You were selected in 2008 as one of the most influential creative young people by L'Uomo Vogue magazine for your universal vision of design and architecture. Could you describe it to us?
If we look at the design profession it has been very Europe centric for good reasons perhaps how history played out in last half of 20th century. With the few exceptions of Japanese contribution to the story of modernity in the field of design, unfortunately there have not been many examples and voices from rest of the world, exemplifying plurality and universal vision with culture specific sensibilities.
I have always been curious about creating a body of work that is grounded within yet worldly. Going deep into the roots of the issues and creating ‘Sensorial Design’ that tickles all our senses including the ‘sense of thought’ without compromising the utility of a product is what I am after in every project. I always want to look forward and engage with the world being open for new challenges and design by addressing the human conditions.
You’ve not only worked in the field of industrial design, transport and architectural design, you’ve also headed the Master of Design for Humanity and Sustainable Living Program at the Design Academy Eindhoven, in Holland. How did you tackle this responsibility for young people? Where are today’s young people going and what do they want?
I think the world is evolving in an amazing manner – perhaps we are going through a revolution that we are yet to realize. With my optimistic perspective the technological contribution to the current change is tremendous and we have barely scratched the surface with the current advancements in technologies and its possible applications that will benefit masses. Simply the fact that in principal every individual can connect to rest of the world is fantastic, not that I am not aware of digital divide on our planet but the potentials for creating amazing possibilities for human conditions that were never thought of before are high. With Master of Design for Humanity program we initiated and created fascinating projects like ‘Cold Chain’, a product system design for vaccinations for children for WHO – World Health Organization. During the program the students worked on projects in countries like Brazil, Turkey, Finland and India with masters from around the world.
In our studio practice in Amsterdam we are engaged with a diversity of projects in various sectors of industries from new technological ventures to design manufacturing industries. To create wider cultural dialogue with young and not so young people passionate about culture of making things we launched the platform ‘Culture of Creation’ (http://www.satyendra-pakhale.com/culture/all) on Satyendra Pakhalé Associates’ website two years ago. Since the beginning we have cultivated a design practice focused on the culture of making, be it craftsmanship or highly technological manufacturing aiming to create sensorial qualities in an object and environment. This approach is what we call 'CultureofCreation'. Through a series of images, stories, videos and writings CultureofCreation ponders and feeds curiosities on ways that objects can provide sensory information, disclosing the window in between the internal structure and external perception of the built world.
On the subject of young people, tell us about when you took part in SaloneSatellite?
I think it was in 2001. It was a fantastic time! I truly admire the insight of Mrs. Marva Griffin, to create a platform for young people to present their projects, thoughts and ideas that the design manufacturing companies could access and discover new talents.
What pieces did you bring? What happened to those designs?
It was always important for us to present the works within a context – so I created the theme ‘Work n Play’. This is how I see the creative work; it is indeed a serious play. There was a Bird-lounge to take a nap during the course of a busy-day. There was a H-off-mann desk to effectively work with new tools like mobile devices and also being able to read, draw and contemplate at the desk. There was a prototype of Fish Chair which later got produced by Cappellini, Italy. The H-off-mann desk which is a passing reference to the secretariat desk but with an innovative extensible working surface that is also a storage. The Bird-lounge is a compact contemporary lounge that can be stored under the table at home or office and pulled out when one needs to take a nap. It went into the permanent collection of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Both these projects are still waiting to find home – I mean to be produced by the industry.
Your clients include high profile, well-known Italian companies: what does working with an Italian entrepreneur entail?
I am glad to collaborate and engage with prominent leaders of Italian design manufacturing industries. Personally I am always curious about projects which have some kind of innovation, be it a typological or manufacturing or combination of high-tech manufacturing with high-craftsmanship pushing the limits of what is possible within the context. In short, create work that will hopefully last and stand the test of time.
We are glad to forge partnerships with Italian entrepreneurs as there is a long tradition of risk taking and deeper cultural understanding of creating artifacts with a sense for the future that matches with our mindset.
Do you see your home as an affective place or as a set of functional situations? Do you identify with any particular contemporary lifestyles?
I genuinely believe in plurality. In a way aware living should not be a fixed dogmatic notion of a specific so called lifestyle but open ended and ever evolving possibilities for people to express in as many ways and means as possible. Thanks to the advancements in mobile computing and communications, the world is becoming smaller as people connect and come together with ever greater accessibility. In this new condition there will be diverse types of ways of living and cultural habits that we will engage with and can freely tap into without any preconceived notions. The design world needs to be more plural and open to all sorts of ways of living and to be able to create amazing possibilities for the near future.