On the occasion of 2020’s World Heritage Day, 18 April 2020, the Art Deco Mumbai Trust comes online on Google Arts & Culture in a new partnership between Google and the institution. Thanks to this new virtual exhibition, users around the world will be able to learn about the best of Mumbai’s Deco architecture, which is the second largest collection in the world, in just a few clicks at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/art-deco-mumbai
Eleven specially curated virtual stories have been developed for online global audiences. These cover the recently inscribed world heritage site showcasing one of the world’s finest urban Art Deco collections, collectively unparalleled. Iconic neighbourhoods and buildings come to life to take you on a 1930’s tour, and then bring you back to the city’s modern living heritage in a contemporary setting.
A spectacular ensemble of 92 historic buildings spread across 66 acres with four major architectural styles was inscribed on June 30, 2018, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This exhibit covers the highlights of the decade long journey, uniquely led by citizen stakeholders. This world heritage inscription reinforces the fact that first and foremost Mumbai belongs to its citizens. The area is a part of the collective memory of every resident and visitor. Come take a look at this heritage, western in form and Indian in spirit at: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/-QJShRreubZwKA
The Oval maidan is at the heart of the UNESCO inscription. It is straddled by architecture and an urban form that cross two centuries in a dramatic juxtaposition of Victorian Gothic and Art Deco styles. Designed by some of India’s foremost architects, they are vibrant, colourful and stylish. They heralded a new modernity for Mumbai.Take a tour to discover the earliest buildings of Bombay’s Deco: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/GQLi0lvo6k8PKw
Karfule is one of the only surviving Art Deco petrol pumps in the city. Fully operational, it serves loyal customers that date back 80 years. Architect G B Mhatre, a master of Deco, outdid himself in the design of this cantilevered masterpiece located in the heart of the business district. See priceless archival pictures of the original drawings, plans, construction and the incredible third generation Sequeira family that manage it to this day. Read it in depth at: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/9AIieTTuHEwxJw
If Mumbai has an identity it is surely defined by the sweeping bay that overlooks the Arabian sea. This reclamation from the sea began in the 1920’s and is still a unique landmark that every citizen relates to. A dramatic display of 35 Art Deco buildings adorns the Queen’s necklace showing a massing that is unlike any in the world. The Marine drive promenade is Mumbai’s most well known, accessible and democratic open public space protected fiercely by local resident groups. Explore it in depth at: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/hAIyCF9Y7AXUJg
To enjoy the multitude of architectural styles that define the city’s architecture, there is no better place than the Wellington circle (S P Mukhejee chowk) which has the Wellington fountain as its centrepiece. It is surrounded by 6 unique buildings, each one an institution in itself. The 360 degree panorama shows you a celebration of the city’s diversity, development and charts its history from the time the fountain was built to commemorate the visit of Duke of Wellington in 1801 and 1804. Read it in depth at: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/tQJS4PbsctjFLw
Impeccably maintained, painted in cream and red, embellished with decorative motifs, Soona Mahal is the gold standard of Art Deco on Marine drive. Soona Mahal sits majestically at the junction of two arterial roads and houses the Sidhwa family, 4th generation owners. It enjoys the greatest recall among Art Deco buildings in the city and is also the inspiration behind the logo of Art Deco Mumbai Trust. Read it in depth at: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/FwIyI29tmcJjKg
7/ A Guide to Driving Deco in India – released on 3 December 2020
The 1930s, regarded as the gilded age of the automobile industry, saw Art Deco themes dominate automotive styling. The luxurious Indian-owned Deco cars showcased in this exhibit–all in mint condition–best represent the flamboyance, streamlining and fascination with speed that we commonly associate with the Art Deco movement. Explore the remarkable features of these automobiles at: https://g.co/arts/QA93ikb6wjFXdbd78
8/ Swadeshi Moderne – released on 10 January 2021
In the years leading up to Indian Independence, Bombay saw a number of buildings built by Indian insurance companies spring up in quick succession, all in the Art Deco style, with a distinct ‘Swadeshi’ identity. These insurance companies had names that explicitly suggested national pride and their buildings, although western in form, were ornamented with sculptural relief work depicting Hindu mythology and scenes of Indian culture and labour. Discover the aesthetics, politics and appropriation in Bombay’s Insurance Deco at: https://g.co/arts/t2wKaYK8iEeSFiJX9
9/ Deco Dekho: Bombay Style – released on 28 April 2021
The Art Deco style in buildings is expressed primarily through characteristics such as building form, elements, and ornamental features. Aside from internationally identifiable characteristics, Bombay’s Art Deco draws from the city’s identity as a port city, and has elements that respond to its tropical climate. Here is a friendly contemporary primer to help you identify Art Deco buildings in the city through their form, features and elements: https://g.co/arts/bW1cBSzmx9JZpiTS8
10/ Explore Thematic Expressions seen in Bombay’s Deco – released on 28 April 2021
Most of Bombay’s Deco buildings have a distinctly domestic flavour expressed through four broad themes—native stories, religious symbols, mythology and lettering. This exhibit showcases artwork that highlight thematic details of Deco buildings interspersed with signs of street life that reflect the city’s character. Discover representations of these themes seen in buildings spread across different neighbourhoods, here: https://g.co/arts/FpscziNcHWSyCKSo6
11/ The life and legacy of G.B. Mhatre – released on 28 April 2021
Among the first generation of Indian architects, the master architect G.B. Mhatre made a significant contribution to Indian architecture and to Bombay’s Art Deco landscape. Through this exhibit, explore snippets of his professional life and some outstanding examples of Deco from his extensive body of work, here: https://g.co/arts/pMZKx43ivSxx2BCD7
Atul Kumar, Founder Trustee, of Art Deco Mumbai Trust says:
Outreach initiatives that use technology to sensitise people are a powerful tool that enable appreciation and conservation of cultural assets. The Google Arts & Culture platform provides a unique opportunity to share, preserve and promote our heritage with the world. This makes the partnership empowering for both the institutions, for city residents and for visitors worldwide.
Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture, shares:
The online stories by Art Deco Mumbai shine a light on the architectural treasures of Mumbai that have been recognised as world heritage. I’ve always enjoyed walking along Marine Drive when I was in Mumbai, and these stories give me a much deeper understanding about the styles and motifs of the place. It’s great that Art Deco Mumbai is making them accessible for everyone around the world through Google Arts & Culture.
About Art Deco Mumbai Trust
Art Deco Mumbai Trust is dedicated to raising awareness, documenting Mumbai’s rich Deco heritage and advocating its conservation. Founded in 2016, its ongoing photo documentation has identified over 650 Art Deco buildings across the city. As part of its outreach, the Trust also hosts walking tours, public lectures and workshops. Their website, the only one in the world, provides public access to a comprehensive repository of research and information on Mumbai’s Deco. Art Deco Mumbai brings Art Deco into Mumbai’s mainstream dialogue on heritage and empowers stakeholders to make conscious decisions.
About Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture puts the collections of more than 2,000 museums at your fingertips. It’s an immersive way to explore art, history and the wonders of the world, from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings to the women’s rights movement and the Taj Mahal. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android. Our team has been an innovation partner for cultural institutions since 2011. We develop technologies that help preserve and share culture and allow curators to create engaging exhibitions online and offline, inside museums. Read about our latest projects on the Google Keyword blog.