Curating a platform for design in India

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by Rajesh Dahiya on Friday, March 8, 2013

Visual Arts + Design

Session type

Technical level


To promote self initiated projects amongst young designer/entrepreneurs.

I would like to share our design studios' experience of creating a design platform (UnBox Festival), writing a book on design in india (Dekho) and creating an online platform for designers and artists to express their views on social issues around us.


I would like to share 3 self initiated projects that our studio (Codesign) is involved in:

UNBOX FESTIVAL ( _ _ _ _ _ UnBox was founded in 2011 as a platform for inspiration and dialogue for young creative professionals. The UnBox Festival celebrates interdisciplinary processes and experiences that shape contemporary thought and action. The festival is a response to the emergence of a new subculture—one that straddles the spirit of innovation, is fostered by an enterprising spirit, and invites the engagement of all senses.

DEKHO BOOK ( _ _ _ _ _ [Conversations on Design in India. 2012. Self Published.] Dekho captures inspirational conversations with designers, with a focus on India. The book captures inspirational design stories from India and of 3 individuals (Casey Reas, Stefan Sagmeister, Wolfgang Weingart) outside of India as it is important for young Indian designers to know their kind of work to draw parallels. The conversations are recorded over time (sometimes over few months), developing each story into journeys of the people and practices showcased. The visual design of each story is informed by its content, preserving the diverse flavours and making the turn of each page a fresh experience. Dekho has also been nominated for the prestigious Design of The Year 2013 awards ( )

PROJECT RISING ( _ _ _ _ _ _ Apathy, despite access to information troubles us. The truth is, that information means nothing, if it does not move you. Project Rising is an effort to make you sit up and take a long hard look at the world around you. If you are look hard enough, chances are that you will ask the right questions and we will find some answers. Project rising is an online platform for designers and artists to express their views on social, economic and political issues around us.

FORMAT _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

20 min: Presentation of self-initiated projects' journeys.

5 min: Q&A

60 min: Workshop (interactive session) with smaller group on "how to take workshop participants' project ideas further". This session will involve discussions on self-initiated project ideas with brainstorming amongst the group to nurture those ideas into concrete shape/formats.


Projector/screen Whiteboard + markers.

Speaker bio

Rajesh Dahiya, Founding Director, Codesign Brand Consultants Pvt Ltd. || Co-Founder, UnBox Festival. || Founder, Project Rising

Rajesh Dahiya has 15 years of experience as a brand consultant and design educator. He is based in New Delhi, India.

In 2006, Rajesh was featured in CNBC TV18’s Young Turk--One of India’s most acclaimed shows on entrepreneurship and the spirit of enterprise.

He studied graphic design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India and attended the masters program in interaction design at the Interaction Design Institute, Ivrea, Italy. With over 12 years of professional experience, Rajesh has worked extensively in areas of brand communication, human-technology interaction and design education. After working at organizations like Infosys and Human Factors International, In 2004 he founded Codesign (, and has since lead its projects towards integrated design solutions.

Codesign is an innovation-driven design studio based in New Delhi, India.


ACHIEVEMENTS // Featured as ‘Young Turks’ on CNBC TV, 2006 (Young Turks focuses on today’s young achievers who are poised to become tomorrow’s leaders, by unraveling their past experiences, the challenges they faced and their vision for the future.

// Co-Founder of the UnBox Festival (, a platform for multidisciplinary reflections on design-thinking in India, for the world.

// Commissioned to create visual identity for German Year in India (2011-12) through a country-wide pitch.

// Selected to represent India in collaborative identity design project (Open Minds India) as part of design collaboration between Netherlands & India, 2008

// Selected as part of Indian design delegation to visit Netherlands to explore potential Indo-dutch partnerships, 2009, 2010, 2011.

// Best of Show Design Award, Kyoorius Design Verdict, 2007

// Best in Category Award CII Design excellence. 2012

// Media mentions & Featured in: Eye Magazine, Asia Pacific Design Review, Pool Magazine Asia Graphics Now (Taschen), Creative Review, Platform, Economic Times, Outlook, Better Interiors, CNBC etc

// Presented in national & international conferences— Kyoorius Design Yatra (India), TEDx (Ahmedabad), Sri Lanka Design Festival, Zeebelt Theatre (Netherlands) etc, What Design Can Do, Amsterdam (Netherlands)