BMW Guggenheim Lab: Mumbai

Medha Kapur of Saffronart shares a note on the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s latest outpost in Mumbai.

BMW Guggenheim LabMumbai: A collaboration between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the BMW Group, the BMW Guggenheim Lab is a travelling mobile laboratory intended to heighten urban consciousness. This well-meaning project began its journey in 2011 in New York, and will visit eight other cities worldwide. Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the Lab is a global initiative that gets people involved in and inspired about urban planning, art and ideas that will better their environment and community. The project is led by international, interdisciplinary teams of emerging talents in the areas of urbanism, architecture, art, design, science, technology, education, and sustainability.

The theme for the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s first two years is Confronting Comfort. The Lab will explore how urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs, how people can feel more at ease in urban environments, and how to find a balance between notions of modern comfort and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility.

After hitting the streets of New York and Berlin, the Lab arrived in Mumbai in December 2012 and will run through January 20, 2013. Organized in collaboration with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the Lab will feature free programs including film screenings, tours, talks, and design projects at the museum and at multiple sites throughout the city.

The Mumbai Lab Team, an international group of experts and innovators, has created a series of projects, studies, and design proposals that reflect Mumbai’s unique conditions and challenges, in addition to neighborhood-specific public programming in satellite locations. The Lab Team includes Aisha Dasgupta, a British demographer based in Malawi; Neville Mars, a Dutch architect based in China; Trupti Amritwar Vaitla, an architect and urban transport designer from Mumbai; and Héctor Zamora, a Mexican artist based in Brazil who works extensively in public space.

Aisha Dasgupta, Neville Mars, Hector Zamora, Trupti Amritwar Vaitla.Image Coutesy:

Aisha Dasgupta, Neville Mars, Hector Zamora, Trupti Amritwar Vaitla.
Image Coutesy:

Mumbaikars keep an eye out for the activities organised as part of this incredible, interactive venture. In the long run it is very important for us to speak up and think about our city much more!

‘Wooden Foliage’ at Ahmedabad’s Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT)

Sanjana Gupta of Saffronart shares a note about a unique art and design project at CEPT

Ahmedabad: A ‘Space Making Wood Wokshop’ at the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Center (DICRC) at CEPT, Ahmedabad, resulted in the addition of a new, unique design feature to the institute’s campus. Jwalant Mahadebwala from Ahmedabad based AndBlack Design Studio and Rooshad Shroff of Mumbai based rooshadSHROFF Architecture and Design were invited by the DICRC to design and manufacture a canopy using leftover wooden pieces from a previous studio course. This sculptural canopy was to be executed in a time frame of 72 hours.

The two artists were instructed to repurpose or incorporate the surplus cylindrical wooden pieces, which had tapering ends, as the form’s primary structural material. According to Mahadebwala, “Each of the wooden cylindrical pieces was heavy and chunky. Our first reaction on seeing 150 of these solid wood members was to deconstruct them. We wanted to make something that contradicts its heaviness and chunkiness. Also, while working with wood we are always attracted to its grains, and that expression was missing in the raw material.” So the designers, along with CEPT students, professors and staff, sliced up the pieces and ended up with 7000 thin wooden discs. They then created the canopy by drilling six holes along the perimeter of each disc, and manually using 26,000 staple pins to stitch these discs together in a sort of wooden cloth.

‘Wooden foliage’ suspended over the SID plaza
Image credit: AndBlack Studio

“Strings were attached to it and it was finally raised from the ground by a team of more than 20 people. The wooden cloth which once installed became canopy, was simple, discreet and hidden in between the existing trees. We called it, ‘wooden foliage’ as it provided shade just like a tree. It did not stand out, it was no rigid, nor was it bold, it just hung there between the trees, like natural green foliage and discreetly did what it was meant to do; provide shade.”

This canopy is currently suspended between two trees in the main plaza of the School of Interior Design at CEPT. Apart from the innovative design, the canopy also creates a dappled pattern of light on the ground below it mimicking the natural foliage overhead, and additionally provides the plaza with additional shade.

Close up of the wooden discs ‘stitched’ together with staple pins
Image credit: AndBlack Studio

Learn more about this project.  


%d bloggers like this: