Portfolio - Early 2013..


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Portfolio - Early 2013..

  1. 1. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com My name is Akshay and I’m an aspiring everythingist. Product Designer Clown Travel Agent Design Researcher Photographer Wordpress EvangelistHi }
  2. 2. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Fixing vintage cars at 16, auditing defunct textile mills at 18 and writing google ads at 19, I’ve had an interesting journey getting into design. Following are some of the projects that chronicle my work in different roles, contexts and organizations over the past few years.
  3. 3. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Potty Project } A user-centered research study to understand the experience of sanitation and hygiene in slums in urban India. Done as part of a team at Quicksand Design Studio // 2010-11
  4. 4. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Potty Project } Overview and brief About 2.5 billion people use unsafe toilets or defecate in the open.  Poor sanitation causes severe diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million children each year.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes that smart investments in sanitation can reduce disease, increase family incomes, keep girls in school, help preserve the environment, and enhance human dignity.  Keeping that in mind, they contracted Quicksand to carry out the Potty Project which is focused on understanding sanitation in urban slums in India from a user-centered point of view. The study explored people’s experiences around sanitation and hygiene in urban slums—in particular, the motivations, behaviors and attitudes that influence the choice and use of facilities for defecation along with other sanitation related activity.
  5. 5. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Potty Project } Research Approach The study relies on observational, user-centered research to gather empirical data on experiences around sanitation and various interconnected issues. Data collection was done using a mix of ethnographic methods—including extended observation, semi-structured interviews, participatory research and rich media documentation. A set of activities were conducted in different phases to understand users and their contexts—the experience of using a sanitation facility or open defecation, interaction with amenities and other users while conducting sanitation related activities, perceptions of health and hygiene for themselves and their family and dynamics of the community within which they reside. 2 3 1 1. A video that briefly captures the processes and tools that we used. 2. Neha in conversation with a public toilet caretaker in Bangalore 3. Designing the ideal toilet, a co-design tool we used as a catalyst for conversation
  6. 6. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Potty Project } Insights After a process of coding and synthesis using methods such as affinity mapping, a set of insights was gleaned and articulated. We were thus able to document key insights on the daily lives, routines, and preferences of users interacting with sanitation in urban slums in India. These insights were then placed in categories depending on what scale they were affecting or being experienced in. An example of an insight from the section ‘Community Cohesion’: Insight: Tenants within a slum tend not to get too involved in the running of sanitation, waste and health infrastructure within a community and don’t work towards improving them. Most of the initiative to improve these facilities comes from home owners living in the slum. Evidence: In Vatsaltai Nagar, Mumbai, the slum is a mix of rented housing and small industrial units such as shoe-makers. There are very few residents who are the actual owners. The community toilet in this slum was in a dilapidated state, and most tenants are reluctant to spend any money other than the daily usage fee. Hypothesis: Facilitating greater investment in housing or participatory activities, through schemes such as low- interest loans, will lead to greater involvement in the management of community assets. 1. An infographic that captures the typology of slums that were a part of the study 2. A panorama that captures the synthesis from two of the five cities that we visited 2 1
  7. 7. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Potty Project } Key Areas of Intervention & Scenarios The study culminated in early 2011 and identified innovation opportunities within the following four areas of community toilet management: 1. Toilet Facility Design 2. Communication 3. Operations & Maintenance Models 4. Business Models Each of the four areas of intervention were represented with indicative manifests, all of which are possible interventions but in addition, are also representative of other context-specific interventions that could evolve from the hypotheses. } Adopting preferred properties of the outdoors such as natural lighting, ventilation etc could increase user adoption and reduce operational & maintenance expenses } Using architectural principles such as the “Panopticon” to enable instantaneous discovery of such vandalism induce a slight feeling of being monitored in users could reduce vandalism at toilets and lead to better maintained & thus better used facilities } Designing an accounting + collection system would bring greater trans- parency around usage and revenue collections at community toilets and improve operations } Toilet pass uptake could increase if users were given additional incentives such as discounts on groceries, health checkups upon consistently purchas- ing toilet passes
