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HomeDigital PrintingInternational Women’s Day Feature: Mansi Kulkarni – An Immense Showcase for Screen Printing

International Women’s Day Feature: Mansi Kulkarni – An Immense Showcase for Screen Printing

10 March 2022: Mansi Kulkarni, final year fashion design student at Parsons, ISDI, daughter of Rajesh Kulkarni, Founder and Managing Director, Keetronics, reflects upon her visit to Expo 2020 Dubai and shares the key takeaways

How would you describe the purpose of your ‘experiential visit’ to Expo 2020 Dubai and initial impressions ?

As a final year fashion design student at Parsons, ISDI, I believe that for any designer, there is a decade long journey to review and gain ginormous learnings from each country and their culture. The Expo has attracted over millions of visitors who find interest in cultural events organisations. It usually links to the innovation, technology, economy, culture, art of countries and offers a great experience overall.

There are several sections highlighting different themes. The Sustainability District showcases ‘what countries are doing to champion sustainability, and experience how the human race can enjoy living in harmony with nature in a high-tech future’. The Mobility District projects ‘connections to drive the world forward, breaking down the divide between the physical and digital worlds.’ The Opportunity District focuses on ‘how our lives and actions are interconnected’.

Considering the large number of pavilions, which were the ones that particularly caught your attention ?

The expo consisted of 200 pavilions out of which 191 were the participating countries. Apart from the country specific pavilions, there were pavilions belonging to multilateral organisations, businesses and educational institutions and celebrities. Although it was not possible to see all the pavilions at one go, here are a few that fascinated me the most.

India Pavilion
The four floored pavilion, has been designed to display the nation’s 75th anniversary of Independence. The facade of the pavilion consists of 600 colourful kinetic-capable blocks to present the theme ‘India on the Move’. India had a pavilion promising to captivate one and all with the brilliant mix of Ayurveda, Yoga and Space programme.

UAE Pavilion
This pavilion is located in the Opportunity district and is designed like a falcon taking a flight. You can learn about the Emirati culture and achievements as you go through the exhibitions. The top floor of the pavilion has a dedicated hospitality space.

Italy Pavilion
Italy used architecture for a creative and innovative presentation of “beauty that connects people.” It allowed us to create not only an exhibition space, but also a space that represents the height of Italian ingenuity. It offered visitors an unforgettable experience, presenting to the world the multidisciplinary skills, talent and ingenuity that can act to promote new educational, professional and business opportunities.

Germany Pavilion
The German Pavilion, Campus Germany, was a forward-looking, optimistic place of knowledge, research and human interaction. It was full of sustainability-themed examples of innovation and ingenuity to inspire, fascinate and thrill visitors young and old: an entertaining, surprising, hands-on and digital showcase of German ideas and solutions in the field of sustainability.

Kazakhstan Pavilion
This pavilion was inspired by traditional oriental architecture, representing a synthesis of modern digital solutions and traditions while symbolizing the openness of Kazakhstan. Its expositions fully reveal the exhibition’s theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and is compared with a journey, in which visitors learn the nature, history, culture, traditions, as well as promising projects in the country’s development.

The final show, presented at the end of the pavilion, was also a great success among visitors. The acrobatic performance with the robotic hand symbolizes the interaction of man with artificial intelligence and the search for balance between them.

What were the important Expo 2020 Dubai takeaways for you as a design student ?

My first major lesson was to learn about how design inspires decision making and influences people from different cultures to take the next step. I also got to learn about how different audiences appreciate and work with digital interfaces. Moreover, I learned about how we can make our world a better place by sustainable fashion.

Fashion is mostly influenced by cultural changes such as modernisation, art and even technological innovations. Culture and heritage also influence design making and fabric selection. Also, one of the main objectives behind including culture in fashion is to develop knowledge regarding its values and its significance and in doing so to define cultural identification. The purpose of cultural heritage serves one of being obligated to be interested in the cultural, scientific, educational, aesthetic, religious, economic, touristic and other societal needs.

I am of the opinion that Expo 2020 Dubai is the ideal chance for planners to find out about cutting edge innovation in art developments brought by the leaders of the world to tackle issues and find out about how you can add to arising advances and developments with your subject master expertise in design and become a leader.

To what extent have you observed design as an aspect making a difference at Expo 2020 Dubai ?

Design and architecture played a huge part at Expo 2020. It was one design marvel itself. I got to experience several pavilions, each with their unique designs and interactive exhibitions. The design focus on sustainability, mobility and opportunity cannot be left unmentioned as it reflects through the structure of each individual pavilion as well as throughout the expo in every design element. It has been designed in a way to deliver messages with impact, and are trained in conceptual and high value visual thinking.

How would you describe the importance of design, how it was used to make a good impression on the viewers and visitors, especially at the India Pavilion ?

The design and architecture caught millions of visitors’ attention as it had movement and was representative of its theme. Expo has been designed in a way to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to dramatize, to persuade and to perhaps amuse. The Indian pavilion denotes culture from various parts of the nation. The design strategy represents the two key words used in the concept of the pavilion, memory and history. The Indian pavilion is recognised as “One of the most iconic” at Expo 2020.

Since the branding/ external finish of many items involves screen printing, would you say that Expo 2020 Dubai indirectly showcased this industry as well ?

Yes, it surely did. Screen printing industry has also been on hand to support media and promotions. Professional print displays such as galleries, souvenir printing and accreditation and onsite registration printing were taken care of by the imaging expertise.

As a design student, what additional branding/ promotional items or innovative creations would you suggest to further enhance the India Pavilion’s look and feel ?

Compared to other pavilions, the Indian Pavilion is simple, and to some it can seem very basic as well. But it manages to display multiple layers that the country has. Apart from this, I believe a hands-on experience of an Indian classical dance or music show would have gained more attraction and awareness to the non-native. It is the emotive power of Indian dance from various cultures that really stirs the soul of the western audience as different from the dance form they themselves are familiar with.

Do you see design becoming more significant in helping screen printed items at such events make an even greater impact going forward ?

Yes, definitely. Events like Expo 2020 display the future of print. Screen printing technology is advancing into new industries, from unique packaging with luminescent surfaces, to custom designed articles. The print industry has influenced a massive crowd.

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