Course: Design Charrette - A New Family
Done at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
As part of the design charrette, we were required to look for a characteristic found in two localities of Bangalore, Sampige Road and Brigade Road, and study how it plays out differently in each area.
The deliverable had to be a small publication.
L - Signage at Sampige Road, R - Signage at Brigade Road

Sampige Road, a street full of hustle bustle in the middle of a centuries-old residential area, Malleswaram, is named after the flower that grew in abundance on it. Sampige, or Magnolia Champaca is the flower of Champak tree, whose fragrant smell lingered over the whole road. But back in 1970s, they were all cut down as they had become old and weak, with branches constantly falling off and creating a nuisance for the increasing traffic. After that they switched to fast growing and shady trees and Champak was never planted again. Therefore, many of the current users of Sampige are unaware of the change of scenery of their area.  

Brigade Road is one of the most iconic roads of Bangalore, also known as the Garden City. It was developed as a part of the British army’s cantonment area and later turned into a highly commercialised and cosmopolitan zone. And for as far as anyone can recall, greenery wasn’t a strong part of this setup. But nature always finds a way to crawl into our lives. The road is full of wild plants popping up against a very urban backdrop. They grow without any help or interest displayed by another party. 
At Sampige, people are ignorant of something that is integral to their origin and history. While at Brigade, they are oblivious to the magic happening right in front of their eyes. We don’t realise how nature shapes the destiny of a space. ​​​​​​

This narrative is an attempt to raise questions regarding the relationship of nature and its history in two very different urban setups with people who refuse to acknowledge its presence and/or absence. 
To draw attention to the absence of Sampige trees at Sampige Road, I juxtaposed photos of the road with collages and patterns made of Sampige flowers. They were presented alongside street users' replies to my enquiry about Sampige flowers. To highlight the kannada-speaking majority of Malleswaram, I used Kannada numerals for page numbering and translated a keyword from each quote in the drop shadow.
"Sampige flower? No no, this is Sampige Road."
"You won’t find it right now, it’s not the season."
"Sampige trees were all cut down a few years back. They were interfering with the electricity wires and there were sparks during monsoon.
"I don’t remember seeing any yellow flower down this road."
"I don’t know about Sampige, but you’ll find many other flower sellers at 8th Cross."
For Brigade Road collages, I used Peepal (Sacred Fig) leaves, which were found growing in its nooks and crannies. I changed the layout and switched to Arabic numerals for page numbering to showcase the comparatively cosmopolitan nature of the street, while continuing with Kannada keyword translations of quotes from users about presence of trees on this road.

"No, Brigade never had trees. But Cubbon Park is nearby."
"There were a lot of trees on MG road earlier, but never on Brigade."
"A few shrubs are always growing here and there, but every few months they come and cut them off."
"Brigade has always been a commercial place. Usually, such areas aren’t very green."
"Here you get shade from buildings, not trees."

Through this project, I learnt how even in a field research based project, my past experiences affect how I process the information at hand. Coming from the desert state of Rajasthan, the first thing that had struck me about Bangalore was its abundant greenery. It is something that I cherish since I had very little of it in comparison, and hence was naturally drawn to this characteristic. I was also introduced to the concept of urban landscaping and understood that presence of trees is does not necessarily translate to absence of urbanisation.

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