DYPDC School of Design: Managing mobility for public good
Two elevating quotes, one by American automobile designer and former BMW Group chief of design, Christopher Bangle, and the other by Roland Barthes, the famous French semiotician, define the philosophy of work culture at the DYPDC School of Design. “Great cars are art,” felt Bangle, while Barthes said, “I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great gothic cathedrals of the past.”
Situated in Pune, the automobile manufacturing hub of the country, the school is a precursor to the Ajeenkya DY Patil University. The DYPDC School of Design, founded in January 2010, was granted the university status five years later. Today, the school is a leading centre for learning automotive design, attracting students and manufacturers from across the country. A low-enrolment school, DYPDC lives by the words of Bangle and Barthes in its work ethic.
M.Des: Automobile Design, Engineering Product Design, Computer Interaction Design
MBA: Business Innovation and Strategy
Eligibility: B.Des. (Class XII in science/commerce or three-year full-time diploma or one-year foundation course in design; M.Des. and MBA (Bachelor’s degree in any discipline)
Selection Process: DYPDC’s own entrance test and personal interaction
Innovation at core
An innovation factory is at the core of the school’s everyday functioning. Explains DYPDC School of Design’s founding Director Hrridaysh Deshpande, “The industry brings its problems to us and our students and teachers find solutions by invoking all the relevant disciplines.” The school has a ‘studio project’ in each semester, allowing the students to think and create. India’s needs in the mobility sector are at the heart of the designing process at the school. The desire for designing at the school is driven by issues like personal mobility, public transport, driverless cars and electric vehicles.
“Low cost solutions to public transportation is essential in our congested cities,” says Prof. Deshpande. In their ‘studio projects’, students look at public transportation as a design brief and come up with solutions. One such solution was the EM4 or Electric Mobility4 car designed at the school’s Innovation Factory three years ago. The electric car, meant for public transport as a last-mile solution connecting people with faster modes of transport like metro and BRT, was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2014. “We created a full-size model, produced with minimum machinery at low cost,” says Prof. Deshpande. The students also made a charging station for the electric car to power the vehicle.
Sustainable models of transportation
The school is able to understand the country’s needs for sustainable models of public transportation as its origin coincided with the aspirations of the country’s burgeoning middle class to own a car. “The automotive scene was bursting with enthusiasm and growth,” says Prof. Deshpande. “We understood that design was going to make the difference,” he added.
It was also obvious that the industry couldn’t ignore the fact that environment and sustainability were an integral part of the automotive sector and transportation solutions will have to be built around these two big themes.
Programmes of study
The school offers an undergraduate course and a postgraduate course in automobile design besides a bachelor’s course in product design and a master’s course in engineering product design, along with another master’s degree in computer interaction design. The Bachelor of Design is a four-year course while the Master of Design is a two-year programme. Internships are an essential element of all the programmes. Placements are pursued by first sending carefully created portfolios of each student to the companies. “The portfolio is what you are, it shows your skill set and what you have achieved,” says Prof. Deshpande.
Three years ago, Sushant Sumant, a second batch student of Bachelor of Automobile Design, created a model for the next generation truck of Tata Motors. The final-year project of Sumant was accepted by Tata Motors, an achievement that landed the DYPDC student a job with the Indian automobile giant.
The placement on the campus is 60-70 percent for the students while many others go on to become entrepreneurs or pursues higher education, in India or even abroad.
Projects for start-ups
Automobile start-ups are another area of focus at the school. “We have projects for start-up companies,” says Mayank Bhandari, Associate Professor of Transportation. “We are currently working with a start-up in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, for making an electric scooter,” says Bhandari. A prototype has already been created by the company, which was helped in the design by the students and teachers of DYPDC. Regular master-classes by engineers and designers from industry leaders like Ducati and Bajaj Motors help the students in keeping the spirit of creativity alive. The same spirit is also helping DYPDC students win laurels at international automobile design contests. This year, Vinod Raju, a DYPDC student, won the third prize in the Michelin Global Design Contest, a position won by another school student, Arjun Govil, in 2012.
For the B.Des. in Automobile Design, students learn elementary sketching and illustrations along with elements of design, history of design, physical modelling processes, aesthetics and create appreciation, and photography and digital editing in their first semester.
The first-year Automobile Design students learn design drawing, ergonomics, system thinking, fundamentals of user interface design, and craft exposure and creative art work in their second semester. They move more in-depth in the second year, studying automotive design drawing, history of automobiles, and automotive aesthetics, while taking up two ‘mini’ projects. The students go on to do two more design projects in the fourth and final year.
The M.Des. Automobile Design students launch their first year on studio-based work while sharpening their design drawing skills, designing research and methodology and learning the principles of ergonomics. All the three project works of the post-graduate students are undertaken in their second and final year.
The Cintiq and Alias labs on the campus aid the Automobile Design students work on scenario ideas and create surface designs. The institute invites conceptual artists to train students in sketching on the big computer screens at the Cintiq lab while in the Alias lab, students learn surface design with the help of digital modelling software used in the industry.