Skip to main content

Design+Environment+Law Laboratory (DEL Laboratory)

The Design+Environment+Law Laboratory (DEL Laboratory) is set up to challenge existing legal, environmental, social, economic and cultural frameworks through interdisciplinary thinking and creativity.

Visit DEL Laboratory website >>


At the DEL Laboratory we carry out collaborative research projects, to explore the intersections between design, law, ecology, policy-making and place-making, through active engagement in the environment. We bring a design inquiry to learning and practice, towards strengthening socio-ecological relationships, making way for synchronous engagement with our environment.

The DEL Laboratory has been creating action-oriented projects for research where certain gaps have been identified and can contribute to research and activism in addressing the nature-culture divide.


Research and Practice

We move design thinking out of the institution into the field, pushing towards activating and catalyzing change. We use design as a practice that stretches across inquiring, investigating and imaging ecologies, and how we engage with them. This is achieved through design studios (student and faculty) which feed into the larger scope of the design research undertaken by the lab.

Values that guide our approach:

  • Interdisciplinary thinking
  • Openness and reflection
  • Embracing complexity
  • Design sensibility
  • Curiosity and criticality
  • Empathy and mindfulness
  • Experience-based learning
  • Ecological sensitivity
  • Consensus building
  • Emergent ideas and practice

The DEL Laboratory is currently engaged in research work to begin a revisualization and reimagining of landscapes, through studio projects as well as doctoral work. The research entails practitioners and scholars to develop design methodology that offers a new lens to challenge dominant constructs and nurture emergent ideas.


Doctoral Research

The doctoral research being conducted by Deepta Sateesh, in the context of the Western Ghats, questions the inherited picture of place described in a quasi-scientific language. The research aims to reveal a different ontology of place emerging from the everyday practice of walking in the Ghats.


Studio Project

This inquiry (also in the context of the Western Ghats), by Shambhavi Singh, takes on the exploration of a thota in Kallahalla near Tirthahalli, and its construction in its surroundings. This imagination opposes the lines on a map that separate the elements of practices occurring on the ground through the fixing of land uses and displays a new way of seeing the landscape.


Teaching and Learning

Postgraduate level studios
Two postgraduate level studios were run under the School of New Humanities and Design. The intent was to bring interdisciplinary ways of situating, visualizing and engaging in complex environments in order to maintain an understanding of processes, forms, functions and relationships in the environment.



The lab offers a 1-year Apprenticeship in the Postgraduate Diploma Program through the School of Foundation and Preparatory Studies (SFPS).

The Design + Environment + Law (DEL) Laboratory invites recent graduates or any artist/designer from a four-year design program to apply to the Post Graduate Diploma Program Apprenticeship, at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Offered through the School of Foundation and Preparatory Studies. This unique pathway is custom designed for individuals to practice as an “apprentice” under a master artist, designer or filmmaker.

The DEL Laboratory is an interdisciplinary space, which will enable you to work at the intersections of design, ecology, law, heritage, conservation and public policy in contentious landscapes. The lab’s approach is to investigate aspects of spatiality, temporality and materiality that nurture new ways of seeing, towards a resilient future.

Over the course of one year apprentices will work on projects run by senior level design professionals in the studio space. They will work on the following:

  • Field work
  • Design thinking tools
  • Data gathering
  • Visualizations
  • Designing interventions
  • Grant/project proposal writing
  • Strengthening collaborations
  • Design events and workshops

The Apprenticeship Pathway gives students the opportunity to move directly into a practice within the creative sector of their choice. Opportunities after the apprenticeship may include working as a creative professional in NGOs/public policy think tanks/design houses/production studios etc.

For the year 2017-18 the lab is accepting up to 2 apprentices.


Past Collaborators

  • Dilip da Cunha and Anuradha Mathur, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
  • Vivek Dhareshwar, Bangalore Human Sciences Initiative
  • Natural Justice
  • National Biodiversity Authority, India
  • Kalpavriksh
  • Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
  • Sahjeevan (NGO), Kutch, Gujarat



  • Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant
  • Andrea von Braun Foundation
  • INLAKS Ravi Sankaran Fellowship
  • National Biodiversity Authority, India



BYPASS LAB: BY PASS INFRASTRUCTURES OF THE PERIURBAN FRINGE Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS), IIT Madras, Chennai 26th June-2nd July, 2016.




Deepta Sateesh, Director
Shambhavi Singh, Design Researcher