Category: Technology

8 global design trends that will shape 2018

This article was first published on India Art n Design

Honest packaging, augmented reality and other trends that will disrupt the realm of design in 2018. Here’s what the world will look like this year…

Clean labels will tell us more about the product than ever

Products will be wrapped in honest packaging
Reflecting the demand for simple and recognizable ingredients is the clean labelling trend that enlightens consumers’ purchase decisions without confusing or tricking them. Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2018 report suggests that brands will use the “essentialist” design principle in the next generation of the clean label to provide calm and clarity to shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.
Voice assistants will be everywhere
Smart homes have become the norm as voice assistants now control everything from heating, lighting and music; they can even order your groceries or call you a taxi. Sleek devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s soon-to-be-released HomePod speaker will be found in many more homes this year. And, it won’t be long before you find a voice assistant in your bathroom, too, as these very companies are striking up partnerships with third-parties to make your life simpler!
Graphic design is getting bolder
Illustrations won’t be going out of fashion any time soon, but we will start to see hand-drawn illustrations blended with graphic effects like double exposures, negative space or glitches. Even digitally drawn illustrations paired with photographs will make it to the mainstream in 2018.
It’s becoming easier than ever to give kitchens and bathrooms a new look
While all-white kitchens are still in, we will see a lot more jewel tones used strategically, on cabinets, accent walls and even kitchen appliances. Concrete in accents and as a finish is making a grand appearance this year, too. Bathroom makeovers can be effected at the drop of a hat, thanks to the easy application of stylish tile skins.
Well-being will be at the heart of the workplace
Going beyond placing a few potted plants around the office, this trend will take shape as offices actively integrate biophilic design throughout the workplace. The use of live and artificial plants, green walls, natural lighting, nature-inspired textures and prints fortifies this well-rooted trend that is shown to improve employee health, productivity and wellbeing.
The boundaries between playtime and education will blur
STREAM thinking (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art and Math) is a buzzword in the toy industry. But this movement that promotes the use of toys that help children of all ages to use their imagination, critical thinking and skills is gaining more traction this year, thanks to new innovations and research. From robotic kits and colourful toys that engage all senses, this trend will see an upsurge in toys that combine fun and learning.
Architectural facades get a multi-textured look
The classic brick façade will remain popular in 2018, but the focus will now be on mixing different textures for a more tactile experience. Whether it’s about creating contrasting textures by playing around with gloss and matte levels of the same material, using light and dark shades of similar colours, or even mixing and matching complementary materials on to a single surface, the exterior surfaces of homes will now be as important as the interiors.
Augmented reality is going mainstream
Going by reports of the recently concluded CES 2018, augmented reality and immersive technology will be a mainstay in 2018 and beyond, with gesture and emotions as the new interface in lieu of screens and hardware. Whether it’s experiences in the retail space that allow consumers to ‘try before they buy’, dissemination of knowledge at the workplace through virtual simulation training, or virtual museum visits and the ability to learn from more than just a one-dimensional view of an artefact or photo, augmented reality will change the way we look at things.


#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed

The GOQii activity and fitness band pushes you to take that extra step thanks to unique features like one-on-one coaching, the ability to contribute to social causes, on-ground fitness events, and web chats with nutrition and health experts.


I hopped on to the fitness bandwagon (pun intended 😉 ) sometime in December 2015 when I was gifted a FitBit. Prior to that, I had been tracking using apps like Armour, MyFitnessPal and, of course, Apple Health. I have since become that much more obsessed about tracking my steps, heart rate, sleep and what not after I started wearing the band. But I recently put my FitBit away to check out another piece of wearable tech — the GOQii. I imagined that I would get back to the FitBit within a few weeks of testing the GOQii. But here I am, three months down the line, still wearing and enjoying the features of the GOQii. Read on to know more about this fitness band that offers a host of interesting and motivational features.

