Post 660 -by Gautam Shah



A Design is generated for many types of ‘people’. Some are ‘clients’, because they appoint and pay to the designer, and/or finance+manage the project. A user of the designed entity (building, interior design, products etc.) may be a real consumer or a hypothetical profile framed by planning-marketing consultant or team. It is possible that Design can have many levels of consumers like occupiers, regular and casual visitors and lay-people (uninvolved in design but ‘onlookers’, ‘pride feelers’ or citizens). All these, designers, financiers, project conveners, managers, consumers, occupiers, visitors and onlookers, are stakeholders.

Stakeholders meet

A stakeholder is a person, group or organization, having interest, concerns or grievances for the objectives, policies, plans of actions or effort. These persons are inside or outside the organization, but show a characteristic proximity, intimacy, knowledgeability, and have degree of physical affectations and urgency.

Women at farmers rally Bhopal India

Stakeholders Interests : Stakeholders’ interests are positive or negative but may show contradicting interests. Secondary stakeholders are sometimes indirectly affected, more distanced and may not acutely represent the urgency. Internal stakeholders, at organizational level are like staff, suppliers, consultants, financiers, investors, etc. The stakeholders’ interests could be economics, social, work conditions, safety and security, environmental concerns, public resources and enforcement of Government and other obligatory regulations. At other level the stakeholders could have political interest, propagation of ideology, support or negation of specific materials, processes or technologies.

Gujarat High Court Building Ahmedabad India

Managing Stakeholders : Stakeholders represent bridges of social connections, which if properly cultivated help public acceptance of designers’ works. The acceptances include new clients, approvals, grants, loans. The social bridges can act as buffers, to tide over the shortfall, on quality expectations, delivery schedules, budget overruns and professional competition. Stakeholders increase the business credibility of the organization, and personal social reliability.


How to deal with Stakeholders : It is easier to deal with stakeholders as a group than in isolation. Recognize stakeholders for their geographic and class of affectation. The real affectations could be economic, social, safety, encroachment or compromise of rights and opportunities for participation in the process. A stakeholder or the group may want public exposure, a media story or political gratification. Stakeholders are societal inluencers and demand certain respect, and this can be offered through participation or engagements. Both of these can be achieved by keeping them informed in design conception, planning, decision making, implementation, and evaluation processes.

Reagan sitting withstakeholders of Afghanistan-Pakistan




PERCEPTION of CONTRAST -Issues for design -18

Post 659 -by Gautam Shah


Contrast is a deviation from the expected. It is the realization of a thing against, the obvious, existing, notional or ideological percept. Contrast is seen between nominal or obvious things, versus abnormal or non-perceived conditions. Like a full vs empty streets, clear vs fuzzy, pleasant smell vs unpalatable taste, dark-hot vs bright-cool, vibrating but noiseless; These are some such expectations vs perceptions.


Contrast is a comparison and occurs in some reference. The reference forming nexus is proffered in real or a hyper realm. But the ‘thing’ and its context are not always in the same space or time setting. Contrast makes a ‘thing’ stronger by juxtaposition of some weaker, duller or different elements.


Contrast is detected by two distinctive processes. The perception, is a combined experience of different sensorial faculties. And it is also a process of cognition that defines the strongest experience forming the main object or foreground, and all other as the background. The backgrounds offer the context.


Sensorial faculties have their own scale of strength, and some have bipolarity. Typically eyes and ears continuously back up the space-position details. Similarly nose and tastes buds in the mouth, are closely located, and so show time-simultaneity in definition of edible things. The space-time references are filled in by other senses. Multilateral nodes of touch support such a process.


The foreground-background divergence manifests in time-space reference. The juxtaposition, however, is not in the same space or time setting. The nexus could be in real or hyper a real realm. The hyper realm consists of experiences and resulting expectations. One has seen neither heaven nor hell, but both pose concurrently as extreme contrast. One of the two could be real and other through anecdotical knowledge. Here the contrasts are realized through recall. The contrast is relevant till foreground-background simultaneity remains within a fathomable range of perception. Architectural entities contrast in size, scale, style, placement, orientation, and environmental conditions, thematic content etc.

Chandigadh India


The contrast offers a scale. Objects forming the contrasting zones have shapes, extent, proportion, and indicate a direction. The depth is the obvious phenomenon of foreground-background differentiation. Other two dimensions of the scale are formed by the shape and its extent. The fourth dimension of reality occurs with vivid scenes. Here, if the background is dull or static, the foreground contrasts intensely. And, where the foreground is dull or rapidly varying, the particulars of things and happenings fail to register effectively. The perceiver becomes confused and disinterested, if ‘back and foreground’ elements fail to present relationships in terms of now-then, here-there, far-near etc. In Design, there is always a conflict between context and contrast, requiring equilibrium.


Contrast makes things conspicuous to attract the senses. And the contrast to be obvious, occurs with some reference. The reference is formed by a ‘thing’ that is stronger by juxtaposition of some weaker, duller or different elements, by its power of persistence in reality, and as a recall. Often clues are included in the composition for the recall. The clues could be similarities, leftover trails of the past happenings or subtle insertions relevant only to the person experiencing it or in that time and space. Other design elements that offer contrast include presence of directions, sequences, repetitions, occlusion by frames, thematic continuities, sensorial consistencies, associated fables and explanations.


A design has internal and external context. Internal contrasts are part of the designed entity, so within the ambit of real experience. External contrasts occur through the embedded or implied metaphoric clues for connection.


Architecture occurs in the context of its terrain, environment and stake holders (humans and tasks) and incorporeal parameters like weather, culture, economics, social and politics. These are universal posers, some find them suffocating in creation of outstanding and long-lasting contrast. So contrast is realized by negation of the contextual elements. Architects resort to attitudes like deconstructivist, monumentalist, eccentricist etc. Architecture has been for a very long time and substantially static formation, but now for evocation of contrast, not only the form is made dynamic but the perceiver-users are made mobile and hyperactive. These experiences began in rapidly changing environmental conditions, unsettled positions of perceptions, gyrating conditions, gravity less conditions, videos and movies.


In art work like paintings aberrations of perception arise from how spaces are postulated by extent and depth, and time is suggested with metaphoric details. The way colours are seen or weights are felt is due to such contrasts. Our past experience and desires make us see or experience things before they happen at closer locations.


A silhouette is a very specific condition of contrast. Here the proportion of dark-light is of course important, but the edge conditions like shapes, arrangement, sizes etc. determine the effectiveness of contrast. Silhouette work in two ways: One due to the stark difference between the background and foreground, and Two due the lack of details in the foreground object. A glare is a form extreme contrast which fuzzes the foreground.

Vatican Silhouette

Camouflage is in a way opposite of contrast. It forms from the skillful exploitation of the contrast, though the resultant scenario is cacophonous. The noise occurs from anomalous conditions between the perception and its cognition. It is also the difference between real experience and the expectations. Camouflage morphs the foreground with background, alternatively the foreground turns fuzzy due to the reflections, multiple impressions, askew positioning, colour intonation, altered scaling etc.


Contrast occurs due to cascade of light, glare, echoes or reverberation, masking (of smell, taste), screening, covering, hiding reflections, and framing.


Cascading Light and camaflauge

Protective scaffolding over Taj Mahal AgraIndia 1943

Uniform colour

This is the 18 th article of 20 topics series on ISSUES for DESIGN




Post 658 -by Gautam Shah



ANTI-LIGATURE –Issues for Design -8








Risk on Brinks










Door of a traditional Indian House

Sheth ni Pol Ahmedabad --a gated community

City Gate Prem Darwaja Ahmedabad