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Reflections…domaine de boisbuchet

“Now we will count to twelve

  And we will all keep still

  For once on the face of the earth.”

Bois buchet-vaguely meaning ‘bouquet of wood’, echoes the sentiments of Nobel Laurette Pablo Neruda.

The domaine can only be experienced, not described, not represented.

It is as primordial and isolated a retreat as can get.

It is not a place where one can easily find others, but it is a place where you can find yourself.

It is an oxymoron- provocatively detached, intensely calming, eternally ephemeral, audaciously humble, naturally man made.

It embodies an extraordinary vision for design and its purpose for life on earth; it demonstrates an even more extraordinary commitment to realise it.

It shows by example, how to retain one’s persona and yet relate cohesively, harmoniously to proximally distanced personae.

The nearest beer and baguette are 3 kilometres away-30,00,000 millimetres if you ask ‘Don Carlos’!

The pavilions and their narratives reiterate a repertoire of technique par excellence, of unimaginable madness and an insane love for design.

There are hills, forests, meadows, a river and a lake here which have playing host to 25 workshops per year for 30 years.

Two amazing German gentlemen, one effusively gesticulating Spaniard (and two shy ones) and a French cook (whose English with the French accent gives Inspector Clouseau a run for his money) are the motley bunch of good souls who make the stay most memorable.

Just imagine…what it means to be one of the few blessed humans in the world to have availed the life-changing opportunity of being in boisbuchet for 12,42,000 seconds.

Reflections….the making of the pavilion

The making component of the pavilion was a lesson in what ‘antithesis’ means. The serene, reflective atmosphere that had initiated a somewhat cozy, intimate and leisurely routine for the first few days was rudely interrupted by the arrival of the ‘execution team’! Within moments teams got made-with friends separated and foes teamed up, tasks got allotted and work began with a flourish. Fortunately, students had been tinkering previously in the workshop and so got down to business swiftly.

The lessons in constructing a prototype, taking inventory and numbering the million components, in actually cutting and grinding and finishing hard metals and most importantly the coordination between what lay in the mind, in the computer and on site proved to be daunting but students coped well; partly because they had no choice and partly because indeed, they were inspired. Neither the freezingly cold and rainy weather nor the daftness of the earth mover (thanks to whom, precious time and energy were lost) could deter the students from completing it. Mentors were merciless and nature even more so. Often ill clothed for the bitterly low temperatures, perpetually hungry and sleep deprived (for reasons best known to them), students took each day at a time-meeting the immediate challenges and yet keeping the ridiculous deadline to finish at the back of their minds. A few occasions of wine and good food, great music and the camaraderie provided the necessary booster shots for survival.

In the end, one could see from the shining eyes of each and every participant, the newly adopted gait; demeanour suggestive of having scaled great heights after pushing the boundaries of their endurance. Hopefully the lessons learnt will remain in the dna for posterity. And the pavilion we left behind is already in conversation with the others cohabiting biosbuchet.


Italy as a role model

Italy as a Role Model

The trip appealed to me at an intrinsic level apart from the extrinsic level. I was amazed at the thought that went behind such beautiful creations. It intrigued me and makes me read about these places even more to quench my curiosity.

My few observations from the tour were-

Respect for the past- I got the opportunity to visit buildings done by well renowned architects like Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano. Their strong gesture to respect the existing architecture and interference with sharp minimalism left me speechless. Their decisions to restore the existing building were in such a way that old and new both are in complete harmony with each other.

Materials- The good part was that all the buildings used a lot of local materials ie. Travertine but at the same time explored new materials not only for aesthetics but also for their functional value. Such an example was the building done by Renzo Piano named Parco Della Musica. I was awestruck by the view of the massive structures and their auditoriums with American- Cherrywood in the panellings. Again, the spaces had an ancient roman ruins in focus.

Ethics- Being an interior designer and furniture enthusiast, it was overwhelming to visit the Riva Museum and to see their various master pieces in variety of finishes. Their contribution to the environment made me realize how we exploit wood forgetting that it is renewable but not an infinite resource.

City in a city- Zaha Hadid’s usual thinking of design in the most uncommon way could be sensed in her projects The Citylife- Hadid residences and Maxxi Museum. Exploring different layouts in each of the home keeping in mind the requirements of individual she used materials also to emphasise the complex volumes. Inviting natural elements to be a part of the space Maxxi Museum was a pure example how the natural light has been used as a major part of the space without the user even realizing.

Never lose hope- Even the most abandoned spaces were the best utilized spaces now and were completely multifunctional like the Le Murate in Florence.

The whole experience left me with a lot of questions. Can a space be really designed for temporary exhibitions? Or as architecture and interiors go hand in hand, is art also required to be in accordance to the space? Does the architecture overpower the artworks at times- Fondazione Prada?  Or can artwork overpower architecture- Armani Silos?

