Conscious Design |Talk Session by Raahul Khadaliya
JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore organised a talk session for the Interior Design students with Mr. Raahul Khadaliya, Founder and Director of ABCD (A Basic Concept Design Company) on 18th September 2019. The session emphasized conscious design along with the creation of scalable and sustainable outcomes by reducing waste through upcycling. He enlightened the students about the incorporation of traditional craft techniques, to generate livelihood through collaborative activism. Further he, took the students through his concept behind starting his organisation and his products along with the need for sustainable practises.
Mr. Khadaliya is a multi-disciplinary designer who champions the cause of conscious sustainability through upcycling and incorporates Indian handmade traditional craft forms in his products when he realised a gap in the market for the same. The available sustainable products in the market place are not affordable and tend to cater to consumers who belong to the higher echelons of society. This further pushes away the consumers who cannot afford the higher price range and tend to favour products that may not be eco-friendly. Sustainable products need to favour everyone be it the consumer or the producer to create a balance in the economy. Hence, it is imperative to identify the right problem.
He highlighted that 100% organic cotton is not sustainable, as cotton consumes the maximum amount of water. Apart from organic products, he also stated that the market does not cater to 100% recycled paper as the available ones are 40% waste and 60% fresh material. Hence, he encouraged the students to question these practises which have been regarded as norms under the guise of greenwashing.
To counter waste generated issues and convert it into a resource, Mr. Khadaliya, started his bootstrapped venture ABCD in 2011. The organisation is based on integrating sustainability as a design philosophy. Through this medium, Mr. Khadaliya, seeks to achieve solutions by propagating eco-design and sustainable design to create scalable and favourable sustainable outcomes. The products created by his organisation concentrate on handmade techniques rather than the use of machinery. This method of creating products is an ode to the pre-industrial revolution which was almost wiped out with the introduction of machinery thus leading to industrial waste. The handmade techniques are put into practise by collaborating with NGOs that work with differently-abled individuals and other marginalised to help provide them with work opportunities. Apart from working with NGOs, his organisation also collaborates with independent designers to have an exchange of ideas and take the philosophy to a large scale to create sustainable livelihoods
Mr. Khadaliya also introduced students to the concept of The Second Life adapted by his organisation which is based on the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. Manufacturing is at an overdrive to cater to growing consumerism. Firstly “wants” need to be reduced from “needs. When supply has to meet the growing need, designers must be conscious of the materials that are being used to create products. Hence, the outcome has to be energy-efficient, environment-friendly, economically viable and socially innovative. The Second Life is an outcome of a conscious need to find sustainable business solutions.
He showcased some of his products like a bag made out of tube tyres, lampshade made out of frame of labels attached to jeans. He also used onion, red cabbage, tea leaves to create natural colours for calendars that were created. Whereas the paper for the calendar was made from 100% recycled fabric pulp. The base of the calendars were used through discarded wood post-production from Channapatna and the printing on the paper is done through an old type of letterpress printing. There were lampshades made from waste generated from printing units, notebooks etc.
Mr. Khadaliya’s organisation also uses waste paper collected from printing presses to create woven paper in a paper handloom created by them. He has filed for a patent for the paper weaving loom. He showed the students images of some of the woven paper sheets.
Post the talk session there was a question and answer session, wherein the students tried to understand the processes used for his work and he was gracious to share his knowledge. Mr. Khadaliya left the students with food for thought with regard to their approach and understanding of sustainability and the need to question practises that have been passed on as norms. This will further help them understand that design should be used to create impact and serve a purpose.