Design Week venue sports nature-friendly installations highlighting affordability
Adding to the beauty of half-a-dozeninstallations at the ongoing three-day international event in this city, Kissa a Malabar-based organisation, splendidly busts the myth that design is anelitist concept; rather the common people can also conceive and afford it tastefully. The way the nascent Kerala organisationhas enhanced the outdoor looks of the Kochi Design Week (KDW) is drawing keen enquiriesfrom curious visitors, convincing them the need to go in tune with nature whiledrawing and implementing plans of visual effect. If the very looks of the pathwayto the December 12-14 KDW in Bolgatty Palace are distinct, it is because of theoff-beat approach to decoration and the unorthodox materials that have goneinto it, courtesy Kissa, which espouses aesthetic enhancement throughaffordable design. Founded this summer, theorganisation in the stateâ€™s north-central Malappuram district is headed by a younghomemaker who returned to her native place after 14 years of married life inthe Gulf. Neethu Rahman, in her mid-30s, lives in Areekode, where she foundedKissa in April after having returned from Saudi Arabias Jeddah three yearsago. We design venues in line with thegeneral mood of the event, says Neethu at the KDW being oganised chiefly bythe Kerala government. Given that this event is fundamentally into exploringways to rebuild sustainable infrastructure, we knew the vitality of it beingnature-friendly. So, despite the convergence of a whole lot of corporate houseshere, we knew the designs canâ€™t be flamboyant even as they need to beattractive. The KDW site by the Arabian Seahas its rows of cost-effective installations with striking appearance. Forinstance, there are thin wooden planks that are actually parts from vegetablecarton boxes. The festoons and tiny boats are made of paper. Whats more, thehanging dolls are of the Chekutty variety that have been a hit in Kerala as symbolsof peoples resilience after the 2018 floods that hit the coastal state. Another installation has a middle-agedwoman selling the Kozhikode halwa known for its unique looks and flavour.Dressed in ethnic Islamic garment of Malabar also known for traditionalhospitality, she sells the sweet dishes in the shade of the roof made of blackcloth. A wooden watercraft containing bigpaper balls and small boats displaying linesof profuse thanksgiving symbolise the salute of Keralites to the fisherfolk communityfor saving thousands of lives during last yearâ€™s deluge.
Another installation is acollection of 50 photographs judges selected from among 4,000 such entries to anannual competition held six months ago by environmental organisation GreenstormFoundation along with UNEP. Named â€˜Breath of Natureâ€™, the online competitionâ€™s2019 edition held in June sprang up camera images that we thought could gowell with the theme of KDW, says Neethu.
Then there is Book of Life thatspeaks poignantly about the intensity of the 2018 flood in SS Higher SecondarySchool in Neethus Areekode, 25 km north of Malappuram city. Letâ€™s not forgetthat the literal meaning of kissa isstory. This is a tale from my village, says Neethu about the installation thatis a sample of the books that were destroyed in the natural tragedy. Yet another artwork is a representationof seawaves, made of paper. Closeby is another installation which is acollection of ethnic toffees of 20th-century vintage from across Kerala. KDW aims to chart a long-termdevelopment mission for Kerala through futuristic design and architecture.