The Design Jedi of First Order of The High Council of National Institute of Design Vijayawada Part 2

The next three Jedi have shared their work on instructables. These put their head and heart into making these objects.


Making a laptop accessory box for yourself. Tanya was facing the issue of space in her laptop bag and the pouch which she used for keeping her laptop accessories. It is not only very bulky but also takes up a lot of horizontal space rather than vertical, hence making it difficult for her to carry all her stuff in bag. So, She decided to make a laptop accessory box which would use the vertical space of the bag as well as not be bulky. She used Leather and Teak Wood for making the box.

The TUKI stand is a guitar stand inspired by the beak of the Toucan bird. It is portable and can fit inside a guitar cover easily. You can carry it with you whenever you want and can put your guitar on it instead of leaning it against a wall which might cause it to fall. It is made of scrap packaging wood (pine wood) which is easily available anywhere, but you can also make it in teak or any other hard wood. The design was inspired by the toucan bird to give the stand a character. The toucan bird’s beak shaped design signifies a strong and rigid structure.

Medzer is a medicine organizer kit which aims to make the accessing and knowing about medicines when needed, a very easy task. Because many a times, it’s emergency, it’s important that your first aid kit is neatly organized and easily accessible to everyone. Medzer consists of clear slots so that you can know and see each items location in the kit instead of digging through a box of messy supplies. As easy to refill as to sort through, it’s very informative and portable too.


The Design Jedi of First Order of The High Council of National Institute of Design Vijayawada

After doing two intensive workshops with the crazy bunch at NID Paldi, I was asked if I would like to go and met the crazy folks at NID Vijayawada. After teaching at a design school with six decades of legacy, it seemed like an interesting opportunity and experiment.

National Institute of Design, Vijayawada is a design school in VijayawadaIndia. The Institute started functioning on 7 September 2015. It is currently being run in its transit campus at Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. The institute functions as an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

I was asked to facilitate the 1st Industrial Design batch of NID V, who are in their third year right now. So, before I started there was a bit of a pressure to be teaching the first ever batch of a design school, as these guys are going to set benchmarks for the institute and the future students. The workshop was on the basis of “Making for the Real World”, which was done at NID Paldi. I call them the The Design Jedi of First Order of The High Council of National Institute of Design Vijayawada

Jedi of First Order


I had no clue about how the institute was, what sort of resources they have, how the students were, the skill level, the exposure and also what were they looking forward to. When you have to facilitate 18 people on a one to one basis, it’s important to know they ambitions and aspirations.

We started the two week workshop by informal introduction and then each one of them was asked to tell someone who’s work they appreciated and why. Some usual names were there and some unusual ones as well. Then I shared what was the intentions of the workshop, a basic introduction to making, open source and digital fabrication was given to them.

As the institute is working from a transit campus it didn’t make much sense to get these guys to make objects for the studio space only. I asked them to pick ten things they would like to work on. These could be things they need in their day to day life or something which is missing. Everyone put up their list on the softboards and we discussed as a what each student should be making. Once the domain was decided, these guys got down to do online research and look at similar objects and come up with a reference bank and then start ideating on the basic form factor.

Everyone had to come up with multiple concepts and then all the concepts were discussed collectively and changes were suggested. The next phase was to develop some of the concepts and make quick lo-fi prototypes and see how things look and feel.

While all this was happening we were discussing open source, making and consumerism etc whenever we got time. And we also screened Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware by WIRED to give the students the idea of what is happening in the world in terms of manufacturing, engineering and design. This one documentary ends up opening a lot of people’s eyes about manufacturing, making and open source.

These guys were progressing by making more detailed plans and models of the objects they had picked and we also started talking about the materials and processes which we’ll be using in making. And while all this was going on we reached Friday.

We also planned a basic introductory electronics workshop for the students over the weekend. For this two special guests Jon Rogers and Jens Alexander arrived to NID V on Friday evening. We introduced them with Arduino boards and got them to tinker around with basic output components. Within a matter of three hours the students were making LEDs blink, servos move and buzzers beep. It was really impressive. We had a small demo party in the courtyard.

We spent the entire next day working with Arduino and also introduced other output and input components. They had to come up with different stories using the electronics and it was really nice to see these guys who had never worked with electronics coming up with brilliant ideas and stories. And on Sunday we had a small feedback session with Jon and Jens sharing what they could do in future. Everyone had a really nice and eventful time during the weekend.


The next week everyone shifted to workshop and got into making their objects. A lot of new tools, processes and techniques were introduced during the time spent in the workshop. Everyone was in a state of flow and doing really nice work. By the time the week got over, most of the prototypes had reached functional stage, they required some aesthetical tweaking like painting and finishing.


