What should designers read in the times of social distancing — IV

Fourth of the five part series on essential reads for a designer

For our fourth recommendation list, we look at books that explore design in Indian context.

Travels through South Indian Kitchens by Nao Saito
Nao Saito came to India for a design residency with Tara Books, a publishing house in Chennai, and was captivated by the kitchens and kitchenettes of the region. It led to a journey through several kitchens—their recipes, ingredients, utensils. Travels through South Indian Kitchens has a keen eye of an architect and a space designer (with nothing less than full laid out plans), it’s also a food travelogue by a curious traveler who fell in love with South Indian kitchens. This book is about a curious and careful eye of a designer, and is an experience that no other cooking books can deliver. Kitchen blueprints, illustrations, photographs and recipes all combine into this rare book on South Indian food and cooking culture.


Sār—The Essence of Indian Design by Swapnaa Tamhane and Rashmi Varma
Phaidon press categorises itself as the publisher of the creative arts that works with the best of the designers and artists. It is true that it has published some good design titles, and Sār is one of these. Written by an artist and curator, Swapnaa Tamhane and a fashion designer Rashmi Varma, Sār catalogues almost 200 objects that every Indian can relate to. The books uses words and terms in Hindi to explain ideas and concepts, but a proficiency of the language is not required to understand. As the title suggests, this book is an investigation by the author into what is Indian essence.


Looking Beyond: Graphics of Satyajit Ray by Jayanti Sen
Many designers, perhaps, will not be aware of Satyajit Ray’s graphic designs and visual arts. Ray’s first job, right out of Shantiniketan was with DJ Keymer an advertising agency in Kolkata, where Ray and his colleagues started creating and Indian visual language, characters and typefaces. Ray kept on with this graphic design work while making films, and worked on more than five thousand book covers and posters. Jayanti Sen trained at the National Institute of design and worked with started began her journey in filmmaking under Ray, and takes us into the mind of one of the greatest artists of the country.


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