All of these photos were taken by Charles and Ray Eames when they visited India to prepare a report commissioned by the Government of India: The The India Report.
The Government of India had asked for recommendations on a programme of training in design that would serve as an aid to the small industries; and that would resist the present rapid deterioration in design and quality of consumer goods. Charles Eames, American industrial designer and his wife and colleague Ray Eames, visited India for three months at the invitation of the Government, with the sponsorship of the Ford Foundation, to explore the problems of design and to make recommendations for a training programme. The Eameses toured throughout India, making a careful study of the many centres of design, handicrafts and general manufacture. They talked with many persons, official and non-official, in the field of small and large industry, in design and architecture, and in education. The report emerged as a result of their study and discussions.
Following the report, the Government set up the National Institute of Design in 1961 as an autonomous national institution for research, service and training in Industrial Design and Visual Communication.
Text excerpted from the website of the National Institute of Design.
In 1955 Pupul Jayaker, the noted writer on Indian craft traditions and the founder of the Indian Handlooms and Handicrafts Export Council (HHEC) met the renowned American designer Charles Eames at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Museum had organised a unique exhibition titled The Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India. This would be the beginning of a lifelong dialogue between these two eminent individuals.
At the same time the Government of India was considering establishing an institute of design, under the advice of Pupul Jayaker and other like-minded people. The 1950s were a decade of rapid industrialization in India and clearly, the need for such an institute grew stronger. In 1957 the Government of India requested the Ford Foundation to invite Charles and Ray Eames to visit India. Charles and Ray Eames travelled to all parts of the country, meeting and talking to writers, craftspeople, architects, scientists, industrialists, educators and philosophers. They took hundreds of photographs of their travels.
On April 7, 1958, the Eameses presented the India Report to the Government of India. The Eames Report defined the underlying spirit that would lead to the founding of NID and beginning of design education in India. The Report recommended a problem-solving design consciousness that linked learning with actual experience and suggested that the designer could be a bridge between tradition and modernity. The Report called upon future designers to re-examine the alternatives of growth available to the country at that time.
Based on the recommendations made in the India Report, the Government of India with the assistance of the Ford Foundation and the Sarabhai family established the National Institute of Industrial Design, as it was originally called as an autonomous all-India body in September 1961 at Ahmedabad. Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira were played a major role in the establishment and early years of NID. Gautam Sarabhai sidestepped the accepted wisdom and conventional method of education . He revived the philosophy of the Bauhaus design movement which was learning by doing. This unique curriculum and revolutionary educational philosophy remain part of NID to the present day.
Today the National Institute of Design is internationally acclaimed as one of the finest educational and research institutions for Industrial, Communication, Textile and IT Integrated (Experiential) Design. It is an autonomous institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and is recognised by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.