GOQii in the Power Black variation

A fitness band like no other

I’m not going to get into a review that compares the GOQii to other fitness trackers. That’s because the GOQii is so much more than just a fitness-tracking device. If you browse through the 2016 list of best fitness trackers, you’ll notice that most of the new devices offer a heart rate monitor, while a select few come with GPS functionality. The GOQii offers neither of these features, and it’s safe to say that you won’t even miss them. After all, it’s easy to get caught up with all that data crunching when you start tracking. But the thing about the GOQii is that it lets you immerse yourself in the world of numbers while gently pushing you to change your lifestyle with exciting initiatives.

But first, a little background on the company and the passionate people behind the GOQii band.

GOQii is headquartered in California and has offices in Mumbai and Shenzhen. The company was formed as a collaboration between some of the world’s leading experts who believe that a healthy, sustainable lifestyle is not too difficult to attain. Indian entrepreneur Vishal Gondal (ex-founder of gaming company Indiagames) is the founder and CEO of GOQii. Vishal, who has for a very long time been obsessed about tracking his health and fitness data, says that he experienced the lack of a ‘human’ touch when it came to other wearable tech products. And, that’s how GOQii was born.

Even the company investors are incredibly passionate about fitness. Madhuri Dixit-Nene is one among the list of investors who remain passionate about utilising technology to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. The teams who run the company — from nutrition and fitness experts right up to the tech guys — are just as ardently passionate. But more on this later. Continue reading “#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed”

Reaching for the Moon

Moon watches 1.jpgWhether it’s the moon looming large and bright, or the billions of twinkling stars, the nocturnal sky as we see it has fascinated humanity for aeons. The desire to explore the universe began as observations with the naked eye, and over the years, has continued to encompass the use of scientific instruments. Astronomical watches like the moon-phase timepieces by A. Lange & Söhne are witness to this undying curiosity

It is believed that primitive structures like the Stonehenge, built by ancient civilisations to make sense of celestial bodies and their alignment in relation to the earth, were some of the early methods to better understand the universe.

The study of celestial objects did not have its roots in scientific inventions, but in the human trait of curiosity. In The Dawn of Astronomy, British astronomer Sir Norman Lockyer, who lived from 1836-1920, breaks down ancient astronomy into three distinct phases and presented an observation prevalent across most ancient civilisations like Egypt, India and South America. First, a civilisation goes through the worship stage, where astronomical phenomena are viewed as the actions and warnings of gods; next, it progresses to using astronomy for terrestrial purposes like agriculture or navigation. The final step, he says, is to study astronomy solely for the sake of gaining knowledge.

Observations and predictions of the motion of objects visible to the naked eye preceded the assembly of astronomical observatories in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, India and Egypt. Early ideas about the universe came into being, thanks to Ptolemy whose comprehensive treatise on astronomy, The Almagest, the only surviving treatise of its kind, estimated that the earth was the centre of the universe. The Babylonians later laid the foundation for the study of the universe with the discovery of the repetitive, cyclical nature of lunar eclipses. Even as astronomy went through a period of stagnancy in medieval Europe until the 13th century, it flourished in the Islamic world with the discovery of the Andromeda Galaxy by Persian astronomer Azophi.

In the early stages of lunar observation, people were interested in the progression of the moon across the nocturnal skies and its changing faces. It was only until the telescope was invented in the 17th century that the focus shifted to the moon’s surface.

Moon watches 3.jpgIn Saxony, too, the earth’s satellite, its orbital progression, and its influence on various spheres of life intrigued laymen and scholars alike. The Nebra sky disc, a bronze disc dating back to 2000 BC unearthed in Saxony-Anhalt is testament to the celestial achievements by those native to Saxony. The disc was marked by a blue-green patina inlaid with gold symbols of the Pleiades star cluster, and featured the full moon and crescent moon.

Many millennia later, Augustus, the elector of Saxony, laid the cornerstone for the discipline of astronomy and lunar research. He commissioned Europe’s first large scientific apparatus and instrument collection that formed the art chamber in Dresden. Over 10,000 objects including astrological and astronomical instruments occupied the Dresden art chamber, which was the precursor of the present-day Mathematics and Physics Salon.