  8. 8. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Potty Project } The Web Platform One of the objectives of the project is to be able to make the findings from this research accessible and easy to disseminate within a larger community, for the purpose of which an online publication in the form of an interactive research knowledge product has been created. This online publication has been designed as a ready-reckoner for interested stake-holders of urban sanitation. It breaks down the user experience around urban sanitation into its various components and highlights likely but untested opportunities to improve the same. The data from the research is presented in the form of evidence-based insights from the field, which are further synthesized to create testable hypotheses based on findings from the research as shown in an earlier slide. } Pottyproject.in, the platform where all the research and hypotheses is available
  9. 9. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Bringing dignity to the lives of the urban poor through the eradication of open defecation Done as part of a team at Quicksand Design Studio // 2012-13
  10. 10. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Overview Project Sammaan is an urban infrastructure project that seeks to design and build improved sanitation facilities in the city of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, in Odisha, India. Project Sammaan is a collaboration between the following organizations 1. Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation 2. Cuttack Municipal Corporation 3. Quicksand Design Studio 4. Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) with support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 119 public and community sanitation facilities will be built in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack between 2012-2013 under Project Sammaan. 60,000 + people are expected to directly benefit from this in both cities. The project is born out of the insights gained from the Potty Project. Where the Potty Project left ideation and further research open, we took some of the most compelling insights forward with this project. Project Sammaan Blog
  11. 11. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Champions Of The User Besides the consortium of partners who were mentioned many aspects of the project have various other agencies work on them. For example, a firm that is working on land approvals from the government, will also work on construction and quality management. Given that everybody comes at the problem from many different angles, it becomes essential to safeguard the interests of the most important stakeholder in this project, the user. Having spent time with users understanding and internalizing their points of view on sanitation, hygiene and routines, we worked hard to make sure that there was some way to bring people on the same page. Our attempts to do that began with sensitizing partners to our research. The research findings took on a different role during the design phase through the creation of ‘User experience blueprints’ and ‘personas’ that helped champion the cause of the user. } Persona and User Experience Blueprints for ‘Tonni Rai’
  12. 12. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Sketch Design In the first phase of design, we created a sample design. The idea being that we could use it to see how much of the UX Blueprint we could really achieve through design, given constraints of space, cost and usage capacities. We decided to create a model ’10-seater’ design which would consist of the following: - 10 toilets (5 men + 5 women) - 10 bathrooms (5 men + 5 women) - 1 universal access stall (toilet + bathroom) - Kids’ Toilets (2 boys + 2 girls) - Clothes washing areas - Space for a shop - Space for a drinking water dispenser - Caretaker living quarters Further, the idea was to do this on 2 sites that were constrained for space which resembled sites that we would eventually be building on. The exercise helped us create a set of principles and a model against which future designs could be compared. 1. The facade of one of the designs 2. A cutaway of the plan-view showing the placement of amenities 2 1
