Simply sustainable

Alisha Shinde
Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Soham Mohanty, who won the Lexus Design Award India under its Student Category, tells us more about the need for sustainable designs to shape a better future

Design is only going to get bigger and better in the future. But there is increasing emphasis on sustainable design to help Mother Earth. Recently, Lexus India wrapped up the 3rd edition of India’s prestigious and fiercely contested design awards — Lexus Design Award India (LDAI). The awards  encourage up-and-coming creators from around the world and foster the growth of ideas that contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose work can help shape a better future. 

The winners of the third LDAI were chosen from 885 high quality entries from across India. Winners from the Conceptual categories have been shortlisted for the Global Lexus Design Award 2020 (LDA) and will be invited to the Lexus Design Event at Milan Design Week to be held in April. LDAI 2020 was judged by a panel of luminaries from the design field. The winners of the 10 categories and the Jury’s Choice Award received Lexus Design Award India trophies designed specially by Michael Foley. The winning works will also be promoted by Lexus India on digital media and at the Lexus Guest Experience Centres.

This year, LDAI 2020 introduced a mentorship programme as part of the process. To mentor the finalists from the Conceptual categories, Lexus welcomed a stellar ensemble of creative pioneers and industry stalwarts who helped the finalists refine their projects.

The ceremony was held as part of Pune Design Festival, organised by Association of Designers of India (ADI). The winning entry from the global Lexus Design Award 2019, Algorithmic Lace by Lisa Marks, was exhibited at the venue. Soham Mohanty won the Lexus Design Award India under its Student Category, for his project Accufill. We caught up with him to know more about sustainable design.
  
Explaining his design, Mohanty says that he took inspiration from an event that he had closely observed. “A few months back, I was observing a man who had filled an empty 1-litre plastic water bottle with petrol to refuel his vehicle,” recalls the Third Year Design student from Bhubaneswar, adding that it is a common practice. But refuelling the vehicle with a plastic bottle leads to pollution. 

To store fuel, tanks have been made with a certain material to limit contamination or adulteration of any kind, but if a plastic bottle is being used, chances are high that the fuel will get contaminated with anything that was present in the bottle prior. “Even a minute amount of residue can impact the quality and quantity of the fuel, which I have tried to base my entire project design on,” says an enthusiastic Mohanty, adding that Accufill helps bring transparency between the user and the staff at petrol pumps while refuelling the vehicles.  

However, this device is not only limited to quality check and control, it also helps combat fuel theft and fuel mafia by creating awareness among consumers about their rights leading to a social transformation.

Mohanty mentions that even if convenience is something people look in a design, as a designer, he believes in socially responsible designs to combat modern-day problems. “Problems are aplenty out there and people also put in a lot of money to find solutions, however what we usually miss out on is the little information that is available to us if we are attentive. Simple observations lead to simple solutions,” says the skilled designer. 

Talking about his feat at the Lexus Design Awards 2020, Mohanty says that this win is his first step towards a big goal in life. “Being selected and being one of the finalists is a big thing, but being recognised and awarded is just out of the world. It simply means that there are people out there who believe in your design and, moreover, in your vision to do good,” says the youngster.
 
Ask him about his future endeavours  and Mohanty is quick to say that he has a long way to go from where he stands now but one thing is clear: he wants to solve modern-day problems with a rather sustainable and simple approach with design being at the heart of any project that he works on. He is of the strong opinion that design is hidden in every aspect of life and it is only through design and innovative thinking that we can make the world a better place to live in. 

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