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October 29, 2012

Are you in the wrapper business?


We all are familiar with wrappers. It comes in all forms.

There is a chance that you recognize a product mostly by the wrapping. You may want to disagree. But, honestly, many a time you buy the wrapper and not the product.



You paid Rs 300 for the music CD that you bought last week. Now, it is very unlikely that you will pay that amount to just few songs once the labeled CD and its beautiful cover is removed. You may still take the music, but you may not buy it.

You are most likely to open and read through a document arrived on your desk in a FedEx envelop than one received through mail though the content could be perfectly conveyed through a mail. A FedEx envelope has made the document look more important.


Surely, the wrapping has done the difference.

               LETS BUY THE WINE, AND NOT THE BOTTLE

October 19, 2012

Revisiting Le Corbusier’s MOA building


World has just celebrated 125th birthday of one of the most influential architect of the 20th century, Le Corbusier. This reminded me of my visit to the much famous Millowner's Association Building in Ahmedabad a few years back.


There are few cities in the world that can claim more than three buildings by Le Corbusier, and Ahmedabad is one of them(after Paris, Chandigarh and La Chaux-de-Fonds), with the Museum, the Millowners Association Building, and the Sarabhai and Shodhan houses to its credit. Such major commissions, all initiated during Le Corbusier’s first visit to the city, attest to Ahmedabad’s intellectual climate and economic prosperity unrivalled in India for a city of its size.


A comparative visual study by Peter Serenyi, comparing the Hall of Public Audiences, Red Fort and the Assembly building, Chandigarh hinting on the inspirations of the architect for his public buildings.

Since its founding by Sultan Ahmed, Shah of Gujrat in 1411 AD, Ahmedabad had been a city of commerce and industry centred around textiles. Long before the advent of modern era, the leading citizens of Ahmedabad were businessmen rather than landowner’s or men in the service of a court. This enabled the Ahmedabadis to take up the British on their own terms, and offer them stiff competition by mechanising the city’s textile industry. The close knit group of Jain families who have valued cooperation rather than competition  among themselves were the back bone of the textile industry there. Surottam Hutheesing, nephew of Mr Lalbhai- one of the prominent among these mill owners was responsible for commissioning Corbusier to build the association’s new headquarters.

 " A HUNDRED TIMES HAVE I THOUGHT NEW YORK IS A CATASTROPHE AND 50 TIMES: IT IS A BEAUTIFUL CATASTROPHE." – LE CORBUSIER

October 7, 2012

Automation: Designing for a smarter world?

Are we getting more and more addicted towards technology? Are our daily chores getting more and more automated? 

"Three scenarios likely to be possible in the future:

  • "No," says the refrigerator. "Not eggs again. Not until your weight comes down, and your cholesterol levels are lower. Scale tells me you still have to lose about five pounds, and the clinic keeps pinging me about your cholesterol. This is  for your own good, you know."
  • "I just checked your appointments diary in your smart phone," says the automobile as you get into the car after a day's work. "You have free time, so I've programmed that scenic route with those curves you like so much instead of the highway - I know you'll enjoy driving it. Oh, and I've picked your favorite music to go with it."
  • "Hey," says your house one morning as you prepare to leave. "What's the rush? I took out the garbage. Won't you even say thank you? And can we talk about that nice new controller I've been showing you picture of? It would make me much more efficient, and you know, the Jones's house already has one."
[source: NTU Intelligent Robot & Automation Lab (EN/TW)]


Do you trust your house to know what is best for you? Do you want the kitchen to talk to your bathroom scale, or perhaps to have your toilet to run an automatic urinalysis, sharing the results with your medical clinic? And how, anyway, would the kitchen really know what you are eating/ How would the kitchen know that the butter, eggs, and cream taken out of the refrigerator were for you, rather than for some other member of the household, or for a visitor, or maybe even for a school project?"



 "BUT LO! MEN HAVE BECOME THE TOOLS OF THEIR TOOLS." - HENRY THOREAU