– Sanjana suri

International Educational Tour

Why Is An International Educational Tour Important For Designers?

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It is beyond a doubt, that travel is synonymous with design. But perhaps more surprisingly, the creative benefit that an individual gains from traveling can be drastically impacted by how immersed one is into the culture that they’re visiting and how it reflects in our creative journeys.  Every country speaks a language, has a visual vocabulary, responding to its lifestyle and society.

I went for an international educational tour to Japan with dtoursIndia and I believe that it was almost like experiencing a well-researched documentary due to which a psychological shift occurs when one spends a certain amount of time with a particular intensity, abroad. I would say that it was certainly a Valhalla moment for me! The brief stint entailed immersing oneself in the place, pushing our limits and making the most of something in the given time – certainly something I could not have done on my own, by myself.  And that is the thing about travelling with passionate and aligned minds, you can never get too tired – to miss out on that last building, or that one timeless experience someone told you about.

Those who put ideas in boxes were now inspired to think out-of-the-box. If design reading and discussions help deliver better solution, travel is like the fuel of creativity. Educational tours abroad help look at design from a previously unseen angle. In my opinion, the design fraternity must travel for cultural immersion, increased confidence, and of course to widen their mindset. It is a global perspective that helps us give local insight.

Visiting a new place is like being a blank canvas – ready for an experience and having an open mind usually leads to generating the best ideas and executing original designs. One is forced to think on one’s feet when we are pushed out of our comfort zones. And we reflect on behaviors and expectations that may have otherwise been subconscious. Being dropped into a new environment engages a dormant part of our mind and gets those synapses firing again!

The subconscious signals we receive in frenetic, always-on countries like Italy or Japan will differ greatly from lesser avant garde cultures. Dtours inherently curates the richest of international educational tours when it comes to design travel.

“Nobody comes back from a journey the way they started it.”

Sanchita Chugh

International Educational Tours

My Travel Experience With “dtours india”

At TDV, the teaching happens a bit differently, with no system of orthodox classes, the student teacher relationship is optimum, its focus not being on manual skills but on the very foundation – design thinking and its processes. It strongly believes in peer learning, the learning taking place outside the class and the campus facilitates that. One cannot design in isolation; a designer needs to be open-minded and have a broad view of the world and to have that, nothing better than traveling. It not only broadens your perspective but also makes you taste different cultures, their way of life, and their problems and most importantly, it inspires you.

International Art Tour with dtours india has been one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. A tightly scheduled itinerary trying to cover all one can in a place which has so much to offer, some of the places people might not have heard about or being out of bound. Each day pushed us to travel an extra mile to see the last building or the last exhibition. It’s not just the itinerary but also the people you travel with, coming from all different kinds of background, each have a different take on a subject. And as if all of this wasn’t enough for a successful trip, having out founders travel with us is the cherry on top. All those little insights, the minute details, the astonishing story behind, no travel guide could have given. The conversation all have after visiting a place really leaves a lasting impression on all.

A Dtour is a must take for anyone having a thirst for knowledge – design or not.

Souvik TDV

Architectural Tours Europe


I had read about Corbusier and I have seen people admire him like crazy. But I never really understood their excitement or their passion. It is rightly said, to understand some things, you have to experience it yourself.

We visited France, Switzerland & Germany as part of our international educational tour and the three countries gave me a different perspective to the same person’s work which I took some time to understand. The one thing that remained constant was the simple outcome of the complicated thought processes of Corbusier. By the end of the trip I started grasping the essence and noticing the subtle difference.

When we visited the first building, the Le Corbusier Foundation, I was lost. I admired the play of natural light and having a ramp inside the house but I did not know what significance it actually had. I was lucky that I had much experienced people around me who guided me throughout the journey. I had never imagined that a window can be designed especially for a chair. Or the fact that ramps are used because they don’t need much attention to walk on and thus the person can concentrate on something else. But the trip was not only about Corbusier and his designs.

By visiting Pompidou, I realized that complex structures can be as engaging as simple ones. The colored pipes, the escalator which gave us a chance to interact with the outside world and let the world get a glimpse inside. But my favorite part was the signage and the posters. The Europe trip set some standards for me. From abstract to literal, I saw all kinds of posters. From vertical to horizontal, the signage varied. And most of them fulfilled their purpose of attracting and guiding the visitors. It really made me wonder, where we had got left behind.

Paris was a great deal about culture. They continued from where the previous generation had left. They respected the art and instilled it in their future designs. After some intense discussions while commuting in a bus or the metro, I realized that India is not that different. And would probably do as well if people just understood what their culture means. The advantage of having people from different backgrounds and fields showed us different points of view. Though the discussion was never ending, the points that came up made me think about common spaces, environment factors, role of government, western influence and many others.

