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Designing defences

BIRD'S-EYE VIEW

Nanditta Chibber  |  New Delhi 

Exhibition designing becomes mundane for designers and if it only means a smart display.
"Unless smart display is combined with an intelligent theme to carry it through," says Sogani "exhibition displays end up being run-of-the-mill."
At the recently concluded Defexpo 2006, Sogani and David's design partnership for the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) 2,100 sq meter pavilion won them the Best Exhibition Design award judged by the And here again, it wasn't just the smart global look of the pavilion that counted, it was the theme that conveyed what was about.
It was the universal concept of the Golden Section that both designers found perfect for The is an ancient Greek concept discovered by the Greek philosopher Pythogoras in 600 BC.
It defines the concept of natural harmony, not as mere coincidence, but as scientific grammar responsible for the evolution of both the simplest and most complex level of organic evolution. At its core lies an involute spiral defining its ever-expanding growth. "There is a method in the madness," explains Sogani.
Both designers found the expanding spiral's origin perfect to relate it to the mind, where the journey of an idea originates. For instance, in a research and development organisation like DRDO, it expands and encompasses the ever-enlarging areas of its activity.
"We were looking for something powerful and the Golden section fitted perfectly for DRDO, and also something that had a global feel as India is going global," says Sogani.
The clicked at once with officials and both designers, alumni of the fervently started working on the project.
Their respective design companies, Sogani's Office of Design and Development and David's Aura David were sidelined for the one and a half months of hectic preparation.
DRDO is the world's largest defence research organisation, developing defence requirements for the naval, aeronautics and land divisions under its roof, from support systems like food and clothing to missiles.
Sogani recalls the daunting experience of accommodating everything. "We travelled to the defence labs to understand all the products before we started on ideas of displaying them."
Another task was to give the exhibition a sleek and global look. As neither the materials for products nor the products themselves (electrical chips or titanium rocks) are very attractive, maintaining aesthetics for mean machinery was also a task.
"Though the look was critical, more critical was the display of the products for exchange of technology and commercial purposes," says Sogani.
The created a form originating inside the pavilion and expanding in circular motion at the roof "" as a reference to the encompassing nature of the concept.
The pavilion's interior was made as unobtrusive as possible, even with a host of products to display under different sections. DRDO and the designers also decided to use the Golden section concept and logo everywhere "" on badges, brochures and placards.
Major General Umang Kapoor, director, DRDO who worked, with his team, in constant tandem with the two designers, felt that the strong concept of the golden section gave the exhibition display a focus.
"Even the use of colours and their association with different defence segments "" red for combat, blue for naval, orange for missile, green for life-sciences "" was relevant," he said.
Sogani and David felt that the DRDO pavilion, usually conventional in earlier times, was a trendsetter this year, as they managed to make conference halls very modern "" using glass, white upholstery, section lighting and even a bar serving wine and cocktails!
"We had to keep foreign delegates in mind, along with India going global," says Sogani who, along with David, realised the strength of their design concept once foreign delegates particularly started complimenting it. "The pavilion acquired a multinational, corporate look not associated with a government body," says a tired Sogani.

First Published: Sat, February 18 2006. 00:00 IST
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