Roundtable 7


Radhika Khosla

Urban Climatology

Akshay Kaul

Architecture/ Habitat Design

Amit Gulati

Product/ Industrial Design

Ishan Khosla

Graphic/ Communication Design

Rta Kapur Chishti

Apparel/ Textile Design

Madhav Raman



Are we witnessing the end of globalisation?  From growing nativism in global politial economies, to floundering consensus on climate change, to tech-enabled disaggregation of globalised production and aggregation of markets online, the pillars of the near century-old globalisation project now appear to be shaking. Many experts opine that the very prospect of “top-down” benefit and progress that globalisation offers has, in fact, led to its undoing. Others argue that stability and sustainability for humankind and our very planet will emerge from a deeper socio-cultural change through a rejig of personal and social ethics and aesthetics. Design, in its modern avatar as an industry, has played a vital role in these globalised systems facing crises today, driving innovation and value into human conception, creation and even waste. On the other hand, in its manifestations as architecture/ habitat design, product/ industrial design, graphic/communication design and apparel/ textile design practices, it has also  been deeply concerned with socio-cultural practices, equity and systems thinking. It has simultaneously drawn on traditionalism and  modernity. While these dualities of design may make designers harbingers of a deep change, they may themselves essentially change because of it. The 7th Design X Design Roundtable ‘GLOBAL HULCHUL – Rebooting Design’ introspects on what the meaning and impact of the apparent global turmoil on the disciplines, practice and profession of design are.

Critical Questions:

  1. Cultural granularity: Sensitivity to geo-cultural context has been one of the distinctive features of post-modern design and yet the great achievements in design have been accomplished through the free movement of ideas and transfer of technologies across borders of various kinds. Cultural pollination has long been seen as the essence of new thought, innovation and progress. How does design need to straddle nativism and syncretism in order to be relevant in coming times?
  1. New designers for old: Technologists today present innovations such as open sourcing, self driving vehicles, efficient photovoltaics and large-scale 3d printing as epoch changing. These represent shared authorship, decentralised production and disaggregated consumption that are a departure from the industrial modernist processes for which designers are currently being trained. How do we see our jobs and motivations changing in the future?
  1. Environmental advocacy: Since the seventies, a myriad sustainable practices have been enthusiastically adopted across different design disciplines. In many cases, these have now been codified and benchmarked for compliance and certification. Is there a more significant role for design to play in driving a bottom-up environmentalism?

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