Asian Palmyra palm or palm trees, recognized as the official tree of Tamil Nadu, is a native and naturally occurring vegetation. This region is home to approximately six crore trees. The palm tree is highly respected and hailed as “karpaga vruksham” (celestial tree) in Tamil literature, as every part has something to offer and has been an important source of sustenance in the past. With the changes in the cultural and social milieu, the tree has lost its importance and relevance, posing challenges to the life of people dependent on it. Over the years, the lack of technological intervention and attention has reduced the economic activities surrounding the Palmyra tree, proving the risk of them disappearing very soon.
This project looks at building alternative narratives around the Palmyra economy by exploring the intersection of Open design, Traditional ecological knowledge, maker culture, and appropriate technology to bring a renewed sense of engagement among the people, the stakeholders, and the environment. By gaining a systemic understanding through continual stakeholder engagement of varied scales and nature, this project intends to resurface disappearing knowledge, improve the working conditions of people through co-creating scenarios, imagine possible future artifacts/interactions, and re-organizing this ecosystem (places, community, knowledge, infrastructure) to sustain the interests and motivation of everyone involved. It explores new opportunities and effective resource management methodologies to pave the way for innovation-led entrepreneurship opportunities which are regenerative, scalable, and sustainable.
This project delves into the evolving meaning of design in the 21st century and its new roles in addressing complex societal challenges. It examines the ways in which designers can engage with people, understand the realities of a specific context, and create meaningful impact.