A practicing designer and design educator, Kumkum Nadig handles the two tasks with a dexterity born out of years of experience
Tell us about your formative years in design.
KN: My initiation into the world of design was at IDC, IIT Bombay in 1980, when design as a profession was unheard of. I had an Architecture degree but was not very keen on pursuing a career in architecture. I was intrigued by the Industrial Design Program at IDC, IIT Bombay, and went ahead and enrolled to learn more about design. Being an architect it was an easy transition into the world of design and seemed like a natural progression in my career as a creative professional. I went on to pursue a MFA (Graphic Design) from Cranbrook Academy of Art in the U.S.
Soon after graduating from Cranbrook, my husband Kumar (who is also an architect turned designer) and I returned to India and started working on our first jobs as designers at Philips India in Mumbai. I won an in-house competition to design a logo for the Industrial Design Centre of the Philips International office in Eindhoven. The director of design came down for the awards ceremony and invited both my husband and me to work in The Netherlands. So, from 1986 to 1988, we worked at Philips International in Eindhoven. Working at a large global corporate was an altogether different experience. As part of a team of 12 designers, I was in an environment where collaboration was the key and marketability was the buzzword. Working and living in Holland as young professional designers was a dream come-true opportunity for us.
Why did you decide to opt out?
KN: After two and a half years in The Netherlands the company decided to promote Kumar to Head of Design in India. However, within two years of moving back to Mumbai the management decided to move the design department to Pune where the manufacturing plants were. The management thought design was a manufacturing activity whereas we firmly believed that design has to align with the markets and users and not the manufacturing and production processes. On this note we both resigned from the company and decided to move to Bangalore to start our own design studio, Leubin Design.
What was that experience like?
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