When you were little and sketching cars on every available surface and pleaded with your parents to get the new alloys you saw in a magazine, did you ever think that these would be the kind of skills that would someday be in demand? You can finally put that energy and passion to use and make a career out of it. In our attempt to give you the best available options in car designing, we realised no one does it better than the India’s car design guru himself, Dilip Chhabria (DC). Using design as a differentiator, DC has made true the mantra, ‘good design is good business’, by establishing a design-based company in 1993 in Mumbai. In 2010, he established DYP-DC in Pune, a design school to lead talented and interested students in his path.
India is the second fastest growing automobile market in the world. Competitiveness between brands and an increasing presence of global brands in India is the key to this demand. The auto manufacturing industry is also witnessing robust growth — 25-30 per cent annually which is what is creating a demand for talented designers. In 2010, India produced more than 3.5 million automobiles (an increase of 33.9 per cent from 2009).
Car designing has emerged as a new and dynamic field in India and is still in its nascent stage. Design helps you make radical or instrumental changes. Automobile design implies taking into account several elements: function of the car, market, production, distribution, promotion, price reduction and increase in safety, ergonomics and environmental concerns. “In the last ten years, I have received queries from youngsters on where they can learn to design cars and what they need to do. Parents come up to me and say, ‘My son wants to be you.’ Cars signify glamour, power and sex appeal and very few products compete on a desirability point of view. We have the requirement, but no history of education in car design,” says Chhabria.
This thought led to an idea five years ago, which was then pursued by Chhabria and Ajeenkya Patil of DY Patil University, Pune. This culminated in the establishment of DYP-DC Centre for Automotive Research and Studies.
Located in the 100-acre DY Patil Knowledge City in Pune, amidst hills and farmland, there couldn’t be a better location for creativity to kick in. They offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in automobile design, which is residential in nature. Basic requirements in students are the skills to visualise and sketch and an ability to think and create something new.
The three-year UG course costs `5 lakh per annum and the two-year PG programme would come up to `7 lakh per annum. This includes the cost of materials required, which will in many ways prevent any kind of disparity among students. Scholarships are given on a case-to-case basis. Each batch would comprise only 20-30 students because a course like this requires personal attention from teachers and more practical work.
The courses include study of design fundamentals, automobile design studios and digital tools along with basic design, colour theory, drawing and digital 3D modelling. The subjects in the curriculum are basic automotive engineering, basic aerodynamics, vehicle architecture, automotive product planning, vehicle structures, vehicle packaging, materials and processes.
There is a common misconception that automobile engineers are better suited for designing. “It is not so,” says Hrridaysh Deshpande, director, DYP-DC. “In fact, engineering graduates have to be made to unlearn what they’ve already learned to be more in tune with designing needs,” he adds.
Automotive designing is restricted and regulated for the most part, because of engineering limitations, cost issues and strict automotive regulations to adhere to. With the remaining freedom, one has to create something new that doesn’t resemble the past, cater to the brand needs and create something that will be wanted by both client and customer.
The DC factor
Chhabria is hands-on in terms of curriculum and interaction with students. They have designed the campus to have wood and metal workshops for students where they will work on models, a library, and state-of-the-art computer labs with interactive displays, prototyping machinery and 3D printers. They have a design critique session every week, with Chhabria as the moderator and they discuss the pros and cons of a car model, with insights from him. The concept of examinations has been modified to include assignments and juries, which will help build a student’s portfolio.
They have eight full-time faculty members from prestigious institutions with industry experience. They also have four faculty members from abroad — Emanuele Nicosia, has worked with Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Peugeot and Cadillac, and Mizuho Tomita Nicosia, design planner and conceptor, has collaborated with big brands like Subaru, Nissan, Honda and Daihatsu. Their visiting faculty includes Sang Koo from the School of Industrial Design, Hanbat National University in South Korea, Patrick Roupin, MD of Kovent Infotech, Vikas Satwalekar, former director of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Henri Christaans from Delft University of Technology, only to name a few.
“I believe that DYP-DC has set very ambitious goals for the institution. We are talking of a school that will become a reference in car design in India. This is a fascinating dream and I would be pleased to be part of it. I am putting my competence, knowledge and enthusiasm as contribution to this programme,” says Nicola Crea, who teaches automobile designing at University of Chieti, Politecnico di Milano and University of Genoa and is a guest faculty at DYP-DC.
Students get a chance to work with Chevrolet and DC Designs, only to name a couple. “Students can earn `25,000-`1 lakh per month as starting salary, depending on the company and skills,” says Abhijeet Bhoge, faculty at DYP-DC. They are working towards arranging placements with some of the prestigious design houses and companies, since their second batch will only begin in August 2011. Admissions are still open. For details, log on to www.dypdc.com
The auto industry, being an organised sector offers a vertical growth path. So you not only have a job, but also a career when you step out of DYP-DC. It will merely be an extension of your passion, which you get paid for, with no monotony whatsoever.
What makes DYP-DC different from schools abroad? Deshpande explains, “Firstly, it is too early for a comparison. Secondly, this is a unique programme which has been enhanced by the DC factor. There are no stake holders in other schools with content knowledge. DC is a brand himself, therefore it is important to uphold that. Thirdly, it is solely for car designing, whereas the focus is dissipated in other schools. Fourthly, we provide a feasible, practical and balanced approach to design, technology and business, which are all factors to be considered while designing a car. And lastly, students here will be envisioning, researching and creating a car from scratch to present their finished product in their last year.”
Interaction with students keeps 56-year-old DC in touch with the young and fresh minds, which are always brimming with ideas. “There is a lot of talent, curiosity, growth and hunger in the youth of India. They are incredibly networked and well travelled. They have the same hunger to do what they want as their compatriots. The
problem is not them, but they need to be led. A hard mentality and regulations will go nowhere in moulding youngsters,” says Chhabria. He believes research is exceedingly important and to envision or produce a car that is required by the country in the next ten years. It is important to subject students to that intensity.
Dilip Chhabria — The Auto Guru
“As far back as my memory takes me, I’ve been crazy about cars, drawing on walls, tissue and whatever I could lay my hands on. It was and still is an obsessive interest,” says Chhabria.
After finishing his bachelor’s in commerce from Bombay University, he stumbled across an ad from a foreign varsity that invited applicants for car designing course. That is when he realised that car designing was a possibility. He went to Art Center of Design, Pasadena, USA, in 1974 for four years. He worked another year at General Motors, USA. He realised he could never work in a stifling environment, where you could only design a part of the vehicle. He returned to India, with no pressure from family and started a car accessory business mainly for Fiat and Ambassador cars, which was hugely successful, especially among the affluent.
In 1993, when he had made enough money, he established DC Designs in Mumbai, with the sole aim of offering design and prototyping services to the Indian OEM (original equipment manufacturer) industry as well as customized one-off solutions to the independent buyer.
He tells us, “In hindsight, I don’t believe you can succeed if you don’t put your back to the wall. If you have choices, you don’t succeed.” He is motivated to leave behind a legacy for his children. He strongly believes that it is no longer enough to be creative; one needs to have a business sense and a keen marketing sense so that you can think of niches to exploit. In a competitive environment, design is the only thing that sells. Design speaks for the brand.
Source: Article on DYPDC on the New Indian express website: http://expressbuzz.com/topic/dyp-dc