And on Friday evening we sat down to discuss the learning we had over the past two weeks and also to critique each others work. One thing which was common among everyone was that they knew what their friends were doing as they were sharing their work and progress with each other since beginning. A lot of people got to appreciate the scale of things, some got to learn how important and critical are measurements and dimensions. For some it was just a reinforcement of the idea that they need to make more.

I was really content by the end of the workshop as everyone had outdone themselves and put them in a spot where they gave their best to learn new things and from each other. That’s the point of design to an extent, to make people believe that they can change the world by taking small steps at a time.

Some Folks


I’ll share the work of few of these Design Jedi in this post and will write a few more posts with others work in future.

The X-tool is a neat substitute for seating arrangements at social gatherings. Light weight makes it easy to move and re-arrange. Combine the Xtools and create a large table like structure for playing board games etc. The structure has been planned in such a way it creates minimum wastage and can been carved out from a single plank of wood. The three components have been ergonomically designed for 95 percentile.


It is a sitting and standing table which involves various functionalities, that can accommodate 4-6 people to sit or stand.

Ready to activate classroom /office /workshop /dining, Table Z offers the core sit-stand features and functionality that help support positive performance, collaboration and a good posture.I liked the idea of a table with a metal base and a wooden top that would have two different heights making it a multipurpose table.

The main intention to make Table Z is to avoid back stress and add movement in the body by making the users standing and working as well making it different from the traditional working space.


POP lamp made using Plaster of Paris and old plastic bottles. It provides a soft glow that blankets your space just enough for you to function without causing a harsh glare.


The Young Designers of PDUG’15 Part.2

An enthusiastic bunch with a lot of energy and some time super sleepy. This post shares the work of the next three young designers.

What do you think of a modular furniture that becomes a table or a personal seating space with one flip? Pieces and puzzles is what this box is inspired from. Take the modular piece, slide it in and it becomes a cushioned seating. To make it a table, simply slide it out, flip horizontally and settle it on the grooves. Cushion flips beneath as you flip the piece and you get a table to work on.

A lot of materials gets wasted each time we make something. Instead of wasting these materials , what if we can reuse it ? Material Box is an easy to make box , to dump extra materials , so that you can reuse them again. Can be put in the workshop as well as studio.

Ever felt like taking a power nap in the middle of the work but couldn’t find a proper place to straighten your back? Meet SleepTab.
It’s a two piece furniture specially made to take naps in the studio which when stacked becomes a low lying table and helps save space. The furniture looks like as if its stitched from the side view and has a quirky criss cross shoe lace weaving.


The Young Designers of PDUG’15

I got back to facilitating the product design students of National Institute of Design Paldi again for a two week long course on Making and Tinkering. This time the young designers were from sixth semester. An enthusiastic bunch with a lot of energy and some time super sleepy. In the course along with making, we discussed ideas about open design, digital fabrication, consumerism and the bigger role of a designer.

Initial ideas

We took the product design studio as our context (Where), and started looking at things and objects (What) which we wanted to incorporate to make it with the intention behind (Why) picking the object. It took a while to figure out these things. Once a particular path was picked the ideation process started and which further led to making of small scale prototypes. We discussed everyones ideas and everyone critiqued each others work and added and subtracted a lot of details from the prototypes.

Next phase was to finalize the form factor and then getting to the workshop to start building 1:1 scale working prototypes of the objects. It took some time for the young designers to figure out things. And during the entire phase of prototyping a lot of new techniques, tools and processes were introduced.

After the prototyping got over then next phase was to work on the aesthetics and add colors and finishes. The next task was to put all the objects in the studio and start testing and using it. This leads to them getting real world feedback on their objects and also leads to validation whether their ideas work or not. If not then what do they need to do in order to make. They were also documenting there work and process and wrote instructables. I’ll be sharing their instructables in this post and the upcoming posts.

Check out the work of this crazy bunch.

A little bit of greenery can liven up any room. But you may not really have the space for a few plants (or the time), so here’s an easy to make vertical frame to hold your plants and a simple watering bottle.

Can’t find pins when you need them?

Do your sheets get damaged due to board pins and staple pins? Is making sure your paper is straight a pain? Do sheets keep slipping out of the board pins? If these things about your display board do bother you, ‘P(A)INLESS’ is your solution.

Build a set of units which can be joined to create simple anywhere furniture. The individual units can be connected together to form stools, benches and small chairs for kids, etc.