  13. 13. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Community Feedback Engaging with communities is, in my opinion, by far the most fun and challenging part of the projects we do at Quicksand. After the sketch design phase, for the community feedback we created a guide and toolkit to elicit and record community responses during feedback sessions. Besides feedback, we gathered further details around menstrual hygiene management and internal details of toilet and bathing stalls. We created a toolkit consisting of various exercises, but by far the most interesting for me amongst these, was the ‘building blocks’ exercise that we created. In our experience and that of the architect, getting users to give feedback on architectural drawings and renderings ended with them asking for more utilities and not much by way of meaningful feedback. We realized that the best way to get feedback was to put them in our shoes, and design their own toilets using which we could validate our user flows while creating a truly participatory design process. 1. Meeting users in their community 2. Users walk us through their daily routine from waking up to going to sleep 3. A video explaining the building blocks exercise 2 3 1
  14. 14. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Potty Lab Potty Lab is a prototyping environment that we developed in our studio, where we would build and test internal fitouts and features of the toilet facilities with slum residents from Delhi. We started with toilet, bathing and children’s stalls, but what I found most interesting in the process was designing a stall for disabled users. Users living with physical disabilities, arising from disease (such as polio), accidents, and old age, get the shortest end of the stick in urban slum sanitation. We met disabled users in many slums while conducting our research and realized that designing for this small group is essential. Otherwise the project would fail to live up to its name and its associated goal of providing dignity to all through better sanitation access. Like most space design exercises where one designs for disabilities we made the error of designing for wheelchairs. After some interviews with experts though we realized we were on the wrong path and that we must be designing for users who use canes, crutches and wheeled platforms as the proliferation of wheelchairs in these contexts is unlikely. With the new direction we added this as a component to the Potty Lab. The main features we tested were storage preferences, appropriate height of a modified WC and bathing area modifications for the disabled-friendly stall. After testing, we made certain changes to the design and created a modular design with four zones, making it easy for the architect to adapt based on the context of the stall in the toilet complex. } A video that shows the process of testing the prototype with disabled users } Discussing the use of low-height WCs with Monu and Bablu } Bishwanath, who lost the use of one leg to polio waits his turn at the toilet
  15. 15. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Project Sammaan } Design to Implementation We are currently in this phase, and it has been a very interesting journey in the last few months, where we have been working to translate the sketch designs into site specific designs that can be tendered out to contractors through government sanctioned processes. We have been also hard at work trying to convince the government to adopt more environmentally suitable decentralized sewage treatment technologies. Besides being neck deep in understanding, learning and then disseminating these technologies, what has been really interesting for me has been getting an inside look on how government processes work. It’s been a frustrating couple of months, but understanding the system of letters, the role that hierarchy plays in decision-making dynamics at every level, has been extremely illuminating. At the time of submission of this portfolio, we are working on finalizing the sewage details for the toilets while they are being submitted into the bureaucratic machine to be put out for tender. } Discussions while finalizing the design} At a meeting with the Cuttack Municipal Corporation talking about the issue of sewage
  16. 16. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The UnBox Festival } Action at the intersections. Exploring and celebrating interdisciplinary practice. Done as part of a team at Quicksand Design Studio // 2010-13
  17. 17. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The UnBox Festival } The Spiel UnBox began in 2011 as a festival to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches, defined by its tag line— Action at the Intersections. UnBox is an immersive journey through ideas embedded in multidisciplinary processes & innovation. UnBox is a festival managed by an alliance of leading creative practice studios based out of India. Quicksand: A research driven design & innovation consultancy based in Gurgaon and Bangalore. Codesign: A multi-disciplinary branding and communication design practice. B.L.O.T: An electronic and visual arts collective bringing their Basic Love of Things to India and the world through music, film, art & design. UnBox uses multiple, nonlinear formats that encourage conversation, interaction and ideation such as fellowship programmes, workshops, conversations, multi-sensorial experiences and public art projects. The UnBox Festival Website 1. Blow-up organized in Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 2. Setting up an installation at the British Council in New Delhi 3. Marije Vogelzang telling the UnBox audience that ‘Food Design is Shit’ 4. The Food Lab, an immersive take on social and cultural traditions around food and culinary experiences 5. LATCH, a workshop about information heirarchy taken by Catalogtree in progress 1 2 3 4 5