“ The watchmakers at A. Lange & Söhne leverage all the potentials of science and technology to emulate its orbit with extreme precision and to reproduce its radiance as brilliantly as possible ”

The famous lunar map by the Dresden astronomer Wilhelm Gotthelf Lohrmann is an example of Saxony’s fascination with lunar observation during the 19th century. A century later, in the 1960s, Dresden native Ursula Seliger created an extensive series of detail- rich pencil drawings compiled in three volumes. These drawings are currently stored at the Palitzsch Museum in Dresden. The museum was named after Johann George Palitzsch, the so-called “peasant- astronomer” from Dresden, who went on to become famous for discovering Halley’s Comet. Such was the extent to which Saxony contributed to the study of celestial phenomena.

Moon watches TTA-4.jpg

A young watchmaker by the name of Ferninand Adolph Lange was enrolled in Dresden’s technical University, where he acquired an education that set into motion an apprenticeship with the renowned master clockmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, who  recognised the young Lange’s unusual watchmaking skills. After years
of journeying across Europe, Lange returned in 1841 with the hope of
establishing a manufactory in the Ore Mountains. He eventually built a
watch manufactory and pioneered a number of innovations that would forever revolutionize watchmaking. The company he founded in 1845, which is today known as A. Lange & Söhne, was headquartered in Glashütte, not far from Dresden, in the state of Saxony.


The German watchmaker has since remained fascinated by the moon. Even today, the watchmakers at A. Lange & Söhne leverage all the potentials of science and technology to emulate its orbit with extreme precision and to reproduce its radiance as brilliantly as possible. Ever since the first collection was presented almost two decades ago, the Glashütte-based manufacture has developed no less than 15 calibres with moon-phase displays. A specialty in A. Lange & Söhne’s repertoire of timepieces, the moon-phase watch requires a correction by one day, once every 122.6 years, which is about 50 times more accurate than conventional displays. In fact, so accurate is its current mechanism that the new Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” timepiece can run for over 1000 years before it deviates from the actual lunar cycle by one day.

Moon watches TTA-6.jpgA. Lange & Söhne’s revolutionary lunar discs have signature elements, such as its rich blue hue with a unique chromatic effect achieved by superimposing light waves. To produce this so-called interference phenomenon, the watchmaker partnered with scientists to develop a patent coating process for the solid-gold discs. Then, there’s the distinct presence of laser-cut stars that stand out against the vibrant blue tint. The term blue moon refers to the rare phenomenon of the second full moon within a given calendar month, Most mechanical moon-phase indications must be corrected by one day every “once in a blue moon”. The reason behind this is that the period of time between two new moons is rounded down to 29.5 days even though it is actually 44 minutes and three seconds longer.

Moon watches TTA-7.jpgThe A. Lange & Söhne moon-phase watches, however, are much more precise with most of them reproducing the lunar month with an accuracy of 99.998 %. A good example is the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” that is adorned with over 2000 stars in five different sizes and which emphasise the lure of the night sky. The orbital moon-phase display of this timepiece is one of the greatest innovations in precision watchmaking. The timepiece depicts the changing orbital position of the moon in relation to the earth and sun with unmatchable accuracy.

Moon watches TTA-9Moon watches TTA-8

Continue reading “Reaching for the Moon”

Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)

The All-New Kindle Paperwhite
The All-New Kindle Paperwhite

It reads just like a book and is lighter to carry than most books. Here’s why you might want to consider the latest Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

So I just got my hands on the updated Amazon Kindle Paperwhite that was launched in India earlier this year. Before I get to the review, I’d like to point out two things. Although I own a Kindle 4 and have read a few books on my friend’s Kindle Voyage, I’ve always preferred reading out of a real, solid book. The smell of ink on paper, the unintentionally dog-eared pages, the act of turning actual pages and the beauty of the book cover are just some of the tangible pleasures that I value. The second thing is that I have not read a single book in the last three months. A lot has been happening, and reading books has sadly not found a place in this unexpectedly busy period in my life. So, here I am devouring a book after a good while. I’ve chosen to re-read an old favourite and all-time classic, Pride and Prejudice. And, I’ve got to say that the reading experience was remarkably enjoyable and completely uninterrupted. The Amazon Kindle was designed for reading books, unlike tablets or smartphones, which can so easily distract you from the immersive world of the novel.

