma University. Dr Sethi is a visionary designer whose work spans a range of disciplines, including interior design, product design, yacht design, lighting design etc.

In the first half of his talk, Dr Sethi shared his journey as a designer. He spoke about his fascination with light and the sky, and how his early experiences with Diwali celebrations shaped his creative vision at Philips. He also discussed his collaborations with various industries, including yacht design and monument lighting.

Dr Sethi’s design philosophy is rooted in the belief that design should be an expression of the designer’s emotions. He believes that design is like poetry where aesthetics emerging from a personal narrative adds uniqueness to any work. The subjectivity in the emotional content is an essential ingredient of the form. He suggested that students should be given the freedom to explore their creativity without being burdened by problem statements.

In the second half of his talk, Dr Sethi interacted with students on a range of topics:

Approaches to learning: Dr Sethi encouraged students to be curious and to experiment with different approaches to learning. He also emphasised the importance of developing a strong foundation in the fundamentals of design.

Designing from an emotional perspective: Dr Sethi advised students to focus on creating designs that come from an emotional connection, to make it personal. He shared examples of his work where the childhood memories of light had a strong influence on his work.

Future of industrial design: Dr Sethi believes that industrial design is a thriving field and will continue to rise and amalgamate with emerging and future technologies.

Teamwork and collaboration: Dr Sethi stressed the importance of communication, collaboration, and storytelling when working with a team. He also advised students to be open to feedback and to be willing to compromise and understand the role of a designer in a team.

Storytelling: He emphasised that designers are storytellers and argued that design is a way to communicate ideas and emotions to others. He encouraged students to develop their storytelling skills so that they can create designs that have a powerful impact on their users.

Dr. Sethi’s talk was both informative and inspiring. He shared his insights and wisdom with students in a way that was both engaging and thought-provoking. His talk was a reminder of the power of design to create emotional experiences and to connect with people on a deeper level. The talk was a joyful experience that was followed by a thought-provoking discussion with the faculty and the student community.