  18. 18. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The UnBox Festival } My Involvement Being part of a large team that believes in a democratic form of decision making, I was involved with the programming for the festival for both years (2011 & 2012). Being a muti-disciplinary event, the programming is open to a wide range of varied content allowing us to explore individual fields of interest. Besides organizing workshops in improv theatre and clowning at the two editions of the festivals, I was quite involved in the following: 1. The Sustainable Lifestyles Fellowship: I co-created and anchored this fellowship at UnBox 2012. We tried to get a group of professionals from a variety of backgrounds, to meet experts and experience Auroville. The idea was to help professionals learn about sustainable lifestyles and see what they could take away from that experience in their own lives and work. 2. The Spoon Project: This was an attempt to have a bit of fun with food, trying to create new ways of consuming liquid food at UnBox 2011. 3. Oh shit! kit: While running the UnBox 2012 travel desk, a colleague and I went off on a tangent to create a kit that speakers flying in from outside India would receive when being picked up at the airport. The kit comprised of some basic things like power adapters, mouthwash and emergency contact numbers amongst other things. 1. The Oh Shit! ‘I just got off a long flight to India’ Kit 2. All the fellows cycling around in Auroville 3. The fellows with Dharmesh, an architect based out of Auroville 4. The mess while trying to create interesting forms for spoons at the studio kitchen during the Spoon Project 5. Finally, the idea we demoed at lunch during the conference, was to inject different liquids into fruits 1 4 2 5 3
  19. 19. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The UnBox Festival } UnBox 2013 This year, we’re taking a departure from the standard format of conference + workshops + evening performances. There will be a greater focus on workshops and open labs such that the entire festival is more hands on, and participants will be encouraged to learn new skills through building and creating, whether in digital or physical formats. Some things that I’m particularly excited about are: 1. TechPlay Lab: Interactive technologies demonstrated and applied to challenges such as the Kinect GamesLab and Mozilla HackJam. 2. SoundCamp: An electronic music production space hosted by Border Movement and Goethe-Institut with international artists. 3. DigiForm Lab: A digital manufacture facility that includes 3D Printing, Laser Cutting and 3D workstation. } Rethinking not just formats, but how that manifests in terms of the visual language
  20. 20. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Systems Design } Designing delivery aids for postmen of the Indian Postal Service Project at design school, as part of the course // 2008-09
  21. 21. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Systems Design } Objectives and Scope This project was done as part of a course in design school called ‘Systems Design’ wherein a group of 4 students collectively studied a large system and then identified sub-systems for stand-alone design interventions. Some of the systems studied included the Indian Railways pantry, a school for special-needs children and a prison. Our group chose to study and research the Indian Postal Service. As a group we carried out a number of interviews in Pune and Baramati, both cities in Maharastra, based on which we were created systems maps that helped us identify distinct sub-systems. Within these sub-systems we were able to probe for potential design interventions. The four sub-systems we identified were: 1. Collection of post 2. Sealing and stamping 3. Mail sorting 4. Delivery of mail While my teammates worked on the first three, I worked on ‘Delivery of Mail.’ Through processes including passive observation, user shadowing, interviews and role-playing I realized that the major areas of focus were, firstly, the bag and its connect with the postman’s mode of transport and secondly, how individual bundles of post are carried. 1. Annabhai during the interview 2. A cycle at the Baramati Post Office, before departure for postal delivery. 3. Annabhai delivering post, during the shadowing exercise 2 3 1
  22. 22. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Systems Design } Ideation and Paper Prototyping Having worked out the opportunities and problem areas, I began the ideation process, which included building quick and dirty paper prototypes. Not an integral part of my process earlier, it has now become a mainstay, where I go from sketches to building prototypes, constantly iterating. Some of the most important criteria by which the ideas were judged related to the ease with which the same product could be adapted for those on bicycles, motorcycles or foot, and the ease with which bundles of mail could be accessed. } Sketches of the selected concept } Nikhil, a classmate, with one of the early prototypes} Sketches of the handheld accessory