Kindle Paper getting started

Amazon’s Kindle has continually led the e-reader market, and this year the Kindle Voyage and the 3rd generation Paperwhite have inarguably stolen the show. Launched in 2014, the Kindle Voyage comes with a higher price tag that’s justified by additional features. The Kindle Paperwhite 2015, however, is affordably priced and provides good enough value for your money if you want a comfortable experience that’s closest to reading an actual book. That said, here’s all you need to know about the Kindle Paperwhite and what makes it one of the top e-book readers to own at the moment. You might also find this blog post helpful if you are confused about whether you should opt for the Voyage or the Paperwhite 2015. Continue reading “Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)”

Time to get back to the blog

October was a busy month. I was sad to have left Ubud, but on returning to the fast, grimy city of Mumbai, it wasn’t so bad! I was excited and so motivated to dive right back into writing for magazines and digital publications. And, with it, came the deadlines that every writer is so familiar with. With no time to blog, I found myself thinking about A Delightful Space ever so often! I have so much to share about my trip to Ubud. So keep a look out for some travel posts in the near future. Until then, here’s a little something I had written for The Label, a lifestyle magazine produced by Louise Philippe.

The Get Together speaker by The House of Marley, a portable speaker for the eco-conscious audiophile

Portable speakers are all over the place right now. However, there are but a few portable audio devices that are actually worthy of your cochlea, and thereby, your money. Yes, the portable speaker scene stands on shaky ground. But like a handful of others, the Get Together speaker system from The House of Marley seems to be a pleaser in the cacophonous crowd.

Sustainably crafted
The House of Marley is an eco-conscious audio company that pairs sustainable design with functionality. Co-founded by Rohan Marley, son of the legendary reggae musician Bob Marley, this earth-friendly company is just one of the 40-something entrepreneur’s many green businesses inspired by his late father’s ideals.
The Get Together Bluetooth Audio System stays true to the House of Marley’s philosophy. It sports a sustainably sourced natural bamboo façade on the front and rear. The brand’s signature Rewind fabric, made from recycled plastic bottles, reclaimed hemp and organic cotton, forms the rugged fabric enclosure for the speaker’s bass-reflex. Continue reading “Time to get back to the blog”

Bringing the divine down to earth

Google the term ‘Chief Belief Officer’ and the only references you’ll see are those that point to an Indian man. The man in question, Devdutt Pattanaik, is still known as a Chief Belief Officer well after his tenure at Future Group as consultant on matters relating to belief and culture. A trained medical doctor, Pattanaik worked in the healthcare industry for 14 years before he became business advisor at Ernst & Young. But his passion for mythology soon turned into a profession in 2008, landing him the post of Chief Belief Officer—a designation that has evidently failed to be disassociated from him till date.

At the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2004 (UWRF 2014), Pattanaik hosted art workshops like “Drawing the Gods”, but it was at the festival’s main programme, “The Chief Belief Officer” that I was truly enthralled by this man’s thoughts and simple ways of deconstructing myths in a contemporary context. Simply put, he uses mythology to approach questions in a creative way. Pattanaik is also an author, columnist, illustrator and author, but he most aptly sums up his skills saying, “I have this unique ability to articulate and communicate extremely complex ideas across structures. I discovered I have a patterned way of thinking, which is part intuition, part logic. It’s an ability that many people have, but I also have the ability to communicate and articulate.”

Continue reading “Bringing the divine down to earth”