Vijay Chakravarthy, IDSA
Chair, IDSA New York City Chapter (2016-present)
Chair, IDSA Western Pennsylvania Chapter (2013-2014)
Industrial designer and self-described "globe trotter" Vijay Chakravarthy, IDSA's award-winning work has been exhibited at the Spark Exhibit, Autodesk Design Gallery in San Francisco, Guandong Design Week 2013 and the AutoExpo India in 2008 and 2010. He's worked with manufacturers and design consultancies on projects ranging from brand research and product design to healthcare, digital sculpting and transport design.
His knowledge and appreciation of international cultures and values was influenced strongly by having worked and studied in Australia, Italy, India and the United States. "Every place and culture I have come across makes me realize that there is only more to know, explore and learn. I feel borders and world orders are forced upon us by ourselves and it's not always to our benefit," says Chakravarty. "As a designer, this experience has made it easier to empathize with people of various backgrounds, needs and aspirations. Also, the exposure helps me cross-pollinate ideas in my own head to come up with differentiated ideas."
On the subject of inclusion in design: "The subject of diversity is drawing a lot of attention these days," finds Chakravarty. "It is true that there is a general lack of diversity in ID in the United States This has many causes and one of them is the lack of exposure and opportunity for certain groups of people."
He says growing up in a middle class family from India, he had no exposure to industrial design as a career. "Once I got to know about it, I had to convince my family that it was a 'good' career choice. Then I enrolled into an ID program. As an international student, the learning curve was long and hard. and it took me quite a while to catch up to the level of exposure that students in the developed world had. "
He credits his "open-minded parents, some great professors and conscientious companies" that offered jobs. He found his footing. "I feel that these bumps exist for so many categories of people. But once we get over this, it is a win-win situation for the industry and society."
Chakravarty holds a bachelor's degree in industrial design from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a master's degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. "I first got involved with IDSA as a student at SCAD in 2011," he recalls. "It was great to get connected with the wider design community and I had been hungering to know more about the ID industry in the United States. It felt good to receive the newsletter, access to the magazine and collaborate with a larger group of designers."
He worked as a senior designer at Daedalus in Pittsburgh, then worked for Michael Graves Architecture and Design. In March 2017, Chakravarty joined DesignIt as a lead service designer. He also serves as a design thinking consultant for Princeton University.
The designer served as chair of IDSA's Western PA Chair before moving to New York City and becoming chair of IDSA NYC in 2016. "It's a great time to be a designer," touts Chakravarty. "So much is changing in the world today and the spotlight is beginning to shine on the power of design, its methods and the resulting opportunities. There is also no better time to get together as a community of designers and share our methods and values and thoughts. An informed and connected set of practitioners nurtures a vibrant and growing field of design. Joining IDSA offers the opportunity to contribute to the conversation, get inspired and grow as a practitioner."
Hear more from Chakravarty in his TEDx talk on The Evolving Role of Design.