Avinash Rajagopal graduated in industrial design from the National Institute of Design (NID), India, and then designed sanitaryware, solar lanterns, and jewelry packaging before realizing that his true calling was in research and criticism. He returned to NID in 2008 as a research associate and visiting faculty, teaching courses in culture theory and history of design.
The 2009 Henry Wolf Scholarship made it possible for him to attend D-Crit, and he received a Silas H. Rhodes scholarship in 2010. At D-Crit, he explored contemporary industrial design and architecture, finding ways to tell nuanced, critical stories in accessible and engaging ways.
Rajagopal’s master’s thesis, titled Tinkering with Design: The Convergence of Design and Hacking, examines the emergence of Open Design, championed by a new generation of hackers who are more interested in manipulating materials than in cracking software code. Driven by the democratization of 3D printing and the proliferation of internet forums, their ideas of Open Source are becoming increasingly attractive to industrial designers. Rajagopal argues that this trend, often misunderstood as a DIY resurgence, is in fact centered around community. This makes it a valuable new model of socially responsible, sustainable design practice.
Rajagopal interned at Metropolis magazine, and was a research assistant on the forthcoming book Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color (Chronicle Books, 2011). He writes regularly for the Metropolis POV blog, and his writing has appeared in Change Observer and Metropolis magazine. He also co-founded and edits Little Design Book, a design criticism blog withan Indian voice.