Making for the Real World: Harshali’s Laser-cut QuickAccess Storage Unit


Harshali is an enthusiastically inquisitive designer. The way the world works and its intricacies fascinate her and she wants to contribute to its betterment in a meaningful way.  She believes in the collective power of people and that people are the ultimate source of knowledge, and books are the best companions. Writing is her fondest way of expression, Link to her blog. Harshali wanted to make a Lasercut Modular Storage Unit for the Recreational Space which was being set up in the studio. Everyone had to share their objects in the form of an Instructable. Harshali’s insturctable got featured as well, which means that the documentation was done in a very precise and easy to understand way, supplemented by a lot of images, sketches and dimensional diagrams. Detailed information about the storage units can be found at Harshali’s Featured Instructable. This is what she has to say about the objects she made.

With every new approach to design that I try, I am left feeling like the oblivious, fresh out of high school child that I was before I got into NID.

What if we all started making everything we use? 
With designs and instructions available on the internet, one could be empowered to make absolutely anything! In that case, the role of product designers would be to simplify the process of making for everyone and demystify everyday objects such that they are easily makeable.

Keeping this in mind, I set out to make a storage unit which was modular, easy, and aesthetic. One that was fun to make and would fit in any given space.
I wanted to keep it simple, such that it could be a project taken up by anyone without any help- and yet keep the process engaging.

Selection of material- MDF- was on the basis of lightness and durability. The joinery- interlocked nodes- allowed ease of assembly. Documentation was the most important part of the whole process- it wasn’t just about getting to the final product, but about the audience being able to understand how to make it. Compilation of all the images and text was quite a task, but the excitement of sharing with the web kept me going. Publishing the instructable gave a sense of completion to the project.


All in all, Making for The Real World was a wonderful exercise that got one thinking about an alternate approach to design.

Kudos to Sahil and Praveen for having made this workshop possible.

Working on this with Harshali was fun, initially we had spend some amount of time to figure out the detailing of the ways to join two modules but once that was figured out, the making was easy. I see a smart designer in the making, who will fit well in design advocacy and education.


Making for the Real World: Archana’s Multi-functional Space Dividers


Archana Valecha is a super talented chilled designer who is into solar cooking, music, collage art and a lot of interesting conversations. She wanted to make a Multi-functional space divider for the Recreational Space which was being set up in the studio. Everyone had to share their objects in the form of an Instructable. And the one Archana wrote got featured as well, which means that the documentation was done in a very precise and easy to understand way, supplemented by a lot of images, sketches and dimensional diagrams. Detailed information about the divider can be found at Archana’s Featured Instructable. This is what she has to say about the objects she made.

The need for the space dividers was simply to create a space within a space, a demarcation. A sort of enclosure which would give the sub space a different feel. Since these space dividers were for a semi formal work space I wanted them to have a professional feel, still not letting go of the element of fun.

The use of panels for my design simply helped in blending this sub space into the larger space as it wasn’t a complete block out from what was outside of the sub space. It would let some amount of information and light pass through when inside the sub space. The use of panels also gave the design a feel of lightness which would otherwise not come across if an entire opaque material was used. the pop colours used was purely to introduce a fun element, a visual stimulant.

Multi functionality came with the fact that the dividers could not only be used to demarcate but could also be used to do other things like putting up of sheets, posit notes and other little bits on the white panels, one of which is a magnetic board. This feature gave the dividers an interactive element.

The making of these dividers was a new experience for me as I had never worked on such a large scale before. It also gave me a chance to get my hands on some new materials and understand the way they behave. The design turned out the way it is because of the underlying thought that it could be replicated by anyone at any corner of the world. Sharing to let the idea grow further was an interesting takeaway from the course.

Working on this with Archana was super fun and meaningful. I see an amazing designer in the making, who cares about people and things at a deeper level and is dedicated to the core.

iTouch Leather & Felt Cover

My iTouch has been feeling neglected for a while. It’s grown old and needs love and care. So, I decided why not make a nice and minimal cover for it, cause iTouch likes simplicity a lot.

I had some tan leather and felt with me and a vague idea about the look and feel of the cover. So, I got down to business. Cut leather and felt, glued them together, stitched it and ta daaaaa. It’s done!

I ended up writing an Instructable also.


For the Love of Music

Both my parents work and they used to do the household chores in the morning and to keep tiny me and my sister busy they used to put AIR (All India Radio) frequency on the radio and let us play. I got used to listening to music since then and it became an integral part of my life. I had to have music around me, otherwise it just seem odd. Though I never really tried learning a music instrument but I have always been fascinated by them. Maybe someday I will learn to play.

I saw my uncle build his own speakers when I was in school and I was really intrigued by the entire process. And now after so many years I want to make my own speakers. I have access to tools and materials now. So, I’m spending some part of my project time on building and documenting the process. I’ll try to use as many open source tools and facilities I can get access to. I’m trying to source parts locally (Ahmedabad) and globally (China, USA). Most of the build will be put up on instructables. So, keep on checking the blog if interested.