While Ram Sinam, founder of Wari Watai, a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Bangalore, prefers to work in an informal set-up, he is very focused when it comes to creating design that transcends mere function.
“I would say the sheer variety of projects that I have handled makes it a worthwhile journey,” – designer says. “From participating in museum projects to designing installations, exhibitions, interactives, books, identities, and designing for hospitality projects, corporations, NGOs and institutions. And now I am getting into designing furniture, an idea I have harbored since I was studying visual communication at NID.”
Wari Watai means ‘stories and conversations’ in its literal translation from Meeteilon, a language of the Meiteis in Manipur (Ram’s home state). It also means ‘chit chat’, a way to enjoy a discussion in an informal way:
“I like the idea of a relaxed informal atmosphere to discuss all things that are interesting, from fun to something that is very challenging and more ambitious. I am a little apprehensive of formal atmospheres where words are measured and leave less room for exchange of ideas.”
Ram believes, that design as a concept is pretty vast and the definition of good has varied nuances across different fields of design:
“Broadly, it is something that fulfills its design intent from all parameters. It is something that combines the formal and functional aspect with the emotional experience. It is to experience its intended function, reinforced by the form and the design details and optimal and appropriate use of materials. It’s an experience that transcends the basic concept of functionality. In communication, it is the ability to share a message with an audience with the desired impact and make it engaging and exciting for them.”
In his opinion, a great design leader has the ability to:
“See the big picture. Look beyond style, technique, and precedents. Read the context of the design exercise and envision a holistic concept. Understand the potential of team members and make them believe in possibilities that are sometimes outside their comfort zones. Be able to spot talent. Lead by example. Show courage and resilience in the face of extreme circumstances. Stand by your team. Have strong self-belief. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Have personal integrity. Be fair to all.”
Success in Ram’s opinion, means to be able to live the idea ‘Design – a way of Life’. Design is always looked at as a service to improve all aspects of life for the client. And often it does not reflect in one’s own life.
Read this story in POOL 83.