  23. 23. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Systems Design } Prototypes and User Testing The concept that was selected was a bag with a system of straps that made it easy to be used as a pannier as well as a backpack. Along with the bag, I designed a small tabletop accessory that helped the postman sort mail into smaller bundles depending on his route, and could easily fit into the bag. The postmen who had been shadowed and interviewed tested the prototypes and made recommendations. Based on these recommendations, changes to design were made and a report was submitted to the local officer who had helped us gain access to the post offices for research. 1, 2 & 3. The postmen testing how the bag would work on a cycle, on a motorcycle and on foot 2 31
  24. 24. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Nokia: Swayam } Future-scoping scenarios that make technology more personal Project at design school, as part of a team // 2008-09
  25. 25. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Nokia: Swayam } Overview and outcomes This project was done as part of a team that researched several domains trying to understand and project how mobile technologies could impact how a person experienced their environments. The domains we studied and designed for were: 1. Retail Environments 2. Medicine and healthcare 3. Health and Wellness 4. Payment systems 5. Social events and planning 6. Transport 7. Food and eating I worked on ‘Health and Wellness’ as it is something that I am deeply interested in. The project started with us interviewing some users, mapping out how they interact with these environments and going further to abstract a scenario in which their environments are more aware of the user and his preferences. This is where the name of the project comes from, where ‘Swayam’ in Sanskrit means Self. } Part of a chart that mapped all the technology in the gym and exercise environment and how it interacted with each other and the person } Early sketches turned into more fleshed out scenarios } ‘Harsh’ getting feedback on how he needs to be stretching 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 a a a a a a a a a a a a ab b b b b Senses pressure Instruction to click picture. Senses congestion. Starts timer. Fixes common time. Feedback to crowd flow. Seat availability Instruction to check crowd flow Instruction to capture video and still movements. Tracks bookings. Instruction to book movie ticket. Indicates location Reveals location in and around space. Confirms on identification of digi ticket. Tracks digi ticket and indicates position of other device. Syncs with CFS of other device. Indicates location and clearance of number of doors or security walkthroughs. Identification of movie time crossover to CFS. Digi ticket info. Activation of Google map. Identification of seat. Makes cell silent. Identifies duration of missed movie. Stores offers. Senses volume comfort level. Detects intermission. Puts phone on general mode. Displays known contact info. Displays offers from food court. Identifies intermission duration. Activates timer till resuming of movie. Measures time of intermission. Sends warnings before last few minutes to movie commencement. Detects crowd at toilets and works out percentage of crowd flow. Syncing time remaining with percentage of crowd flow. Suggesting visit or not to visit loo. Makes phone general after movie ends. Displays offers related to choice. Transfer offers or comment on film to known contacts. Allows security clearance. Clearance to general mode. Stores refused offer data. Detects intermission. Puts phone on general mode. Displays known contact info. Displays offers from food court. Sends missed movie clip duration to required device. Informs on offer details. Adjusts overall volume of hall. Identification of digi ticket. Identification of cross over time. Security clearance confirmation. Identifies ticket bearers in space but not in hall. Supplies Live feed to those handsets. Accepts or refuses tracking request. Sends info on location and time. Sends‘Trade Ticket’ option to IRISNet. Transfers digi ticket to required device. Displays users wanting to‘Trade Ticket.’ Display of money info transaction debited from or credited to users account. Passes info of digi ticket to admins mother application i.e. IRISNet. Confirms and allows clearance in security at walkthroughs. Identifies digi ticket embedded on device Instruction to start time to movie. Display warning messages if late. Indicating time to movie. Digital ticket embedded on phone. Senses traffic. Suggests detour. Instruction to display movie schedules and details. Records and documents pictures and clips. Indicates commonly fixed time eg. 5pmIdentifies object. Tracks object Activates voice rec. Records key words of conversation Instructruction to record clip. Detects closest multiplex location. Records video clip. Identifies object. Tracks object. Level of pressure Mirror Space GEM LifeSuit Watch DAfTA+ FR+ Smart Mirror Jog Simulator Smart Mirror TV RFID Tags Shoes DAfTA 1a 2a 3a 4a 5a 6a 7a 8a 9a 10a 11a 12a 13a 14a 12b 8b 7b 5b4b 1b 1c 1a 2a 3a 4a 5a 6a 7a 8a 9a 10a 11a 12a 12b 13a 14a 8b 7b 5b 4b 1b 1c a G G G G RSS Feeds DAfDA b b
