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Your Happy Place — NH7 Weekender X Design Fabric

Design Log 09 Dec 2017

Bacardi NH7 Weekender collaborated with Design Fabric to create pieces of art that evoke people to imagine a better world in the form of ‘Your Happy Place’ installations.

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Up & Up by Digvi Shah and Aeshna Prasad

India’s Happy Music Festival Bacardi NH7 Weekender is back into Pune this weekend. And apart from its amazing lineup of music, food and booze, there will be five curated art installations as part of NH7’s collaboration with Design Fabric.

With the theme of ‘Your Happy Place’, a new platform has been created for artists to showcase their installations that evoke a positive response and help make the world a happier place for all. With a sizeable budget involved, five Indian artists have been granted the opportunity to realise their proposals of creating installations that not only add to the existing festival vibe but create a new element of design and interaction on ground!

Design Fabric speaks to the collaborators and the artists who were a part of this project:

Vijay Nair, Founder, OML

We are pretty keen on making visual and other installations a key part of the NH7 Weekender in the coming years. As this is not a space we are familiar with, we wanted to work with curators who can help bring the best ideas to the festivals. Sanket has been an OML partner for a few years now and with the kind of collective he has put together with Design Fabric, it was a no-brainer to trust him with ‘Your Happy Place’. We are really looking forward to seeing all of them on site!

Sanket Avlani, Design Curator, Design Fabric

Vijay’s vision was to extend the platform that NH7 has become to different disciplines of art, which enhances the festival experience. NH7 Weekender has had installations in the past but they wanted them to become more interactive. Globally, installation art is a relatively upcoming practice. But it's also become one of the leading forms of contemporary art. Since Design Fabric is also trying to build a multi-discipline platform, it seemed fit that we curate an exercise of this magnitude to get the right people to create the ‘Your Happy Place’ installations. Out of the nearly 100 applicants, we chose 15 artists to create a proposal and finally selected five that were simple to understand and interactive in nature.

The collaboration has been enriching because we wouldn’t have had the same response and variety of artists had we not worked together on this. To compare this effort directly with the festivals abroad is the ultimate ambition, but for now these are still baby steps. I’m looking forward to seeing how the installations feel at Pune this weekend and build it year on year, both in terms of scale and talent.

The Social Media Playground By {+}R.O

Akshay Aditya, Maitreyi Phansalkar and Smit Patel of {+}R.O (Mumbai), an architectural and design research collaborative

While approaching our installation 'The Social Media Playground', we felt that the brief was an interesting opportunity to explore the nature of happiness in contemporary society, leading us to the question which the installation attempts to understand what is happiness and its relationship to space and experience.

More than a concrete, physical entity, we attempted to focus on the metaphysical understanding of happiness. So for us, the notion of a happy place is actually an agglomeration of incidences, activities and experiences. In the simplest terms, the installation has no intended experience or set up; its configuration and use are completely dependent on the users themselves. However, it also becomes a backdrop, a facade to create picture perfect conditions for social media presence. This creates a conflict between the In Real Life (IRL) and online identities and experiences. 

While conceptualising, we usually use a process that involves hand drawing, computer modelling and 3D rendering for visualization. But the first step is always a discussion to develop a theoretical framework and then base what we do on that. We have not attended the NH7 Weekender before but just went with our intuition and trusted our skills! The process has been fun, and a lot of hard work of course. But we are definitely glad that the design is executed as we imagined and the conceptual framework is intact.

Lola's Crosby by Aanchal Tadon

Design Student and a Project Manager of 'My Happy Place'

When I got the brief, I started exploring with sketching and creating models. It was fun more than anything else, just thinking about the possibilities, brainstorming and sharing ideas.

I designed keeping in mind, a gathering spot where a few of 40,000 like minded people could start a conversation with someone new while providing some shade in a dynamic setting to keep that conversation going. The installation is called ‘Lola’s Crosby’ and is basically a metal frame structure using fabric as suncatchers. One might even think of the installation as a tree. It will provide shade in the sun as well as the rain.

It has been absolutely amazing to be a part of this project. The entire process has been a learning experience, but my core lesson learned was to trust, believe and have confidence in what I do. Having been a Weekender Warrior and attending the festival for the past four years helped me integrate designs keeping in mind both stakeholders - the organisers and attendees. I can't wait to hear how a layman would describe my installation!

