Of Invisible Trees, Curious Visitors and Secret Gifts

By Varun Shyam

It’s the holiday season and Christmas cheer is in the air. All of us at CKS in Bangalore have been playing Sherlock trying to guess the identities of our Secret Santas, while also sharing and relishing our daily presents – chocolates, cake, flowers and the occasional lemon, coconut and bananas. We got cheerful little Santas to pin onto our shirts and people have been set on exciting treasure hunts, searching high and low for their hidden gifts.

Apart from Santa, we have had quite a few other visitors this week including a batch of Strategic Design Management students from the National Institute of Design. Their ‘Design Yatra’ has taken them to various firms across the country, to see and learn about the workings of the design industry. Having just concluded their Pune visit to some firms that specialise in branding, and just before they moved down south to some of the craft based design studios in Pondicherry, Bangalore was their middle ground. At CKS, the students were introduced to two of our recent projects and the processes followed in their execution – The Vaccine Delivery Innovation Initiative and Asian Paints’ Colournext.The research methodology and ethnographic study techniques that we follow here at CKS left the students with more than a few curious questions, as they are familiar with research and the importance it plays in design.

The students utilised the QnA session that followed to better know the industry in which their entrepreneurial and managerial ambitions lie. After this they were eager to take a tour of the office, curiously looking at all the paraphernalia from the Used in India project that still adorn the shelves here -Gods, Goddesses, Radios, Lights and what not. Conversation veered to pressing matters such as where to have lunch and what to do with the two hours of free time the students have before they move to their next destination. Also, they were fascinated by the ‘Invisible’ Christmas tree that we had made with the countless picture postcards lying at the office – there was no tree itself but postcards and decorations hung from the ceiling on nylon strings, creating the magical Christmas tree sans tree. Each day we find more n more uses for these cards – reuse, recycle- the group also got to take their pick of postcards as mementos from CKS. The students concluded the visit with a photo shoot, the bamboo pavilion and the lawn in front of the office building giving ample creative opportunities for the same. As the students wave goodbye and leave, we get back to our desks to see what other exciting presents Santa has for us. Hmmm, do I get cake today?

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