Another of my favorite buildings was the Arab World Institute. Being interested in photography, I was delighted to see the whole facade of a building made up of lenses. I could not contain my excitement about the concept. It was such an innovative way of controlling the light entering the building. One could see layers of the building, because of the use of glass. For me, it was not only about the visual aspect of these building but also about the thought process behind it.

La Villa Savoy has a beautiful landscape being on the outskirts of the city. It is a customized house for the owners. With a customized driveway, Corbusier had made an impact on the way the world thinks about the helpers and yet keeps them at bay. He just moved them from the attic to the ground floor, gave them a different path to move around the house so that they don’t clash with the owners and gave them a staircase to move up and down instead of a ramp. It is difficult to understand this by reading or hearing about it. But standing in that space and looking from the place where the owners would stand and where the servants would stand, I realized that he gave the former a view of the world, a view from inside their own home, while the servants could see only ere walls. And that is when it dawned on me that EVEN ARCHITECTURE HAS GRAPHIC DESIGN AND THAT PLACING THE STAIRS IN THE HOUSE WAS JUST LAY-OUTING THE HOUSE. And this was the moment when my perception of architecture changed. When I understood how I can actually look at buildings and spaces and learn through them.

Lyon was an absolutely different experience. It had structures which I could not even imagine. It had places that I was lucky to spend the night in. Calatrava gave me one such experience. The structure was as interesting as the sentence. Having a structure of a bird, in such a literal way was unimaginable. The feeling of standing inside the skeleton of a bird was unique. Even the signage was designed to give a feeling of a flying bird. The atmosphere, the view of the sky, the massive winged structure, made Calatrava distinct and unique.

La Tourette was even better. It redid the picture of a monastery in my mind. The building was as inspiring as the quiet and peace that we found there. It was as grand as it was down to earth. It was a challenging place for the monks and made a beautiful impact on the visitors. The chapel had windows for natural light to come in. But these windows were of different shapes and colors, delivering a simple message that the blessings can come in any form. The windows were on eye level to test the discipline of the monks. The walls let sound be heard by allowing it to pass through, which forced us to maintain silence. La Tourette was all concrete but the splash of the primary colors brought the place to life. The quite was actually scary at one point. Walking around the place in darkness excited some and scared some. But to me it was as divine as it was meant to be.

I never knew that two churches could be so different in style and approach. Notre-dame Ronchamp was striking in its own way. The floor had wooden cubes in the sitting area; the openings for light made one feel as though it was being amplified. There were so many other small features which made the place distinct from the previous one. But then they were designed by the same person.

I can say that diversity was best placed together at the Vitra Design Museum. That is the one place which showed me the initial journey taken by some renowned names in the design and architecture field – the first building of Tadao Ando outside Japan & the first building of Zaha Hadid ever. There I came to know how a product designer made her first building, which turned out to be so successful. Vitra was not only about buildings. It also aroused my interest for objects. It made me realize the immense value of the chairs that we see every day in front of our eyes. Things that we might not understand the importance of, but have a lot of thought put behind them. Looking at the initial stages of prototypes of these chairs, I understood the importance of carrying forward a project and the importance of completing the process.

After covering so many aspects of design, we reached Stuttgart. To see the evolution of cars and the way buildings were made for their display. Though cars are not my area of interest, but seeing their step by step evolution, looking at the time taking process of reaching the destination, I could appreciate the vision and how small changes helped in the process. The Mercedes & Porsche Museums create the perfect environment inside the building to display these cars. And no matter how much time we had, it was always a little less in very place to feel and absorb the immense knowledge we gained out of them.

The hour we spent inside the Digital Museum in Paris was so varied from the rest of the trip. The planning of the space, the animations, and the atmosphere of the place- all fit in perfectly together. And to stand there and experience it myself is what I cherished most because no camera can capture the emotions it evoked inside us.

But there was more to this trip, the various happy moments. The ‘on the way’ lunch , the running to catch the train, the long distances, the aching legs , the heavy luggage , the urge to shop were all part of the experience and probably what made all of us feel so connected. Being in an assorted group of strangers and getting along were tough things but we managed well. At one time we were a group of fourteen travelling by bus to go to the railway station which would connect us to the airport and getting lost on the way. There was another time when we were dancing on the Switzerland -Germany border. It was interesting to see the route we took. Just like it’s known that the journey is also as important. I gained a lot from the architectural tour of Europe and I’m still trying to grasp many things and to learn from the things that I had seen. Every place has a story and when I start talking about it, it seems like an endless list. This document has not even covered half the places that we visited, which means that only half of my excitement for the trip can be conveyed.

The saying “not all classrooms have four walls” fits perfectly in describing this trip.

Dharini Singh