For Miti Desai, there’s a very fine line between dance and design. Both are forms of expression she revels in. Founder and Creative Head of Bangalore-based Miti Design Lab, she finds that classical Indian dance has reintroduced her to traditional design, culture and esthetics, which are key players in her design practice.
Miti feels that design cannot be diagnosed and nailed down into just one definition:
It can be experienced, explored and experimented with at every level. It is way beyond the capacity of my mind and conscience to define design because I feel it is limitless; but it is definitely an area constantly investigated in every medium through which it reveals itself. I would say that design just is – and not is this or that.
Miti Design Lab physical form is deeply influenced by the principle of ‘Small is Beautiful’. It is a multidisciplinary space dedicated to individual growth and investigation through dependence, interdependence and independence all at once. Classical Indian dance for Miti is a multidimensional design.
Within one idiom there are different layers of design that take form to complete the design of classical Indian dance. – she believes
How important is research in your work?
MD: Design is like the flowering of a tree. The core of any tree is the root. A rootless tree never flowers. The more the roots penetrate beneath, the stronger is the tree. The roots are like the area of study and research; the deeper they penetrate, the stronger the tree emerges. This is what I feel about research in my work. It is a vital element, which has to be nurtured, watered and protected at every stage of the project.
Based on your experiences, what has been the most vital learning so far?
MD: The first and foremost advice I would give anyone is don’t follow anyone’s steps. Find your own path. You will meet people who you learn from, who will inspire you, who will even change your life; but eventually you have to find your own path and you have to walk alone. Creativity manifests in solitude and not in togetherness.
What resonates with you more: Miti as dancer or Miti as designer?
MD: I don’t see them as two different entities. Design and dance are like two sides of a coin for me. They are different dimensions through which I express myself. They co-exist within each other. When I am designing, I am exploring the dance of design; and while dancing I am exploring the design of dance!
Read Miti’s inspiring story of dance and design in POOL 52.