  26. 26. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Looking inwards, while learning about innovation in sustainable lifestyles Done as part of different teams // 2009-10
  27. 27. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } What is Auroville? Officially, Auroville defines itself as wanting ‘to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.’ It takes off from the teachings of spiritual teacher, Sri Aurobindo of Pondicherry, moulding his lessons in a unique manner—altered from its practice at the ashram for education that he instituted in Pondicherry. Since its inception 40 years ago, Auroville has become a hotbed for innovation and experimentation in sustainable lifestyles. The areas that were of maximum interest to me were renewable energy, waste management, community living and education. } The Solar bowl that is used to cook food for about 1500 Aurovillians daily } An early morning at the Matrimandir in Auroville } Volunteers building a solar cooker at Aurore, where I worked } Education about permaculture at ‘Litter Free Auroville’ 2010
  28. 28. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Why did I go? The first time I went to Auroville was while I was in college, to work on a bikescapes project. At the time I was very clear that I did not want to work in a standard ‘industrial design’ agency that made ‘pretty’ products and promoted the needless desire for objects and material consumption. At the time of the workshop, I met a group of very interesting people who offered me a chance to work with them for a few months, giving me a small stipend, a cycle and a small hut in the forest. It is one of the best decisions that I ever took, as Auroville gave me the chance to be on the front lines of work and discussion within the area of sustainable lifestyles happening globally. Besides learning about sustainability, there were other reasons for going to Auroville, chief among them was to spend time alone and get to know myself better. Besides this I had many unique experiences, such as the week long clowning workshop, swimming in abandoned quarries and acting as one of the most complex characters in Hindu mythology, Duryodhana for the play Chakravyuh. 2 1 1. Presenting Clown Big Mole 2. As Duryodhana, appealing to the audience against the injustice doled out to him
  29. 29. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } The Bikescapes Project The idea for this project stemmed from exploring new modes of collaboration between local experts from Auroville and external partners, and how much could be achieved within a short span of time and limited budgets. The team consisted of 10 mentors from Auroville and a mix of 16 students and professionals all from varying backgrounds. The task that had been put forward to us was to understand the challenges faced in creating a bicycle- friendly urban environment including the products, systems and spaces that facilitated cycling as a primary mode of transport. Besides the process itself, this was the first time I worked in a truly multi-disciplinary team, consisting of entrepreneurs, product and graphic designers, architects, urban planners, and web developers. Our team of 16, broke out into smaller groups and through interviews, experience and observation, put across the following list of issues that we wanted to address: 1. Bicycle paths and roads 2. Barriers that prevented motorcycles from entering bicycle paths 3. Better lighting on bicycle paths 4. Bicycle shelters and parking solutions 5. Cycling accessories that can be manufactured locally 6. Wayfinding for cyclists 2 3 1 1. The team experiences the bicycle paths firsthand 2. An interview with a long time cyclist from Auroville 3. The team presenting the synthesis of research
  30. 30. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } The Bikescapes Project I took on the challenge of working on the path lighting, addressing the main concern that Auroville is not evenly lit, and there are many routes that are dark at night and hence unsafe. An additional concern raised was that there would be a lot of electricity wasted if all the lights were simply left on through the night. The solution we came up with was to have designated lengths of the path lit by LEDs close to the ground. These LEDs were timed (based on the length of the path) and the lights were triggered when the cyclist crossed the first granite milestone. 2 3 4 1 1. Working with Aurore electronics whiz, Mani on laying the wiring for the lighting system 2. A resident tests the speed breaker + crossroads design 3. A bicycle parking station that celebrates chaos and allows for cycles to be parked in a disorderly yet secure fashion 4. The map redesigned to call attention to cycling paths
