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BW Businessworld

The Sustainability Mindset

The common objectives of sustainability are minimising waste, using renewable resources, proper utilisation of energy resources, creating a healthy and productive environment.

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Design has become a critical element for all products and systems given the degree of the challenges the current world is facing. It has become imperative that all systems are developed keeping strong and effective design in mind. BW Businessworld organised the Future of Design (FOD) Awards & Summit 2021, which had industry leaders and experts speaking on the importance of design. For instance, experts brought up changes that can be introduced in city and town planning to have both effective and sustainable management across the country. This year, the FOD event and awards focused on design for a sustainable world. After facing massive disruption caused by the pandemic, using design to create solutions for problems that plague mankind is the need of the hour. 

What sustainability design aims to fulfil in the long run is, to reduce the negative impacts on the environment along with making systems and processes to be more efficient and healthy for its users. The common objectives of sustainability are minimising waste, using renewable resources, proper utilisation of energy resources, creating a healthy and productive environment.

Challenges To City Planning 

Among the major issues faced by most of the major cities are pollution, excessive traffic jam, lack of space, poor water and air quality, which are detrimental to the health of residents and creates several problems in one’s day-to-day life. The pandemic has reminded us what a failure of management – be it logistics or otherwise – can cost us. Secondly, the pandemic has unfurled profound losses to every segment of society. Hence, it is paramount from here on to build systems that are sustainable in the long run - there is no better handle to leverage on than proper design. 

The FOD event had a panel discussion where Rahul Kadri, Partner & Principal Architect, IMK Architects stated the five principles of healthy cities. They are transport-led development, city country fingers (where country and city join as fingers), urban-rural transect – zoning of urban to rural and forest areas, walkable neighbourhoods and buildings and active street life. This can be a very good outline that can be adopted by the government and other stakeholders involved in city planning, for the better. 

Wholistic Approach

Sustainability is no more just a “duty” for corporates, rather investors are looking to invest in firms that have a good record to show on the sustainability front. As such, the role of design has become very important - Bleness Phillip, Country Head Design, 3M India reiterates this point in one of the panel discussions stating: “Design is so important for sustainability because the of role it plays in development and commercialisation. Also, designers have a unique opportunity to influence change.” 

Understandably, industry leaders and experts are arguing for having a wholistic approach to sustainability, which is likely going to be pursued by the private sector going forward. It will include taking into account manufacturing, the processes involved and the infrastructure supporting the entirety of it. This will be accompanied by collaboration with designers to make sure they meet the necessary sustainability standards, which will lay foundations for a better future. 

Dignitaries Who Attended

The other notable speakers present in the one-day event were Srini Srinivasan, Chairman and CEO, Lumium Design and President, WDO; Somshubhro Pal Choudhury, Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund; Akshat Bhatt, Principal Architect Architecture Discipline; Akshay Lakhanpal, Chief Executive Officer, Space Matrix India; Sonali Bhagwati, President, DPA Designplus Architecture; Reza Kabul, President, ARK Reza Kabul Architects; Pallavi Pranjpe, Senior Regional Planner, Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority; Jyoti Malhotra, Managing Director, Volvo Car India; Anne Asensio, Vice-President, Design Experience Dassault Systèmes; Ashwini Deshpande, Co-Founder & Director Elephant Design; Rhea Mehta, MehtaLuxury Lighting & Installation Designers; Saba Ali, Director Strategy and Partnership India, Sotheby’s International Realty.

The FOD awards recognised and felicitated the best prototype and finished design by designers, architects, innovators and businesses. This exclusive event catered to products from across industries that were focused on touching human lives and making them future-ready.