Glimpse of Art Deco- Case study of Karfule Petrol pump

Art Deco in Bombay:

The Art Deco architecture of Mumbai, dubbed ‘Bombay Deco’ by architectural historians, began coming up in a time of post-First World War optimism. The city was host to a new wave of local businessmen who had found fortune and wanted to flaunt their new wealth in lavish residences and offices alongside the heirs of India’s former princely states and the glitterati of the blossoming Bollywood film industry. Art deco style in Bombay was taken up by storm by many architects during 1930 -1955.  It was not captured and limited to Theatres and Residences in Bombay but the reflection of Art deco style was also seen in other public structures. Father of Art deco era in Mumbai, G.B. Mhatre practised Art deco style for 40 long years and his style was evidently seen in other public structures such as temples, schools , hotels, restaurants, petrol pumps, hospitals, stadiums, Mill entrances, Agiaries, water fountains, aquarium and commercial buildings.

Very few public structures that exhibit Art deco style survive in Mumbai. Dutta temple in Prabhadevi, Shri Kashi Mutt (Monastery) and Water fountain in Walkeshwar.  H.P. fuel Station opposite  Podar Hospital in Worli, Karfule Petrol Pump in Ballard Estate are a few exceptions.

Karfule Petrol Pump:

One of the last surviving Art Deco petrol pumps is located in the commercial district of Ballard Estate in Mumbai. It was designed by G.B. Mhatre and the firm Architectural Studio, and constructed by Simplex Construction in the year 1938. Originally, it had a Malad stone facing which can still be seen on the side adjacent to the exchange building. The central kiosk of the pump features an octagonal canopy and has a tower which originally had a clock. The Sequeira family has managed to preserve the old Caltex signs as well as the glass globes from the original fuel pumps. The analog air gauge and Manley hydraulic ramps are the original ones which are still functional. The Art deco style is also reflected on the grills of the windows. The central office still has the original in-situ Terrazzo flooring.

Research / Mumbai`s Art Deco / Architecture