When my publishers were coming up with book cover ideas for Geek Nation, my only ask was that it shouldn't have any elephants, tigers, gods or swirly paisley patterns. The Western idea of India as this kinda spiritual haven full of simple-living people in floaty saris and dhotis is about as far from the reality of its booming cities as a Hovis advert is to an English town... even so, it's a difficult stereotype to shift. But in their latest issue, the team at Wallpaper* has done it. I was asked to have a tiny, tiny hand to play in their latest issue, about design and architecture in India, and I'm amazed at what the editors have come up with. It's an incredible glimpse into this fast-paced, eye-popping world.
The wonder of the work of some of India's designers is how they twist local materials and traditional aesthetics to create products and buildings the likes of which you won't see anywhere else in the world. This isn't just for the rich, it's part of everyday life (you only need to watch the telly to see how searingly clever and witty some of the adverts are). The magazine captures this perfectly, including an excellent piece on the city of Chandigarh (where some of my family live), which was designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s and has been enormously influential on urban planning across the country. There are also some great tips on what to eat and where to go next time you're in the megacity that is Mumbai.