Ananya Pathak
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When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...

A look at Manish Bhatt's presentation at Pune Design Festival 2020.

When a speaker is invited upon the stage, the least that is expected out of him is to speak up on the chosen or provided topic once the welcome applause subsides. But when Manish Bhatt made his entry on the stage at the Pune Design Festival 2020 with a tape over his mouth, the audience probably momentarily thought it was a joke... after all, the founder and director of Scarecrow M&C Saatchi was expected to address a room full of designer minds until the clock warned him that his 30 minutes were up.

Manish Bhatt at Pune Design Festival 2020.
Manish Bhatt at Pune Design Festival 2020.

The event - the 14th Pune Design Festival, brought forth discussions, debates, case studies and workshops that showcase the signs of changing times at the turn of the decade. Organised by Association of Designers of India, the two day conference witnessed a pool of industry experts come together at Pune's Hyatt Regency on January 10 and 11, 2020.

When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...
When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...

During his 258 slide presentation, Bhatt stood behind the podium with his taped mouth, in the role of a DJ. “I didn’t speak a word, because I thought when everyone else was going to speak, remaining silent is ‘design’,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post sharing his experience and idea of the silent presentation.

When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...
When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...

Over a call, when we asked him about what motivated him to try this unique presentation, Bhatt shared that the presentation was a humble reminder to people that the context is important. “I have tried to define design in my own language, as rearrangement or disruption of elements against the backdrop of context to blend in or stand out. We have portrayed each of our clients as designs in the presentation - each in different context. And no spoken words gave us the scope to use music in the backdrop, to make it more engaging.”

When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...
When Manish Bhatt made a silent case for design...

He mentions that the concern this presentation reiterates is about the mindset that design is a neat and clean, well polished and glamorous business. The aspirants look at the industry as a 'designer world' and go for options that comfort them. However, the design world at large is more than just this.”

Meanwhile, as we wait for the presentation coverage video by the organisers of PDF, here's a look at the slideshow Bhatt presented at the event: