Designs on Mumbai

After serving Kolkata’s film buffs for 85 years, the Metro cinema, built in 1934 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, has been revamped into the Future Group’s movie themed Central mall. Yet another Indian city loses a historical monument this year and it won’t stop any time so. “Every city will transform and change,” says Mumbai photographer Chirodeep Chaudhuri who was in his hometown, Kolkata recently. But was a mall the best idea that [Kolkata] could come up with? Are we engaging with change intelligently? Because it’s very easy to replace the old with new.”

Mumbai love

Closer home, salon series Oddly Enough’s second edition, ‘Out in the City’ will explore these very questions about the constant evolution of Mumbai. How can cities become more efficient but also more engaging? What is the effect of public spaces on a subconscious level? Can the design of a city be friends? The discussion, marrying design with the city, will also feature the personal perspectives of a panel that comprises Chaudhuri along with architect Sameep Padora, designer Ruchita Madhok and moderator, designer Ayaz Basrai.

Founded in 2014 as a magazine subscription service that offered access to independent publishing, Paper Planes is now an e-commerce and editorial platform celebrating good design. The aim of their bi-monthly salon sessions is to expand the horizons of a community to access areas where good design wouldn’t normally be associated with. “We are all city lovers [at Paper Planes] and we wanted to see how design intersects with Mumbai and how it can make our experiences more enriching,” says Nupur Joshi co-founder of Paper Planes.

Close encounters

The disparate background of the panellists will provide an edge to Oddly Enough’s focus on Mumbai. “Once you extract the grammar of how someone loves their city, then it applies to everyone,” explains moderator Ayaz Basrai, Co-Founder, The Busride Design Studio that with research on heritage conservation and futures, at the intersection of technology, design and art. “Bombay is schizophrenic you love it and hate it at the same, but we want to try and figure out a more meaningful engagement with the city,” says Basrai.

Sameep Padora, principal architect and founder, sP+a, and co-founder, Bandra Collective brings his experience working with the design of public spaces.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ruchita Madhok, (founder and principal designer of Kahani Designworks) has been devoted to working with arts and culture. Her love for Mumbai is evident in her studio’s illustrative cartography of the city. In the past, they’ve released maps on Mumbai’s museums, places associated with the sea and its architecture and even a guide to the city’s sparse green areas. Recently, Kahani Designworks has focused on the series ‘Tiling Bombay’ (interiors and heritage floors of Gothic buildings) and original Art Deco signage. “The panel will be a layered and nuanced kind of discussion with a different set of perspectives,” says Madhok . “[My contribution] will be a graphic designer’s eye of walking through the city.”

For Chaudhuri, who has documented Mumbai in photo projects as ‘Bombay Clocks’, ‘The One-Rupee Entrepreneur’, ‘The Commuters’, ‘In the City’, ‘A Library’, design on its own can become a superficial exercise. He’s hoping to spark a discourse on the social engineering of a city especially when looking at the intersection of design and physical entities. “Is the city inclusive enough and who is the city for?,” asks Chaudhari. “I think our society is a lot more fractured today and these fault lines get exaggerated when we are conceptualising designing our city.”

While this edition of Oddly Enough will discuss architecture, infrastructure, inclusivity and of course, design, Joshi is certain about one thing. “We genuinely think design is impacting everything we do but we don’t want this to become an academic forum,” she says. “People [shouldn’t] take this too seriously, it’s just a chance to let your guard down and meet interesting people.” Oh, and some shopping too. In addition to the panel, Paper Planes is also hosting a day-long pop-up (their first ever) with a limited-edition line-up of a few brands available on their website.

Oddly Enough ‘Out in the City’ will take place on Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m. onwards at G5A, Mahalaxmi. Visit for tickets.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:35:36 PM |

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