  31. 31. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Mission Tejas Mission Tejas was a project started by the unit in Auroville where I was working, called Auroville Renewable Energy (Aurore). The primary aim of the project was to bring light (Tejas in sanskrit) though renewable sources such as solar powered LED lamps to eliminate the need for kerosene based lighting. When the project was initiated in 2006, this was a movement in its nascent stages, and Mission Tejas and Aurore played a big role in creating awareness about the issue through different outreach programs. When I joined in 2009, they were looking to update the website with new content and a redesign. At this point though, through research and questions with the team behind the project, we realized that what was required was a complete rethink of the project. This was primarily because the initial goal of creating awareness was no longer a problem, as the issue had gained prominence through policy, media and had the attention of many different CSR programs. What had started out as a simple aesthetic rework and content update turned out to change the project and what it was going to pursue. The new objective was to create a platform where people could meet other practitioners in the space and fostering increased collaborations and partnerships. This platform included the building and access of a searchable database of practitioners and other stakeholders as well as a user/author friendly blogging platform. } An LED lantern that was tested and reviewed for Platform } A set of icons that was developed based on the Mission Tejas logo for the website } Screenshot of Platform, the blog section of Mission Tejas
  32. 32. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Rebooting the Eco-exhibition One of the other projects that had been started by Aurore was an eco-exhibition in the Visitor’s Centre, which was the first point of contact for tourists who came to Auroville. The intention of the exhibition was to communicate issues and solutions around sustainable lifestyles in Auroville. With an initial burst of activity by volunteers, space was cleared in the gardens of the Visitor’s centre and basic exhibits were designed. The work on the exhibition stopped when that set of volunteers left. When I joined Aurore, I was supposed to work on the exhibition, adding exhibits during my time there. While coming up with ideas for exhibits, we realized that we needed a better system that allowed even short term volunteers to join in and execute small projects. As a result, we conceptualized small projects such as a kitchen garden, waste composting pits and then using someone in the capacity of an educator who could teach kids visiting the exhibition about sustainable lifestyles. This idea was tested when Divya, a volunteer, worked with us for 2 months, performing the role of the educator. She was given a small space in the exhibition area, where she developed, tested and refined games and training material. The material can now be used for any new volunteers interested in the role. 2 3 1 1. The exhibition space on Day 1 2. Divya working wih children, teaching them about waste 3. The solar water cooker exhibit and panels has a unique visual language as different volunteers are allowed to work on different panels
  33. 33. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Rebooting the Eco-exhibition Working with Chandran, Dyuman and Zubin Besides the projects that had been conceptualized, there were smaller projects that I worked on. The most interesting one was mentoring a group of 10 year olds who were interested in electronics to rework an exhibit about energy. The original exhibit as it had been conceptualized, simply converted ‘pedal power’ into electricity but did not communicate too much about it. Through a process of ideation, the kids came up with the idea of having an integrated system of LEDs and infographics which would show how much electricity was being generated and what it would be able to power. It was a great experience, handing over a camera to the kids and asking them to document the exhibit, their process and helping them ideate along the way. What was most interesting though was, how engineering driven their thought processes were, and how it took time and a lot of explanation and discussion for them to try the design process, which they did to great effect. 2 31 1. Chandran and Zubin interviewing tourists at the Visitor’s center 2. A video of Chandran and Dyuman working on the circuit 3. The finished exhibit with the inforgraphic and a more comfortable repurposed exer-cycle
  34. 34. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Rebooting the Eco-exhibition Creating Branding and Signage Perhaps one of the main problems of the eco-exhibition, which lead to fewer footfalls, was that there didn’t seem to be any connect between that and the original exhibition about Auroville located inside the halls of the visitor’s center. Besides that, there was a lack of coherence in the visual language and branding of the exhibits within the space. Working with the Aurore team, ideated a new name that made the space more intriguing, and got a graphic designer to help us create a system of branding and visual language for the exhibition. Also, we created a set of signage that would create a connect between the 2 exhibitions, using the visual language and photographs from both. } Signage with the new logo } The new system of branding along with icons for each of the 7 major focus areas of the exhibition } Signage leading from the main exhibition to the ‘Garden of E.D.E.N’