Up & Up by Digvi Shah and Aeshna Prasad

Architects by profession, design enthusiasts by choice

Having studied together for five years as students of architecture, we began our partnership when we realized that we shared a very similar approach to design. We believe the way to make the world a happier place is to remember to “Live. Not just exist.” Today, we are often bogged down by the mundane reality of things and in our personal struggle to survive, we forget to thrive. We need to once again be willing to engage with ourselves, to rise above the negativity, and find our happy place.

‘Up & Up’, our installation for NH7 Weekender, invites people to take a journey on that whimsical paper plane takes you back to memories of childhood, when you were willing to dream and believed that you could take off with that plane when you throw it into the sky. It takes the form of a blown-up skyward bound paper plane that has been constructed using a metal framework with four large beams as the primary structural system. Concealed between these two is a ladder that allows you to come aboard. The installation has largely been kept white to create an illusion of lightness and ephemerality.

With every new project, there is a lot of experimentation and discovery and we believe that this a thrill of doing what we do. We have been able to put together a great team that has helped us through each hurdle that we have faced and we are grateful to our friend and mentor Priyank Mehta for being a constant support. The main lesson we learned along this journey is to believe that we are capable of actualizing anything we imagine and set our minds to. We ventured out of our comfort zone and had many people cast doubts on whether we’d be able to pull this off. But today, we’re happy to say that our installation stands in defiance and embodies the very message that we’re trying to convey. We were willing to rise. We were willing to aspire. Are you?

Lucid by A-Cube Studio

Arghadeep Sarma, Ankush Misra and Ankit Tatiya of A-Cube Studio (Pune), a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Pune striving to create objects that foster unique experiences.

The world is an awfully big place and there are a huge number of things one can do to make it an even more incredible place to live. We brainstormed over the idea of 'Your Happy Place' and realized that visuals are the only thing that make you happy, whether you're on vacation or at a concert or just stargazing! So we came up with 'LUCID', which allows you to think beyond what we see and reveals endless possibilities. It an outdoor installation using human interaction to evoke positive responses and initiate conversations within people to help make the world a better, happier place.

Lucid refers to the optical illusion that occurs when the visual perception of an object does not cease for some time after the rays of light preceding it has ceased to enter the eye. The installation challenges the way we think and act in a new light. It fuses the mind of the viewer and avails in engendering mind focus and stability of the illusion. Our installation focuses on staying/being in the present.

While visualising the installation, we created concepts, rough sketches, generated ideas and did renderings, and finally, took four weeks to finish the execution. In terms of challenges, the most difficult aspects were managing our time, choosing the right materials, handling mirror acrylic, and coding for each LED to respond to commands.

It was a great pleasure to receive an opportunity to showcase our work at the India's Happiest Music Festival. The whole experience - from brainstorming to executing the plans and concepts - has been a real learning experience for us.

All the installations are currently displayed at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune from Friday, 8th December - Sunday, 10th December 2017.

The Rainbow Revolution by Durga Gawde Studio

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My intention is to spread as much positivity in this world as possible till the day I die. So much so that I am smiling on my deathbed. In order to achieve this goal, I decided that everything I do and say will be in service of that. #TheRainbowRevolution is only the first version of a lifelong journey of spreading positivity and love starting at the core, which is the self. The installation is inspired by the rainbow - a symbol for love, equality and humanity - and aims to collect positive energy from the people coming to the festival by recording proclamations of self love in the second person, as if they are saying these things about someone else. 

When I got the brief, I thought about all the things that make me happy. Like when I know I'm responsible for someone's smile, or when I'm in a warm, cozy, colorful space, and when I'm not hurting anyone including the environment. After I narrowed this down, I focused on the feeling and worked towards creating a space like that. Happiness to me is a full body experience and it feels like I get younger with time. The inner child in me is alive and kicking. Creating a space of positivity always results in the greater good of humanity at whatever scale it is at.

I have been to NH7 Weekender once in 2015. I took into consideration the volume of people at the festival and that helped me play with scale and create an experience that results in a feeling of oneness through a collective experience.