Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jewellery and Retail Sectors: Design as an Business Service Integrator

Image: Display units at the Jewellery exhibit in Bangalore by faculty and students of Retail Design Experience (RDE) from NID Bangalore. Jewellery is specifically listed as a sector of focus in the National Design Policy (NDP) along with Toys and Automobiles as they are seen by the NDP administration as potential areas of export and growth with huge employment potential. The South Indian Jewellery Show 2008 (SIJS 2008) at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bangalore from 18th to 20th January 2008 gave the new discipline of Design for Retail Experience (DRE) at the NID Bangalore Centre an opportunity to explore the use of new and sophisticated materials to exhibit jewellery in a refined setting. Sponsored by the DuPont Ltd. The students and faculty of the DRE explored the material Corian, which is manufactured by DuPont, and through a process that led from exploration to prototyping in the classroom setting they were able to show that design straddles several sectors. In this case the use of a new material for exhibit design that could be used in a high value setting to showcase jewellery in the Trade Show which had the presence of hundreds of manufacturers from South India.

Image: View of the DuPont Corian stall at the Bangalore exhibition designed by NID Bangalore centre. The display stands and the backdrops were all made from Corian and the students and their faculty, C S Susanth have been able to demonstrate the specific properties of the material such as seamless joints and translucency through routed relief motifs that were used to apply these patterns. The Gems and Jewellery sector in India is currently stated to be employing about 4 million people with a gross turnover of USD 35 billion. This is based on a very large labour based gem cutting and setting industry that is trying to reinvent itself to a higher value based on the introduction of design and branded product offerings. Much of the design that was shown at the fair was traditional in nature and there is a huge opportunity to move this to a more sophisticated design driven market. The items on display at the NID designed DuPont stall were all designed by the NID students from the Lifestyle & Accessory Design discipline at NID, Ahmedabad while the Bangalore based students and faculty helped create the exhibit design and the display structures at the stall. The software used to merchandise the products, in this case the contextual use of Corian for the jewellery sector, were also designed with the involvement of the students and faculty from the Design for Digital Experience discipline which is another offering from the NID Bangalore Centre. This exhibit project was a follow-up to the very successful material exploration workshop that was earlier conducted by the DRE at the NID Bangalore Centre on behalf of DuPont. Such material exploration workshops help new material introduction into industry by demonstration of their features and by showing good examples of innovative uses across a number of application areas, and the numerous applications in the retail sector is one such space that was discovered through the design exploration work.

Image: Jewellery concepts designed by NID students from the Lifestyle and Accessory Design discipline at nid, Paldi Campus. The jewellery sector has several other areas with opportunity for design action since all the tools and machines used in the manufacture of finely crafted or mass-produced jewellery also need to be designed and with the growing realization of the value of differentiation through branding the sector has opened up new opportunities for the sue of visual merchandising skills and graphic design in the retail space as well as in the print and web based promotional materials. All these applications would need an understanding of the unique needs of the high value jewellery marketing sector and the other opportunities that these provide would include new digital security devices and procedures that could be incorporated at the point of sale as well as in the manufacturing situations. This industry is expected to grow to a USD 60 billion industry over the next 3 to 5 years time according to estimates by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. While design can provide integrated supports for the anticipated growth of this industry it can be used across 230 other sectors, which are as yet not aware of the integrated offering that can be used to bring value to each of these sectors. Besides such industry driven design action we can look forward to new initiatives in the social and public space if the real benefits of design are to reach the Indian public at large. It is here that the Government and public bodies will have to take the lead with making the necessary investments needed to make this happen.

1 comment:

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