The inauguration of the exhibition ‘Deco on the Oval: Celebrating Bombay’s Best Loved Art Deco Facades’

31 July, 2015
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IMG_2304_1 1. A reconstructed elevation of Sorab Mansion, a prominent building in the Oval precinct.

IMG_2347_1 2. Ashad Mehta, chartered accountant and president of the Oval-Cooperage Residents Association (OCRA), standing alongside the elevation of Empress Court, in which he stays.

IMG_2343_13. Shirin Bharucha, lawyer, conservation activist and founding member of OCRA, alongside the elevation of Rusi Court, in which she stays.

IMG_2333_14. Gerson da Cunha, actor and former adman, alongside the elevation of Fair Lawn, in which he stays.

IMG_2320_1 5. Professor Mustansir Dalvi, curator of the exhibition, and noted senior architect Kamu Iyer stand alongside early photographs of the Oval buildings.

IMG_2362_1 6. Architect Shantanu Subramaniam and Smita Dalvi, Associate Professor at Pillai College of Architecture.

IMG_2326_1 7. Models of the famous Art Deco buildings on Miami Beach.

IMG_2330_1 8. Issues of Shilpasagar, the annual magazine of the Sir J. J. College of Architecture. The magazine is impressively launched each year with a video, presenting an overview of the issue.

IMG_24209. The collection of souvenirs available for sale at the exhibition are the finest we have ever seen (and bought).

IMG_2358_110. Mustansir Dalvi and the talented Exhibition Team.

Facades: The Claude Batley Gallery

Sir J.J. College of Architecture, 78/3 Hornby Road (presently D.N. Road).

The Art Deco buildings in Bombay’s Oval precinct get the attention they deserve at the exhibition ‘Deco on the Oval: Celebrating Bombay’s Best Loved Art Deco Facades’ at the Sir J. J. College of Architecture. The facades and details of the buildings have been meticulously and stylishly documented as a series of 17 elevations, drawn by the students of the College and curated by Professor Mustansir Dalvi. Dalvi’s curatorial note offers a historical context for the Art Deco boom in Bombay in the 1930s-40s as well as elucidates the value of the buildings:

“The Art Deco buildings on the Oval are special as they demonstrate, simultaneously, a collective language that creates an urban fabric while individually allowing full vent to creative expression, each competing with the other, either in flamboyance or subdued sophistication. This was the result of building regulations that made all the apartment blocks toe the same frontage, have the same height and floor lines, a prominent entrance and stairwell and a clear line of flat roofs. The rules, however seem to have liberated the architects rather than stifle them. Even within these framed parameters there is free expression of shape, pattern and symbolism, making these some of the most vocal facades in the city.”

‘Deco on the Oval’ is on at The Claude Batley Gallery, Sir J. J. College of Architecture, from 28th July to 15th August, 10am to 5pm.

Jazzy tunes from Naresh Fernandes’ Taj Mahal Foxtrot (Roli Books) will keep you in step with the structures at the exhibition.

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