Baring Our Soul- “ Forest for the trees; Trees for the forest” – The Monograph

  • March 29, 2015
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Baring Our Soul- “  Forest for the trees;Trees for the Forest” – The Monograph.

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The office likes to publish; we do this with some reticence while distributing what we publish, but we publish with a fervor that is rare.

All presentations become booklets, all studies become booklets, lectures find themselves in a printed form, and then of course there are a few books that we have lent energies on.

Over time this has led many people to suggest that we do a book on the office.
It started with a few friends egging us, and then we found the suggestions coming in from good publishing houses.
“ Do a book on the Million Garden initiative”
“ Do a book on landscape design”
“ Do a book on just the idea of design”
A few years back we took this idea seriously, and even hired an architect to help compile it. To her credit , she worked on many formats, and suggested many ways of doing it; paucity of time, but more importantly the lack of some conviction from our end, made sure that effort never got off the ground.
Silently though we had been putting together monographs of the office work.
At one point it was a small booklet; at another large beautifully printed plates, and more recently a wide format monograph with some text.

So why did we not jump to doing a book? Well, firstly we honestly had no idea what the book could be on; then we had no idea who would really be interested in it ; and finally it did seem rather poor manners to explain or philosophize ones own work.
But on the other hand , there was a story that needed to be recorded. About the birth of this office, or how we have ended up where we are and what really have been upto in recent times.

I think some of that desire was akin to keeping a personal diary; just so that we feel anchored, and don’t have false notions about ourselves; some perhaps to an unexplainable idea of serving posterity.
The one thing that we were painfully aware of was the designer’s easy ability to slide into fantasy of self, and the resulting poor behavior often exhibited.
We also did not want to pepper this effort with “what could have been”, but only with “what was”.
Perhaps it’s the middle class in us, that ensures that we see life with a certain severity.

So finally what emerged was a thick initiative, that has over 50 built projects with an embarrassingly personal and naïve narrative accompanying each of it, and some interviews- notable was the one with my father, and then some research work.

While it got together the excitement grew, as did the ambition.
“ Should we make it a full fledged book?”
“ Should we print a 1000 and more ?”
“ Should we distribute it?”

“There was nothing like this when we were students”
“ There is nothing like this tale even now “

And we debated this, and realised that we had mixed feelings.

Part of us knew this was valuable, so valuable that we felt that the world had to know about it and part of it felt this was too personal- not something that we wanted to indiscriminately share.
So finally we decided, that we will print a small DTP run; and send to close family and friends, and put up this blog , and embedded in it the offer to print a copy ( at cost) if any one really wanted one.
Our reasoning was that this was a precious part of us, that we were happy to share with those who saw some value in it- but we did not want to impose it on people at large.
Its called “  Forest for the trees;Trees for the forest “- 283 pages, beautifully printed; and the story of design as we know it- told as honestly as can be .
If you want a copy write us at landscapeindia@usa.net.

Click for preview Pdf here.
Aniket Bhagwat

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