Sustainable Aesthetic Design

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For ages the economic and social fabric of humanity has revolved around the tenet of Sustainability, till we decided to interfere. What was once instinct, now needs to be done with a great deal of thought and deliberation. Village life was totally based on the locally available resources. Our villages were completely self reliant even after the advent of urbanisation. But the younger rural generation, lured by the glamour and the glitter of the City, soon started aspiring for the so-called good life. Needless to say, this is cause of considerable concern- loss of traditional and cultural knowledge and skills,  overcrowding of the cities etc. Their skill sets and overall education does not get them the jobs they aim for- they end up in more menial jobs than they imagined. Most importantly they lose a holistic way of life in the pursuit of livelihoods. There is need today, more than ever, to go back to our environment for inspiration and this is where Sustainable Design starts.


Sustainability is defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

Aesthetics would refer to giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty.

Design is the art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing.

Put all these together and we would have created a piece of art that endures.


The intention of sustainable design is to “eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skilful, sensitive design”- to use renewable resources, impact the environment minimally, and connect people with the natural environment.


It is most beneficial when it works hand in hand with the other two counterparts of sustainable design – the economic and socially sustainable designs. These three terms are often coined under the title ‘triple bottom line.’ It is imperative that we think about value in not solely economic or financial terms, but also in relation to natural capital (the biosphere and earth’s resources), social capital (the norms and networks that enable collective action), and human capital (the sum total of knowledge, experience, intellectual property, and labor available to society). – (Source Wikipedia)

We applied these three principles in the design innovation process at Tamaala to come up with the Terracotta Mobile Amplifier. It combines different types of art/craft forms hence the impact on 3 cluster artisan livelihoods. It is designed for contemporary use since it amplifies the sound emitted from the ubiquitous mobile phone. The appeal to the younger generation lies in the possibilities beyond machine made electronics. For us, in a world that is full of automation and machine made products and reduced need for human employment, the Terracotta Amplifier stands for discovering possibilities in the handmade and for generating multiple jobs for the artisans across clusters. 


A little bit more about our innovation. It is made of clay, hence environmentally sustainable. It is handmade, hence each piece is unique. It uses the principles of acoustics for amplification and does not use electricity, hence reducing the consumption of electricity in comparison to its more popularly used alternative, the blue tooth speaker. By purchasing this product, you as a consumer are generating livelihoods for three types of artisans in three regions of Karnataka , namely Ramanagara, Channapatna & Raichur). 


The cons are of course, the amplification is not as much as a bluetooth speaker, it does amplify sufficiently for a small space outdoors ( like a picnic spot ) or in a closed space like the living room of a home or an office conference room. It is breakable ( well, technically so is a bluetooth speaker!).


The Terracotta Amplifier is a perfect example of using simple science to create something which meets all the needs of the hour- achieving sustainability goals, empowering and protecting rural livelihoods, enabling the merging of indigenous art and craft into mainstream economy,  promoting handmade as the future of a stable circular economy and of course preserving and promoting traditional art forms of the country. It’s the beginning of an idea…

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