  35. 35. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com The Auroville Experience } Rebooting the Eco-exhibition Designing and pitching a model home One of the things that Auroville is most famous for is its innovation in sustainable architecture and its application across all the structures built there. We brought on an architect to work on the design and proposal for getting funds to build a model home in a section of the exhibition area. The design of this home used vernacular forms of architecture, technology and materials. Along with the structure of the house itself, it would showcase living off the grid, with technology for rainwater harvesting, on- site sewage management, renewable forms of energy and waste management. +298 +45 +35+45 +0.00 +323 SECTION - AA +85 +283 +323 Bamboo matin built furniturewooden door old wooden column granite stone for lintel potted filler slab Bamboo Roof jack arch Roof wooden window country tiles and Palmira rafters PDFcreatedwithpdfFactorytrialversionwww.pdffactory.com } A tertiary sewage treatment system (photo by Erik Conesa) } A section view of the model home with indications of some materials and treatments } Solar panels set up by Aurore (photo by Erik Conesa)
  36. 36. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Side Order } a blog to document the meanderings and projects that I do outside of work Self initiated // 2010-13
  37. 37. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Side Order } Camera Obscura Having discovered photography and a love for it in the digital era has had its advantages. I didn’t go through the usual slow, sometimes frustrating but rewarding manual route of learning the art. Having reached a point where I stopped taking photos with my trusty and very loyal Sony DSC-H1, I realized that I needed a different route to rekindle my love for photography, and that is when I discovered pinhole cameras. Going from failed first experiences of building pinhole cameras and initial successes with setting up a dark room in the studio these posts chronicled my misadventures of DIY-photography and as well as interesting panorama and animation exercises using my phone. Side Order } Shot a panorama using a cheap plastic camera and assembled it manually } A quick experiment with multiple exposure, where a friend and I shot over the same film once each and then developed it in our in-house darkroom
  38. 38. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Side Order } Mixtapes This set of posts started life as a mixtape project for my cycle rides in Auroville and a sneaky way to discover new music based on people’s suggestions. The only manifestation of which was a Grooveshark playlist and album art that never really got done. Through all its avatars, the mixtape project has been a way to create small artworks for album art. Having spent sometime on the internet, I found an interesting collection of websites that are doing some interesting mixtapes and, also in some cases, album art. ‘Inspired’ by that I realized that rather than making a list of songs, I should try create 30-minute mixes based on a theme. In its latest version though, it has become a way for me to learn the basics of sound-editing software and working with tracks. I have been experimenting with loops and such, and am deeply interested in audio formats for reporting such as I’ve experienced with podcasts such as Radiolab and 99% Invisible. } Mixtape #1: Redux, the first mixtape in the new series } Mixtape #2: Suprabhat, which means ‘Good Morning’ in Bengali, is my take on music I like listening to on my morning walk to the studio
  39. 39. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com Side Order } Field Recordings My interest in music and working with audio and exposure to ethnomusicology projects such as ‘The Travelling Archive’ and ‘Excavated Shellac’ culminates in a series of posts and recordings I’ve made over the last 5 months. There are two kinds of posts that I try and make. One is a way to capture an event, a journey or a place through video backed with a field recording of local music experienced in the context. The other, which I have just started work on is to express the experience of a place by capturing its soundscape such that it is experienced without visual cues. Soundscapes for me are quite interesting because in terms of media that people use to express themselves online, visual media take precedence, while sound is a more engaging experience in a way that it challenges the audience, as literature did, to fill in spaces with their own experiences and imagination. } A still from the video about my train journey from Delhi to Pune through Mumbai where I met and recorded Ajay (below) singing } A still from another video which documents scenes I witnessed while traveling through Rishikesh and Haridwar in Northern India } The Flutist, Gobind, who played a beautiful melody which became the audio piece that tied all the footage from the Rishikesh trip together.
  40. 40. Akshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.comAkshay Roongta // akshayroongta@gmail.com { Thank You }