“Mumbai hosts the second largest collection of art deco buildings in the world, but sadly, there have been no efforts to instill a sense of pride in our heritage, or preserve the same,” says Atul Kumar, a finance professional who calls himself a digital diarist showcasing Mumbai’s art-deco.
When in the island city, you can never miss the art deco architecture characterised in geometric patterns (zigzags, saucer-like turrets), the obsession with symmetry, the rounded balconies and the opulent Indian motifs like lotus and chakra. The maximum art-deco buildings can be found in south Mumbai – Churchgate, Marine Drive, Fort – which immediately transports you to the era gone-by.
Tracing the art-deco map, Kumar found that it can be seen in every major city like Chicago, Miami, New York, Paris, Istanbul, Shanghai, Napier, Melbourne and San Francisco.
What is different from Mumbai is that there is an active movement to spread awareness about the unique architecture through digital mediums.
“So we started Art Deco Mumbai. Our aim is to put Mumbai on the World art-deco map using digital mediums,” said Kumar who lives in the Bharatiya Bhavan in Marine Drive, an art-deco building.
Kumar has collaborated with two architects and uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to not only showcase the style but also document it and advocate its conservation.
The team is also working on bringing out a website. “There are enough books written about art deco, but the era of books and libraries is increasingly under threat. It is faster and easier to connect with a global audience through social media accounts,” he says.
The team uses pictures, hash-tags and attractive captions to showcase the buildings and their unique internal elements – the staircases, lobbies, elevators and flooring.
So the next time you watch a movie in Eros Cinema – do not forget to tag @artdecomumbai.