Like many others, Sonali Ranjit, and her husband Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, have only had the view from their window to stare out of over the past few months. It’s been a strange sensation for obvious reasons, particularly because the pair are used to travelling with advertising jobs (at Leo Burnett and BLKJ respectively), leading them to stints in India, Singapore, San Francisco and Stockholm. The pandemic and urgent need to stay inside obviously put a stop to this movement, but most of all taught the pair “about all the things we took for granted,” Sonali tells It’s Nice That. The simple but entirely different view from someone’s window was one of them.
After wondering for some time about how they could possibly trade places with a friend planted in another part of the world – “just to be able to see something different”– Sonali and Vaishnav developed the idea for Window Swap: an interactive website offering users the opportunity to “open a new window somewhere in the world.” Asking their friends to send in a short, looping clip from their window with all the natural sounds and features that come with it, visitors to the site can end up staring out into the busy streets of Singapore, the leafy greens of Twickenham, Dundee, Jakarta, or meet a family’s dog in Bangalore. “If we couldn’t change places with our friends,” adds Sonali, “we could still swap views from our windows!”
A simple but genius idea which offers light relief and a new perspective. As Sonali points out: “Even though we are not as contained in our houses any more, travel is still a distant dream.” And, at least for now, this site offers a sweet escape. “Until we can (responsibly) explore our beautiful planet again, Window Swap is here to help you travel without moving.”
Now with 60 videos from 26 countries, Sonali and Vaishnav are keen for the project to grow even further. Wanting to offer more variety, the pair welcome “all kinds of windows,” says Sonali. “Whatever the shape, whatever the view.” Because, as the project’s initial aim suggests, “what we usually take for granted, is gold for someone else.” To do so please get in contact with the pair via the Window Swap website, and submit a ten minute horizontal (and steady) video from your window. For continuity, and as the name suggests, it would also be lovely if at least a corner or two of your window or door frame could be viewable in the shot.”
With a sentiment for sharing being the creative driver behind this brilliantly heartwarming project, Sonali sums up its aim perfectly: “We are all in this together. And we will break out of it together, too.”
GallerySonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam: Window Swap
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.